Fringe Box



Letter: Action Urgently Needed For Residents Of Beechcroft Drive

Published on: 1 Dec, 2014
Updated on: 1 Dec, 2014
From alderman Bernard Parke

emails letter

Is it really too much to ask that the residents of Beechcroft Drive [off the A3 at Stag Hill] to not have to run the gauntlet of fast urban motorway traffic while entering and leaving their homes from what is virtually a 90-degree junction?

I understand that funds cannot be found to solve this problem, but the same thing was said some years ago when the A3 footbridge there was needed, until the issue was raised in the national press and television took an interest in the plight of the residents.

I hate to use the cry “May Day, May Day”, but that, of course, is a date to note in your diaries for next spring.

[Ed: what are your views on this issue of residents’ vehicular access to and from Beechcroft Drive on such a busy A3 road? Please leave a reply in the box below.]

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Responses to Letter: Action Urgently Needed For Residents Of Beechcroft Drive

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    December 1, 2014 at 9:58 am

    The safest option (wait for the screams) would be to adopt the roads through Manor Farm and bring the road out at Francis Carick Road – noting that today’s announcement that the A3 is to be widened to the A31.

    Clearly someone already has a plan for this road but simply failed to tell the public.

  2. Fiona White Reply

    December 1, 2014 at 11:53 am

    Of course, Bernard Parke is right that a solution must be found for the residents of Beechcroft Drive not only for their sake but for the sake of safety on the A3.

    If an alternative route in and out of the road without using the A3 could be delivered, it would also mean that the current gap in the central reservation of the A3 which was the site of at least two recent accidents, could be closed. It is a huge safety concern.

    Discussions are taking place with the Highways Agency, including the university and Anne Milton MP and the issue came up during my meeting with a representative of the Highways Agency this morning.

    [Fiona White (Lib Dem) is the county councillor for Guildford West]

  3. John Robson Reply

    December 1, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    The issues surrounding this junction are well documented and have been since 1961, when it was first formally identified as being dangerous. No doubt, in keeping with current rhetoric and in the defence of their intransigence, Surrey County Council (SCC) and the Highways Authority (HA) will probably claim there has been “minimal increase in traffic flow” since 1961. Therefore they can’t justify the small amount of expenditure required to close the junction and provide alternative access for Beechcroft Drive (BD), it’s what they do.

    During the recent dialogue BD residnets have had with SCC and the HA, it’s apparent both organisations continue to prioritise pound notes over people’s safety.

    Sickeningly and in the writers opinion, only fatalities will force the budget holders to act. This doesn’t just mean the pensioners, the women and children on the school run turning onto the blind bend of the A3, into oncoming traffic traveling at 60-70mph. This means anyone travelling on the A3, accidents don’t discriminate.

    Through their “improvements” at Hindhead, the SCC and the HA are the regulatory authorities who have turned the A3 into a race track, blighting many people’s lives in Guildford, the situation at Beechcroft Drive is now chronic.

    Notwithstanding the current Health and safety dogma we’re bombarded with elsewhere in our daily lives, BD proves to be the exception to the rule, with these two authorities seemingly quite happy to assign a cost to human lives.

    One thing I do find strange however and not to denigrate the legitimacy of protecting a world heritage site like Stonehenge, though unlike the A3 I’m not sure it will have 15,000,000 traffic movements per annum?

    How can the HA prioritise this scheme over one that would tunnel the A3? Why aren’t our local leaders and politicians making the case for Surrey and its supposed status as a powerhouse of the UK economy? Is Guildford’s contribution just one-way traffic?

  4. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    December 1, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    At the risk of getting a thumbs down from Mr Parke, I would suggest we wait for the Highways Agency’s plans to widen the A3 now that some funding maybe available for the Guildford section.

    I had the opportunity to sort out the technical approval of the design parameters of Beechcroft Drive footbridge and I believe the spans were made long enough at my request to allow future widening to three lanes.

  5. Nigel Trellis Reply

    December 1, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    It’s a pity that the university, so pleased to help out with meeting the town’s housing needs(?), cannot help the Beechcroft Drive residents with the use of an access road.
    There appears to be a university road already connecting Beechcroft Drive to Francis Crick Road on its Manor Park site!

  6. Bernard Parke Reply

    December 1, 2014 at 8:54 pm

    I appreciate the professional advice from Bibhas, but like me he does not have to risk live and limb whilst going to and from home.

    Can we really wait for a widening of the A3?

    Can we by waiting, resist the possible loss of life when the issue could be resolved quite simply?

    No doubt the residents of Beechcroft Drive will vent their feelings.

  7. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    December 1, 2014 at 9:26 pm

    The junction of the A31 on-slip road to the A3 is still very sub-standard even after some lengthening carried out about 20 years back. Beechcroft Road junction is extremely dangerous and ought to be closed and an alternative connection should be provided.

    The widening of the A3 through this area would normally require replacement of the two bridges – the one carrying the A31 Farnham Road and the other carrying the A3 off-slip to Farnham. This would be very disruptive, expensive and would likely to be difficult to justify being so close to the area of outstanding natural beauty. There is however, a possible solution that does not require replacement of these bridges as outlined on my website.

    The University of Surrey has yet to propose, as far as I am aware, any connection to the A3 for its proposal to build housing on Blackwell Farm and Manor Farm area.

    I would not get involved in the debate whether such a development is necessary, but assuming it does go ahead, an access road and an exit road could be built at the same time as the widening of the A3.

    Moreover, a link to Beechcroft Drive could be constructed to provide access off Farnham Road via Down Place, a private road, assuming its owner is agreeable. Down Place is a narrow road, so a new single lane road could be built to facilitate safe one-way in and one-way out connections to Farnham Road.

    My website shows several sketches of possible solutions for the Guildford stretch of the A3 including access to Onslow park and ride, off the A3. This can be found in the link:

  8. Fiona White Reply

    December 2, 2014 at 7:56 am

    There could be a solution if the University of Surrey would grant a right of way for access to Beechcroft Drive over the lane it owns.

    There would need to be some passing points put in, but I doubt whether the lane needs to be updated to full highways standards as it would only lead to Beechcroft Drive.

    Also, it would not need to wait for the outcome of the local plan to see whether the proposal to build at Blackwell Farm stays in.

    I am sure the Highways Agency would find the money to close the existing access off the A3 if there was another way for residents to get in and out.

    [Fiona White is the Lib Dem county councillor for Guildford West]

  9. David Smith Reply

    December 2, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    Surely its cheaper for Surrey County Council / Highways to buy all of these homes, compensate the owners and demolish them? Then the junction could be closed off.

    Or when the Blackwell Farm estate is approved build a link road there and close the junction with the A3 off?

  10. Mike Melbourne Reply

    December 2, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    This has been an ongoing problem for many years.

    My wife and I were looking to buy there over 25 years ago. The road was a problem then and no doubt will be in many years to come.

    The location is ideal, providing you don’t wish to drive a car.

  11. John Robson Reply

    December 2, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    Replying to Mr Neogi’s comment, even if the topography issues can be resolved I’m not sure how just widening the A3 will suddenly resolve all of the transportation issues that Guildford currently faces, we also have to target the root causes of the congestion caused by the South East’s economic bubble.

    Has pouring billions into widening the M25 reduced congestion? The benefits of the extra lane lasted about six months, build it and they will fill it…..

    The Government needs to take the heat out of the South East and invest in the deprived areas of the UK, otherwise the South East will be one gigantic car park surrounded, by low cost, low quality, high profit “affordable homes”……

    As for Beechcroft Drive, thanks, but there is no need for a meandering route through Manor Farm and the almost permanently gridlocked business park.

    SCC and the University of Surrey have already completed a preliminary study which shows that the optimum route will be a 650m lane connecting Beechcroft Drive to the park and ride site, running parallel to the A3. That’s all, a 650m long single track will resolve this problem.

    The only issue we currently have is that SCC and the HA do not have the necessary statistics to justify the £1m-£1.5m expenditure. i.e. Nobody has died…..Yet.

  12. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    December 3, 2014 at 10:41 am

    Mr Parke would probably know the history that Beechcroft Drive was cut off from Manor Way when the bypass was built in 1935!

    Residents who have bought properties since had known of vehicular access problems. No doubt the problem has become more acute as the volume of traffic increased over the years and something has to be done but if the government does not allocate funds, what can the Highways Agency (HA) do?

    The scheme to address the A3 problems was pulled by this government in 2010 and now that it has a change of mind (for whatever reason), at last The HA could do something. I expect the HA could carry out advance works and we do not necessarily have to wait for the whole job to start that would take several years of design and construction.

    Access through the university land would solve the problem, but it is a matter for the university and the residents of Beechcroft Drive to resolve.

    I believe highway authorities cannot undertake such activities unless acquisition of land or right of access is sought under a road improvement scheme. As far as I am aware, SCC has no such scheme since they regard the access to Beechcroft Drive is the responsibility of the HA who in turn had no funding until now.

    It is true widening generates new traffic, but I would argue whether it takes up the whole of the extra capacity.

    Congestion is due to increase in traffic but lack of investment in improving the network over decades that have resulted in the situation we are in.

    New roads and bypasses could be the solution but it is extremely difficult due to environmental objections and that means widening wherever possible is preferable. Traffic would not go on increasing because price of oil would increase over the longer term and people are more and more working and shopping from home using the internet. So, yes, we need some widening and maybe some new roads but ‘do nothing’ is not an option.

    I am delighted that SCC and the university have done a preliminary study for Beechcroft Drive link to Onslow park and ride. My website shows this suggestion.

    I sent the details of my website to the university’s development manager a while back, but had no response. I sense Mr Robson has not visited my website to see the suggested solutions for the A3 stretch of Guildford, the gyratory, relocation of the bus station and redesigned bus routes not to mention the tunnels both under the town centre and bypassing Guildford connecting the A281 Shalford Road and the A25 Parkway.

  13. John Robson Reply

    December 3, 2014 at 10:49 am

    In answer to Mr Smith’s comments, without wishing to sound flippant, why don’t we take the HS2 approach?

    Why don’t we issue compulsory purchase orders to all properties 100m either side of the A3 from Compton to Wisley and turn the A3 into a 10 lane super highway heading into the metropolis.

    That way we can also lessen the commute for the displaced Londoners living the in the 13,000 executive homes that GBC are proposing to build to meet Dave and Boris’s housing shortage.

    As for Mr Smith’s views on Blackwell Farm, whilst I appreciate he appears to have a penchant for concrete and Tarmacadam, unfortunately for his and the opportunistic developers, we still have a significant amount of due process to go through before the decimation of the green belt and the AONB is sanctioned.

  14. Martin Dowland Reply

    December 3, 2014 at 11:16 am

    There is no need for so many choices in solutions when John Robson has cited the obvious.

    Davis Smith is, I think, being tongue in cheek as the cost of removal of one road (and its homes) to create another would cost rather more than 1.5 million for the most efficient solution.

    To add the traffic from one residential road to the tailback of the already overdeveloped business park (aka Surrey Research Park), because motorists are not obeying the speed limit on the A3 is frankly daft.

    Highway research has broadly demonstrated how widening roads adds to and shunts traffic congestion.
    When the road is like the M3, but ploughing through Guildford with great chunks of acreage overwhelmed by roads, roundabouts and slip roads, will all be resolved? I will leave readers to ponder that one.
    Thank you Bibas Neogi for attempting to offer solutions, but these type of solutions have left us in the mess we are in now.

    The solution to me seems obvious.

  15. Mark Payne Reply

    December 3, 2014 at 8:29 pm

    Yawn, Yawn, Yawn.

    I have heard promises, after promises after promises that we will be supplied with a new access.
    And guess what – no action.

    We know it is dangerous, Surrey County Council knows it is dangerous, Highways say it is dangerous.

    Eventually there will be a fatality and those concerned will all have blood on their hands.

  16. Bernard Parke Reply

    December 4, 2014 at 9:34 am

    Perhaps it is worth remembering that before previous elections there were plans to close the 90 degree turns into Manor Way and also into Wilderness Road. However, these proposal seem to have been lost after those elections.

    The only one to have progressed was the the Ash Grove junction.

    The slip road from the Tesco side on to the A3 is particularly hazardous, if not pure dangerous.

  17. Terry Stevenson Reply

    December 4, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    The year 2021 for the A3 widening – that is one and a half parliaments away. And we all know what can happen in the meantime.

    Presumably, they will also be tunnelling the A3 at the same time as widening it. If so, that should put a huge ‘black hole’ in the finances. And if the road remains on the surface of the earth, rather than underneath it, it will be interesting to see the additional land take requirements.

    Furthermore, if they do ‘tinker’ with the existing route, I only hope all the additional congestion, delays and pollution caused as a result of the construction phase are factored into the cost benefit analysis.

    Perhaps what Guildford actually needs is a proper ring road situated in the green belt. You never know, it might act as a fire break for development beyond. Alternatively, perhaps a more general stifling of transportation infrastructure is the best way to limit economic growth and the pressure to develop?

    Weren’t things far simpler when most people lived in the street by the factory gates where they worked.

  18. Martin Dowland Reply

    December 5, 2014 at 10:56 pm

    More letters come in, some overlap each other, several issues to address.

    What actually is the issue? – what are we trying to achieve?

    Surrey County Councillor Fiona White has come up with a sensible temporary solution to keep us safe while the A3 continues to be swamped by vehicles driving around bends and past junctions well over the 50mph speed limit, or being snarled into jams as Guildford is the route to and from just about everywhere.

    Meanwhile, in the middle of this, some of us still value the quality of life in Guildford as a wooded gap town with style.

    Guildford has always been a town with major roads (Bibhas Neogi, the A3 was built a year before Beechcroft Drive). How we go forward will mean one not obliterating the other.

  19. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    December 9, 2014 at 5:10 pm

    I do not know when Beechcroft Drive was built but it seems most likely that Manor Way led to Manor Farm before the A3 bypass was built and that Manor Way was severed by it. The alignment of Manor Way lines up perfectly well with part of Beechcroft Drive up to its junction with the track to Manor Farm and the bell-mouth at the junction with the A3 was created to ease entry and exit from Manor Farm.

  20. Terry Stevenson Reply

    December 11, 2014 at 12:36 am

    Practically everything about the A3, from its junction with the M25 to the A31, is substandard in terms of modern day design and use. Junctions with limited access, poor gradients and radii all add to its woes.

    The section within Guildford is particularly poor, the road having to weave between, under and over this, that and the other.

    Simply shoe-horning in a couple more lanes onto the road will not resolve the road’s fundamental flaws; nor will tunnelling it. The latter would significantly limit the opportunities for those within Guildford and the surrounding area to join and leave the road at convenient points.

    That is why I suggest it would probably be more effective, and indeed cause less heart-ache, to start again from scratch, with the wholesale realignment of the road (to the north) and a secondary ‘ring-road’ to the south.

    And – as ‘Bob’s your uncle’ – Beechcroft Drive’s would be resolved.

  21. Bernard Parke Reply

    December 11, 2014 at 11:03 pm

    Is it too much to ask to offer the 21 or so houses the immediate safety solution as Cllr Fiona White has suggested ?

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