Berkeley and M&G exchange contracts with Guildford Borough Council on key town centre regeneration opportunity


Guildford Borough Council and St Edward – a joint venture between The Berkeley Group and M&G Real Estate – have exchanged contracts to develop the famous North Street site in Guildford Town Centre as the first step to deliver The Friary Quarter – a contemporary new neighbourhood of around 500 homes and an exciting mix of new ground floor retail, leisure and amenity space.


As part of the plans, St Edward has committed to the pedestrianisation of North Street, enabling an enhanced public realm, improved facilities for market traders, a pocket park and new town squares. A new bus interchange rerouting buses away from North Street will also create a safer, less polluting and more attractive environment for pedestrians and cyclists.


Working in partnership with local stakeholders provides a significant opportunity to revitalise underutilised and part-vacant brownfield land, breathing life back into North Street and the wider town centre – for the benefit of Guildford’s population and its visitors.  The proposals for North Street play an important role in the regeneration and future vision for Guildford, whilst respecting the town’s rich history with its unique architecture, cobbled streets and listed buildings.


Councillor John Rigg, responsible for regeneration at Guildford Borough Council, says: “I am delighted after seven or eight previous failed schemes on this site over three decades and two years of hard negotiations, we are now under contract with one of the country’s leading housing developers, able and enthusiastic to bring forward such a fantastic regeneration scheme.  For us to be able to deliver new, sustainable homes and create an exciting new neighbourhood helping to take the pressure off the green belt, whilst also aiding the recovery of the high street is a huge opportunity. The extra wins of a new bus interchange and removal of vehicles and pollution from North Street will create a wonderful, safer new environment for visitors to the town.”


Rob Tidy, Fund Manager, M&G Real Estate, comments: “We want our investment into the local economy to restore North Street’s vibrancy and provide much-needed homes and new public space that Guildford’s residents can take pride in. As an asset owner and an asset manager, M&G is able to finance significant projects, using our experience to deliver high-quality regeneration schemes – in this case with our partner Berkeley Homes – which improve communities and seek to provide a sustained income for our customers and clients.”


Paul Vallone, Executive Chairman of St Edward, concludes: “We are very excited about engaging with the local community to design a beautiful development with attractive places to shop, eat and catch up with friends. We believe we can make somewhere truly special, with its own distinct character, whilst providing a fantastic amenity for local people. This is about creating homes and shared spaces that everyone can enjoy.”

St Edward now looks forward to continued engagement with Guildford Borough Council, Surrey County Council, key stakeholders and the local community to develop a shared vision for this important new part of the town.

A second public consultation event in April will update the community on the latest proposals, with an opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback. Encouragingly, 144 people attended the first consultation webinar with more than 1,500 feedback comments received.

A new planning application is expected to be submitted in Summer 2022 with construction commencing in Summer 2023.