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Letter: Is Town Centre Street Upgrade Project On Hold or Cancelled?

Published on: 4 Aug, 2020
Updated on: 6 Aug, 2020

Tunsgate refurbishment underway. Photo Ben Darnton

From Jane Lyons

Chair, Guildford Pub Watch and vice-chair of Experience Guildford

In response to: Cllr Furniss Should Listen Instead of Telling Business Owners What They Need

I feel it necessary to clarify some of the more salient points about the halt to the upgrade in Swan Lane/Chapel Street/Castle Street.

I appreciate that in the present economic climate, road closures (especially in Chapel Street) are not only untenable but undesired, but we lack clarification about whether the upgrade is being put on hold or shelved permanently, when a considerable amount of money and time has been spent on consultancy over the past three years. As I understood it, the funds had been “earmarked”. I am therefore assuming there will be a hold on any other major projects.

As a resident and business-owner in Castle Street, I will address some of the points Cllr Maddie Redpath has made.

1) I have raised concerns over the upgrade with Cllr John Redpath (R4GV, Holy Trinity) on behalf of The Keep and Tunsgate Square SC, about the traffic-calming aspect in Castle St (as SCC have already made road repairs). We residents experience 50-plus vehicles a day illegally using the one-way and excessive parking violations mainly on the pavement blocking access for pedestrians. We are very keen for this aspect of the works to go ahead.

I have also had unsolicited engagement over this with our SCC Cllr Mark Brett-Warburton (Con, Guildford South-east) of which SCC Cllr Matt Furniss (Con, Shalford) lead for transport, is aware. Cllr Redpath has not contacted Tunsgate Square Quarter, Experience Guildford, my Pub Watch member in Chapel Street, or myself. I have met her only once in the past 14 months when I voluntarily presented to the GBC Licensing Committee on behalf of Pub Watch and Purple Flag.

2) As the host of HTAG (Holy Trinity Amenity Group], who take the residents’ viewpoints into serious account, I ask if the South Hill Residents’ Association is part of HTAG or a new offshoot group?

3) Clarification is needed over the works completed in Tunsgate Shopping Centre and Tunsgate Street. Although the shopping centre project took three years to complete, the street works were completed within a year and the works were halted for two to three months at the request of the businesses in Tunsgate to enable Christmas trading. We have gained a prettier street which is probably the most easily accessed in the town centre and the empty units are reflective of the dire retail crisis the Covoid-19 pandemic has caused and would benefit from as much support as possible.

4) During the Tunsgate redevelopment and public realm project, Experience Guildford organised consultation meetings to which all the businesses affected were invited, their CEO also helped access GBC hardship grants and business rates support via the Valuation Office.

At a time when businesses in the town centre are struggling to stay afloat as a result of Covoid-19, contact with the Experience Guildford CEO and the rangers, who are in the front line with the businesses, would be more productive than political point-scoring

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