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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

Policy E4: Surrey Research Park

Introduction

4.4.34 The NPPF states that significant weight should be placed on the need to support economic growth and productivity, taking into account both local business needs and wider opportunities for development. It goes on to say that the approach taken should allow each area to build on its strengths, counter any weaknesses and address the challenges of the future. Paragraph 82 requires the Council to "make provision for clusters or networks of knowledge and data-driven, creative or high technology industries".

4.4.35 The Surrey Research Park is one of the borough's largest employment areas. It provides a mix of B1 (a and b) office space and research and development floorspace. It is located to the west of Guildford town centre, on the edge of the existing urban area. The Research Park is a centre of excellence in technology, science, health and engineering. It was founded in 1984 and has been owned from the outset by The University of Surrey. The 28-hectare site is a low density, development which is part of the University campus and provides a high quality, working environment. The Park is home to over 140 companies engaged in a broad spectrum of research, development and design activities. The Research Park includes The Surrey Technology Centre, which provides space for small technology (research, development and design) start-up companies. Units range in size from 15 - 80 sq m.

4.4.36 The Research Park currently has around 65,000 sq m of floorspace and only a few undeveloped sites currently remain. The last two plots are at Faraday Court and George Stephenson Place. Faraday Court has planning permission for 5,875 sq m of new floorspace for a pathology laboratory but that is now unlikely to go ahead and the site is currently being marketed for three smaller units with a total of 2,828 sq m floorspace. George Stephenson Place is currently being marketed for just under 1,900 sq m. In addition, Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) has an outstanding permission for 2,100 sq m of additional floorspace.

4.4.37 The original outline planning permission for the Research Park included a restriction limiting use to "research, development and design activities, in any science, including social science, that is complementary to the activities of the University of Surrey". This has ensured the site has remained focused on knowledge based industry over the last thirty years.

4.4.38 The main strength of the Surrey Research Park is the specialist research and development offer, set in an attractive location with good access to a well-qualified work force. The Park is close to the A3 and within walking distance of the Holiday Inn and Surrey Sports Park. There are research opportunities with the University of Surrey. It provides a unique facility in the wider South East. The Employment Land Needs Assessment (ELNA) recognises the specialist offer and recommends that the site is allocated as a Strategic Employment Site.

4.4.39 The 2013 UK Science Park Association (UKSPA) review of The Surrey Research Park revealed that the Park contributes between an estimated annual contribution to the regional economy of between £450m and £625 million¹. In addition, the companies on the Park have been responsible for a substantial increase in employment in knowledge-based sectors of the economy in Guildford and Surrey as a whole. The Surrey Research Park has maintained its focus on knowledge transfer, and is considered to be an important part of the University of Surrey's infrastructure, providing an entrepreneurial environment and facilities to support the commercial application of the University's research.

4.4.40 The Blackwell Farm site (policy A26) will include an extension to the Research Park of over 10 ha as part of the mixed-use development of the site.

POLICY E4: Surrey Research Park

(1) The existing 28 hectare Surrey Research Park shown on the Policies Map and the proposed extension described in policy A26, will be protected for business use comprising offices, research, development, design and innovation activities, in any science, including social science, falling within Use Classes B1 (a), (b) and (c) of the Town and Country Planning (use Classes) Order 1987 (as amended), that is complementary to the activities of the University of Surrey. Development in accordance with the above will be supported. Development for general office use B1(a) that does not contribute to the specific function of the Research Park will not be supported.

(2) It is expected that the new extension will provide a variety of sizes of unit including some small units (between 15 - 80 sq m) in order to meet the needs of start-up companies.

(3) Where any proposals for development are submitted which do not meet the criteria set out above, the onus will be on the applicant to demonstrate:

(a) the need for such proposals in this location

(b) the economic benefits to the local and wider economy

(c) the proposed use would complement the overall functioning of the Research Park.

(4) Proposals should be well designed and landscaped to complement and enhance the existing Research Park setting.

 

Reasoned justification

4.4.41 One of the key successes of the Surrey Research Park has been to maintain its focus on knowledge transfer and facilities to support the commercial application of the University's research. The Research Park should retain its focus on research, development and design activities and providing valuable knowledge-based employment. As part of the mixed-use Blackwell Farm development, which has a total capacity of 1,800 homes (1,500 in the plan period) an extension to the Research Park of over 10 hectares will be delivered. This will provide a total capacity of around 35,000 sq m of additional floorspace, of which 30,000 sq m is expected to be delivered in the plan period. The University will be supported in continuing the success of the Research Park on the expanded site and the contribution it makes to the regional economy.

4.4.42 As part of the Park's role encouraging enterprise from the University, a range of sizes of units will assist start-up businesses and those needing larger premises as they grow.

Key Evidence

  • Employment Land Needs Assessment (Guildford Borough Council, 2017)

 

Monitoring Indicators

Indicator

Target

Data source

Total amount of additional B class floorspace permitted and completed on the site

Approx. 30,000 sq m B1a, b and c over the plan period that is complementary to the activities of the University of Surrey

Planning applications and appeals and building completions data

Total amount of appropriate additional B class floorspace permitted and completed on the site, comprising of offices, research, development, design and innovation activities which is complementary to the activities of the University of Surrey

Approx. 30,000 sq m B1a, b and c over the plan period that is complementary to the activities of the University of Surrey (100% of development)

Planning applications and appeals and building completions data