Major projects to revamp Guildford station in Surrey and Runcorn station in Halton, in the Liverpool City Region have taken important steps forward.
A £150m scheme to build a new rail station at Guildford in Surrey and turn the adjacent surface car park into a ‘Station Quarter’, with homes and shops, has been approved by the Planning Inspectorate. The appeal decision overturns Guildford Borough Council’s refusal to give the scheme planning permission.
The development will feature a new public square, reconfigured access for vehicles with a new taxi drop-off area, a nine deck multi-storey car park and secure cycle parking.
The plan is being developed by Solum, the development partnership between Network Rail and Kier Property.
The multi-storey will provide 412 parking spaces for rail users, the same number of spaces as currently provided on the surface site. Some 536 secure cycle spaces will be available for rail users, including around 230 covered station bicycle storage spaces with quick access to the station. There will also be 456 secure residential cycle spaces.
The Planning Inspector David Morgan said the proposal offered “a significant amount of market housing and a lesser number of viability-calibrated affordable units, in addition to an enhanced station facility”.
Guildford Borough Council’s planning committee had unanimously refused of the scheme. Councillor Paul Spooner, leader of Guildford Borough Council, described the Inspector’s decision as “extremely disappointing for our whole community”. “Alongside poor design and little gain for users of the station, it is a blow to our aims for more affordable housing in the town.”
A Solum spokesman said: “We are not yet in a position to comment on the timeline of the Guildford scheme.”
Plans to turn the land around Runcorn rail station into a new ‘Station Quarter’ will be the centrepeice of a major regeneration of the Cheshire town.
Halton Borough Council is working with a consortium, including architects We Made That and consultants Regeneris and Steer Davies Gleave, to develop a masterplan featuring housing, retail and leisure units in Runcorn.
Under the masterplan, Runcorn station, on the Liverpool branch of the West Coast Main Line, would become a ‘gateway’ to the town.
“The station would be turned into an HS2 hub with excellent station facilities and the potential for retail units and eateries,” says the council.
The station is less than ten-minute walk from Runcorn’s Old Town, but “currently these links are convoluted and confusing ”, says the council.
Some of the lanes on the Silver Jubilee Bridge would be turned into a “sustainable transport corridor” for cyclists and pedestrians. Road space would also be re-allocated to a new transport interchange as well as homes and retail outlets.
The changes to the Silver Jubilee Bridge have been made possible by the opening last October of the Mersey Gateway, a six-lane toll bridge over the Mersey.
Landor Links’ Rail Stations and Property Summit take place on 21 February in London
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