A key regeneration scheme in Guildford town centre has been unanimously approved for a site which has been neglected for decades.

Councillors on Guildford Borough Council’s planning committee approved the latest plans by St Edward Homes for the North Street scheme of 471 homes (47 of them affordable), 41,000 sq m of retail and 6,000 sq m of food and beverage space, a new bus interchange and new public realm on a 2.69-hectare site in the centre of the town, at a special meeting on October 11.

The scheme, also known as Friary Quarter, is a revised version of one by St Edward, a joint venture between Berkeley Homes and M&G Real Estate, which was refused in January. It will involve buildings of between four and 11 storeys, a reduction in height on the previous proposal for buildings of up to 13 storeys.

Cllr Howard Smith told the meeting: “The thing we can all agree on is that this site is an absolute eyesore, it’s a disaster in the centre of Guildford, it has been there for 20-30 years and we need to do something with it.

“We’ve fudged this for decades and I think there’s a grave danger that if we don’t approve this tonight, it’s going to be there for another 10 years or more and it’s just going to be a huge blot on our town.”

Along with the new bus interchange the scheme will include the part pedestrianisation of North Street, as well as new areas of open space.

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