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A3 Tunnel in Guildford ‘Necessary’ for New Homes, Says Guildford’s MP

Published on: 10 Jan, 2023
Updated on: 10 Jan, 2023

Angela Richardson

By Emily Coady-Stemp

local democracy reporter

Guildford’s MP says “thousands and thousands” of new homes in the area will add to the need to tunnel the A3.

Angela Richardson also said it was “incredibly difficult” to get people in the town out of their cars and that a balance needed to be struck between making sure residents could get on with their lives and tackling climate change.

Ms Richardson said: “I’m campaigning to tunnel the A3 under Guildford because we’re going to have a huge number, thousands and thousands, more houses built.

“All of those houses are going to come with cars and it is incredibly difficult to get people in Guildford out of their cars and on sustainable transport.”

See the Emily Coady-Stemp’s video interview here…

Developments in and around the town include more than 2,000 new homes as part of a masterplan for the town centre, and a proposed new town on the former Wisley Airfield of more than 1,700 homes.

The MP is campaigning for a tunnel under Surrey’s county town, and at Prime Minister’s Questions in December renewed her call to help reduce traffic and pollution on the road.

Ms Richardson claimed the road outside the town is the most polluted on the strategic road network and said in Parliament “short-term sticking plasters” were not enough.

A petition started by the MP two years ago for a tunnel under Guildford gained 280 signatures.

She told the LDRS there was a “genuine will” from people in Guildford to reach net zero emissions by 2050, as the county council has committed to, and said ideally the target would be reached sooner if possible.

She added: “What we have to do is find the right balance of achieving those goals, but making sure that people are able to get about and engage in their business and their lives and their activities.”

It comes as Guildford Borough Council is also considering ways to improve congestion and the resulting pollution, with a congestion charge in the town one of the options being considered.

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test 6 Responses to A3 Tunnel in Guildford ‘Necessary’ for New Homes, Says Guildford’s MP

  1. Ramsey Nagaty Reply

    January 10, 2023 at 4:32 pm

    A tunnel would only work if it ran from Milford to Merrow.

    The changes to the gyratory being considered (ie the “Y option”) will reduce traffic capacity in the town centre and divert more traffic through the A3100 Portsmouth Road. This will add to traffic through Compton already an AQMA [Air Quality Management Area] due to high levels of pollutants giving low air quality.

    We need a better, more robust Park & Ride with additional sites at Merrow and at Shalford A281. A short tunnel will attract more traffic to join or leave the tunnel, not a clear solution.

    The ONS [Office of National Statistics] has stated in writing that Guildford’s housing requirement number is overstated and without adequate connecting infrastructure of roads (east-west and north-south) as well as inadequate sewerage and water electricity supplies.

    We should be revising the Local Plan and Angela Richardson should be addressing this first rather than pushing for a tunnel that in itself is not a solution and will enable even more development. In the meantime, Ms Richardson should lobby for lorries coming up from the Portsmouth direction to be routed to use the M27 and M3 rather than the A3.

    Ramsey Nagaty is the leader of the Guildford Greenbelt Group and a borough councillor for Shalford.

  2. Harry Eve Reply

    January 10, 2023 at 7:57 pm

    Is Ms Richardson suggesting that none of the residents of those thousands of new homes will want to visit Guildford and will just want to go elsewhere? If a tunnel were built which routes would all that extra traffic use to reach the town?

  3. Sam Peters Reply

    January 11, 2023 at 3:59 pm

    Total nonsense. It seems, having only persuaded 280 people that pumping more cars onto our roads will magically reduce pollution, Guildford’s MP is now trying to claim her proposed legacy white elephant is needed to support new homes instead.

    Quite how a tunnel to support putting thousands more cars on our roads will tackle climate change or support “sustainable transport” is anyone’s guess. It certainly won’t reduce congestion – the induced demand effect is a well-understood phenomenon. Coupled with this eventual increase in traffic, encouraging yet more HGVs to use the A3 will only serve to worsen Guildford’s air pollution, especially for NOx [Nitrous Dioxide] from which the town suffers particularly.

    Sustainable transport requires investment in walking and cycling infrastructure, and in public transport – not building new roads and isolated estates where the only option is for every house to have two or more cars. Unsurprisingly, investing in sustainable transport would also have benefits including genuinely reducing emissions, creating more cohesive communities, improving health, supporting local economies, and so on.

    If we want to tackle the A3 air pollution problem, a Clean Air Zone which moves HGVs back onto the M-roads designed to take them is one solution – and wouldn’t require spending millions of pounds on years or decades of emissions-intensive work only to ultimately worsen traffic and fail to solve any of the current problems.

    If Guildford’s MP wants a legacy project, how about a few trees or a nice park instead?

    Sam Peters is a spokesperson for The Green Party.

  4. David Roberts Reply

    January 11, 2023 at 5:13 pm

    With Boris Johnson gone and the country entering a second bout of austerity, you’d think Tory MPs would stop trying to kid us with impractical, boosterish dreams.

    I put the Guildford tunnel proposal on a par with Boris’s airport, the benefits of Brexit and Surrey councillor Bob Hughes’s magical pledge to move Send into the Surrey Hills AONB.

    If Ms Richardson thinks a tunnel is a good idea, is she going to pay for it?

  5. Dave Fielding Reply

    January 12, 2023 at 7:38 am

    Come on, this tunnel is a really good idea. Let’s bung Thames Water a few extra million and let them build pipes that take their outflows from our rivers to the tunnel.

  6. Des Haynes Reply

    January 13, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    We don’t need a tunnel under the A3; we need a new, MP.

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