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News: Future Plans: A Vision for 2020

Guildford Cathedral today announces a new strategy to secure its future at the heart of the Guildford community. The strategy includes an ambitious seven year plan for fundraising and investment and also reveals plans to sell some of the land on Stag Hill for proposed new housing. 

The new Dean, the Very Revd Dianna Gwilliams, is today launching this bold new plan which will involve the creation of significantly enhanced public open space on Stag Hill, greater connectivity with the town centre and a major programme of urgent repairs to the fabric of the Cathedral. These developments will complete the original vision for the Cathedral as a place of worship at the heart of its community.

A fundamental part of the vision is to ensure a sustainable financial future for the Cathedral which costs £1.17m to operate per annum and is currently running at a deficit of around £100,000 per year. To achieve this, Guildford Cathedral 2020 reveals plans to release an area of land for the development of social and private housing, including a new Cathedral Close to accommodate staff and clergy which will replace the existing sub-standard houses.

Funds from the sale of land will not only create an endowment but will also enable the construction of new facilities which will generate income and extend the mission of the Church through Christian education, music and tourism into the future.

The 2020 strategy was developed by the Cathedral Chapter, the body responsible for running the Cathedral. Its Chair, the new Dean, the Very Revd Dianna Gwilliams said:

This is a crucial point in the history of the Cathedral which has never experienced financial security. It is exciting today to be launching the Guildford Cathedral 2020 Strategy which gives the Cathedral not only a future, but a chance to finally take up its place at the heart of its community, just as its founders envisaged some 80 years ago.

The strategy provides a framework for an extensive programme of investment which will enable us to establish a strong new physical link with the town and realise the original vision for the Cathedral’s surroundings which included landscaped grounds, housing and buildings for community use.

Our belief is that fulfilling our strategy for 2020 will have a positive impact on Guildford as a whole by delivering much-needed affordable housing as well as creating a more welcoming and attractive environment: a centre of worship, culture, music, education and social activity.

Chapter and our advisers will be engaging in extensive public consultation and will also be working closely with the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England, Guildford Borough Council and other bodies, such as English Heritage to ensure that any development proposals are appropriate and sustainable.

The Cathedral, which was built through the generosity of ordinary people, is committed to the community and to promoting widespread ownership of the Cathedral’s heritage for this and future generations. Our vision is to make it truly a ‘People’s Cathedral’ and there will be extensive scope for detailed public consultation on each stage of the process. Our hope and prayer today is that the community will join us on our journey to make this vision a reality.

Chapter is currently engaged in a competitive tender process to identify the most suitable, experienced developer who shares Chapter’s aspirations for high quality development on the site. Chapter are already looking forward to a comprehensive program of public engagement and consultation once a developer is selected to ensure that in future the Cathedral and the Stag Hill site feature more prominently with both Guildford residents and visitors – a Cathedral Quarter to be proud of.

More information about the strategy is available at

Added Thursday 26th September 2013