Amongst many items the GBC Budget Council Meeting on the 10th February 2021 discussed and approved; was the budget for the Guildford Economic Regeneration Programme (GERP), which includes the Town Centre Masterplan.
The Programme is to be run as a staged process with 3 major gateways – with Full Council sign-off and approval at each gateway.
Procurement of professional team
High Level Strategic Appraisal of constraints & opportunities
Consideration of Development Plan document process
Report to Executive
Development of options and concepts
Preparation of Business Case
Submission of Grant applications
Grant Funding Award
Infrastructure detail design
Infrastructure Planning applications
The GERP is to be run as a Major Programme.
The Council will use its own land and expertise to expand the delivery of affordable new homes and other commercial uses and in time work with partners to deliver the proposed regeneration
A Portfolio Board has been established to oversee the governance of the programme with the day to day management being controlled by a team of Senior Officers responsible for the progressing of activities on the programme. The Senior Management will report to the Portfolio board on a quarterly basis.
The Senior Reporting Officer role is to be carried out by the Strategic Services Director (Dawn Hudd), supported by the Regeneration Lead.
A Professional team of consultants has been assembled to aid the council consisting of
The project will follow the principles of a gateway methodology for the delivery of the programme in line and has been broken down into a number of sub project workstreams.
The councillor John Rigg, who is in charge of Guildford Borough Major Projects including TCMP has been interviewed recently (3-2021) in the local press.
Key issues he believes the TCMP must address
Housing is a major to be addressed where delivering housing in the town centre could help manage the availability of cost of housing in the borough. In addition, more people in the town keeps the town centre by having enhanced community and neighbourhoods around it will be kept vibrant and successful. A final benefit would be to reduce pressure to build on Green-field sites in the countryside.
Reduce traffic congestion, noting that Guildford is the worst affected area for serious and fatal accidents in Surrey. Buses and cycle ways are a big issue here and somehow, we have fallen far behind other towns in England. There is a desire to see more pedestrianisation, more river walks and more homes in the town centre rather than land being occupied by surface car parks. It is noted that towns such as Winchester and Bath have decided to cut traffic and have achieved real benefits.
Cllr Rigg did highlight that the Masterplan needs to tackle major issues related to mitigating Flood Risk, and also need to navigate through the National Planning Laws which impose onerous conditions.
Cllr Rigg acknowledges that while a benefit of cars entering the town centre is the parking revenue it creates, the flip-side is the environmental concern and it being at odds with the desire to see more bikes and walkers.
The submission to the Budget Council for this programme can be found below.
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