Guildford Residents Associations
Guildford Residents Associations

Local Plan Press Releases

Press Release on Local Plan       Immediate Release 7 June 2016


7 June 2016





Guildford Residents Association (“GRA”), which represents 26 residents’ associations across Guildford town and country, has agreed its strategy for addressing and commenting on the latest and controversial version of the Guildford Local Plan.


Says Keith Meldrum of GRA, “This Plan is growth gone mad.  It destroys our countryside and fails to prevent town cramming. It would destroy the qualities that make Guildford a good place to live and work.  This plan provides too much land for development and does not do enough to ease congestion.  Developers will drive a coach and horses through loosely-worded policies promising no growth without infrastructure first.  Why do we need a 40% increase in retail space in the era of the internet when that land could be used for homes?  Why are our politicians, who promised to protect Green Belt, offering up so much countryside for development and making so little progress in better planning the town?  This Plan is such a blunt instrument that even though it proposes to expand Guildford by a quarter, it cannot be relied upon to provide the types of homes needed locally.  It will not protect the character of our borough.”


INFRASTRUCTURE: Too little too late

  • There is no new road bridge over the railway for our physically divided town and no central, all-directions bus interchange.
  • Vague proposals for a “Snake” (Sustainable Movement Corridor) and A3 improvements offer too little too late.
  • Land is not safeguarded for A3 tunnel entrances or the “Snake”.
  • Residents are disturbed that no one has had a chance to look at a crucial piece of evidence that should have informed the Plan - the long awaited Strategic Transport Assessment.   


HOUSING: Inflated, ignores constraints and doesn’t address needs  

  • GRA members are deeply concerned at the high Housing Target proposed in the Plan – over 13,500! 
  • At 693 homes a year, this is over double the previous figure of 322.
  • The Plan’s proposed growth is based on a Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) report which inflates so-called need, is distorted by student numbers, and is based on commercially confidential modelling assumptions that cannot be checked.
  • All other Councils in Surrey, apart from Guildford, are applying “constraints” to reduce their overall housing figure (*see notes).
  • The National Planning Policy Framework allows the overall housing target to be reduced to take account of protected wildlife areas (eg Thames Basin Heath SPA), landscape areas (Surrey Hills AONB), Green Belt, flood risk and significant infrastructure constraints, all of which apply to Guildford.


Concludes Keith Meldrum, “We simply do not understand why our Councillors have made a political choice to open the floodgates to expand Guildford on the damaging scale proposed.  GRA believes this Plan to be unsound and unsustainable.  We are calling on Councillors to make improvements to the Plan before it is too late and irreparable damage is done to our beautiful historic town and the surrounding countryside which frames it.”




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  1. GRA, an umbrella organisation of Residents’ Associations which also enjoys the support of four parish councils, came together to agree shared priorities for the new Guildford Local Plan amid concern that the voice of residents was being lost.


  1. The Resident’s Associations forming the GRA are: Abbotswood RA-CC, Beechcroft Drive RA, Bicknell Close RA, Burpham Community Association, Chantry View RA, Clandon Society, Cranley Road Area RA, Downsedge RA, Fairlands, Liddington Hall and Gravetts Lane Community Association, Ganghill RA, Holy Trinity Amenity Group, Jacobs Well RA, Merrow RA, Normandy Action Group, Ockham & Hatchford RA, Onslow Village RA, Perry Hill RA, Ripley Society, Rookwood RA, St Catherine’s Village Association, Send Action Group, Shalford  Conservation Society,  Stoke Next Guildford RA, Tyting Society, Westborough, Broadacres & District RA, Weyfield RA, Weymount Neighbourhood Group, Wood Street Village Association.


3.    GRA wants to see the following changes in the Local Plan:


  • A realistic housing target that focuses on the needs of Guildford and takes full account of the constraints of being a congested gap town. 


  • High priority given to providing attractive campus accommodation so 80-90% of university students will want to live on campus freeing up hundreds of affordable homes in the town within 5 years.  


  • A bus interchange which means you can travel easily in any direction from one central point without needing a car.


  • Another crossing over the railway and river for our divided town and firm plans for an A3 tunnel.


  • Guildford’s green setting, tree lined approaches, fine views, historic centre and riverside maintained as valued and distinctive features of the town. 


  • Proper account taken of the permanence of Metropolitan Green Belt as well as the protection of the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty 



June 2013

Embargoed until 13 June 2013


 RA Priorities for the Guildford Local Plan


A growing umbrella organisation of currently 25 Residents’ Associations which also enjoys the support of three parish councils, CPRE and the Guildford Society, has come together over the past year to agree shared priorities for the new Guildford Local Plan.


Says Jennie Kyte of Holy Trinity, speaking on behalf of GRA, “We want the new Guildford Plan to encourage a balanced and sustainable approach. The Plan should:

  • nurture the town’s high tech and innovative economy,
  • cherish the qualities of the historic centre, green suburbs and countryside that make Guildford so special, and
  • promote investment to resolve traffic issues.”


GRA Priorities for the Local Plan:



To provide jobs and support the economy,

nurture a robust mix of knowledge-based, high technology and creative enterprises with strong links to the University and Research Park.  Avoid over expansion of retail space given technology-driven change. 


Distinctiveness and Character:

To shape change for the better,

assess all development to ensure it:

  • respects and enhances the valued historic and green character, setting, roofscape and views,
  • contributes to creating distinctive, cohesive communities, and
  • makes wise use of land.


Countryside and Open Space:

To underpin our economy and quality of life,

cherish our attractive countryside and river corridor, gardens, natural open spaces, “green edges” and “green approaches”. These will become more important as the town grows. New, natural, open spaces will be required.



To provide homes to meet the needs of Guildford,

taking account of commuting patterns, capacity and the influence of London, agree a judicious balance of planned sites such as Slyfield, town centre redevelopment, investment for communities such as Park Barn, sensitive use of sites within garden suburbs and villages and carefully planned extensions.  Adequate provision should be made on campus for student housing.


Traffic and Parking:

To deliver essential infrastructure,

make growth conditional on phased investment in:

  • a new bridge across the railway/river,
  • a central bus interchange that provides full connectivity to all sides of Guildford to unify the town,
  • sensitively designed spaces for residents to park their cars,
  • improved connections to the A3 to take traffic away from the town centre,
  • taking through traffic out of the town, including the A3, by acting on the expected recommendations from current studies,
  • a transport network that makes cars unnecessary for getting into and about Guildford, including from airports.

Work to five year delivery phases for major projects.  Ensure consents are in place in readiness to bid for any capital infrastructure investment funding made available to boost the economy. 


Says Liz Critchfield of Burpham, speaking on behalf of the GRA, “Different groups will have specific local priorities to highlight during the Local Plan consultation and we very much hope all residents will have a say.  Thanks to the GRA, residents associations and societies have been able to work together to agree shared, collective priorities for the Plan”.


Says David Bird of Westborough, speaking on behalf of GRA, “We greatly value the way Councillors and Planning Officers have started engaging with residents who were feeling excluded from planning. We look forward to working with Guildford Borough Council to promote our forward-looking agenda for the Local Plan.”







Must See GRA Documents

GRA response to the July 2017 Draft Local Plan can be seen here.






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© Graham Hibbert