Fringe Box



Letter: Burchatts Barn Could Be Viable As A Community Asset

Published on: 12 Apr, 2020
Updated on: 12 Apr, 2020

Burchatts Barn – photo Mandy Millyard

From John Redpath

R4GV borough councillor for Holy Trinity

Judging by Peter Knight’s comment (April 11, see under: Burchatts Farm Barn Finally Leased After Successful Planning Appeal) I’m assuming he is suffering from an overlong lockdown and looking for mischief, regardless of facts.

But thank you to John Perkins for reminding us that the council, while needing to be financially prudent, is not a commercial business but runs to provide services for residents, indeed, this is our reason for being.

Swimming pools, theatres and parks are just a few of the facilities supported by the council for the enjoyment of the public we serve.

Run properly as a community venue, Burchatts Farm Barn could easily show a financial return for the council by offering what is a unique venue for use by Guildford’s residents, as it has done in the past.

During the present political term at GBC, R4GV will be looking to put in place protection to allow the Barn to become a community facility again in 10 years, should residents want this. This will be done regardless of which political party is in power at that time.

Personally, I hired Burchatts Barn three times for large family gatherings, when it was possible to do so, and I know many others who also enjoyed using it for family parties and receptions.

I note David Smith’s comment that he had never heard of the Barn. Surely this is yet more proof of how poor marketing and promotion of this venue resulted in the situation we are in today?

An important point missed by Mr Knight is that R4GV are not in control of the council. We have fought hard for the two seats we have on the Executive and we will be doing everything we can to gain more seats, but we have used those two seats as best we can, which has included voting against further over-expenditure on the Walnut Bridge.

Unfortunately, £1.5 million of LEP money was wasted by the previous administration on a fanciful, unworkable bridge design that would need to have been repaid, so fiscally there wasn’t a sensible way back as the project would not have been finished by the LEP completion deadline.

If one were to consult last year’s political almanac for Guildford, it would be seen that the Local Plan was passed just a few days before the elections last year.

Once elected, R4GV still consulted two QCs who were experts in planning law to see if it could be challenged. The advice we received from both was that it was watertight and that a challenge would not succeed and this has since been proved by the failure of the three Judicial Reviews.

R4GV will continue to work for the best interests of all Guildford residents whenever we can.

Two examples can be found with our success in securing the Chantries Campsite for continued public use and working with Chilworth residents to secure West Lodge as a community facility. Additionally, the Lodge will benefit visitors to the Gunpowder Mills by making them more aware of the importance of this National Monument site.

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