Planning Success

Johns Associates has succeeded in gaining permission for a historic narrowboat basin near Guildford. The site is situated in the greenbelt and was supported by a full Environmental Impact Assessment. Once built, the basin will help the National Trust achieve its management aims by reducing the number of boats moored on the historic Wey Navigation.

Guildford Borough Council’s planning committee voted in September to follow their Planning Officer’s recommendation and approve the application submitted by Johns Associates for an 80-berth narrowboat basin on the Wey Navigation, just outside the village of Send, Guildford. The proposal also includes provision for a chandlery, maintenance building, accommodation for staff, offices for the management of the facility, and car parking.

The project has evolved over a number of years, with Johns Associates and the rest of the design team working closely with the planning officer at GBC, resulting in a design that is appropriate to its setting and in accordance with planning policy. It has incorporated environmental benefits as far as possible and mitigation and sensitive design to reduce impacts to an acceptable level. The project has been supported by the National Trust, who are aiming to reduce the number of boats moored along the Wey Navigation to facilitate maintenance and improve the facility for visitors.

The proposal was considered by GBC to fall within the scope of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Regulations, and therefore a comprehensive Environmental Statement was produced in support. This covered:

  • Community;
  • Ecology;
  • Historic Environment;
  • Land Quality;
  • Noise;
  • Transport;
  • Water;
  • Landscape; and
  • Cumulative Impacts.

Johns Associates produced this, drawing on its widely-skilled in-house team with support from ground water and land contamination, traffic, noise and heritage experts.

The proposal went to committee with no objections from the professional statutory consultees as a result of the collaborative and iterative approach that had been adopted to ensure any concerns were addressed.

Liaison with the GBC planning team was led by Johns Associates’ Chartered Town Planner, who also produced the Planning Supporting Statement and Design and Access Statement. Mari Webster, Principal Planner and team leader of the Planning and Environmental Appraisal team said: “This complex, long-running project needed the skills of a diverse technical team. Johns Associates’ flexible approach ensured the right team was assembled and we worked hard with our client to ensure benefits to the environment and an important historic asset were realised”.

Although the scheme attracted some controversy as it moved towards determination, the strength of the environmental supporting submission and the planning arguments, as well as the unanimity of the statutory consultees, strongly guided the committee’s decision-makin

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