‘Your Waverley’ wants residents’ views on its central Godalming regeneration plan – but the Chamber of Trade has already had a hissy fit over the scheme.
Image credit: HLM Architects
Here’s what the council says:
Waverley seeks views on potential Godalming regeneration
Waverley Borough Council wants feedback from residents and local businesses about potential options to regenerate three council-owned sites in central Godalming. It has been considering options for its head office at The Burys for many years, as it has very poor energy efficiency, making it very expensive to heat and maintain.
More recently, the council has begun to look more holistically at its land assets in central Godalming to ensure it is maximising its value for residents. It has now widened the scope of its regeneration project to include the main car park in central Godalming, Crown Court, and The Wharf, which has most recently been used as a car park for council staff.
Early options appraisals by the council indicate that The Wharf and Crown Court car parks could both support low-density housing in a mixture of tenures, including social rented and affordable homes. Much of The Burys site is in Flood Zone 2, and it is therefore unsuitable for new housing, however, revenue from the rental or sale of new market homes on The Wharf and Crown Court sites could fund the redevelopment of The Burys site, making the entire project cost-neutral.
Waverley is heavily reliant on revenue from car parks, and from the outset has sought to ensure there would be no net loss of parking within central Godalming as a result of the regeneration works. The council’s viability assessment indicates that redevelopment of The Burys site could support a multi-deck car park that would replace any loss of parking on Crown Court and The Wharf. Options for a decked car park have been considered, which place parking behind an attractive façade and within the current height of the office building.
The council has a range of engagement opportunities planned for members of the public over the summer. Residents are invited to drop into the reception area of The Burys to view displays about the project and potential options and to offer feedback via an online survey. The displays, online survey, FAQs and further information are available online at www.waverley.gov.uk/GodalmingRegen(opens in new tab). There will also be events for local businesses and partners throughout the summer and pop-up displays in the High Street. Comments and questions are also welcomed by email to: Burysdevelopment@waverley.gov.uk.
The council will undertake full consultation later this year.
Councillor Paul Follows, Leader of Waverley Borough Council, said:
“Last year, our ageing building cost over £210,000 to heat and complete only the most essential maintenance. Our estimate for this year is around £410,000, so we’re under a great deal of financial pressure to find a solution urgently.
“I’m really pleased that we’ve been able to come up with some options that will see the current level of parking spaces maintained, while bringing new, genuinely affordable housing to the centre of Godalming. At this stage, there are no concrete plans, but we’ve got some fantastic options to create new community spaces, support and enhance the High Street, develop future income streams for the council and future-proof our offices, using new housing to fund it all.
“We really need your views, so please do come into the reception at the Burys and see our displays about the opportunities we’ve identified or visit the webpage and feedback to us via the online survey or our dedicated email address.”
Oh, dear! Here’s what the Chamber of Trade thinks about the scheme – and it isn’t good
Dear Members and friends,
We have issued a press release, please see below.
We have included a survey about Waverley’s Proposed Regeneration Project for Godalming and would urge all Chamber members to
respond. Please click www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/3HP96L3 and send us your views asap.
Godalming & District Chamber of Commerce
Godalming & District Chamber of Commerce is firstly very disappointed that Waverley Borough Council (WBC) failed to discuss with us in advance its proposals for the redevelopment of three commercial sites in the town centre.
The Chamber strongly objects to the main proposal, which is to build residential housing on Crown Court, the town’s main car park which is ideally situated in the middle of the retail centre, just a short level walk straight onto the High Street and conveniently positioned for all businesses including those in Church Street and the Upper High Street.
The Chamber has long argued for additional car parking capacity and would have liked to see more parking provision for business workers, residents and shoppers visiting the town. The redevelopment of Wharf Street with no additional parking provision is a wasted opportunity and should be reconsidered.
The Chamber understands that WBC needs to redevelop its existing facilities at The Burys and would welcome the inclusion of pop-up retail shops and office accommodation for small businesses and for those currently working from home. While this site is said to be in a Flood Zone, any residential development should be considered for this site and built above car parking and retail and/or office accommodation to overcome that.
John Taylor, President of Godalming & District Chamber of Commerce, said: “These plans are very ill thought out. Moving our main car park away from the centre of the town and replacing it with a less accessible, multi-storey car park will not benefit our retail and commercial sector which is still struggling post-Covid”.
“We would ask Waverley to actually engage with the business community and work with us to create a development which will improve our town centre, help people start new retail businesses and make it easier for people to come and spend money in Godalming. While we welcome the consultation by Waverley (here), we have devised a survey of our own and would ask Chamber members, business owners and Godalming residents to let us know what they think. Our survey can be found at www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/3HP96L3”.