Policy E4: Surrey Research Park

GBC Policy

Policy E4: Surrey Research Park 

The existing 28 hectare Surrey Research Park and the proposed extension will be protected for business use comprising offices, research, development and design activities, in any science, including social science, falling within Use Classes B1 (a), (b) and (c) of the Town and Country Planning (use Classes) Order 1987 (as amended), that is complementary to the activities of the University of Surrey. Development in accordance with the above will be supported. 

It is expected that the new extension will provide a variety of sizes of unit including some small units (between 15 – 80 sq m) in order to meet the needs of start-up companies. 

Where any proposals for development are submitted which do not meet the criteria set out above, the onus will be on the applicant to demonstrate: 

  • the need for such proposals in this location
  • the economic benefits to the local and wider economy
  • the proposals are well designed and landscaped to complement and enhance the existing Research Park setting,
  • the proposed use would complement the overall functioning of the Research Park.

GGG Response


We support the maintenance of research, development and design activities, in any science, including social science, that is complementary to the activities of the University of Surrey at the Surrey Research Park. We do not believe that there is a need to expand the Research Park into a larger Business Park. We believe that the planning policy going forward for the Surrey Research Park should be to maintain and enhance the integrity of its research base allowing for the economic value add to the local economy of knowledge and technology transfer from the University. We believe that B1b (should be the primary use class for the Research Park and that applications for B1a should be resisted due to the danger of dilution of the core purpose and reputation of the park. We do not believe the inclusion of B1c uses is appropriate or necessary.

Detailed response:

  • Research parks based on the early UK technology transfer exemplars of the Cambridge and Oxford need careful monitoring, nurturing and protection to ensure the integrity and quality of the park is maintained and the park continues to be a destination for innovation and enterprise

  • There is a danger for research parks to be overwhelmed by short sighted development opportunities being taken by park managers provided by standard office activities and administrative functions which in time turn them into standard business parks which can be found anywhere in the country. Their relative low density and attractiveness make them targets for “any other” office user 

  • Research parks that lose their way stop being the location of choice for new innovative enterprises. 

  • The Surrey Research Park in Guildford needs to be focussed on a broad spectrum of scientific research including computer science, bio-chemistry, design, space-science, eco-science, health science, software development, laser technology, media-science, artificial intelligence, robotics and super-manufacturing

  • Monitoring indicators should include new start-ups and new patents created

  • Facilities should be provided whereby new small businesses can secure premises under subsidised licence fee arrangements with no onerous rent or lease commitments

  • We support the idea of a variety of sizes of unit including some small units (between 15 – 80 sq m) bearing in mind one workstation is 10 sq m

  • Consideration should be given to the concept of shared “enterprise hubs” where individuals can take pay as you go workstations in shared spaces similar to touch down business centres similar to the “enterprise village” concept

  • We do not support the policy of a new extension of the research park more than the existing 14% already provided for within the park

  • The Surrey Research Park currently extends to 65,000 sq m

  • There is already granted consent to expand to a further 9,000 sq m (14%) This space has been available for 10 years and is still to find a taker

  • The past trend of expansion of Office/R &D is 0.43% pa over the period from 2004 to 2012 based on ELNA 2015 derived from VoA analysis

  • The ELNA 2015 calculated annual floor space demand is 0.7%

  • The data point for our analysis is today in 2016 so we have 17 years to go to the end of the plan period.

  • The necessary growth in floor space over the plan period is therefore 17 years x 0.7 = 12% which is less than the current expansion space of 14%.

Nature Conservation value of the site is protected or improved.

In relation to the Target there is no evidence of a justified need for additional B1a and c use.  We consider that the existing land, used efficiently, will accommodate realistic expansion of B1b uses for high tech added value purposes.  Existing planning permissions must be built before any additional green belt land is earmarked for development.  The target of 35 000 sq metres of additional employment land are not justified by the evidence base.

We regard the evidence base (Employment Land Needs Assessment 2015) as flawed and inconsistent and therefore unreliable evidence.



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