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Letter: Allowing Waitrose Might Lead To More Stores and More Traffic

Published on: 6 Aug, 2013
Updated on: 6 Aug, 2013

From Bernard ParkeWaitroselet1

Hon Alderman

Over the past weeks the pros and cons of a superstore moving back into our congested town centre have been well aired.

Perhaps it might be a time to reflect on this controversial issue.

In the past we had many supermarkets in the town centre, indeed we even had a Waitrose store.

The town was less congested then as it is today. A policy was laid down at that time to remove the provision for car-born shoppers from the town centre and embark, at great expense, on a park and ride system.

Now it seems we are about to reverse this policy. But will this be “the straw in the wind”? If this scheme goes ahead will not mean other such food companies such ASDA, Morrisons and Lidl would apply to move into our core centre.

In such a cases our planners would find it difficult to refuse them. If this is thought not to be the case look at the town of Dorking. Not only do they have a Waitrose being built in their main shopping area but a few yards away a Lidl is being constructed.

More cars in the town will surely be a deterrent to trade rather than to serve as the elixir of Guildford life.

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Responses to Letter: Allowing Waitrose Might Lead To More Stores and More Traffic

  1. Pete Knight Reply

    August 6, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    Yes look at Dorking: a town of half the size with double facilities.

    How could this possibly open the door to other supermarkets. Isn’t it being argued we don’t have space for one, let alone two! Let’s not forget the Aldi saga.

    GVG say they want a Waitrose but just not here. We don’t need a third view here which is no supermarket at all. At least GVG are realistic in the sense we need one.

    Looking back in time helps no one.

  2. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    August 6, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    North Street development will certainly create more shops and jobs, so is Bernard Parke against this development?

    Shoppers would continue to come in cars and public transport. So additional parking will have to be provided for shoppers driving into Guildford and shoppers coming on buses would expect a much better service.

    Park & Ride is part of the answer but additional parking of some 1500 places would be needed as per Cushman & Wakefield’s report. Shoppers, coming on buses, would want to be dropped off as close to the town centre as possible and picked up, laden with their shopping, from equally convenient locations.
    They would want comfortable waiting areas and not be forced to hunt around for buses parked on on-street bus-bays all dotted around Leapale Lane, Leapale Road and such areas.

    So let us hope GBC comes up with plans for additional parking, and a completely redesigned bus station and modified bus routes connecting all key locations with waiting areas and the railway station as well. GBC should modify and construct infrastructure necessary to achieve this and reroute traffic to create a smoother flow through the town centre. In parallel to this the development of the railway station by Solum Regeneration would also require building of new infrastructure for a better east west route that would also effectively improve the gyratory traffic.

    I strongly believe that it is possible to do all this if approached with a positive frame of mind and some innovative designs. I believe the councils (GBC & SCC) are working in cooperation with all developers and bus operators to strive for what is best for Guildford. It really needs all parties to come together and work out a cohesive plan that benefits all in Guildford: the residents, the shoppers, the businesses and not forgetting those who have to pass through it.

    Let us not predict doom and gloom but wait to see what will be proposed as a result of ‘Rethinking the gyratory’ initiative and the Guildford Town and Approaches Movement Study work, that I believe, will be let shortly.

  3. Bernard Parke Reply

    August 7, 2013 at 7:29 am

    Just to answer briefly two points from Mr Knight:

    ‘More shops more jobs’

    There are an increasing number of High Street shops closing not only in Guildford but nation wide. Surely building more shops will not reverse this trend.

    ‘How could this possibly open the door to other supermarkets?’

    Is it honestly believed that in the present competitive food market that other leading brands would stand on the side lines and let another company stay in the poll position?

  4. Pete Knight Reply

    August 7, 2013 at 9:13 pm

    It is quite clear that all the food stores in the town have more business than they can handle and this is especially true of Tesco and Sainsbury’s.

    We can’t keep building homes without much-needed facilities. Towns like Godalming, Dorking and Woking are almost able to match Guildford’s food retail offer while we we are the county town.

    As for retail – Guildford is consistently bucking the trend – former Argos unit – under offer – former Habitat – under offer, former Currys – under offer the Friary is almost fully let and remaining units in Market Street are starting to go under offer.

    This shows appetite and demand.

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