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Letter: Criticism of Commercialism Ignores the Council’s Need for Revenue

Published on: 15 Dec, 2020
Updated on: 15 Dec, 2020

Debenhams Restaurant

From: Dave Middleton

In response to Bob Benjafield’s letter, It’s Always Commercialism First at the Borough Council, bemoaning commercialism at GBC, together with the fate of the Debenham’s site.
“Green lungs” and riverside parks are indeed lovely, but let us not forget that the council needs to fund the services and grants it provides.  I doubt that the income to the council from council tax, other local taxes and revenues are sufficient to fully pay for them.
“Commercialism” by way of the council’s investment portfolio and fees levied on developers, brings in much-needed revenue to help pay for those services.  Without the council’s commercial activities and such fees, either taxes must go up, or services be cut.  Which would he prefer?
A riverside park on the site of Debenhams might be nice, but would not bring in revenue and would, no doubt, further cost the council to maintain.  The heavy traffic thundering along the A281 Millbrook might also detract a little from the idyllic peace and quiet.
As for green lungs in the area to the south and southwest of the town centre, the attached image, courtesy of Google, shows all the public open space in the area marked in red, with private space and farmland shown in yellow.

Guildford’s green spaces

The Debenhams site is marked in blue.  Lots of green lungs there, plus the open space of The Mount a little to the west and of course, all the greenery in folks gardens.  The area is certainly more green than grey.  I somewhat doubt that the town would suffer much if the site remains built upon.
Finally, while it’s not possible to slander a dead person, Mr Benjafield’s snipe at the, no doubt respected, former town clerk, Herbert Weller, a person I didn’t know and am not in any way related to, is rather bad form. “One should not speak ill of the dead” is the phrase that springs to mind.

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