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Letter: Council Executive Should Take Responsibility Over Reducing Pollution ‘Fiasco’

Published on: 17 Feb, 2015
Updated on: 17 Feb, 2015

From Jules Cranwell

There is currently an ongoing discussion in the borough concerning the dangerous levels of pollution in Guildford.

emails letterIt is worth reminding ourselves of the decision in April 2013, by Surrey County Council and Guildford Borough Council to divert funds intended for the promotion of electric vehicles to Surrey Connects, an organisation which has the remit to promote economic development in the county and the borough of Guildford.

The details of the decision to divert £550,000 from the EV strategy are contained in a Surrey County Council report of April 9, 2013. It is worth noting para 6, which reads: “Surrey County Council entered into a legal agreement with Surrey Economic Partnership to use these funds for the promotion of electric vehicles.”

Surrey Economic Partnership has since been dissolved, and the funds handed over to Surrey Connects.

At the time the decision was made to divert the funding to the promotion of economic growth, GBC was represented on the board of Surrey Connects by Monika Juneja.

The current GBC Tory executive should therefore take responsibility for this ‘fiasco’, and the total absence of any real progress on reducing pollution in the borough.

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test 9 Responses to Letter: Council Executive Should Take Responsibility Over Reducing Pollution ‘Fiasco’

  1. Mary Bedforth Reply

    February 19, 2015 at 6:46 pm

    Apart from the noxious gases and particulates encountered whilst travelling by car in Guildford, has anyone noticed the nauseating smell being emitted at road level from a restaurant air exhaust opposite the wharf just before the entrance to the High Street?

    If you happen to be travelling eastwards on the A281 and stuck at the Debenhams pedestrian crossing, switch off the car ventilation system.

    • C Stevens Reply

      February 23, 2015 at 11:47 am

      Mary Bedforth is absolutely right. This is new but can’t be beyond the wit of man to put right. Surely it’s just an inefficient air cleaner which can be fixed?

      And if it’s not fixed, isn’t it a matter for GBC?

      • C Jones Reply

        August 9, 2022 at 9:24 pm

        This is the most revolting road I have ever driven along in 55 years of driving. To say that Guildford stinks is a huge understatement.

        The smell matches the standard of the architecture and the enormous brutalist buildings. What a dreadful, dreadful place.

  2. David Roberts Reply

    February 19, 2015 at 11:11 pm

    In reply to Jules Cranwell’s comment, to be honest it sounds like they did the right thing diverting the money to promote economic growth and wasn’t is only a few weeks ago when local media reported that Guildford has the greatest economic potential outside of London.

    [Ed: see https://guildford-dragon.com/2014/12/16/guildford-top-comes-greatest-potential-economic-expansion/ ]

    This is good news for the borough and dare I suggest that this is a direct result of good governance.

    If you and the GGG party are genuinely concerned about pollution causing harm to residents maybe you ought to rethink your manifesto in particular with reference to building new homes above car parks.

  3. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    February 20, 2015 at 6:35 pm

    Congestion and resulting pollution would not reduce significantly as the switching to EV would be a gradual process. What is needed is to deal with the bottlenecks such as the Millbrook pedestrian crossing and only one lane from York Road proceeding to Onslow Street.

    Southbound traffic is held up at Millbrook crossing and causes tailbacks affecting the gyratory, Onslow Street and beyond including York Road roundabout and the exit from Woodbridge Road and bus station.

    If Millbrook crossing is redesigned to become a two-stage crossing i.e. with an island in the middle, traffic on the single lane southbound would flow much better since pedestrians would take about a third of the time to cross it. This would give southbound traffic about ten extra seconds on each cycle! This improvement would allow doing away with the bus lane on Onslow Street and removal of the restriction of left turn only from York Road nearside lane on to Woodbridge Road.

    Surrey County Council have rejected this solution saying that this modification would delay pedestrians and there was not enough in the funds for gyratory ‘improvements’ to include this!

    So the suffering goes on and on everyday of the week. Maybe SCC should reconsider my suggestion.

    • Richard Howell Reply

      February 24, 2015 at 9:05 am

      From my extensive, although not scientific, research I have reached the conclusion that very few of the people driving down York Road take any notice of the restriction that the nearside lane is for vehicles wishing to turn left in to Woodbridge Road.

      An example of selfish drivers adding to the frustrations of trying to navigate the town centre by car.

  4. Harry Eve Reply

    February 23, 2015 at 9:03 am

    Why not install an underpass at Millbrook with gates to prevent access at night.

    (No – I am not just having a laugh – please read on).

    The pedestrian crossing could also be gated for operation only during the night time so that there is always a means of crossing the road.

    I realise that someone would have to open and close the gates but that replaces the cost of fuel and frustration, in a jam, with employment.

    The underpass solution would, of course, need suitable ramps for all abilities.

  5. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    February 24, 2015 at 12:51 am

    Millbrook subway that has been filled in with concrete could have been retained with redesigned steps only in tandem with the surface crossing. So it is extremely unlikely that a new one would be constructed by Surrey County Council who apparently has a policy of closing all subways. Also room for ramps compliant with current standards is not available.

    I have suggested a possible low cost solution for improving traffic flow as described in my previous comments above.

    I had suggested retaining York Road subway with precisely the same modifications. Mr Harry Eve is right that closing subways out of hours to prevent anti-social activities is a very practical way to deal with this problem provided the surface crossing is retained in tandem. I have no doubt that closing and reopening of the subway could have been carried out by Waitrose under a contract. Similar arrangements with Debenhams could have been made for the Millbrook crossing had it been retained with redesigned steps only.

    I have made such comments on my website (could be found by searching for ‘revamp guildford gyratory’) that deals with improvements to traffic in Guildford area.

  6. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    March 1, 2015 at 5:26 am

    Richard Howell’s comment that “…the people driving down York Road take any notice of the restriction that the nearside lane is for vehicles wishing to turn left in to Woodbridge Road.” does not accord with my experience.

    Most of the time the nearside lane on this stretch of York Road lies empty until the very end where a few car drivers try to push their way into the middle lane. They cause delays to those in the correct lane. These modifications would also ease exit from Waitrose when the store opens.

    The bus lane on Onslow Street is also nearly empty most of the time. Efficient use of road space coupled with improved flow of southbound traffic that would be possible if the bus lane restriction is removed and Millbrook crossing is redesigned as I suggested in my previous comments here.

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