A lack of available cash is delaying plans to “unlock development” on brownfield land in Slyfield, it has been revealed.
Guildford Borough Council wants to begin work on the Slyfield Area Regeneration Project (SARP), which would see up to 1,000 homes built in an area covering more than 40 hectares, adjacent to the industrial estate and residential land.
However, little progress has been made because the council would need to pay to make private land available, including relocating Thames Water’s sewage treatment works.
Following the announcement this week that the SARP has made it onto the government’s 29-strong shortlist of bids for “housing zones” in the UK, the borough council has admitted that in order to proceed with its plans, it would need “high up-front capital”.
If the council, which does not have a private sector development partner for the SARP, is successful in getting it declared one of the 10 housing zones, a share of £200 million for infrastructure and land remediation will be granted, and cheap loans will be made available.
A spokesman for the council said: “At this expression of interest stage, we have expressed interest in a Public Works Loan Board loan for the SARP – for demolition, site remediation, utilities, main infrastructure, site works, relocation of sewage works and the Guildford Borough Council depot.
“Redevelopment of the SARP is currently being held back by the high up-front capital needed to unlock development of this site.”
“This includes the relocation of the sewage works, the council depot and associated infrastructure and site remediation that is required before housing can be built.
“We continue to work with our partners, Thames Water and Surrey County Council, and all parties are determined to bring forward development of this site.
“Thames Water is fully behind the SARP.
“The housing zone is one avenue we are exploring which could assist the project.”
Julian Lyon, chairman of the Guildford Society, said: “It’s good to see that brownfield sites in Guildford are receiving support from government but it’s not a silver bullet.
“There are some major issues to address, such as the suggestion that sewage could be transported by road.”
A Thames Water spokesman said: “We are continuing to work with Guildford Borough Council to fully understand whether it will be possible to relocate our sewage works.”