Stantec has helped Guildford Borough Council (GBC) achieve resolution to grant planning approval for ambitious proposals for a new development of 1,550 homes on a brownfield site by the River Wey, creating a new neighbourhood on a mile of riverside previously inaccessible to the community.
Weyside Urban Village is a major land development scheme that includes 70,000 sq ft of employment space and a new local centre and forms part of a wider strategic site allocated in GBC’s Local Plan. At its heart, the plan opens up access to the River Wey, promotes a healthy and sustainable lifestyle and creates 600 affordable homes for local residents.
Stantec’s large multi-disciplinary Environmental Services team has been advising on the project since 2017 and provided Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) services. By adopting a holistic approach to our services, a comprehensive social and environmental solution to the site’s technical complexities was achieved. Suitable mitigation was incorporated into the design of the scheme and will be delivered through the demolition and construction stage.
The site is adjacent to the River Wey, a conservation area sensitive to heritage, landscape, and ecology adaption. With an abundance of protected species on site, careful considerations and plans were required. Stantec provided biodiversity advice, including a separate planning application for new public open space at Burpham Court Farm which also achieved resolution to grant planning approval. This site will eventually also serve as a strategic off-site compensation area for biodiversity and a new area of Suitable Alternative Natural Green Space (SANG).
Stefan Boss, Director Environmental Planning at Stantec commented: “This is a fantastic achievement and milestone for a project that has been discussed for 20 years. There are some real technical challenges that have been overcome to get to this point that could only have been achieved through collaboration with a highly skilled technical team.”
This ambitious and collaborative project includes relocating a water treatment centre for Thames Water, planning the relocation of a GBC depot and waste collection centre and creating new allotments with modern facilities and riverside access for sustainable travel. Weyside Urban Village will be a low carbon development, going further than the current nationally set legal requirements for carbon emission reductions and sustainability.
GBC can now begin to make a series of detailed applications for different phases of the project, which are expected to take ten years to complete. Public consultation will begin early next year over plans to relocate the Council’s waste depot to new sustainable buildings and an application for the first phase of housing will be made in early 2023.
The Planning Committee also approved a change of use application for a 45.9 hectare parcel of land surrounding the Weyside Urban Village which will enable it to be used as a SANG, accessible to the whole community.