Fringe Box



More Than 120 Parents and Children Take Part In Pedestrian Crossing Protest

Published on: 13 Jan, 2015
Updated on: 13 Jan, 2015

Parents of children who attend Sandfield Parimary School staged a protest on Monday afternoon (January 12) at a pedestrian crossing they say must be upgraded now that a nearby underpass is to be closed and filled in.

Parents and children make their concerns known at the pedestrian crossing in York Road, Guildford. Picture by Cathy Pile of lemon Yellow Photography.

Parents and children make their concerns known at the pedestrian crossing in York Road, Guildford. Picture by Cathy Pyle of Lemon Yellow Photography.

As reported in our previous story, parent Melanie Hancox and school governor Karen Fredborg said the developer of the new Waitrose store and Surrey County Council (SCC) have reneged on a deal to improve the York Road/Stoke Road pedestrian crossing before filling in the underpass (subway).

The protest took place as parents collected their children from the school on Monday afternoon. Karen Fredborg said: “There was a great turnout, with an estimated 120 parents and children taking part. The lights changed nine times to get us all across safely.”

Protesting with their banner proudly displayed. Picture by

Queuing up outside the school to get to the crossing. Picture by Chris Parker.

Now, a spokesman for Waitrose has said that it does not want to put anyone at risk trying to cross the road and will meet with the school on Tuesday.

The spokesman added that the replacement traffic light-controlled crossing could not be constructed without filling the existing subway, and added that keeping it open was not an option, so did not form part of the planning agreement or the highways works agreed with Surrey County Council.

Mored details on the statement on Eagle radio’s website.

Protesting and proudly displaying their banner.

Protesting and proudly displaying their banner. Picture by Cathy Pyle of Lemon Yellow Photography.

Following The Guildford Dragon NEWS’ previous story there have been a number of comments in the reply box at the foot of the story.

A further reader, Sarah Salter, emailed her response: “I live in Artillery Terrace and have three children. The peace of mind that comes with knowing that there are no crossing of roads gives my kids the freedom to walk into town.

“With the speed that some motorists drive and the filtering of traffics from three different ways I am always concerned about the risks at the existing crossing.

“From a motorists point of view – I am often queuing down the York Road to the roundabout wanting to turn right but unable to pass the majority of traffic heading into town or round the one-way system. I am dreading the additional weight of traffic resulting from the Waitrose development. This will be further exacerbated by the more frequent use of the crossing which will cause a tailback all the way back to London Road and beyond.

“I cannot understand why the underpass could not have been retained.”

What are your views? Please leave a reply in the box below.


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Responses to More Than 120 Parents and Children Take Part In Pedestrian Crossing Protest

  1. Calum Shaw Reply

    January 13, 2015 at 6:01 am

    Children plus traffic is a bad idea. Why not keep the underpass?

  2. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    January 13, 2015 at 10:51 am

    I quote from above – “The spokesman added that the replacement traffic light-controlled crossing could not be constructed without filling the existing subway, and added that keeping it open was not an option….”

    Is this really so? I have commented on a previous story on this issue and would like to be convinced by Waitrose’s and SCC engineers that there is no other solution.

    As I said before: “Could this subway have been retained with steps only in conjunction with the new crossing? I do not know the details of the design layout, but from what know of the area, I believe it would have been possible to remove the east ramp to create a level area for the at-grade crossing, replace the west ramp with steps and extending the subway southwards to go under Waitrose entrance lane to the car park.”

  3. Brian Holt Reply

    January 13, 2015 at 12:10 pm

    What has this subway to do with building a store and car park nearby?

    I see now this was not included in the planning application, so how can they come along and fill the subway when it has nothing to do with them?

    How can a subway that goes under a road nearby effect them?

    What else are they going to do?

    Explanations are needed now by Guildford Borough Council’s planning department, as to why this was not in the planning application, and Waitrose, as to why they need it filled in.

    • Geraint Jones Reply

      January 13, 2015 at 10:02 pm

      In reply to Brian Holt’s comment, I attended the planning meeting when Waitrose’s plans were given the go-ahead.

      One of the councillors actually raised the issue of whether it was necessary to fill in the underpass. One of the GBC planning officers responded by saying that Waitrose would lose parking spaces if it wasn’t filled in, and the project wouldn’t be viable if that happened.

      A scandalous attitude in my view, putting profit before pedestrian safety, and in my opinion put the officers on the side of the developers rather than taking on board the prevailing opinions and safety of all the locals who’d objected to losing the underpass. The subway could have been kept if Waitrose were to make do with a slightly smaller car park.

      Apparently amending the entrance on the Waitrose site side wasn’t straightforward if they stuck to their car park plan – there are restrictions on the grading of entrance/exit slopes.

      I understand that it was, and presumably still is, Surrey CC and GBC’s policy to fill in all subways eventually, but this development pushed the decision on this one.

      No, subways aren’t the most pleasant of places, but this one doesn’t feel particularly unpleasant, and is very popular.

      It’s so much less worry to cross York Road with small children by going underground, and its presence means that older primary school children can be allowed to walk to school without worrying about them risking their lives.

  4. Torkil Fredborg Reply

    January 13, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    Given the timing of this specific crossing this would mean that, if left as the only way to cross York Road near Sandfield Primary School, some pedestrians would have to wait for up to 20 minutes to cross the road at peak school times… what are the chances that someone will take the risk and walk on red?

  5. Dave Middleton Reply

    January 13, 2015 at 6:20 pm

    Closing this subway is a very bad idea! I use this subway quite regularly and it’s an excellent facility. Putting yet another surface crossing in its place will just add to congestion and delays for motorists and pedestrians alike, just as closing the “Debenham’s” subway did.

    The way things are going, Guildford is going to end up like Woking, with more traffic lights and crossings than you can shake a stick at!

  6. Bernard Parke Reply

    January 13, 2015 at 7:10 pm

    I understand, perhaps incorrectly, that all subways in Surrey are to be closed as was the case at Millbrook.

  7. Dr Bernadette Moore Reply

    January 13, 2015 at 10:20 pm

    I am very upset to lose this subway and the safe passage it has allowed my children (aged five and three years) for five years now.

    The fact that Waitrose has now reneged is appalling. I fail to understand why crossing can’t be fixed first. What technical or engineering constraint can possible exist whereby filling a subway is required prior to providing a safe crossing (albeit still, less safe than a subway)?

  8. Brian Holt Reply

    January 14, 2015 at 12:17 am

    What is going to happen every time there is a power cut in the area and the traffic lights are out?

    How are children going to get across the road then?

    So Waitrose will lose a few parking spaces if the underpass stayed open. There are plenty of car parks nearby anyway, and a bus station very close for shoppers.

  9. Jules Cranwell Reply

    January 14, 2015 at 10:52 am

    The only thing the developers understand is money.

    If you want to stop this, you should all sign a pledge never to shop at any branch of Waitrose, if it goes ahead. A total boycott will have them sit up and take notice. As Tesco has shown retail is not in a good place right now, and sufficient opposition could have them shelve the scheme.

  10. Pete Knight Reply

    January 14, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    In reply to Jules Cranwell’s comment, Tesco may not be doing well. However in Guildford this is certainly not the case – you queue to get into both Sainsbury’s and Tesco and on Sundays the car park at Sainsbury’s in Burpham is almost full half an hour after the store has opened.

    Both stores have more business than they can handle as we do not have enough food retail outlets in our ever expanding town.

    Unlike Tesco, Waitrose is trading well, but I’m sure you’d know that, being so well versed in your other comments. And I agree with the remaining comments.

    However, being at the planning meeting also I was able to see Waitrose’s commitment to the town and I think it’s clear a compromise can be reached.

    The supermarket is well known for its community involvement, and, let’s face it, Waitrose will be here to stay. If the other suggestions of housing ever took off on this site the developers would be long gone once the flats were sold.

    We are all lucky this is Waitrose and not some other supermarket!

  11. Brian Holt Reply

    January 14, 2015 at 5:07 pm

    I would never shop there while it is a Waitrose.

  12. Vicky Burchett Reply

    January 15, 2015 at 11:13 pm

    My Four-year-old old son goes to Sandfield Primary School and we get the bus everyday.

    We walk up from the bus stop opposite Guildford police station, we use one of the subways everyday, whether it’s the one next to the job centre or the one further up.

    Either way, when they fill them in we will have to leave earlier than the 7.50am we already take every morning to account for the extra time it will take to go all the way up to the crossing and to wait to cross.

    I don’t believe they need to close both subways, and if they do they need to make sure that everyone’s safety is put first and foremost before everything!

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