A new Garden Neighbourhood for West Guildford An opportunity for Smart Growth. university of surrey November 2013

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1 A new Garden Neighbourhood for West Guildford An opportunity for Smart Growth university of surrey November 2013

2 A new Garden Neighbourhood for West Guildford Preface Since the County and Borough Councils made land available in the early 1960s to establish the University of Surrey in Guildford, there has been a spirit of partnership and collaboration between the University and the community. This collaboration has seen the University develop its Stag Hill campus and Surrey Research Park to become one of the top ten universities in the UK, contributing around 1.4 billion to the economy each year and supporting almost 16,200 jobs. In 2004 the Council released land from the green belt to enable the University s continued evolution on the Manor Park campus west of the A3. The collaboration has also seen the University provide land for the building of the Royal Surrey Hospital, the Holiday Inn hotel and the new Onslow Park and Ride, together with the funding of significant infrastructure including the A3 underpass, footpath and cycleways, and the recently completed signalised junction at Gill Avenue. The exploration of the potential of the University s land at Blackwell Farm for an expansion of the Surrey Research Park, new housing, and a new access from the A31 is the latest chapter in a longstanding spirit of partnership and co-operation between the University, the Borough Council and the local community. As a responsible landowner and valued member of the community, the University is keen to assist the Council in exploring potential solutions to its need for more land to enable the town to continue to prosper and to meet its housing needs. This document represents the first step in that process and sets out the University s initial thoughts on how its land could help create a new 21st century garden neighbourhood for west Guildford.

3 A new Garden Neighbourhood for West Guildford An opportunity for Smart Growth university of surrey November 2013 Contents Introduction Guildford s Issues and Options West Guildford: the smart solution Smart growth Mixed use community Transport sustainable development Green space summary

4 A new Garden Neighbourhood for West Guildford 01 Introduction The Guildford Local Plan Issues and Options document identifies the University s land at Blackwell Farm as a potential development option for Guildford. The University supports this option as it considers that not only will it be of great benefit to the borough, but also support the future development of the University. As an established and prominent institution in the borough, and as owner and custodian of the land proposed as an option for development, the University is well placed to ensure delivery of a high quality exemplar new neighbourhood closely integrated with the existing community and urban fabric in western Guildford. The Issues and Options document identifies capacity for about 2,000 new homes on part of the University s land at Blackwell Farm. However, the University considers that there is capacity for more than 2,000 houses if all of the University s land at the site is included. It is important to explore the potential of all of the land available to help to meet the objective of providing a sustainable solution to meeting Guildford s housing needs. The vision for new housing development in the borough should aim to achieve sufficient critical mass to provide a comprehensive range of new transport, social, education and other community infrastructure as well as provide land for employment. This adds weight to the need to look more widely at the land available at Blackwell Farm. Three high level principles underpin the University s vision for the development: A sustainable development to support the University s future A strong sense of place and community Economic and social benefit to the region, the borough, and the University. This document describes why the Blackwell Farm site is ideally suited to help provide for Guildford s future needs and sets out the University s ideas for the new Garden neighbourhood. 1 The creation of a new garden neighbourhood using smart growth principles at a well located site such as Blackwell Farm provides the best opportunity to provide a sustainable development that will benefit both existing and future residents and workers in this part of Guildford.

5 A3 Site boundary Guildford urban area Guildford town centre Railway A31 A3 River Wey 2

6 A new Garden Neighbourhood for West Guildford 02 Guildford s Issues and Options The University has responded in detail to the consultation on the Issues and Options document and recognises the challenges and difficult decisions faced by the borough council in preparing the new Local Plan. Of the various spatial options presented, the University believes that only by extending Guildford town s boundaries can the need for housing and associated employment and community facilities be provided in a sustainable way. Development on urban sites and other previously developed land, small scale additions to villages, or a focus on the west of the borough will not provide enough development or locate this in the right place. Spreading development around the borough will not help to upgrade or improve infrastructure such as the A3. Similarly a new poorly located free-standing settlement will not place new housing close to existing employment areas, make best use of the existing services and facilities in Guildford town or help to ease current problems such a shortage of school places and traffic congestion. Indeed creating a new settlement away from Guildford risks creating an unsustainable dormitory settlement, heavily reliant on the private car and without the range of services and facilities that are essential to good placemaking. Guildford town is the largest settlement in the borough and is the essential focal point for economic activity, a regional shopping centre, a transport hub, and a centre for research and learning. A recent economic study found that in 2012/13 the University generated 1.4 billion for the UK economy and supported almost 16,200 jobs. It also generated 6.45 of economic impact for every 1 income earned and indirectly supported 6 other jobs elsewhere in the UK economy for each direct job at the University. The University and Surrey Research Park represents an important centre for economic activity and a major contributor to the national, sub-regional and local economies. The best option for growth in the borough is a location that can connect and integrate with existing employment areas, the town centre and other neighbourhoods. Whilst it is right to explore the other options at this stage of the plan-making process, sustainable urban extension to the town is the option that stands head and shoulders above all others and should form the centrepiece of Guildford s growth strategy in the Local Plan. 3

7 A3 Guildford borough area A3 Guildford Other larger settlements M25 Ash East Horsley Tongham A31 Guilford River Wey A3 4

8 A new Garden Neighbourhood for West Guildford 03 West Guildford: the smart solution The Issues and Options document identifies a number of locations around the borough where studies have indicated there may be potential for development. However, what is needed is a carefully considered approach to selecting the right location, so that the additional homes, jobs and community facilities work best for the existing community, and that infrastructure improvements bring wider benefits for all. This requires a holistic approach that looks at housing, land-use, sense of place, transport and community together, considering not just the ability to provide the numbers of homes needed but also how best to integrate these with the main urban area of Guildford so that the whole works better. The University believes that of the sites located around Guildford, its land to the west of the town is by far the best opportunity to provide much needed development efficiently and in a sustainable way, to bring maximum benefits to the town. New development on land to the west of Guildford will locate housing close to the main employment areas and facilitate enhanced access to the Research Park, University, Royal Surrey County Hospital and the town centre through a new access from the A31. This accessibility will be further enhanced by improved bus, cycle and pedestrian links and, potentially, a new rail halt for which the University would provide the land. The scale of the land available within the University s ownership is such that there is scope to create a high quality place with a wide range of social, education and community facilities as well as potential for locally based employment. The University s vision for the site will avoid urban sprawl by delivering a well planned new neighbourhood following garden village principles where the University s land ownership can ensure long term control. It is an ideal example of smart growth and is the ideal solution to the difficulties faced by the council in meeting the borough s future needs. Guildford urban area Guildford town centre Options identified by Guildford Borough Council West Guildford option Railway Special Protection Area Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty 5

9 A3 A3 A31 River Wey 6

10 A new Garden Neighbourhood for West Guildford 04 7 Smart growth The idea of smart growth has many supporters such as the Town and Country Planning Association and the CPRE and is based on the premise that areas work best when they are well connected to existing urban areas offering relatively compact forms of development, with densities appropriate to local circumstances but avoiding town cramming. New development should be located close to major sources of employment and transport orientated, with priority given to walking, cycling and public transport. Other key principles include: New development closely linked with existing established settlements and areas of high value employment A mix of land uses (housing, employment, retail, leisure, community uses, open space) Walkable neighbourhoods with key facilities within walking distance of homes Low carbon and low energy buildings Good design Community engagement in the design Green space within the development layout Takes account of natural features and biodiversity. The University believes that these principles have much in common with the coalition government s 21st Century garden city concept. The University considers that a form of development that provides a new garden neighbourhood for Guildford, closely linked with the existing cluster of activities and facilities in west Guildford, can bring together the principles of smart growth and the garden city to create an exemplar for place making in Guildford. West Guildford is already an important district within Guildford. The University campuses at Manor Park and Stag Hill, Surrey Research Park, Royal Surrey County Hospital, Hotel, Tesco, Surrey Sports Park and the new Park and Ride facility together create a unique cluster of uses that provide a valuable opportunity to deliver smart growth. Neighbourhood Centre Primary School Secondary School Existing neighbourhoods Playing Fields Foot/Cycle Paths Public Transport Routes Internal routes Possible Rail Halt Hog s Back Country Park Park & Ride (Existing) Park & Ride (Proposed) Surrey Research Park* Surrey Research Park extension Royal Surrey County Hospital* Tesco superstore* University of Surrey* *Existing employment hubs P&R P&R T

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12 A new Garden Neighbourhood for West Guildford Mixed use community 05The University s vision for a truly sustainable development sees the creation of a new exemplar mixed-use community with the following characteristics: A genuine mix of new homes for all age groups, including affordable homes An extension to the Surrey Research Park to provide new employment opportunities within easy commuting distance of homes High quality imaginative design Extensive areas of green space flowing through and beyond the new development linking to the existing natural environment. Key elements of this approach would include a new linear park, tree lined streets, squares, parks and open spaces and wildlife zones Opportunities for local residents to grow their own food in allotments Access to local community, recreational and shopping facilities in walkable neighbourhoods Public transport and cycle routes that are integrated with the existing corridor of public transport that links to the town centre A high degree of pedestrian permeability Potential for a new rail halt Major employment locations within a 20 to 30 minute walk. 9

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14 A new Garden Neighbourhood for West Guildford 06 Transport Whist the walkable neighbourhood is a key concept that will underpin the master plan, linking the new homes to Guildford town centre and beyond will be an important part of the idea. The opportunity to provide transport improvements that benefit the existing community in Guildford is also important. The new garden neighbourhood would provide the following: A new junction on the A31 A potential new rail halt An extension of existing bus routes through the Surrey Research Park and Manor Park into the new neighbourhood The possibility of an additional park and ride site for Guildford New cycleways and footpaths including links to the town centre and existing employment areas Facilities and transport links within easy reach of homes Provision for low emission vehicles- electric cars and buses. 11

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16 A new Garden Neighbourhood for West Guildford 07 Sustainable development Climate change and energy use are major challenges for society. The garden neighbourhood will be based on a fundamental principle of low carbon living. There will be the opportunity to make a significant contribution to adopting low carbon lifestyles. By locating new development west of Guildford and applying smart growth principles it will be possible to encourage people to adopt a more sustainable and healthy lifestyle. People will have the opportunity to live close to where they work rather than commuting from other parts of the borough or the county, minimising the need for use of the private car and maximising potential for a reduction in carbon emissions. A range of local community facilities will be provided as part of a new district centre that is likely to make provision for new school places. Where there is a need to travel there will be enhanced provision for the use of public transport, cycling and walking. By placing sustainability and garden village principles at the centre of the concept, taking advantage of the unique opportunities available at west Guildford through smart growth, and embracing sustainable development principles as part of building design it is possible to deliver new low carbon development and reduce energy demands in accordance with the Code for Sustainable Homes. 13

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18 A new Garden Neighbourhood for West Guildford 08 Green space There is a strong natural landscape framework on the site with woodland, trees and hedgerows providing opportunities for enhanced biodiversity. It is important to note that in developing the plans for this site great care will be taken over protecting this landscape framework and developing within its capacity. The intention is to protect these areas and to enhance them with new planting and open spaces that will be a significant part of the new place; accessible to the whole community. The strategy for green space provision includes: Space for leisure, recreation, wildlife, play, allotments SANGs (suitable alternative natural green spaces) Protection and enhancement of the Hog s Back and the AONB Retention and opening up of woodland areas, managed for wildlife and recreation Houses with gardens that will further enhance biodiversity Provision of links to the countryside beyond the site boundaries New planting and habitat creation in appropriate locations. The garden neighbourhood concept will create opportunities for innovative approaches to the management of green spaces. Consideration can be given to the formation of community trusts who with adequate resourcing, can play an active role and take responsibility for managing green spaces for the benefit of the community and wildlife. 15

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20 A new Garden Neighbourhood for West Guildford 09 Summary The Guildford Local Plan is required to set the development framework for the future growth of the borough and ensure that sufficient homes and jobs are provided to meet the needs of its residents. The Local Plan Issues and Options document has identified the University s land at Blackwell Farm as a potential development option for Guildford. The University believes that of the options available to accommodate growth, the extension of Guildford s town boundaries to the west represents the most sustainable solution. An exciting opportunity exists to deliver smart growth at west Guildford and secure a range of benefits for the town. The University s vision is to create a new sustainable neighbourhood that will deliver: A genuine mix of new homes for all age groups, including affordable homes An expansion of the Surrey Research Park to provide new employment opportunities within easy reach of homes and supporting further economic growth and prosperity New growth at west Guildford close to existing major employment areas and integrated with the University s evolving Manor Park campus High quality imaginative design Extensive areas of green spaces flowing throughout the area linking to the wider natural environment and enhancing biodiversity Opportunities for people to live more healthy lifestyles including growing their own food in new allotments Access to new community facilities, including schools, recreational and local shopping facilities set within a new walkable neighbourhood Improvements and extensions to public transport, walking and cycling networks with these being integrated with existing networks connecting west Guildford to the town centre A new road access from the A31 to west Guildford improving accessibility to this part of the town and reducing traffic on the A3 Potential for the creation of a new rail halt to further enhance transport choices and support sustainable travel Buildings that are designed to high sustainability and efficiency standards, minimising energy use and encouraging low carbon living New suitable alternative areas of green space, protection for existing woodland areas and management of these for wildlife and recreation Protection and enhancement of the Hog s Back and AONB. The University recognises the importance of making the right decisions today for the benefit of both existing and future generations and is committed to delivering high quality development in the right location. Its vision for a well planned new neighbourhood at west Guildford, following established garden village principles, represents an ideal example of smart growth providing a sustainable solution to meet the council s future needs. It will also support the future of the University. 17

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22 19 A new Garden Neighbourhood for West Guildford

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24 London 3 Whitcomb Street London WC2H 7HA Bournemouth Everdene House Deansleigh Road Bournemouth BH7 7DU Telephone Terence O Rourke Ltd All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced in any form or stored in a retrieval system without the prior written consent of the copyright holder. Terence O Rourke Ltd 2013 Document designed by Terence O Rourke Ltd All figures (unless otherwise stated) Terence O Rourke Ltd Based upon the 2013 Ordnance Survey mapping with the permission of the Ordnance Survey on behalf of Her Majesty s Stationery Office Crown Copyright Terence O Rourke Ltd Licence number AL

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