Economic regeneration programme report published
Our ambitious plans to improve and reinvigorate our town centre took a step forward this week with the publication of the first report on our Guildford Economic Regeneration Programme (GERP).
The report presented to the Executive on Tuesday (25 May) helps to create a vision for the town of a sustainable future for the benefit of residents, businesses and visitors by restoring the town centre's position as the vibrant heart of the borough and Surrey's county town.
The report by specialist consultants focuses on economic regeneration, housing, business space and exciting public spaces. To deliver the plan we have identified ways to reduce flood risk, traffic congestion and air pollution whilst also delivering new neighbourhoods.
Leader of the Council, Cllr Joss Bigmore says:
"I am very pleased that we are moving forward with our plans to revitalise and restore our town centre while preserving its attraction for the next generation. Our ambition is to ensure we recover from past decline to meet the needs of society, including introducing the concept of a 15-minute town. This is a town where your home, work, leisure and culture are all within a 15-minute walk.
"The future is our young people and those growing up here or moving into the area. They want affordable, sustainable living with high-quality public space, leisure and culture with walking and cycling a key part of the new vision."
The first stage of the plan focuses on understanding the major challenges in our town centre and asks questions about flooding, traffic, transportation, opening up the riverside, and connecting our High Street with the historic Guildford Wharf. Stage 1 makes no decisions but investigates what might be possible.
Stage 2, to be approved by our Executive, will include the funding for the consultation which we plan to run from this summer until July 2022. We will be asking residents, businesses and other town centre partners for their views on the plans. In the meantime, please email your views to Economic.Regeneration@guildford.gov.uk and we will be in touch when the consultation period begins.
After the consultation period, we will apply for funding for the programme.
We appointed a leading team of international consultants and work began in January to create a plan to deliver real change. Reducing our carbon footprint is one of the main aims of the Regeneration Programme, along with providing affordable home, especially on land previously used for industrial or commercial purposes ('brownfield' sites) to avoid further use of greenbelt land.
It is hoped this will allow development of the riverside to provide exciting residential developments close to both train station and High Street.
New neighbourhoods will create economic and social activity and essential support for our High Street. Current plans suggest the possibility of 4,000 new homes plus services including schools, businesses and cultural and leisure facilities to be built between 2025 and 2045.
GERP will also find ways to reduce traffic congestion and air pollution whilst reconnecting the historic heart of the town with Guildford Wharf.