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Dragon Interview: John Rigg Asks Why Has Guildford Inherited SCC Infrastructure Projects?

Published on: 12 Dec, 2020
Updated on: 15 Dec, 2020

Cllr John Rigg being interviewed by The Guildford Dragon NEWS.

By Hugh Coakley

In an interview with The Guildford Dragon NEWS, Cllr John Rigg speaks about his wide-ranging portfolio as lead councillor for Regeneration including producing the Town Centre Master Plan (TCMP) and major projects.

Tensions between borough and county, both under financial pressure, were evident when Mr Rigg said: “People might say why are GBC taking on infrastructure projects when it really is Surrey County Council’s role but we inherited them from the last council.

“We have picked up the bill they [the county] should be paying.”

He said that the projects, including the A31-A331 Blackwater Valley Hotspots and Ash Road Bridge, were vitally important but should have been part of Surrey’s workload.

He said Guildford Borough Council additionally had a huge list of construction projects being developed, the largest being the 1,500 houses on the Weyside Urban Village costed at £360 million. That list, he said wryly, also included two new railway stations, North Street development and Spectrum 2.

You can see the full interview with Cllr John Rigg here…

Questioned on whether GBC had the expertise to deliver, he said GBC did not traditionally have the skills needed or “the statutory authority to do some of the works. We do have to rely on Surrey CC and that is not always easy and problem-free.

“We are in discussions with Surrey so, fingers crossed, things might improve.”

And on the consultation on North Street, he said that he was passionate about there being a “proper consultation” and that the public would have “three chances” to contribute their views on the scheme.

There had been no commitment on the height of the development, he said, as it was too early. emphasising the importance of delivering homes to meet the housing target, “to stop more incursions into green belt” and to bring life into the town centre.

On the Town Centre Master Plan, for which a subject Cllr Rigg has been campaigning for many years, in his former role as chairman of the Guildford Vision Group, he said that the draft would be ready by mid to third quarter 2021 adding, “We have a great master planning team in place for the first time ever in the history of Guildford.”

On Spectrum 2, he said that he was disappointed that Spectrum was showing “clear signs and evidence as having a limited life.” He said they were looking at how much “life could be got out of it” before it had to be replaced.

 

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