Guildford Residents Association
Guildford Residents Association

3. Value the green & historic character of Guildford

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:

  • Preventing ‘garden grabbing’ and loss of trees and hedges.
  • Stopping congested streets being treated as car parks because building plots are overdeveloped.
  • Creating green spaces in housing schemes and providing adequate space for cars so that greenery is not subsequently lost by occupants to make space for vehicles.
  • Ensuring new buildings have character, use materials that will age well, are designed to stand the test of time and respect and enhance our heritage.
  • Avoiding the bulk and height of buildings obscuring the views of our gap town.
  • Protecting views from, into and within the town, retaining and creating valued landmark buildings.
  • Requiring the scale and form of existing buildings, which harm views, block riverside access or are discordant with topography, to be revised when redevelopment occurs.
  • Taking special care to protect tree screens, rural landscape features and large spaces between developments at the boundary between town and country.   
  • Ensuring the approaches to Guildford are lined by trees not high-rise buildings or stark flood lit car parks.
  • Promoting green areas and large trees as ever more important in making Guildford a comfortable place to live as climate change takes effect.
  • Resisting light pollution and obtrusive moving images and signs, especially in historic and residential areas.
  • Leaving space for water in squares, meadows and ponds to avoid flooding of homes, businesses and roads.  



1.  Update and make full use of the Residential Design Guide and Landscape Character Assessment.
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.
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.
Town Centre:

7.  Consider the impact on the viability of the High Street and access to the railway station as part of any planning assessment (e.g. the North Street development, 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 (e.g. retain and open up views to the river at Millbrook).
10.  Protect valued landmarks and views in planning briefs and applications (e.g. safeguard the views from Bright Hill and of the Mount from the town centre).
11.  Promote replacement of buildings of which are 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, North Street, 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.
Garden Suburbs:
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.


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© Graham Hibbert