Policy E6: The leisure and visitor experience

We will continue to develop a high quality visitor experience to increase the contribution that tourism, arts, cultural heritage and sport make to our quality of life and social and cultural well-being. To achieve this we will support:

  • the provision of new and enhanced leisure and visitor attractions, including arts and cultural facilities, in accordance with the sequential test outlined in the NPPF for main town centre uses
  • the provision of new and improved accommodation and conference facilities for tourist and business visitors in accordance with the sequential test
  • sustainable rural tourism and leisure developments that benefit businesses, communities and visitors in rural areas as long as they respect the size, character and function of their
    setting and comply with national green belt policy. This support extends to the re-use of suitable rural buildings for visitor accommodation and other small-scale rural development
    proposing less than 100sq m of additional floorspace
  • proposals which promote greater use of the River Wey as a leisure and recreational resource.

To protect the vitality and viability of our town, district and local centres, proposals for new leisure space which exceed 500sq m and are located outside of these areas, as designated on the Policies Map, will be required to submit an impact assessment. All new and
enhanced leisure and visitor attractions and facilities should preserve the borough’s special heritage and natural features.

The loss of existing visitor, leisure and cultural attractions, including arts and entertainment facilities, hotels and indoor sports venues, will be strongly resisted unless replacement facilities of an equivalent or better standard and provision are proposed in a location equally
accessible to the facility’s current catchment area. Alternatively, robust evidence must be provided that demonstrates that the facility causes significant detriment to the amenity of the locality or that:

  • there is no longer a need for the existing facility or an alternative leisure or visitor use; and
  • the existing use is unviable and its retention has been fully explored (including through marketing the facility for alternative leisure or visitor use for a continued period of at least 18 months).

Response: Object 

Tourism and visitors do not depend on new visitor “attractions”. Overdevelopment of countryside is a risk. Surrounded by the natural beauty of the Surrey Hills, Guildford is distinguished as an historic county town. The historic part of the town should be exploited to the full creating a real sense of vibrancy and atmosphere. This should be linked to the attractions of the Museum, the Castle, the Wey and the historic High Street including its views of the Hogs Back. Guildford would be wise to model itself on other historic towns like Bath, Chester and York. The economic impact would create big advantages for both the leisure and the niche speciality retail sectors in the town Guildford the historic “Gateway to the Surrey Hills” has far more potential than Guildford being a stereotypical centre found anywhere around London. The countryside can offer high quality tourism – including cycling, National Trust sites, open countryside and cultural events including theatre and opera – which is lucrative. This is not recognised fully.

Sunday the 28th - Published by Normandy Action Group, 166 Glaziers Lane, Guildford GU3 2EB - with thanks to Keith Witham, Surrey County Councillor - Hostgator Coupon Template