Vision for 1,800 homes at Blackwell Farm near Guildford on show to public

March 8, 2019
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The University of Surrey’s “vision” for a new 1,800-home development to the west of Guildford has gone on public display for the first time on Friday (March 8).

The proposals for the Blackwell Farm site set out the university’s aim to create “a distinctive new neighbourhood that reflects wider Guildford”, including homes, schools and an extension to the Surrey Research Park.

Designed by Terence O’Rourke Ltd, which is also responsible for the neighbouring Surrey Sports Park and the McLaren Campus in Woking , the vision for the new settlement features housing laid out in a square around a “vibrant hub” offering shops, community buildings and a central park.

Towards the north of the settlement, bordering the railway line, will be land for a secondary school and the research park expansion, while a primary school will be built nearer the centre.

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The development, to be called Blackwell Park, is one of four major settlements included in Guildford’s draft Local Plan along with Wisley , Slyfield and Gosden Hill Farm . Like Wisley and Gosden Hill Farm, the site is currently classed as green belt land but will become open for development if the local plan is adopted.

Under the plan, Guildford needs to build around 560 homes per year until 2034 and the council expects 1,500 of these to be built at Blackwell Park. The remaining 300 homes are expected to be built after 2034.

Proposals indicate the main entry to the settlement will be from the A31, but there will be other access roads from the university sites to the east and across the railway line to the north.

A map showing the university’s “vision” for Blackwell Park. The yellow sections indicate residential areas.
(Image: Terence O’Rourke Ltd)

Greg Melly, senior vice president at the university, said: “Blackwell Farm is a key strategic site within Guildford Borough’s Local Plan. It will provide some of the new homes Guildford needs.

“As a large local employer and an active member of the Guildford community, the University of Surrey is keenly aware of the need for these homes.

“The public exhibition is an opportunity for local residents and other interested parties to come and discuss the vision behind this new community – which will incorporate not just housing, but a new school and the other amenities that will make Blackwell Park a well-connected and sustainable place to live.”

Blackwell Farm, Guildford

Blackwell Farm as it is now
(Image: Paul Farmer)

In December 2017, university vice-chancellor Max Lu said it would “change the west side of Guildford forever”, but the Save Hogs Back campaign has objected, saying the new development would damage the borough’s green belt and add to traffic congestion.

Karen Stevens, spokesman for the campaigners, said at the time: “[It’s] a landscape containing high-grade farmland, bounded by an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a Site of Nature Conservation Importance, ancient woodland and the last remaining part of Guildford’s Royal Park.

“This transformation will bring homes, yes, but very expensive, executive homes, built at low density – not the smaller homes closer to town that Guildford needs and key workers can afford.

“It will also bring traffic chaos to this part of Guildford, causing potential mayhem to the ambulances serving the AE [at the Royal Surrey County Hospital], as well as bringing gridlock for the rest of Guildford.”

The red area shows the site for the proposed Blackwell Park neighbourhood
(Image: Google Maps)

On Friday, Ms Stevens added: “Save Hogs Back still maintains that Blackwell Farm is wholly unsuitable for development.

“It is an area of high landscape value, and building here would result in total traffic gridlock on the west of Guildford. The A31 and the Tesco and Hospital roundabouts are already notorious bottlenecks and funnelling additional traffic into these from a 1,800-home estate is sheer madness.”

The exhibition runs at the Surrey Sports Park on Friday (March 8) between 11am and 8pm.

Article source: https://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/surrey-news/vision-1800-homes-blackwell-farm-15919745


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