Planning Scrutiny Group, Guildford, Surrey
21/P/02643 | Erection of 6 two-storey dwelling houses with rooms in roof, including access changes, parking and landscaping (re-submission of application ref: 21/P/01209) | Tretower House, Merrow Street, Guildford, GU4 7AT
We would like to present neutral comments to this application. We have various comments to present, and feel that the number of trees felled could be reduced by some of the measures we propose below which would minimize the building footprint. We also feel that the trees that are currently where the proposed private gardens are planned can be saved, and TPOs placed on them.
Building: We are pleased to know that the site will be making some use of the original building, and that there is considerable tree planting planned. However, it’s essential that the buildings are built with high thermal mass material, and the best available low energy resources to withstand higher temperatures in the coming years. We would also encourage living roofs. (See image 3)
1) Minimizing the green space lost: It is almost always better to not disturb an existing system, and retain older trees, than replant saplings. The underground networks of the root systems and the life supported cannot be re-established instantaneously.
2) Ecological value and habitat: The report states that the trees are of significant ecological value for many species in decline – “stag beetle, amphibians, nesting birds, foraging, commuting and roosting bats and hedgehog. Surveys were carried out roosting bats (endoscope) and badger activity.”
3) Wet land: We also note that no wet land spaces, such as ponds, are planned. This type of habitat is in steep decline, and aside from the ecological benefits, wetlands can help with keeping temperatures lower in our heating climate.
We are concerned that green space is being removed for car parking next to each dwelling. Owning to the climate and ecological emergency, we need to urgently move away from unsustainable private car transport, be that EVs or not.
Making effective use of the space:
Guildford is losing green space at a rapid rate. With planning applications every week for yet more private car parking space, and more housing. This is having its impact on Surrey’s biodiversity, and species are declining at an alarming rate. We therefore propose the following:
Terraced housing: If the houses were made as a terrace (see image 2)– or at least semi-detached, space could also be saved, and more housing provided, perhaps double the amount for the same space, as well as lowering the heat loss.
A car parking area: We’d prefer, that if there must be car parking provision that it was done in an allocated area at the entrance of the development, with footpaths to the residences. This would mean less green space would be lost, and it would be safer for wildlife, pets and children. The car parking area could also be make more ecologically friendly by laying it to lawn (see image below). We must be mindful that hard landscaping increases the Urban Heat Island effect, and we should be retaining green space at all costs. Tree planting around the car parking area would also help shade the cars and reduce heating.
Shared facilities: We would like to see more shared facilities, for example communal bike parking that has enough space for E bikes and Cargo bikes, and a shared laundry room. By using more shared spaces (including shared home offices) we can reduce the footprint of individual homes.
Space to grow: and an orchard – there are very long waiting lists for allotments. Could a community space to grow be allocated, with some fruit trees?