Signs of life

Three things popped up on my radar in Guildford this week. Promising signs of things starting to happen. They might not all be to everyone’s taste, but it’s all better than the void in new activity that’s had to pervade for the last year.


First one, I can’t find anything official on yet – so I guess it’s still just a rumour – but I hear that Zero Carbon Guildford are going to be taking on the empty retail unit at the bottom of North Street formerly known as New Look (so, interestingly right between TK Maxx and McDonalds).

I got this from the local Labour Party newsletter (yes I’m still a member, no I don’t know for how much longer) which says

 after some essential work they plan to open: a zero waste shop , a café, Library of Things, Cinema and Meeting space. They will be needing lots of volunteers as things open up, so keep in touch through 


Then there’s The Boathouse or Soulspace which is down by the river next to the Weyside Pub (for very aged readers, The Jolly Farmer). Again, details are sparse, and building has only just begun, but I’m on the mailing list – it’s café and coworking and dedicated space for local charity halow (who currently we see a lot of at Guildford URC) as far as I can see. They’re doing some right things, reaching out to community to see what’s needed and I’ve sent them an email, so we’ll see.


Finally, there’s news of redevelopment of the old Burymead House site at the bottom of Portsmouth Road (between The Cannon and the Wycliffe Buildings. It’s been undeveloped for twenty years – twenty years where it could have been used for *something* but has just been left to wilderness (and not even very good wilderness – too much rubbish and rubble still left lying around)

So now it will be 303 “co-living” spaces and branded as Guildford Plaza – it looks like student accomodation for people who’ve just finished being students. So I expect much criticism (enough students already!) but I’m on the fence currently between “it’ll never happen” and “ooh 300 new neighbours!”