Flood Risk Management Scheme for Guildford Town Centre

26 February 2024

History of Flooding

Guildford Town Centre has a long history of flooding from the River Wey. Flooding risk will get worse with climate change. If measures are not taken flood events are likely to be more frequent and severe.

A flood defence scheme to protect Guildford from the River Wey has grown since it was shared with the public in 2018. but now "a larger area has been identified that could benefit", officials have said.

The Environment Agency, Guildford Borough Council, and Surrey County Council are collaborating to create a flood risk management scheme for Guildford town centre.

The aims of the scheme are to:

  • reduce flood risk to the town centre
  • benefit residents
  • keep the city open for business in times of flood and help maintain Guildford’s thriving economy
  • improve the natural environment
  • build better connections between Guildford town centre and the River Wey

The Environment Agencty recently held a consultation on proposals developed so far.  Further details can be found on the Environment Agency Webiste.

You can contribute views to the environment Agency until the 17th May 2024, using the e-mail guildfordfloodscheme@environment-agency.gov.uk.


As the BBC has reported in January, the fast-running River Wey burst its banks,  in the town at the entrance to Millmead car park as river levels across Surrey rose after heavy rain.

Ten years earlier, during the floods of 2013-14, the River Wey reached its highest levels in nearly 15 years, flooding more than 160 properties in Guildford and Cranleigh.

The Environment Agency webiste nothes that:  "The risk of flooding in Guildford will get worse with climate change. It is only a matter of time before we see another serious flood."

Shaping Guildford's Future 

Guildford Borough Council are developing plans to regenerate Guildford town centre that will, enhance the riverside environment, and make the town a more attractive place to live, work and visit

A flood alleviation scheme is central to unlocking several sites in the town centre.  The Shaping Guildfords Future Team co-operated with the Environmnet agency to create a report on flood alleviation. This is the basis of the scheme being presented on the 18th April. The Flood Report from Shaping Guildford's Future can be Downloaded from the link at the foot of the post.

The Environment Agency also has a website on the project Open Link.

Riverside Business Park Development

Recent discussions with the owners of the Riverside Business Park in Walnut Tree Close have revealed that they are going to propose re-development, and have had to consider flooding issues extensively, it will be interesting how their proposals integrate with Environment Agency thinking. See Riverside Business Park Walnut Tree Close (guildfordsociety.org.uk)

Progress to date

Work has been progressing since 2018, including a a consultation on early scheme proposals.  These proposals included an option to reduce flood risk by putting flood walls and embankments within the north end of the town centre.

Following feedback, the Environment Agency have examined other different options, and  how these options might better protect the town centre. Different approaches have been examined to avoid transfering flood risk elsewhere within Wey Corridor.

10 Years for a Study?

It is difficult to understand why a study of the Wey Flood issues in Guildford is taking from 2018 to 2017.  The study doesn't create any new flood defences so the Town will be at risk maybe until 2030/5.  As well as the risk to current parts of the town ther eis the issue that several ton sites are not available for development until it is clear what flood remediation measures will be taken.


Image Shows line of flood defences in central Guildford proposed


Share this article

Related Articles

Help us make Guildford better

We want our town to be vibrant, attractive and liveable. We support development that brings a sense of place and enhances the best aspects of our town. If such aims can be embraced, we believe Guildford has the chance to lead the way in enabling sensitive and sustainable development.

Pressures for development are increasing. Planning rules are being eased. The Society’s commitment to standing up for Guildford is needed more than ever.

Support Us

Getting involved allows the society to continue its work.   We welcome new members, from every age and background.  Membership provides an opportunity for you to contribute to the continued health of the town and surrounding area, and to meet other people who care about Guildford.