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Guildford Borough Council

Submission Local Plan: Strategy and Sites - Main Modifications

Submission Local Plan: Strategy and Sites - Main Modifications - Part 1: Policies

3. Our vision and ambition

3.1 The Proposed Submission Local Plan: strategy and sites is framed by our overarching spatial vision. The vision sets out how we will plan for the sustainable growth of the borough up to 2034.

Spatial Vision

The Local Plan: strategy and sites makes provision to meet the identified growth needs of the borough in terms of housing, employment, and retail and leisure. This is achieved by maintaining the extent and function of the Green Belt in such a way as to protect the existing character of the borough through maintaining the clear distinction between urban and rural areas and safeguarding the natural, built and historic environment. All new development will be of exemplary design and bring with it the necessary infrastructure and services required to enable future and existing communities to live sustainable lives.

In meeting this target a range of house sizes will be provided reflecting our communities needs and helping to create mixed communities. Affordable housing will account for approximately 40% of all new housing and be provided on all appropriate sites.

The plan provides for the delivery of at least 12,426 additional homes by 2034. The preferred location for this development is existing brownfield sites. Approximately 3,000 units will be located in the urban areas which take advantage of the existing infrastructure and services, reduce the need to travel and offer alternative modes of transport to the private car. The plan also makes provision for approximately 1,200 dwellings on non-strategic sites within and as extensions to existing villages, some of which are now inset from the Green Belt. These dwellings will offer a variety of housing choice in villages and help contribute to supporting local services and the important role they play in village life.

Not all of the borough's development needs can be met within Guildford's urban areas. The plan therefore focuses some development on large strategic greenfield sites which brings with it significant infrastructure, helps to make it sustainable and does not compromise the overall character of the Borough. At least 3,200 units will be provided within the plan period on two urban extensions; one to the north east of the Guildford urban area at Gosden Hill Farm and the other to the south west of Guildford at Blackwell Farm. A new settlement will be created at Wisley containing approximately 2,000 homes. Further development is also located around Ash and Tongham on land beyond the Green Belt along with new Green Belt designated to prevent Ash and Tongham merging with the village of Ash Green. The delivery of this quantum of residential development will lead to the provision of a significant increase in accessible public open space across the borough. Over 240 ha, equivalent to more than 330 football pitches, will be provided in perpetuity for the use of residents and visitors. This space will also support and improve the borough's biodiversity. Areas of high environmental value such as the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Sites of Special Scientific Interest will be retained and afforded great protection. New development on the edges of urban areas will be required to treat the transition from urban to rural character in a sympathetic way.

Existing high levels of economic prosperity will be maintained and enhanced through the protection of commercial premises and the provision of additional sites and premises to meet the needs of businesses across the borough. A hierarchy of strategic employment sites will help protect existing floorspace and ensure any loss is fully justified. The primary new site is an extension to the Surrey Research Park. Up to 11 ha, comprising 30,000 sq m of premises for business use (including offices, research, development and design activities in any science) will be provided within the plan period.

The plan also supports the rural economy and provides support for the many forms of employment and businesses that thrive in rural areas. All development outside of urban areas should complement and protect the rural character of the borough.

The role of Guildford town centre as the largest retail, service, administrative and commercial centre in Surrey will be maintained and enhanced. The major town centre redevelopment of North Street will include 41,000 sq m of comparison retail floorspace together with 6,000 sq m of food and drink uses and up to 400 flats. The redevelopment of Guildford Railway Station will deliver significant station improvements and assist in increasing station capacity, whilst making a contribution to meeting housing need on a brownfield site, in a highly sustainable location within the town centre. All development within the town centre will need to respect and enhance the unique setting and historical character of the town and be of the highest design and environmental standards. There will be significant ongoing investment in the public realm specifically designed to enhance the pedestrian experience of using the town centre.

The transport strategy and Local Plan policies will be aligned to encourage residents, employees and visitors to use alternative modes of transport and to seek to reduce car traffic especially through the town.

We will seek to ensure that all residential communities have access to facilities and services. Existing district and local centres will be protected and major new housing developments will provide appropriate retail, employment and community facilities, including education facilities, as an integral part of the development.

The growth proposed in this plan is predicated on the delivery of the necessary infrastructure. The Infrastructure Schedule accompanying the plan outlines the key infrastructure needed to support the development planned, focussing particularly on the first five years of the plan period and the strategic development sites. During the plan period Guildford will experience significant improvements in transport infrastructure including new rail stations at Guildford West (Park Barn) and Guildford East (Merrow), over twenty schemes to address 'hotspots' on the Local Road Network and a new park and ride site at Gosden Hill Farm. A Sustainable Movement Corridor, providing a priority route for buses, pedestrians and cyclists through the Guildford Urban area and serving new communities at Blackwell Farm, Gosden Hill Farm and Slyfield Area Regeneration Project, will be delivered.

The Department for Transport's Road Investment Strategy includes schemes for the A3 Guildford and the M25 Junction 10/A3 Wisley interchange. Early, targeted improvement schemes to deliver road safety and some congestion relief on the A3 in Guildford will be delivered within the plan period. The delivery of housing in the later stages of the plan period is dependent upon major improvement to the A3 through Guildford.


3.2 We will aim to implement our spatial vision by striving to achieve the thirteen strategic objectives identified below. Each objective falls within one of the four core themes running through this document and the Council's Corporate Plan (2015-2020).


Core themes



(from Issues and options October 2013)

Strategic objectives


Improving the lives of our residents by making Guildford a place where everyone is truly valued.

  • Pockets of deprivation
  • Reduce unemployment
  • Ageing population
  • Cost of homes
  • Lack of affordable housing
  • Need to accommodate growing student population
  • Shortage of traveler accommodation
  • Shortage of specific types and sizes of accommodation

1. To deliver sufficient sustainable development that meets all identified needs.

2. To improve opportunities for all residents in the borough to access suitable housing, employment, training, education, open space, leisure, community and health facilities.

3. To ensure that all development is of high quality design and enables people to live safe, healthy and active lifestyles.

4. To retain the distinct character and separate identities of our settlements.


To maintain, conserve and enhance the environment and balance the needs of all residents and visitors with the desired outcome of improved overall wellbeing.

  • Balancing growth with protecting natural and heritage assets
  • Flood risk in certain areas of the borough
  • Mitigating the impacts of, and adapting to, climate change

5. To protect and enhance our heritage assets and improve the quality of our built and natural environment.

6. To protect those areas designated as Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area, Special Areas of Conservation, Sites of Special Scientific Interest and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty for their biodiversity and landscape characteristics.

7. To ensure that new development is designed and located to minimise its impact on the environment and that it mitigates, and is adapted for, climate change.


To encourage economic growth through knowledge, innovation and creativity, improving employment opportunities available to all residents and supporting rural businesses.

  • Shortage of suitable commercial premises in appropriate locations
  • Housing need
  • Additional retail floor space
  • Changing nature of the rural economy
  • Shortage of infrastructure to support tourism
  • Conference facilities

8. To maintain and enhance our role as one of the County's key employment locations in both a strategic and local context by providing and protecting a range of employment sites in appropriate locations.

9. Reinforce our role as a world leader in innovation and research, with a particular focus on bio-technology, space and electronic gaming industries, and the sustainable growth of Surrey Research Park and the borough's other business hubs.

10. Support and expand the economic vitality of our rural areas whilst protecting existing heritage, landscape and character

11. Reinforce Guildford's role as Surrey County's premier town centre destination whilst protecting and enhancing its cultural facilities and heritage assets.


To work effectively with partners to ensure that there is appropriate infrastructure in place for existing communities as they expand and move towards a sustainable transport system with improved public transport and less reliance on the car.

  • Road congestion at peak hours particularly at known pinch points
  • Overcrowding on peak rail services
  • Lack of sustainable modes of transport in rural areas.
  • Road safety (particularly for cyclists and pedestrians)
  • Limited funding
  • Many rural parts of the borough without access to broadband

12. To facilitate the timely provision of necessary infrastructure to support sustainable development.

13. To deliver an integrated, accessible and safe transport system, balanced in favour of sustainable transport modes, to facilitate sustainable development.