Fringe Box



Letter: Car Park Site Should Be Used For Student Accommodation

Published on: 29 Nov, 2016
Updated on: 29 Nov, 2016

Guildford park Road car park development viewFrom Alan Sutherland

Chief executive, University of Surrey’s Students’ Union

What is most disturbing about the proposal to develop the Guildford Park Road car park site is that no consideration at all has been given for the main pedestrian route from the University of Surrey campus to Guildford town centre.

There are almost 3,000 students on Stag Hill and this is the way they walk into town. A large proportion of the 2,500 staff also walk this way from the train station. No amount of green walls will dampen the noise of a 500 student pub crawl in October at 1am.

The response about “considering student housing” but then ignoring it, because it is someone else’s problem, is also short sighted.

As we have argued constantly, instead of 140 houses on this site, it could be possible to build upwards of 800 student bedrooms which could release 250+ houses currently occupied by students across Guildford.

There is still an opportunity to create much needed student accommodation in a very short space of time, if only councillors would be open to thinking differently.

See also: Proposal to Develop Guildford Park Road Car Park Site Approved and Opinion: We Do Consider Planning Decisions Carefully

Share This Post

Responses to Letter: Car Park Site Should Be Used For Student Accommodation

  1. Bernard Parke Reply

    November 29, 2016 at 6:32 pm

    An interesting proposal, but not one perhaps to win friends and influence local people.

    Many young Guildfordians can no longer afford to live in their home town.

  2. Brian Holt Reply

    November 29, 2016 at 6:51 pm

    All student accommodation should had been built within the university campus, this would had freed up hundreds of good houses in Park Barn, Westborough and Stoughton for families who live in Guildford. This is what the houses were built for, not for use as temporary student accommodation.

    Alan Sutherland says no amount of green walls will dampen the noise of a 500 students pub crawl at 1am. At least he admits they make a lot of noise in the early hours of the morning. We get fed up with the noise sometimes being woken up at 2am.

    Students are supposed to be hard up but they seem to have enough money to go drinking all night.

  3. John Robson Reply

    November 29, 2016 at 9:11 pm

    So a prime town centre development site which will deliver much needed affordable housing for long term residents of Guildford, not those just passing through, should be turned into a super dormitory to save University of Surrey’s boozy students staggering too far in the dark.

    It’s not GBC’s responsibility to build town centre student crash pads. I would suggest that Mr Sutherland directs his ire towards the illuminati who manage his university. The same university that has, so far, failed to build out the student accommodation required to meet its phenomenal growth agenda and for which they have planning permission.

    This failure has forced students to cram into town centre housing with the university then claiming they can solve Guildford’s “affordable housing crisis”, they helped create, by demolishing some of its green belt.

    And of course the fact that the university will pocket millions in the process is just a mere consequence of this “philanthropy”.

    Students are a vital and welcome part of any community, but they are not the only part. Hopefully with the benefit of the education that this town has afforded them, they will realise this.

    Surely Mr Sutherland knows all of this. Maybe our free thinking students are, once again, pawns in a developer led agenda.

    More town centre student accommodation, more pressure to open up the green belt, so despite the revolutionary rhetoric it appears to me that “some” students may be more buy to let than buy the next round these days.

    • C Stevens Reply

      November 30, 2016 at 7:34 pm

      If you look at the Students’ Union Facebook ( you can see the whole of Mr Sutherland’s rant at about -12 minutes from the end of the video of the meeting about housing on Monday, November 28.

      He concludes by telling those present that they should “be ashamed of themselves” because of their attitude to students, though it seems from the video that speakers at the meeting were criticising the university rather than the students.

      A shame, really, that when the students’ union has an opportunity to get some good public relations it manages to do the opposite.

      I’m sure that Fran Fell’s comment on the video: “is someone gong (sic) to compile a cliffs-notes (sic) version of this so I don’t have to sit through all the crusty old white man waffle?” is untypical of the attitude of students as a whole since it sounds to me dangerously close to what we call hate speech these days.

  4. Lisa Wright Reply

    November 30, 2016 at 10:58 pm

    Cllr Spooner has tweeted to say UoS intends to build 3,000 units on Manor Park with another 1,000 to follow. Perhaps that will help? Add a decent late night bus and everyone will be happy.

  5. Valerie Thompson Reply

    December 1, 2016 at 3:19 pm

    It has been a constant complaint that the university has failed to provide student accommodation on the land, which was given to them specifically for this purpose.

    As Mr Robson says, far too many houses in town are full up with students; houses which could be released for key workers and the lower waged if the university had any moral sense of obligation to Guildford.

    The car-park site should not be used for student accommodation.

  6. Dave Middleton Reply

    December 1, 2016 at 5:10 pm

    Having watched Mr Sutherland’s input to the debate I would like to point out that some of us older people, presumably the section of the community he dislikes so much, did not have it easy and did not have the benefit of “low interest rates”. My first mortgage in 1992, was at 16.4%, around five times the typical current rates and the monthly repayments promptly swallowed the bulk of my pay.

    Everybody, excepting perhaps the children of the very rich, has it financially tough when they start their adult life, that’s just the way it is and as you progress through your life, provided you are financially responsible, you become slightly better off and more comfortable.

    Also, my understanding of student loans and I may be wrong and am happy to be corrected if I am, is that repayments are not required until a salary of some £30,000.00 per year is reached and, if the loan is not paid off after 30 years, it’s written off anyway, so it seems that it’s not exactly a lifetime debt as he states (trust me, 30 years will disapear faster than you think).

    As for building on campus, when I was a young serviceman, I was very happy to live on camp, close to where I worked and not have to travel long distances to my place of duty. I would’ve thought that most students would be very happy to live in nice shiny new accommodation halls on campus, probably paying a reduced rent to the university, rather than some of the expensive but shabby student digs they have to live in off campus at the moment. Just because they might be living on campus, doesn’t mean they’re “corralled in a ghetto”.

  7. John Cole Reply

    December 2, 2016 at 9:51 am

    I think it would advisable for the University of Surrey’s Student Union to stop this unelected executive’s high handed tirades.

    Mr Sutherland says:”What is most disturbing about the proposal to develop the Guildford Park Road car park site is that no consideration at all has been given for the main pedestrian route from the University of Surrey campus to Guildford town centre”

    That is not the most important thing, it is a relatively trivial thing.

    And the route through the car park is not the main nor shortest route into town from the university, that is via Yorkie’s Bridge and Walnut Tree Close.

    The largest proportion of the 2,500 staff do not walk the route through the car park as they do not arrive by train. Google maps has the Yorkie’s bridge route as 10 mins from the station where as the car-park route comes out as 12 minutes.

    The university decided to increase student numbers with the recent intake being larger then the previous and target is set higher for the next years intake. Plus the additional university building recently with Vet School, 5G centre and Medical Labs additional staff only increase the strain on accommodation and parking neither of these being increased proportionately and there was no public consultation about any of the impact of these decisions on Guildford.

    The obvious impacts of the over expansion of the university is to produce a stain on the local infrastructure making big problems for local businesses and residents in the areas of parking, accommodation and road congestion.

Leave a Comment

Please see our comments policy. All comments are moderated and may take time to appear.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *