Guildford Park Rd Car Park – Quality of Design

19 October 2020

An opportunity to reconsider a current undistinguished design

Modification

The council is modifying its plans for the redevelopment of the Guildford Park Road Car Park (16/P/01290) by removing the Multi Storey Car Park (MSCP), with its circa 380 spaces. The space thus freed up will provide additional dwellings.

The context for this development has changed considerably since its approval in 2017 incliuding:

  1. Removal of the MSCP from the proposed development.
  2. Plans for the Guildford Cathedral Alresford Rd Site (Local Plan Policy A15) have been developed further
  3. The Guildford Cathedral Alresford Rd Site has prompted the design of an Active Transport (Walking, Cycling) Corridor through to Yorkies Bridge.
  4. The Solum Scheme has been consented, January 2018, in its final form.
  5. The council has agreed to the development of a Town Centre Masterplan
  6. The Coronavirus Pandemic may increase home working and or use of shared local office space.

Our Attitude

The Society Objected to the original Scheme in letters 18/7/16, 30/10/16 attached below, which we believe remain valid.

The Society is concerned that the station area is being developed with a series of undistinguished, unrelated designs with little provision of public space.  The Guildford Park Car Park site with its 200m wall of buildings is a major contributor.

Making it Better

The design aspirations for the Guildford Park Car Park development should be set far higher; to form a well-designed attractive series of sustainable and resilient buildings that respond effectively to the Cathedral, the modern University, and provide an environment that has a sense of place.

The revised design should consider:

  1. Site Layout. 

As noted in our objections the development is an almost continuous wall of circa 220m.  This breaks principles as embodied in the Council Views SPD.

  1. Current Compromises in the Consented Design

Many of the houses have North facing gardens combined with an under provision of positive semi-private outdoor space and it would appear that all the units have internal bathrooms; some even have internal kitchens, caused by the rectangular floor plans being orientated with their short dimension on external walls.

  1. Active Transport Corridor

Build on the emerging ideas for an Active Transport corridor to ensure it links through to the site in an attractive manner with elements of greenery provided.  This will link the university, the hospital, and the proposed residential development at the Cathedral, to the Station, providing a connector uniting the east side of the town with Guildford's historic core. 

  1. Public Space and Amenities.

The site will have circa 200 Dwellings (160 already approved) on the assumption that 40 -50 approx. replace the MSCP with associated parking provision,

The provision of Green Space should be reconsidered and examined to see if it can be increased

  1. Design Standards

The design appears to implement minimum standards as regards space and layout.  We hope the design can be reviewed to ensure high quality layouts are provided. 

  1. Future Proofing

The Society also believe that any revision of site plans should maintain options to link to the eastern end of  the site access route as it may provide options for revising traffic around the station area via links over the railway.

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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.

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