Guildford masterplan a ‘great step forward’, says campaign group

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Residents urged to have their say on proposals to redevelop Guildford’s town centre

Artistic impressions of how Guildford could be transformed under the draft Town Centre Masterplan

Proposals to redevelop Guildford town centre have been hailed as a “great step forward”.

Plans for how Guildford could be changed over the next 16 years have been revealed, including potential for more than 2,000 homes, new public open spaces and improvements to the gyratory traffic system.

Guildford Vision Group (GVG) has responded to the long-awaited draft town centre masterplan, and has urged the public to have their say when the document is put out to public consultation in October.

GVG chairman John Rigg said: “Publication of the masterplan is a great step forward.

“It could move us on light years, so I urge all residents and businesses to get involved and to study it closely, help shape the final document and fashion a better Guildford.

“It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to really make a positive difference to the future life and health of our lovely town, perhaps for the next hundred years if not for time immemorial.

“If the masterplan is to work, it has to be adopted wholeheartedly by the community.”

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Consultation

The group said that in particular it would be looking at the changes proposed around the railway station.

Last year, Solum revealed its proposals for a new look station, with a multi-storey tower, homes, and new shops.

GVG has also said it will be examining which of the schemes in the draft town centre masterplan would actually be deliverable.

The plan, which cost £290,000 to put together and was compiled by Allies and Morrison, aims to transform underused areas of the town with new homes, shops, hotels, offices and leisure space.

The document details proposed housebuilding in the town centre for the next 16 years and beyond.

It estimates 502 homes could be built within the first five years, 1,743 from years six to 10, 135 from years 11 to 15, and 171 more in 16 years’ time.

A key part of the documents includes improvements to Guildford’s riverside, with one option to replace the existing Portsmouth Road car park near to the George Abbot pub with a new green.

Elements of the masterplan will become a key part in the wider 20-year Local Plan for the whole borough, which has suffered criticism and delay.

A further public consultation on the local plan is expected to happen next summer.

The council’s customer and community scrutiny committee will consider the masterplan on Tuesday (September 8), before the executive committee reviews and approves the final draft for consultation on September 29, before it goes out to public consultation.

GVG is holding a public meeting on the masterplan on Monday October 5 at 7.30pm at a venue yet to be announced.

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