Fringe Box



“Let’s Work Together” Plea From The Guildford Vision Group

Published on: 14 Sep, 2012
Updated on: 15 Sep, 2012

Guildford Vision Group (GVG) is calling on everyone to work together and find a better way of agreeing a strategic vision for Guildford. This follows their legal challenge to the Guildford Borough Council (GBC) Executive over adoption of draft town planning documents, 

The borough wide Guildford Local Plan needs to be in place by April 2014. But some councillors have already commented that the delay GVG’s legal challenge is causing is already compromising the council’s ability to reject planning applications that the council do not consider to be in the town’s interests. GVG contend that decisions based on the existing documents, if adopted, would be liable to legal challenge, in any case.

John Rigg, Chairman of GVG, “We hope good can come from the legal advice that the previous approach to planning our town centre was inappropriate. Everyone can benefit from the halting of the two flawed town centre documents, if we now embark on a better, more accountable and strategic process. We need better community engagement and a more joined up approach that tackles the big challenges facing our town, such as traffic congestion.”

Gerald Bland, a lawyer and fellow Director of GVG, “Time is short to get a robust and forward looking Guildford Plan in place by 2014. We hope that rather than being further distracted by interim documents2 and legal debate, everyone can now focus on getting the answers to the big issues addressed by the main Guildford Plan right. If we can crack that, everything else will fall into place.”

Questions GVG believes Guildford residents should be given the opportunity to debate include:

  • Do we want a new road link across the river and railway to unite the town and to relieve the congested gyratory? If so, do we need to safeguard land for this near the mainline station rather than allow development there in a short-sighted way?
  • Do we want a state of the art, central bus interchange that links all parts of Guildford and, if so, where will it go?
  • Do we need to rethink how Guildford links with the A3 and should we even plan ahead for a tunnel for through traffic?
  • How do we open up the river as a feature of our town?
  • How much retail expansion is sensible with the growth of internet shopping and should we be doing more to encourage high tech and creative businesses?
  • Where will we provide affordable housing and are we using sites owned by GBC wisely?

Michael Jeffery Chairman of the Guildford Society and a member of the GVG Steering Committee, commented: “We are very careful not to promote answers. We believe passionately it is for the community and its elected representatives to decide these questions.

“Our concern is that at present residents are being shut out even though there has never been a greater need to discuss these crucial issues. We very much hope we can work closely with the Council to secure the best possible future for Guildford and bring in new development in a way that revitalises rather than gridlocks our town.”

The GBC Executive was invited to comment on the GVG statements. None were received.

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