Fringe Box



Letter: Cathedral Development – A Raw Deal for Local Residents

Published on: 13 Apr, 2016
Updated on: 13 Apr, 2016

From: Roy Conner,  Roscelyn Connor, Esther Parry, Adrian Parry

Guildford Cathedral on Stag Hill. Who likes it as a building, and who doesn't? Why not leave a comment in the reply box below.Residents have raised concerns about plans to build 134 homes on the southern and eastern slopes of Stag Hill, on land, it has been claimed, that was part of a gift from a former prime minister of Canada, Richard Bennett, to commemorate the association between Canada and the diocese of Guildford in the First and Second World Wars.

As local residents we feel we are getting a raw deal from the proposed development of the Cathedral.

It would have been more appropriate for this development to be dealt with as part of the Guildford Local Plan rather than a separate planning application so there would have been more safeguards and considerations given to the issues raised e.g. fairly large development, placed in an area already with “issues” (surface water and ground stability problems).

It seems that not only is an established planning policy being sacrificed for this development – but also the privacy and quality of life of established local residents.

We are grateful for the local ward councillors and the planning officer taking the time to come around and look at the proposals from our perspective, something neither housebuilders Linden nor those running Cathedral have.

We suspect that they know only too well who is having to take the brunt of this.  Interestingly, the Cathedral has been able to find the space in the scheme to give all their staff a secluded enclave.

What is the impact on us?  Imagine someone proposing to build a row of houses on land behind you.  The land is 5m [17 ft] above us and the front windows of the new houses would be looking down into our rear garden and rear windows.

The front of these houses would only be eight metres from our garden fence and just under 20 metres from our rear windows.  We lose all privacy and will feel dominated and overlooked.  We doubt this would be allowed anywhere else.  So why here?  Have the Cathedral deemed us not important enough to matter?

What happened to the Polluter Pays principle?  There will be more pollution from the extra cars.

Guildford Cathedral also appear to be ruthless in raising approximately £15 million from their new development but not prepared to have the principal access road discreetly stem from their front road approach, on their ground, despite an existing, properly controlled  junction at the Cathedral roundabout into which cars could filter.

Instead they’ve chosen to place the new access road off Ridgemount, causing congestion to Ridgemount’s already busy five-point junction at the bottom, the small surrounding roads and the incredibly busy Guildford Park Road, which serves the train station, bus depot and Guildford town.

There is no common sense in this.  The Cathedral are prepared to make millions from the development but not prepared to have any extra traffic themselves, pushing the traffic problem onto the surrounding local residents.

Local residents were promised workshops where their opinion would be heard but apart from one exhibition there has been no consideration or feedback to the residents and none of our reasonable requests and suggestions have been considered or even discussed.

We feel the Cathedral is riding roughshod over the community that it is supposed to serve purely out of self-interest. We hope that Councillors can look at the situation in a properly balanced way – refuse this scheme – and then negotiate a new proposal with the Cathedral that is people friendly and not so cynically focused on easy money.

Plan showing the proposed development by Guildford Cathedral on Stag Hill.

Plan showing the proposed development for 134 dwellings on Stag Hill, by Guildford Cathedral. Click to enlarge.

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Responses to Letter: Cathedral Development – A Raw Deal for Local Residents

  1. Stuart Barnes Reply

    April 14, 2016 at 8:22 am

    The development is an appalling idea. When will it all end?

    Remember that the two million or so migrants who have gone to Germany, once they have got EU papers, will be able to come here while some migrants from Calais continue to enter the UK illegally.

    There soon will be no green areas left in our poor little country.

  2. C Dalby Reply

    April 16, 2016 at 4:45 pm

    Come on, the local people do not want this built because the views from their bedroom window’s will be “spoilt”!

    Everybody knows how desperately we need new homes in and around Guildford and I see no valid reason why these plans should not go ahead. There are a small number of homes being closely overlooked by the new development according to the plans and people have to accept that it is unavoidable and that the need for housing far outweighs such details.

    I am sure that the homes will be built to preserve as much privacy as possible anyway and, to be honest, there are homes closer than 20 meters from each other in many areas.

    Yes there will be extra cars, that is life and cannot be avoided and cannot be used as yet another excuse to avoid much needed development.

    Do people actually care about future generations?

    • Jim Allen Reply

      April 17, 2016 at 9:09 am

      A perfectly rational argument but only if one accepts the unproven but oft quoted “much needed development” description.

      Actually, we have still to be given the proof positive by way of formulae and rational argument. Current legislation allows people to leave their home countries and travel hundreds or thousands of miles to find a new home and a new job when the new job could be provided at their original location at far less cost to the environment and the world community.

      Soon we will have deserts of housing in Eastern Europe and oasis of pollution in the UK.

      We really do need to look to the bigger picture and say enough is enough. Move jobs to the people not the people to the jobs.

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