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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 E7: Retail and leisure uses in Guildford Town Centre

Retail and Service Centres


4.4.64 Our hierarchy of retail and service centres of differing scale and functions serve as a central focus for our communities. They provide places to buy everyday necessary goods and services such as post offices, launderettes and takeaways, and places such as pubs and restaurants where people can meet up and socialise.

4.4.65 The hierarchy of centres in the borough is shown in Appendix B, and consists of a single town centre in Guildford town, one urban and two rural district centres, and 21 local centres across our towns and villages. The role and function of each centre relates to its position in the hierarchy and its size and mix of uses. Policies E7 Guildford Town Centre, E8 District Centres and E9 Local Centres are set out below.

4.4.66 Guildford's retail and service centres are the heart of our communities. They serve as a focus for community life, with Guildford serving a wide catchment that extends beyond the county. Within the borough, we have a range of centres of different scales, which serve different functions.

Policy E7: Retail and leisure uses in Guildford Town Centre

4.4.67 Moved to S3

4.4.68 Moved to S3

(4.4.69 Paragraph intentionally blank)

4.4.70 Moved to 4.4.5b

4.4.71 Improvements needed include the leisure daytime, early evening and night time economy, the built and natural environment in certain areas (including the riverside) and the dominance of traffic congestion and surface car parks. These will help to ensure that by 2034, Guildford town centre is as described in the spatial vision.

4.4.72 Guildford town centre, its ground floor primary and secondary shopping frontages and its primary shopping area are shown on the Policies Map. Its shopping frontages are listed in Appendix B.

4.4.73 The town centre will be the focus for developments of town centre uses of a scale appropriate to the centre's role and function that generate a large number of journeys. New retail development will be directed to the Primary Shopping Area (PSA). Outside the PSA but within the wider town centre, a variety of town centre uses will be encouraged, including food and drink, leisure, and cultural uses that add to the liveliness, attractiveness, and economic resilience of the centre.

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POLICY E7: Retail and leisure uses in Guildford Town Centre

(1) By 2034, Guildford town centre will have:

(a) a new retail-led, mixed-use development of 41,000 sq m (gross) of additional comparison goods floorspace on the North Street regeneration site within its primary shopping area.

(b) developments of other town centre uses that contribute to the liveliness of the town centre including food and drink, more gyms and cinema screens;

(c) approximately 1,300 new homes, particularly on upper floors as part of mixed use developments.;

Proposals for new retail and main town centre leisure uses

(1a) In order to strengthen the liveliness and economic resilience of Guildford town centre, new retail and leisure uses located within the centre will be supported. Where no suitable sites are available within the centre, sites on the edge of the centre will be considered.

(2) Retail and leisure proposals over 500 sq m (gross) located outside of Guildford town centre, local or district centres, and where the site is not allocated in this Plan, must be supported by a retail impact assessment.

Proposals for loss of A1 retail and other Class A uses

(3) Within the Primary Shopping Frontage as defined on the Policies Map proposals for change of use of existing ground floor shops (Class A1) to other uses will not be permitted.

(4) Within the Secondary Shopping Frontage defined on the Policies Map, planning permission for the change of use of ground floor shops (Class A1) to Class A3, A4 or A5 will be permitted where all the following criteria are met:

(a) the additional uses result in no more than two permitted ground floor non- retail uses adjacent to each other; and

(b) the additional use results in no more than one third of this section of the defined street level frontage (as defined in Appendix B) in permitted non-A1 Use Class; and

(c) the use will not result in loss of amenity in terms of noise, disturbance, smell, litter or traffic generation; and

(d) the proposed use will not be detrimental to the shopping function or character of the town centre.

(5) Within the Primary Shopping Area, Eexceptionally the loss of shopping area uses (Class A) at ground floor level will be permitted, subject to the above criteria, where the proposed use is appropriate to a town centre shopping frontage.

(6) Proposals for new food takeaways within 500m of schools will not be accepted because of the potential negative impact on the health of school children.


Reasoned justification

4.4.75 The Plan defines a prime shopping area along the lower High Street where a concentration of the retail multiples are represented. This prime area has the highest proportion of A1 (shop) uses, the highest Zone A rental values, and the highest pedestrian flow levels in the whole town centre. In order to protect its liveliness and economic resilience, changes of use from shops (Use Class A1) to other uses will not be permitted. Town centre uses that are complementary to retail, will be permitted in the surrounding secondary shopping frontage.

4.4.76 The cumulative impact of concentrations of restaurants, take-aways, bars and pubs can cause problems for town centre residents. The amenity of residents in the town centre will be protected, both by this policy and other Local Plan polices concerned with protecting residential amenity. As we are encouraging more people to live in the town centre, we must ensure that new food and drink uses do not harm their amenities.

4.4.77 As the most sustainable location in the borough, Guildford town centre is the most suitable location for the larger developments of town centre uses, and for housing. We will ensure that large scale developments of town centre uses are located within the town centre, wherever possible as part of mixed-use developments including housing. Large scale retail will be located wherever possible within the primary shopping area.

4.4.78 Moved to 4.4.11b

4.4.79 Moved to 4.4.11e

4.4.80 Moved to 4.4.11c

4.4.81 Moved to 4.4.11e

4.4.82 Moved to 4.4.11e

4.4.83 Moved to footnote 3 under E1

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4.4.85 National planning policy sets out two tests for applications for certain main town centre uses, the sequential use and retail impact testsassessment. In considering proposed developments of any main town centre use on sites outside of designated centres on sites that are not allocated for such uses, the sequential testassessment must be applied. Retail and leisure proposals over 500 sq m on unallocated land outside of designated centres must be accompanied by an retail impact assessment. This will help to preserve the liveliness of our centres, and to protect them from significant adverse impacts from new retail and leisure developments in less suitable locations.

(4.4.86 Paragraph intentionally blank)

4.4.87 Moved to paragraph 4.4.5c

Key Evidence

    • The Guildford Town Centre Regeneration Strategy (Guildford Borough Council, 2017)
    • Moved to E1
    • Guildford Borough Council land use surveys


Monitoring Indicators



Data source

Moved to E1

Moved to E1

Moved to E1

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Moved to E1

Number of ground floor retail (A1) uses lost to other use classes within the Primary Shopping Frontage


Town centre retail surveys

Number of applications approved in the Secondary Shopping Frontage that would result in more than two permitted ground floor non-retail uses (A1) adjacent to each other or more than one third of the defined street level frontage (as defined in Appendix B) in permitted non-A1 use.


Town centre retail surveys and planning applications