Planning News

We also post items of interest on planning from other organisations. We maintain a page of National & Local Planning Policies

Planning Group

See (Read More>) considers National and Local Plan development and execution, as well as individual development sites.  

Planning Group

The group reviews all major planning applications for the borough and also reviews Planning Policy documents as they arise.

Planning Group collaborates with the Design and Heritage Group on commenting, as required, on planning applications.  We recognise there is overlap between the two groups.  Planning Group calls on the Design Group for expertise on the details of design for buildings and public spaces.

The group meets every three weeks, as the Planning Application Team, to review planning applications and comment as necessary.


Covers reviewing the appropriate development of land to meet the requirements of housing, commercial and leisure space.

Guildford faces severe planning challenges, including the need, correctly, to preserve the AONB and Green Belt that covers much of the surrounding land.  Central government policy also requires Guildford to build a large number of dwellings over the next few years. This has been compounded by the Guildford Local Plan accepting a higher allocation of dwellings than is strictly necessary.

Good development requires proper supporting infrastructure. This can either be physical (water, drains, electricity, transport) or amenities (health, education, shops, sport, leisure).  Guildford has a creaking infrastructure, overcrowded roads, overfull drains and overfull doctors’ surgeries.

The Society raised many issues with the Local Plan agreed by the Borough Council in 2019.  Sadly we are having to work with a very inadequate set of planning policies. The Society is continuing to press that Supplementary Planning Policies and Development Policies allow the Local Plan to be implemented in a manner that minimises damage to Guildford.

The Society supports plans to address town-centre issues such as the one-way system, under-use of the riverside and under-utilisation of other central sites. Guildford has suffered from planning blight in the past, seen in the current state of North Street. We want to ensure such mistakes are not repeated.

We are committed to the Society playing a pro-active role in planning pre-applications, taking an independent role, and acting as a conduit of information with outside bodies.


Impact of the New Government View article As a new Labour government takes charge, it is worth looking at the Labour Manifesto as to how the new government might affect the bult environment and natural environment of Guildford Borough.  Obviously, any Political Manifesto has to be ... View article Stag Hill and Wisley Developments - Determination. View article The Stag Hill Cathedral Site development was rejected by the council.  The developers Vivid and the Cathedral appealed the decision.  The inspector has now reported his decision and rejected the appeal.   The inspector’s ... View article Guildford Police Station Proposed for Closure View article Surrey police have announced that the police station in Woodbridge road will close and the majority of activities will transfer to the revamped Mount Browne site to the south of the town.  A counter service will remain in the Town Centre.  ... View article Ladymead - more Housing? View article The building currently used by Allianz is subject to a prior notification (24/W/00044) to turn the building into flats.  This application doesn’t impact the exterior of the building and will provide 131 Flats on the second to fourth floors... View article New Development: Height must be managed. View article Recent approved schemes in the centre of Guildford have shown that large developments are not well controlled by the Local Plan Strategic Sites (LPSS) 2019 and its accompanying Development Management Policies (DMP).  There is a lack of effective... View article Solar Power Planning - Updated 21-5-24 View article The University have applied for a solar farm to be situated to the west of the Research Park. The proposed farm covers three fields which are in the Greenbelt and could also be affected by an extension to the National Landscape area which is still un... View article Walnut Tree Close – Riverside View article Portland Capital the owners of the Riverside Business Centre on Walnut Tree Close are starting a consultation on their plans to redevelop the site to provide, in their words, “a new integrated neighbourhood, providing a mix of sustainable housi... View article Large Buildings, New Regulations View article Recent government announcements have made new demands on the internal planning of High Residential buildings by requiring extra staircases, in addition building these high buildings has become subject to a more rigorous three stage gateway system to ... View article Flood Risk Management Scheme for Guildford Town Centre View article Guildford Town Centre has a long history of flooding from the River Wey. Flooding risk will get worse with climate change. If measures are not taken flood events are likely to be more frequent and severe. A flood defence scheme to protect Guildfor... View article Small, Expensive, Outdated Housing View article The Resolution Foundation has published its first Housing Outlook for 2024. The report highlights that Britain’s housing offers the worst value for money of any advanced economy, combining high prices with old, cramped, poorly insulated buil... View article Local Plan Review View article The Council is required to review the Local Plan: strategy and sites (LPSS) within five years of adoption to decide if an update to the Plan is required. GBC Officers have considered changes since the adoption of the LPSS in 2019 and are recommending... View article 2164 Miles in Surrey View article Surrey County Council is responsible for around 2164 miles (3482 km) of public rights of way, which exist both in the in the countryside and urban areas. SCC highlight they are important for recreation, for travelling to work or school and for health... View article Shaping Guildford's Future - Update View article The Society has supported the development of a Masterplan for the Town centre and has been frustrated by the lack of progress in bringing forward a plan for approval.  This has been in part due to budgetary constraints. At the full Council Me... View article Society Objects to Law College Redevelopment View article The proposal is to redevelop the site to provide via demolition/retention of existing buildings and erection of new buildings the provision of extra care housing (Use Class C2), this would also include reconfiguring associated ancillary accommodation... View article Changes to the Planning System - A Christmas Present? View article On the 19th December Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, announced a series of changes to the Planning System in a speech at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). (See link at foot of Post).&nb... View article North Street Approved 4th December View article The Planning application 23/P/01211 for the scheme consented by the planning committee, subject to finalisation of conditions, in October 2023 was finally  approved on the 4th December 2023 after conditions had been agreed with Council. Appea... View article Two Approved Schemes for one Site!!! View article Frome, in Somerset, has a population of about 25,000 people.  The town has a lengthy history as an industrial centre, being  full of factories, the last disappearing early in 21st century.  The industrial sites have been redeveloped ... View article London Seeks to increase housing standards View article The UK has a set of minimum space standards for buildings describing the spce required for various building types. In June 2023, the Mayor of London published Housing Design Standards, a London Plan Guidance document. This includes a table fo... View article House of Fraser - Uncertain Future. View article The owners of the House of Fraser Site, Canada Life, have decided after what appears to have been a year of negotiation not to accept an offer by Fenwicks to become a tenant in the now closed House of Fraser store.  The Guildford Dragon reported... View article Greenbelt Supplementary Planning Document. View article The final version for approval of the Greenbelt Supplementary Planning Documents (SPD) has now been published.  The SPD does not create new policy rather expands on and gives guidance in relation to the Policy P2 in the Local Plan: strategy and ... View article Progress by the Phoenix Project Lewes View article The Society organised a presentation from Human Nature the developers of The Phoenix Scheme, which is seeking permission to create a new neighbourhood on a 7.9HA site on the banks of the River Ouse, in the centre of Lewes.  The Phoenix aims... View article Summary of Shaping Guildford's Future as at April 2023 View article Shaping Guildford's Future (SGF) has a had a lenghty gestation covering a couple of years.  The project has progressed to defining the 3rd stage of the project which was to make the proposals fully defined with supporting policies.  ... View article Law College site to be Senior Living and Housing? View article The developers of the Law College Site (Elysian Residences) have made several changes to the proposed scheme following consultations with local Residents GBC and other interested parties.  (See Brochure at Bottom of Post)  A planning applic... View article Innovative Industrial Building in London View article Be First, the regeneration arm of The London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, has recently completed Industria an innovative multi-storey ramped industrial/warehouse scheme. The Scheme Architects are Haworth Tompkins.  The scheme pr... View article Stag Hill - Subject to Appeal View article Guildford Cathedral has submitted an appeal against the refusal of the planning application (21/P/02333) by GBC, for the housing scheme on Stag Hill. The acting dean Stuart Beake, the previous Dean Dianna Gwilliams retired in September, has m... View article Gosden Hill View article This site is one of the major Strategic Sites identified in the Local Plan (LPSS) 2019 as Policy A25.  The site has been owned by Martin Grant for several years. The Gosden Hill site lies to the northeast of Guildford, with Burpham and Merrow... View article A Landmark Decision - Marks and Spencer Oxford Street London? View article The decision by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Michael Gove, to refuse planning permission for the redevelopment of the Marks and Spencer site in Oxford Street has sparked mixed reactions from various stakeholde... View article New London Architecture (NLA) View article Although outside the borough New London Architecture (NLA) is a organisation that can provide interesting ideas for Guildford. NLA is an independent, purpose-led organisation for everyone with an interest in London’s built environment. It co... View article Yet more change to the planning system View article The Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Michael Gove has announced a series of changes, initiatives and consultations related to the planning system. (See annoucement in full below)   He has committed to “t... View article Mount Browne Surrey Police HQ View article In 2021 Lisa Townsend, the Police and Crime Commissioner, and the Surrey Police Chief Officer team took the decision to retain Mount Browne as the headquarters, instead of relocating to a new site in Leatherhead.  This is a major change to the p... View article Law College Second Consultation on refined proposals View article The site has been acquired by Elysian Residences and have conducted one small scale engagement exercise with the local community.   The site currently consists of a series of buildings, most will be demolished but Grade II-listed Braboeuf M... View article Placemaking Scoring Matrix View article Policy exchange have published a paper 'Better Places - A Matrix for Measuring & Delivering Placemaking Quality'  on a proposal to have a Placemaking Matrix to score new developments. The paper has been authored by Ike Ijeh a prac... View article Strategic Approach Required at Station? View article 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 Gro... View article Second Staircases in High Buildings. View article After the Grenfell disaster there has been consideration of how the regulations on high multi-storey buildings might be modified to prevent a future disaster. The government has identified that providing a second staircase can provide benefits for... View article Strong Vision and Policies needed for the Town Centre View article Managing a consistent and integrated approach across proposed developments to develop a proper sense of place within the town is looking increasingly difficult. New developments are too often of poor design, and have height and scale that overpower e... View article Interesting CLT development in London View article Community land trusts – or CLTs – are democratic, non profit organisations that own and develop land for the benefit of the community. They ensure that their homes are permanently and genuinely affordable. CLTs act as long-term stewards o... View article Law College - Redevelopment. View article The Law College on Portsmouth Road is due to close and leave the site in 2024.  A developer Elysian Residences have acquired the site. Elysian Residences is a UK business, specialising in the development and operation of luxury retirement commun... View article Stag Hill development View article The Planning Committee are due to consider the Stag Hill Development that is proposing Housing on the South and Eastern slopes of Stag Hill leading up the Cathedral.  Refusal Recommended by GBC The plan is recommended for refusal by t... View article Planning Legislation and Taxation Policy need Alignment. View article The Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill is currently in the committee Stage in the House of Lords. The Bill includes changes to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).  However planning changes do need to be developed alongside t... View article Phone Boxes replaced by Digital Advertisements View article BT are planning to replace public telephone boxes in the Town Centre by BT Street Hubs that offer a extended range of services.  These facilities are built into a enclosure that is a double sided Video Display for advertisements that has a impac... View article Ten Storey's in Guildford No1 Onslow Street View article The approval allowing redevelopment of No1 Onslow Street highlights that Guildford Town Centre is changing in ways that need proper consideration and management. M&G, who own the Friary Centre, has been successful, subject to finalising negoti... View article Green Belt SPD and Long Term Environmental Targets View article Guildford Borough Council has produced a Draft Green Belt Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) and will be consulting on the document until Wednesday 22 March 2023  This SPD provides detailed advice and guidance on P... View article Shaping Guildford’s Future View article The Society has now reviewed the outputs of the Stage II of the Shaping Guildford’s Future Project. We are now publishing our critique, see the document, at the foot of the post.  The Critique has also been submitted to the council.&n... View article North Street Plans Rejected View article The Society continued to object to the proposed North Street plans due to a multiplicity of reasons chief of which was the overbearing Mass and Scale of the development and its impact on the character of Guildford.  You can find the final letter... View article Direction of Planning? View article Michael Gove Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has given evidence Parliamentary Levelling up Committee on 21st November. He made some interesting points He is committed that the government’s housing target sh... View article GUILDFORD STATION, SOLUM DEVELOPMENT View article TItle Lorem ipsum 3 Title 2 Lorem ipsum 2 Use: Residential, Revised Station Entrance, Multi Storey Car Park Type and Status LPSS2019 Policy A6 Consented in Construction Scale 445 Dwelling 123 DpHA 8-9 Storeys 128 ... View article Innovative Approaches to Housing View article A Different Approach Architect Peter Barber is noted for delivering interesting housing, often on difficult sites. His projects reference older styles of housing and ways of living which have proved sustainable. This is in contrast to many contemp... View article Guildford Park Road View article This site has been the subject to one consultation on revised proposals following the decision to reduce drastically the size of parking provision on the site. Guildford Borough Council (GBC) who own the site have now announced a second round of cons... View article Changing View Across Guildford View article St Edward, the developers of North Street, have produced details as to how the scheme will impact the views in the town in accordance with the Town Centre Views SPD.  These annotated pictures, in several cases, show how North Street, if built, r... View article North Street Guildford – Major Issues need resolution View article The Society has written a lengthy letter of objection to the plans for North Street presented St Edwards. The Site needs Development The site which covers part of the site outlined in Policy A5 in the current local plan is a complex triangular ... View article
Archived Articles
North Street Appealed and Revised Scheme submitted (October 3rd Update) View article The developers St Edwards are appealing the orginal scheme (see below) but have also submited a fully revised scheme which they believe answers the reasons for refusal as detailed by Guildford Borough Council when refusing the orginal plan in January... View article Debenhams - St Mary’s Wharf Stage 3 Consultation View article Native Land have commenced a three week Stage 3 of their consultation on the re-development of the Debenhams site.  The consultation is being done electronically and can be found on the St Mary’s Wharf Site .  There is a slide sh... View article Permitted Development Rights – Good News? View article The Society has been concerned at the loophole in planning regulations that provided no minimum standards for dwellings created by conversion of commercial buildings via Permitted Development Rights. Permitted Development Rights have delivered 60,000... View article Planning for the Future - Major changes ahead for planning system View article The government is consulting on a White Paper that proposes major changes to the plannning system.  The Society will be responding by the end of October.  The White Paper has prompted mixed reactions. The Society is on inital review has ... View article Greenbelt reduces by 6% View article The recent publication from the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) of Greenbelt Statistics confirms that Guildford has seen a 6% reduction in Greenbelt land.  This is due to policies adopted in the new 2019 local plan. ... View article The Housing Demand Algorithm being rethought? View article There has been a deluge of comments about the Housing Algorithm.  Wired Magazine has a good summary of the issues that the Algorithm might cause if it is proceeded with. This last weekend 14th 15th November there have been press comments that... View article Weyside Urban Village - Public Consultation View article The consultation on the plans to build the Weyside Urban Village is coming to its end. The last of a series of ‘virtual’ event is 4th November - See how to attend  Weyside Urban Village has a Website containing lots of inform... View article Planning is migrating from paper to IT. View article The recent Planning for the Future White Paper presents proposals to enable the planning system using IT technology, although it is lacking in specific details.  It is interesting that use of IT may be happening anyway.  Most Architectural ... View article Planning for the Future View article Guildford Society has responded to the consultation on the Planning for the Future White Paper.  Although we can sympathise with the objectives to make the planning system simpler and the results better we have serious concerns that the White Pa... View article Planning - Can Brighton teach Guildford a lesson? View article Brighton currently has a mixed-use development by First Base underway in the centre of the city.  The site is on the old American Express complex, the area concerned is similar to that available at North Street in Guildford. Brighton Council ... View article Civic Voice Response to Planning White Paper View article The Guildford Society as a civic society is a member of Civic Voice the national body of civic societies.  We have attended seminars run by Civic Voice on the White Paper – Planning for the Future..  Civic Voice have resp... View article A New Guildford Quarter View article A Opportunity Missed? It is instructive to visit Walnut Tree Close as many of the new buildings are completed or almost complete.  It is an opportunity missed to plan an effective set of buildings that related to each other, create a sense... View article National Infrastructure Strategy View article New National Infrastructure Strategy This was published alongside the Chancellors latest economic Statement (November 2020) (See link below) It is a response by the government to the work done by the National Infrastructure Commission in a... View article North Street - Consultation on a new Scheme Starts View article The North Street site in Guildford Site is to the east of the Friary and currently in most part is vacant land beside the bus station.  It has been vacant for many years. The North Street page on this website contains additional background an... View article Permitted Development Rights - further change View article The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has issued another set of changes to permitted development rights for consultation.  These changes cover A new permitted development right for a change of use to residential... View article Letters Written about Planning Applications 1st July to 31st December 2019 View article During the period under review there were a potential 1,039 planning applications we could have looked at. We sifted through these applications and considered in detail 72 of them. The Group wrote twenty seven letters to the Head of Planning Services... View article New Standard Method for Housing Numbers - 787 for Guildford View article New Standard Method Updated with new information on 17-12-2020 In the summer the Ministry for Housing and Local Government consulted on a new formula to allocate housing numbers that Local Plans should seek to achieve in England. The Society... View article Restart at the Solum Guildford Station Site View article After a delay of about a year it appears work is starting in earnest at Guildford Station to develop the Solum Scheme Work starts in early 2021 that will provide a new temporary two-storey car park with 121 parking bays and an access road tha... View article Swindon Revising its Bus System - ideas for Guildford View article A Scheme with Relevance to Guildford Swindon Borough Council has been awarded £25m funding, towards creating a Bus Boulevard Scheme, through the Government’s Future High Streets Fund, which supports local areas’ plans to make the... View article London Plan to be adopted in 2021 View article Lichfields the Planning Consultancy issued just before Christmas a short summary on the finalisation of the London Plan.  What happens in London does affect Guildford and two aspects are worth highlighting Pressure on the Greenbelt Chan... View article Weyside Urban Village Planning Application View article A planning application has now been submitted for the Weyside Urban Village, which is part of the allocated site for the Slyfield Area Regeneration Project for a mixed-use development. The planning application covers: Outline planning approv... View article Develop the Castle? View article It is unlikly to affect the Castle but the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) have been exceptionally busy in the past few months revising Permitted Development Rights.  The MHCLG has now issued yet another consultation... View article Changes to the Current Planning System - How many houses? View article The government is in the process of consulting on revisions to the current planning system including the Standard Method that is used to determine how many new dwellings should be accommodated in an areas local plan.  Although the Guildford plan... View article Development Management Policies - defining the look of Guildford for years to co... View article The society has responded to the Guildford Borough Local Plan: Development Management Policies  that provides the policy ‘teeth’ for the Local Plan; Strategic Sites agreed in 2019. The society believes the LPDMP is a weak doc... View article Letters Written about Planning Applications 1st Jan 30th Jun 2019 View article During the period under review there were a potential 1,281 planning applications we could have looked at. We sifted through these applications and considered in detail 84 of them. The Group wrote thirty seven letters to the Head of Planning Services... View article Report on the letters 1 July to 31 December 2018 View article Report on the letters 1July to 31 December 2018 The has reviewed planning applications received by the council and commented as necessary.  This note provides a record of letters written by the group to Guildford Borough Council about pl... View article Station Development - 2 Metres preventing a sensible solution - Network Rail Rep... View article Network Rail has replied to our concerned expressed in a letter to Chris Grayling Secretary of State.  The letter is available at this link.  The society is still concerned that Network Rail is taking a short term 20-25 year view and is com... View article Station Development - 2 Metres preventing a sensible solution View article The Guildford Vison Group (GVG) recently shared documents obtained under a Freedom of Information request to Network Rail.  These show that the Solum development is blocking the provision of a Eastern platform (Platform 0), despite reassurance... View article Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission – Final Report Published View article Living with Beauty the final report from the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission has been published. The report has been used an input into the ‘Planning for the Future White’ paper.  It will also inform the ‘Na... View article Strategic Sites - Development Management Policies View article The society has responded to the Guildford Borough Local Plan: Development Management Policies  that provides the policy ‘teeth’ for the Local Plan; Strategic Sites agreed in 2019. The society believes the LPDMP is a weak doc... View article Planning Group Annual Report 2019 View article Planning Group Annual Report 2019 A busy year with the adoption of the Local Plan with development of sites in the borough continuing apace.  The placement of Student housing has been a particular concern, together with change of use at Burch... View article Letters written about Planning to June 2018 View article The Planning Group meets every three weeks at the Guildford Borough Council (“GBC”) offices.  During the period under review there were a potential 1,132 planning applications we could have looked at.  We sifted through these ap... View article Local Plan - Serious Investment Required View article

A very important stage in the development has been reached with the latest Local Plan Consultation completed in July 2017. 


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