The owners of No 1 Farnham Road (23/P/00764 ) have submitted a plan to add two stories to office space at No 1 Farnham Road. The construction works to add two storey’s are extensive and involve major demolition to portions of the Ground and First floors. See images below compared to curent building
The Society believes providing high quality office accommodation in the Station Area is to be welcomed. The provision of this office accommodation accords with the comments on the lack of high-quality office space in Guildford Town documented in the Guildford Economic Development Strategy approved 22-2-2023.
The intent of the development is to be welcomed.
The site at No1 Farnham Road is a windfall site and not covered by any LPSS2019 site policies however it must be noted it is adjacent to the LPSS2019 Policy A7 that covers a large area of the western side of the station. The site is also adjacent to the corner of Guildford Park Road and Farnham Road and the portion of the Farnham Road on the Farnham Road Rail Bridge.
This is currently proposed to allow Network Rail to revise the track layout of the station to cover potential future growth in services. However, this has also been considered as a opportunity for development as evidenced by plans for the revised west entrance to the station proposed both in the Allies and Morrison Strategic Plan 2015 and Solum identified a opportunity for a revised west side entrance as a subsequent phase of station redevelopment. Finally Shaping Guildford’s Future also identified the site as a potential interchange location.
The current access is tortuous and uses land that might be of potential use for station expansion in the future. It is also an opportunity to extend the footprint of the No 1 Farnham Road site over the potential Rail Use space
Although in recent years Network Rail have performed a maintenance exercise on the Farnham Road Bridge there has been no change to its dimensions or capabilities. At some point in the future the Farnham Road Bridge will need to be replaced which will require a worksite. The Society would propose a far wider bridge with access to the Farnham Road Car provided from the bridge/deck at the Western end.
Although in recent years Network Rail have performed a maintenance exercise on the Farnham Road Bridge there has been no change to its dimensions or capabilities. At some point in the future the Farnham Road Bridge will need to be replaced which will require a worksite. The Society would propose a far wider bridge with access to the Farnham Road Car provided from the bridge/deck at the Western end. The picture below shows the area that could be used rail use if required and built over on a deck if access to the Farnham Road Car Park was modified. Note - Building over the site before a rail facility is put in place is relatively easy.
Could these assets have a plan?
Strategic Approach Requred
The Society believes that a strategic plan is required for the West side of the station to ensure there is a plan to allow for a revised/rebuilt Farnham Road Bridge, Office Accommodation, Transport Interchange and revised station operational layout.
It is important that development does not block options for the future. Two examples related to this current application.
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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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