The Society has written a lengthy letter of objection to the plans for North Street presented St Edwards.
The site which covers part of the site outlined in Policy A5 in the current local plan is a complex triangular site which has remained dormant, being used mainly for car parking, for over two decades apart from the erection of Dominion House at the northern end.
The Society is supportive that a serious proposal by St Edwards has now been bought forward for determination, and also commends the developers on the engagement we have had on developing the proposals. Having visited several St Edwards sites we have been impressed by the quality of construction and arrangement.
The proposed development has many attractive aspects including:
As we detail in our letter of objection (See foot of this post) we do have major issues with the proposed development.
We object to the size of the development particularly the inclusion of a 14 storey high tower at the north end of the site. This is a major change to the skyline of Guildford and sets a very bad precedent for other developers. We are also concerned about the Density of Dwellings being proposed
The development does impact the Heritage assets in the town centre which it should be remembered create a unique retail centre which is a source of competitive strength versus neighbours such as Woking. Historic England have recently written requesting the scheme is not consented. The Design Panel South East who have been involved in two meetings on the scheme have added various issues that need addressing.
The plans for a revised bus station and the consequent need to revise traffic flows do look as if they will provide a bus station that has operational constraints, lacks growth potential, and has limited resilience. There could also be major impacts on the free flow of traffic in Onslow Street York Road etc.
We note the development will use a mainly Concrete construction with as a result a large quantity of embodied carbon. Not the greenest of Building Materials in a town that has declared a Climate Emergency.
The local Plan Policy covering North Street (A5) is very different from the consented scheme in terms of area and use. There is a need for the policies to be revised to show what demands the developers were addressing from the council that influenced the design. The Society also argues that there should be a proper plan for North Street developed in the form of a supplementary Panning docuemnet.
You can read our full reply to the proposals below.
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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.
Pressures for development are increasing. Planning rules are being eased. The Society’s commitment to standing up for Guildford is needed more than ever.
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