A £150m regeneration scheme to redevelop the area around Guildford Station has been approved by the Planning Inspectorate. The scheme which is being developed by Solum, the development partnership between Network Rail and Kier, involves transforming Guildford’s station car park into a new Station Quarter. The scheme will deliver a new station building, 438 new homes, office space and a radically enhanced station environment with an attractive station plaza containing retail and high quality public realm.

The Planning Inspector, David Morgan, concluded that:

“…this proposal offers tangible benefits to the built environment around Guildford Station. It also provides a significant amount of market housing and a lesser number of viability-calibrated affordable units, in addition to an enhanced station facility. These are very significant social benefits. The proposals also bring forward a major development site with a mix of uses that will create employment opportunities for those seeking work. These are clear economic benefits to the borough.”

Welcoming the decision, Alan Jones, from Solum said:

“We are very pleased that this exciting brownfield regeneration project has been given the green light. This is a scheme that will transform the area around Guildford Station and provide a new Gateway to the town.

Solum has been working with Guildford Council and the community for seven years. The scheme has undergone significant change through the planning process and we look forward now to working with the council to deliver the scheme. We recognise that there are several local groups that continue to object to the scheme and would also like to thank the hundreds of Guildford residents that registered support for the proposals.”

David Biggs, Managing Director from Network Rail Property added:

“Population growth, increased urbanisation and the housing shortage has brought the need for us to be more creative in the way we develop railway land into sharp focus.
We at Network Rail are extremely pleased that the planning approval of this fantastic scheme has been achieved. It will deliver significant benefits to station users and the local community, by releasing land for much needed housing, attracting new businesses, creating jobs, and providing a significantly improved station.

This development is yet another example of Network Rail partnering with the private sector to unlock land for mixed-use development, while generating funds to reinvest back into the railway.”

The Guildford Station site has long been identified in the Council’s planning policies for mixed-use development to include residential and commercial uses.

The scheme will deliver around £25m of improvements to Guildford Station, including:

  • A brand new station building – providing a larger, double height ticket hall with a gate-line twice as wide as the current one to accommodate more passengers. The scheme has been designed to accommodate anticipated passenger growth up until 2035.
  • A radically enhanced station environment with an attractive new station plaza offering a high quality public realm.
  • A new multi-storey car park retaining the same number of station parking spaces with improved, safer pedestrian access and reduced average walk time from car to platform.
  • Separate pick-up and drop-off arrangements and an improved taxi rank with shelter and canopies.
  • Additional secure station bicycle storage spaces.
  • A new vibrant station quarter with additional space for shops and restaurants.
  • Better and safer pedestrian links and wayfinding into the rest of Guildford town centre.
  • New bus replacement arrangements so that no car parking spaces are lost during periods of engineering works.

The station improvements are to be funded through the development, which will include a new residential quarter of 438 town centre apartments, and commercial office space.

Quick facts

  • 2.2 hectare site
  • £150m regeneration project
  • Around £25m of station improvements
  • 412 car parking spaces for rail users
  • 536 cycle spaces for station users
  • Over 300 new jobs
  • 3,427sq m of retail provision
  • 1,877sq m of new offices
  • 438 new homes
  • 456 cycle spaces for the new residents.

More information about the plans is available at www.guildfordforward.com.

Solum is currently onsite delivering regeneration projects at Twickenham and Walthamstow and will shortly start work at Kingswood. It has other projects in the pipeline at Bishops Stortford and Redhill.