The refocussing of retail in Guildford is making change in the Town Centre Inevitable. Several large Shops are closing or radically downsizing including House of Fraser (there appear to be plans to turn part of the shop into a hotel), and Debenhams (Likely to become residential). Redevelopment is now being actively discussed for North Street, where Guildford Borough Council have changed their ambitions for the site, recognising that 40,000sq/m of retail is unviable. The Debenhams site is likely to be redeveloped as residential with Retail/Commercial on the ground floor.
House of Fraser and Debenhams together will remove circa 70,000Sq/M combined added to at least a notional 30,000Sq/m lost from the North Street development. In addition, we have several closures of significant sized shops e.g., Top Shop and Laura Ashley.
There are options with these changes to reconsider where the future of Guildford lies. Traditionally the centre has been along an east/west axis of the lower High Street with an extension at the Friary Centre.
In the future are there opportunities to for example
The Town Centre Master Plan may also bring forward ideas for Bedford Wharf and Bridge Street.
It will be an evolving town centre.
The Society believes there needs to be:
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.
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.