Whilst planning for new homes in areas where they can be accommodated without harm to character, equally we must work to maintain and improve the character and green aspect of our established residential areas and town centre by:
1. Update and make full use of the Residential Design Guide and Landscape Character Assessment.
2. Strengthen the protection of Guildford’s Victorian and Edwardian heritage such as Victorian schools, London Road railway station, period houses and villas.
3. Ensure new developments and extensions allow for adequate, well landscaped off-street parking and encourage underground parking where appropriate.
4. Open up the riverside keeping it a green area and set back any building line to create a continuous path along each bank as redevelopment opportunities arise.
5. Retain and establish squares and water meadows to accommodate flood water and reinstate a more natural alignment of the Wey around Slyfield when the landfill site is remediated.
6. Take cumulative impacts into consideration when development is proposed.
7. Consider impact on the viability of the High Street and access to the railway station as part of any planning assessment
(eg the Friary extension, relocation of the bus station or development on car parks).
8. Make North Street as much of an asset as High Street and worthy of future listing with a stepped design to reflect the incline.
9. Consider impact on the roofscape when development is proposed and respect topography by resisting inappropriately tall and bulky buildings (eg retain and open up views to the river at Millbrook).
10. Protect valued landmarks and views in planning briefs and applications (eg safeguard the views from Bright Hill and of the Mount from the town centre).
11. Promote replacement of buildings of poor design or that block views or riverside access. At the end of their economic life, revise footprint, height and massing as necessary to achieve character in keeping with surroundings.
12. Promote quality of design in character with surroundings and resist large signs, screens and unsubtle lights.
13. Retain public rights of way along streets in any town centre developments creating new quarters rather than “shopping centres”.
14. Ensure proposed major developments (eg railway station, Bellerby Theatre site, Cathedral, St Nicholas car park and Bedford Road sites) are of a scale and character that fit well with the historical buildings, topography and skyline of Guildford. Assessment of cumulative impact and compatibility with, and contribution to, Guildford’s strategic vision will be essential. Traffic, parking, provision of green space and use of materials that will age well are important considerations.
15. Protect the suburbs from the imposition of housing densities that harm neighbourhood character and from the development of overly bulky and high houses with adverse impacts on green character and views.
16. Implement measures to protect the wooded nature of Guildford including making earlier, more effective use of Tree Preservation Orders and preventing developments that crowd out trees.
17. Introduce a new policy to ensure development that borders the countryside and designated green space is of appropriate scale and rural character and well screened. Treating sites as “urban area” does not achieve this.