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Guildford Waitrose Exhibition Attracts Large Numbers

The Guildford Waitrose exhibition, at the Guildhall, attracted more than 1,000 visitors by 1pm today (April 21) when it closed. Visitors were able to view the exhibition, talk directly to members of the project team including an architect and communications manager and leave written comments.

Numerous visitors showing interest in the the plans for a new Waitrose in Guildford

Views of those attending on the plans presented appeared mixed. Some were heard to voice their pleasure at the creation of a major new shopping store, especially a Waitrose, while others expressed concern about the choice of building style and materials and the possible impact on traffic on local roads. Plans do include a 170 space, free car park with a time limit of two hours per stay.

An architect from the Waitrose project team explains a plan to a visitor

The exhibition is part of an ongoing consultation process local residents groups and The Guildford Society are among those who have received special presentations. Following the consultation a planning application is expected to be made to the borough council in May or June. The sale of the required land to Waitrose from the council is conditional on planning permission being granted.

The plan with pedestrian routes marked green, customer traffic routes in green and those for deliveries and services in blue

In line with the planning brief put forward last year, in addition to a new, 21,000 sq ft supermarket,  slightly smaller than that in Godalming, the scheme includes, provision of homes and a new, replacement community centre. The development will result in the loss of the Bellerby Theatre, Beverley Hall and the  Live and Let Live pub, recently closed, as a result of the project.

The vacant site looking north. York Road is beyond the far hoarding

One of the expected benefits is the creation of 150 jobs. Waitrose states ‘our policy is to recruit as locally as possible.’ It would ‘work closely with the local branch of jobcentre Plus…’. If plans are approved, Waitrose hopes to commence building work next year and complete it in early 2014.

Despite claims that this is the first Waitrose in Guildford, one older resident pointed out that in the 1960s there existed a Waitrose store in Woodbridge Road. It was next door to what was then the Studio 1 and 2 cinema. A pine furniture store occupies that building now.

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What are your views? Were you at the exhibition? Was it informative? Would you welcome a new Waitrose in Guildford? What about the style and design and the traffic implications? Have your say by writing in to The Dragon at mgilesdragon@gmail .com or using the ‘Leave a Reply’ feature below. Email addresses are not published.

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2 Responses to Guildford Waitrose Exhibition Attracts Large Numbers

  1. Caroline Reeves

    April 21, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    The Community Centre will be relocated to the refurbished Beverley Hall, which has been unused for some time and is the target of vandalism. It will be renamed Bellerby Hall to ensure the Bellerby name remains in the town centre.

  2. James Gross

    April 26, 2012 at 9:55 am

    There seemed to be a lot of discussion at the exhibition abou the pro’s and con’s of closing the pedestrian subway. I felt insufficent investigation and opportunity was made of the potential to create a real ‘place’ at the entrance to the store on York Road, and create a better, wider and safer pedestrian crossing to Stoke Fields. Haydon Place is not a ‘place’ at all, it’s a bit of a dead end at the moment and the proposals could size the chance to reinstate the historic route across York Road to Stoke Fields, putting pedestrians, not traffic first. Penned in like sheep, it not the way to treat people crossing this main pedestrian thoroughfare into the town from the north.