Talking with the local community

Following our last round of public consultation in July 2021, the project team submitted a planning application to Guildford Borough Council for the redevelopment of the former Debenhams site in October 2021.

The submission follows three rounds of public consultation with high levels of engagement and strong support for the creation of a high-quality development with new public access to the River Wey, places to live, shop, eat and relax, and high standards of environmental sustainability.

Key features of the proposed development include:

  • Opening up the River Wey by creating publicly accessible spaces including a new biodiverse landscaped riverside walk, access from the High Street to the river for the first time in 50 years and a new pocket park.
  • Creating a new civic square at the end of the High Street, as a gateway to the town and riverside, with a pavilion for community uses.
  • Developing two new sustainable, residential buildings with retail and restaurants at ground floor, providing 215 new homes, shops, cafes and bars. The buildings, designed to respect the surrounding heritage of the area, will be all-electric and net zero carbon in operation.
  • Improving access and permeability with a new residential street linking Millbrook to the river.

Since presenting evolved designs during the third round of consultation in July 2021, the project team made a further round of changes, to reflect the ambitions of the local community.

These include:

  • Setting back the eighth floor of the town centre building on all four sides, giving the building a defined top, and changing materials to reflect more traditional rooftop colours, to significantly reduce the visual appearance in close and distant views.
  • Reducing the number of residential units from 228 to 215 by reducing the number of one-bedroom and studio units with single aspects onto the new residential street and increasing the number of dual-aspect three-bedroom units.
  • Changing the glazing and materials of both buildings to give them a more contemporary appearance which remains sensitive to Guildford’s heritage.
  • Further enhancing public accessibility to the riverside by widening the proposed walkway and introducing improvements to the landscaping.

In addition to this, the development is expected to create more than 415 construction jobs and up to around 100 jobs in retail on site. The plans will also provide significant improvements to local biodiversity, with 50 new trees, extensive planting and green roofs.

Video Presentation Update:

Please find below a video, presented by our lead architect – Henry Squire of Squire and Partners – which outlines in further detail on the ways in which the plans have evolved between our last round of public consultation in July 2021 and submission.

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