The University of Surrey contributes substantially to the UK economy and is an important part of Surrey’s thriving innovation ecosystem.
Since its establishment in the 1960’s there has been a spirit of partnership and collaboration with the local community, which has seen the development of the Stag Hill Campus, Manor Park Campus and Surrey Research Park. Now one of the top universities in the UK, it and its wholly owned Research Park, contribute more than £2 billion to Surrey’s local economy each year and support around 17,000 jobs.
The University’s land holdings include Blackwell Farm, which was purchased in the 1980s. Developing this intensively farmed arable land into the new village of Blackwell Park is the latest chapter in a longstanding partnership with the Guildford community. The University is uniquely placed to deliver a high-quality exemplar place which will closely integrate with its much valued neighbours in West Guildford.
Guildford needs more homes, schools and better infrastructure to be delivered sensitively and carefully. Planning ahead for the town’s future growth is critical, especially with the area’s population growth expanding and existing infrastructure under stress.
Under planning legislation, Guildford Borough Council delivered a Local Plan setting out the development framework for the future growth of the borough. Our Blackwell Park proposals are consistent with this plan and deliver jobs, schools, roads, community facilities, doctors surgeries, green space, enhanced natural environment and leisure facilities. It is about social value as much as new homes.
Blackwell Park will deliver a range of different homes, enabling older residents to remain in the community, younger professionals to start on the property ladder, families to find homes with the space they need to grow and key workers to access low cost ownership and affordable rental opportunities.
As a long-term landowner that respects its symbiotic interrelationship with Guildford, the University of Surrey takes decisions with the long-term success of its wider community in mind. We know that we and the communities we serve need to be proud of what is achieved at Blackwell Park.
We want to deliver not just homes for all but also create jobs. Our ethos is to provide the opportunity to live and work in Guildford, creating a vibrant community and prosperous economy. We believe in high quality design centred around people and place. It must be a place to be proud of and we will involve communities through a co-creative design process to ensure this is achieved.
Our natural environment deserves to be treated with the utmost respect and we look forward to enhancing the current farmland and its woodlands to a standard that new and existing residents will be proud of.
The development proposals will be ‘framed by nature’ by including the delivery of parks, incidental green spaces and lakes within the development itself, with the surrounding land being restored to the highest possible environmental standards.
The current intention is to submit a planning application in the second half of 2024.
The plans for Blackwell Park include up to 1,800 new homes of all sizes, types, tenure and affordability (1,500 to be built within the plan period). This would include affordable rented housing for eligible key workers from local institutions such as the Hospital and the University.
We will not be building homes on the AONB but do expect that an access road will cross the AONB land (alongside and following the path of an existing road).