Fringe Box



Alderman Hits Out Over Railway Station Revamp Plans And ‘Misleading’ Brochure

Published on: 3 Jan, 2015
Updated on: 3 Jan, 2015

Alderman Gordon Bridge has hit out over plans for the redevelopment of Guildford railway station and is concerned over what he believes is a “misleading glossy brochure” being circulated on behalf of the developers.

He has criticised the station plans submitted to Guildford Borough Council by Solum Regeneration, a partnership between Network Rail and Kier Property.

Artist's impression on how Guildford railway station may look according to developer Solum's plans.

Artist’s impression on how Guildford railway station may look according to developer Solum’s plans.

Writing to the borough council over the plans he states that the proposed height of the development (on the east side of the station) “is totally out of scale with a town centre whose topographical character would be seriously overwhelmed by such a large high unit”.

He adds: “The scale of some 48,000 square metres is too large for this area,” and that “the design does not respect the character of Guildford and would impose upon a ‘Euston’ or ‘Croydon’ style.”

Alderman Gordon Bridger.

Alderman Gordon Bridger.

In a letter to The Guildford Dragon NEWS, Mr Bridger writes: “Most residents of Guildford will have now received a glossy brochure from Solum Regeneration.

“It lists many of the developments proposed such as 445 homes, 440 car spaces, 300 jobs, and claims, but does not detail, that there will be improvements to the railway station, more public space and better access.

“The ‘newsletter’ then asks respondents to answer eight questions about the improvements they would like to see. All of them will surely entail a favourable response – for who would not want improved public facilities, more parking, a new public square and better shops?

“What it does not tell you, despite photo montages, is that it entails a 15-storey block, the highest ever built in Guildford and that it is part of the largest planning application ever received by Guildford – some 48,000 square metres of development.

“Surely this high-rise building, which will tower over the town, should have figured in this leaflet? Residents are entitled to be indignant at the failure to reveal this most important feature and the attempt, via a questionnaire to inveigle them into approving the proposal.

“Before commenting on, let alone approving the proposals, they need to be evaluated as part of the new town centre ‘vision’. The council has just approved funds for the Allies Consultancy report to be converted into a master plan which will include vital transport proposals which Solum appear to have ignored. This report will be ready in a few months and Solum’s proposals need to fit into it.”

Mr Bridger also believes the improvements to the station are minimal, saying that ticket office space appears smaller, with no moving stairs.

He says that the station “is a vital nodal point for traffic and there are no signs of any improvements – indeed it would appear that traffic space would be reduced”.

The need for another supermarket “must be challenged,” he urges, and says: “We need to see the results of the new town centre proposals just voted through GBC for the town centre before determining this application.”

“My advice to those wishing to respond to it is to avoid answering biased questions and to question why they have been sent a circular which does not set out all their developments properly. They may find my response useful, which reads – ‘No I am not in favour of this proposal if it is delivered as part of a massive development towering over Guildford’.”

See previous stories:

Proposed Railway Station Buildings Are Too High Says The Guildford Society.

Plans Submitted For Revamp Of Guildford Railway Station.

Have your seen a copy of Solum Regeneration’s brochure? What are your views? Please leave a reply in the box below.

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Responses to Alderman Hits Out Over Railway Station Revamp Plans And ‘Misleading’ Brochure

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    January 4, 2015 at 9:49 am

    Again Alderman Bridger says it like it is..

    [The proposed development] is also missing any integrated transport link with the buses.

    Surely integration of buses and trains should be the prime mover of any development of this important site.

    Making any claim that ‘no one using the trains wants to use the bus’ as made by the rail operators fails to understand integration.

    No one uses the bus when catching the train because it doesn’t go to the train station – start putting (park and ride?) buses to the front of the station and people will start using the buses. And this will reduce traffic congestion at the railway station.

    We are so desperately in need of a rational sensible and cohesive local plan for our community. We simply do not need these out of town proposals – out of sync with the population and failing to supply the needs of our community.

  2. C Stevens Reply

    January 5, 2015 at 9:48 am

    Anyone who is misled into thinking the station development will fit into Guildford should take himself or herself up The Mount to the green hill which looks across to the cathedral. From there you can see the tower crane being used in the construction of the new part of the Farnham Road Hospital.

    Transfer the height of the crane across to the station, add the bulk of the development, and you can get a sense of what Solum Regeneration propose to do to Guildford.

  3. Ngaire Wadman Reply

    January 12, 2015 at 5:45 pm

    I’ve just come home from the Solum exhibition at the YMCA, having studied the pretty pictures and spoken at length with the nice smiley people there.

    The height of the development is excessive. There are a number of issues, not least being the lack of any ramp or wheelchair lift to the main entrance to the station (anyone needing a ramp access would be expected to take themselves around the side of the large front building, around a very narrow pavement), and only half the flats would have dedicated parking spaces.

    There’s a lot of consulting, studying, and feedback to be dealt with, obviously, and the more people who go to have a look, and talk to the nice smiley people from Solum, the better.

  4. J Wrenn Reply

    January 25, 2015 at 10:33 pm

    The leaflet produced by Solum is headed “Guildford STATION Regeneration”.

    Solum seem to be trying to hide what they are planning.

    Guildford railway station will be changed a bit, but the station is a very small percentage of what is planned.

    When I speak to people about this many of them say that they do not travel by train, so it is of no concern to them. That must be what Solum want people to think.

    The lucky few who escape on the train, after they have managed to struggle through the bikes and the cars to get there, will be the lucky ones. They will not, until they come back again, have to suffer looking at these huge, inappropriate buildings.

    Nothing should be done until there is safe access to the station.

    Solum plan on providing 736 cycle spaces! Poor cyclists, emerging into Walnut Tree Close or Bridge Street!

  5. Dinah C Alsford Reply

    January 26, 2015 at 11:20 pm

    I have seen Solum Regeneration’s proposed plans for Guildford railway station and, since there is no mention of an integral bus station, I feel they are no improvement on the present situation. If the intention is genuinely to provide improvements to the travelling public integration with the bus system is essential.

  6. David Raison Reply

    February 12, 2015 at 11:26 am

    This has nothing to do with the station, it’s just property developers not considering the environment/location and the public needs.

    They are just after a profit. If a station redevrelopment is planned, then there must be more integration with the bus services.

    Whenever I need to combine a bus and train journey rhrough Guildford I usually end up dragging suitcases from one to the other. These proposals do not serve the community.

  7. Nick Sargent Reply

    February 12, 2015 at 8:06 pm

    After reading the plans I am concerned by them.

    I am all for regeneration and additional homes but this must be in keeping with the area.

    Let’s not make a similar mistake to the one that allowed two tower blocks to be built on Old Portsmouth Road which are an eyesore on the Guildford skyline.

    The plans must definitely take into account the inreased demand on the local infrastructure through additional homes and commercial premises.

    Back the drawing board I hope.

  8. Susan Parker Reply

    February 13, 2015 at 7:32 pm

    The Solum plans for the railway station are flawed, and don’t take into account Guildford’s design heritage.

    They need revision and integration into the Mastervision for Guildford, and proper consideration of sightlines and views, an undertaking that has now been given by the developers. I hope it is honoured.

    But that isn’t the only planning proposal in the centre of Guildford, even though it is the only one that is subject to public consultation.

    I’d also like to know what is happening in North Street, Leapale Road and the surrounding area – and I am sure I am not the only one.

    Buildings are being demolished, but I’m not aware of an equivalent consultation to that for the railway station.

    I understand that The Guildford Society are represented on the North Street / Town Centre Forum – can they please hold a session in relation to North Street and tell us what is proposed, please?

    I have asked them this before, but I don’t think they have replied. Would either councillors or the members of that forum please tell the public what is proposed for the heart of our town?

    Something is certainly being proposed, but we aren’t allowed to know what it is – not in front of the children, perhaps?

    I went, as a member of the public, to the full council meeting on the budget on Tuesday. There was an intriguing item on the agenda, which stated that the council could consider the bid for funding “no 35” in relation to the North Street redevelopment as part of the general capital funding programme.

    The order paper also noted that the public and press would be excluded from this item. The detailed papers in relation to this were missing from the public pack.

    Why the secrecy? Why can’t we know about this, and why should press and public be excluded from the debate? Can we have an open debate about North Street, please?

  9. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    February 15, 2015 at 6:59 am

    Vision for town centre revamp by Allies & Morrison did not include taking traffic away from the broadened vista along modified Onslow Street and Friary Street.

    Assuming traffic is somehow diverted away from this area, and the North Street development is doing away with the idea of having a relocated bus station, the suggestion is that there would be bus bays all over the town centre.

    Convenience of a central point where bus connections could be made would be lost as well as comfortable waiting areas especially during inclement weather.

    If Allies & Morrison’s vision does not materialise, Guildford would still be left with the gyratory, albeit possibly modified or may be made even worse for traffic, the bus station ought to be relocated such that convenience of the bus users is enhanced and connection with the railway station is vastly improved. It should also be on a location that is independent of the town centre revamp and not necessitating a temporary relocation, as had been proposed, on the car park opposite St Nicolas Church.

    A new link road between Walnut Tree Close and Woodbridge Road plus replacing Yorkie’s footbridge over the railway by a road bridge would provide a greatly improved bus service from the bus station if relocated on Mary Road car park site.

    A comfortable waiting area integrated with the Friary extension and at the railway station (Solum Regeneration needs to be reminded that the station revamp guidelines required it to become a transport hub), redesigned bus routes split to serve the town centre, the railway station and the west side of Guildford would reduce congestion on the gyratory as well.

    A viaduct connecting Guildford Park Road (from the access road to the car park), with Woodbridge Road would take a lot of traffic away from the gyratory.

    Above suggestions are freely available and could be viewed on my website. If the readers feel that these make sense, they should consider writing to GBC and SCC supporting these ideas.

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