Policy E8: District and Local Centres

GBC Policy

Policy E8: District and Local Centres

We will support the role of District Centres as the focus for communities in the surrounding areas in providing for everyday shopping and service needs as well as for some more specialist needs. Proposals for residential use of upper floors add to the liveliness of centres, and will be considered positively.

The following areas, as shown on the Policies Map, are designated as District Centres. For each, the Primary Shopping Area is the boundary of that Centre:

  1. Wharf Road, Ash
  2. Station Parade, East Horsley
  3. Ripley

In order to strengthen the liveliness and economic resilience of the borough’s District Centres, retail developments consistent with the scale and function of that centre will be supported. Where no suitable sites are available, sites on the edge of designated centres will be considered. We will not apply this sequential approach to proposals for town centre uses of less than 100sq m (gross) in rural areas.

Retail and leisure proposals over 500sq m (gross) located outside of a local or district centre, and where the site is not allocated in the local plan must be supported by an impact assessment.

Proposals for new food takeaways within 500m of schools will not be accepted because of the potential negative impact on the health of school children.

Within the District Centres shown on the Policies Map, proposals for change of use of a ground floor shop (Use Class A1) to use for financial and professional services (Use Class A2) and/or food and drink (Use Class A3/A4/A5) will be permitted where all of the following criteria are met:

  • the proposal results in no more than two adjacent non-retail uses
  • the proposal results in no more than one-third of defined ground floor frontage units in permitted non-retail uses
  • the proposal will not result in loss of amenity in terms of noise, smell, litter or traffic generation, and
  • the proposal will not prejudice the character and appearance of the district centre and its immediate environment.

Exceptionally loss of shopping area uses (Class A) at ground floor level will be permitted, subject to the above criteria, where the proposed use is appropriate to a District Centre.

GGG Response



We think it is appropriate that these three district centres should support development consistent with the scale and function of the local centre. 

We think it is appropriate not to approve planning applications for main town centre uses over 100 sq m outside district centres – although this policy could and should be more clearly articulated. 

We do NOT support consideration of sites on the edge of district centres for town centre uses. 

Detailed response:

We object to the proposal that sites “on the edge” of District Centres being considered for retail developments.  This is another Trojan horse policy, allowing retail hubs to be vastly expanded in order to smooth the way for vast new housing estates outside in the countryside (e.g. to meet the “everyday shopping and service needs” of the roughly 1,500 people living in the 600 new homes planned for the Horsleys).  

This is a case of back-to-front priorities.  Expanded local retail hubs are being proposed in order to justify more house building in the villages, and in a forlorn attempt to mitigate the serious traffic and infrastructure problems this will create.  The Council has no business facilitating new supermarkets in the Green Belt.  Rural retail capacity should be left to local demand.

The policy proposes not a single measure to support existing rural shops and services that are the lifeblood of village communities, e.g. using business rates and other levers at the Council’s disposal.



2017 Guildford Local Plan

Guildford’s NEW local Plan has just opened for consultation. PLEASE RESPOND before 24th July 2017.  GGG has published its responses to Local Plan Policies here 

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