More multi-storey car parking suggested for Guildford town centre

September 16, 2013
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New multi-storey car parks have been suggested to deal with future demand in Guildford town centre and a predicted shortage of hundreds of spaces at weekends.

The borough council is assessing the parking situation based on proposed developments, such as the North Street project and Friary Shopping Centre expansion.

The council owns and operates a majority of the parking sites in the town centre.

In the 2013/14 financial year Millmead is expected to make an estimated net income of £5.7million.

It has been predicted that if future developments, including the North Street plan, are built with the maximum number of car parking spaces allowed, there would still be a shortfall of 400 to 500 short stay spaces on Saturdays.

A parking strategy has been drawn up for the council by consultancy group, Steer Davies Gleave, who have earmarked potential sites which could be expanded to cope with any increase in visitors to the town.

One site highlighted for possible expansion is the Millbrook car park on the A281, which currently has 244 spaces, with a suggestion that this could be increased by around 350 to 450 based on a three-storey building.

The report does state that if this was chosen for development, which has been listed as a high priority, that it would have to be done sensitively based on its location near the bank of the River Wey.

Other locations, classed as moderate priorities, include Mary Road, in front of the crown court, and Bright Hill. It has been suggested to turn the Mary Road car park into a multi-storey, again with three levels, increasing the 107 capacity by 150 to 250 spaces.

Bright Hill could also lend itself to a multi-storey transformation, with three tiers increasing from 121 to a potential 300 to 400 spaces.

Other simpler changes have also been suggested to the borough council, such as making the signs clearer for two of the town’s largest car parks, York Road, with 605 spaces, and Farnham Road, with 917 – as these are currently underused.

Gerald Bland, from the Guildford Vision Group, said: “Once you actually admit the possibility of increasing car parking in the town centres, which isn’t something I personally subscribe to, the issue is where do you put them?

“I think they are far better hidden underground.”

“If you are talking about multi-storey carparks in a town centre like Guildford when we are in a river valley, you put your tall buildings at the bottom of the town, you don’t put the tall buildings at the top.

“Putting them down in the bottom of the valley has some attraction, but actually it completely ignores the wonderful recourse that the river can be.

“Opening up the river to the town and turning it into a great leisure recourse with restaurants and the ability to walk all the way along the river through the town ought to be something which everyone should wish to see.

“Whenever people talk about underground car parking you hear the cry that it is more expensive, and it isn’t really what people want, but frankly if you cannot afford underground car parking in one of the most affluent towns in the whole country, where else can you afford to?

A borough council spokesman said: “An update on the Guildford Town Centre Parking Strategy is due to go to the council’s executive on October 3. The report asks councillors to agree in principle to the development of key car parks, subject to future need.

“Where expansion of existing car parks may be needed, this will be subject to the usual planning application process, when residents will be able to give their views.”

Article source: http://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/more-multi-storey-car-parking-suggested-5920290


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