The proposals provide a major opportunity to establish a distinctive retailing quarter, which complements the high-end retailing of this part of Guildford’s High Street. They will massively enhance the environment onto Castle Street, which will create atmosphere, buzz and a visual link to Castle Gardens, one of Guildford’s key assets.
Queensberry’s vision is to provide an oasis of high-end, premium boutique retail and leisure brands in a high-quality, well-designed, contemporary building.
There is undeniably a need for a major reconfiguration and comprehensive refurbishment of this 60,000 sq. ft. shopping centre. The current configuration of retail units and finish does not meet with modern retailer requirements – and as a result many are vacant - or do not meet the requirements of Guildford’s shoppers. Tunsgate Square occupies a prominent position on the High Street, but has an uninviting entrance and the centre’s food and beverage offer has room for improvement.
The plans for the centre, which currently turns its back on the historic Guildford Castle, with the rear elevations formed of a largely blank wall, will allow for much stronger integration both with the Castle and with the High Street and will become more sympathetic to the older buildings on the High Street, enriching the character and appearance of this part of Guildford.
The proposals include an opportunity to extend the centre’s critical mass to make it more impactful and the High Street entrance will be transformed with a high level café/restaurant at first floor overlooking the High Street.
Plans include the creation of two levels to the rear of the scheme, improvements to the elevation of the building on Tunsgate, a new central atrium and a feature staircase linking both levels, and new entrances to the scheme, which will significantly improve the design, access and future footfall.
Jon Munce, partner at Queensberry, said:
"Queensberry has a great opportunity to successfully identify, manage and deliver a shopping centre refurbishment which re-establishes Tunsgate Square’s distinctive position within Guildford.
“Our proposals are designed to respond to Tunsgate Square’s current challenges and opportunities, and we look forward to presenting our vision and plans to Guildford’s residents, workers and shoppers in the coming weeks”.
A public consultation will be held on Saturday 4th October, 11 am – 4 pm, at the Guildford YMCA, Bridge Road, Guildford.
A planning application will be submitted later this autumn.
Subject to the granting of planning permission, Queensberry anticipates that work will start on site in 2015 and will open in mid 2016 to provide 70,000 sq. ft. of high quality retail/leisure space.
Tunsgate Square Shopping Centre was built in 1972 and was renovated in the 1980s, with the High Street frontage partially rebuilt and a glazed roof installed in The Square.