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Action Group Unhappy With SCC Meeting on London Road Proposals

Published on: 3 Aug, 2023
Updated on: 5 Aug, 2023

By Martin Giles

An update report issued by the London Road Action Group (LRAG) on controversial proposals to improve facilities for cyclists and pedestrians along the London Road, from Burpham towards Guildford town centre, is critical of how a recent Surrey County Council meeting on the subject was conducted.

Terry Newman, chair of the Action Group, formed early this year following a proposal to close one-way London Road for five months, reported that the meeting of the Sustainable Travel Reference Group (STRG) held on July 26 was “extremely disjointed”, that a 20-page document to be discussed was only circulated hours before and that there was no agenda.

See: London Road, Burpham – Five-Month Closure Ruled Out

Cllr Matt Furniss

The meeting was chaired by Cllr Matt Furniss cabinet member for Transport at SCC and attendees were warned that they would be expected to vote on options presented. The meeting was attended by The Consultation Institute (TCI) who had been drafted in to help with the public consultation process.

“The stated objective,” said Newman, “was to select ‘around eight questions that will be used in the public engagement’.”

Image of London Road taken in August 2022, showing existing layout. Google Street View

According to the LRAG update, prior to the meeting, at least two stakeholders raised concerns with the STRG chair, and with the leader of Surrey Council, Tim Oliver, who was expected at the meeting, “…that the time made available for proper study was insufficient and there should be a postponement. The answers given were that there would be resolution at the meeting.”

The update continued to say that at the meeting LRAG chair Newman [not Cllr Furniss as previously reported in error] made an opening statement that he was attending, “but only as an observer, because he had not been allowed time for adequate scrutiny, and would not participate in any voting. At this point, TCI revealed that the voting plan had been scrapped!”

Asked whether he felt LRAG’s published update was a fair and accurate account of the meeting, Cllr Furniss, avoided the question but said: “We’ve commissioned The Consultation Institute to run an independent engagement process for the London Road active travel scheme, ensuring stakeholders are engaged with throughout.

“The Stakeholder Group of schools, residents associations, elected representatives, bus operators and other interested parties have been engaged to shape the engagement process for residents starting in September.

“This will run for eight weeks and involve a series of drop-in sessions throughout the community to enable everyone to have their say on the proposals. Minutes of the meetings will be published on our website shortly.”

Cllr Fiona Davidson

Cllr Fiona Davidson (R4GV, Guildford South East) who also attended the meeting said: “I feel that my role as a divisional county councillor is to make sure that local residents are properly informed, and that their views are heard, objectively considered and given priority. After all, it is those living close by who will be most impacted.”

The next STRG meeting is not planned until September.
See more London Road articles here.

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Responses to Action Group Unhappy With SCC Meeting on London Road Proposals

  1. Keith Francis Reply

    August 4, 2023 at 6:57 am

    Matt Furniss is also, since May, a GBC elected member for Pilgrims Ward.

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