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Letter: Do We Want Debenham’s Left Empty For Years? I Think Not

Published on: 12 Dec, 2021
Updated on: 12 Dec, 2021

Artists impression of St Mary’s Wharf viewed from Millmead.

From: Roger Main

former general manager at Debenham’s, Guildford

In response to: Nine Storeys Proposed for Debenhams Replacement ‘St Mary’s Wharf’

As I have previously commented, the St Mary’s Wharf proposal is a great scheme for the town of Guildford. I understand some of the negative comments in your online newspaper, many similar comments from the outside agencies were made before, but this development will benefit the town.

Having run that department store for over 15 years I believe it’s the right thing to redevelop the site.

The developer has gone into great detail and I urge your readers to review all the hard work that the architects have done to appease the council and some of their objections.

A huge amount of money has already gone into the scheme and let’s not forget the council will benefit from the council tax that would be paid by the residents of these flats. Currently, they get nothing.

I really do hope that this goes through and enhances the town, otherwise Guildford the site will go into disrepair and become even more of an eyesore than it currently is.

I have known developers who fail in planning applications to just leave their sites empty for years. Is that what people want? I think not.

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test 2 Responses to Letter: Do We Want Debenham’s Left Empty For Years? I Think Not

  1. S Callanan Reply

    December 13, 2021 at 3:29 pm

    There’s been an empty site on the Portsmouth Road for years [the “Plaza site, formerly occupied by the CEGB HQ demolished over 25 years ago].

    It was there some years as an empty building at least as ugly as Debenhams. Life went on. It’s the business of developers to design hoping they’ll get planning consent and make significant amounts of profit, so their outlay of “a huge amount of money” is simply a cost of being in business.

    The income for the council from council tax is insignificant. The council gets only 9 per cent of a band D charge. So if the development were to be 150 band D properties the council would benefit by less than £30,000 a year.

    The proposed development will add nothing to the town because it’s just disproportionately large. It will become an enduring planning error if approved, as is the two tower blocks looming over The Mount.

  2. Bill Dewey Reply

    December 16, 2021 at 12:26 pm

    Maybe Roger Main is thinking of Burymead House, just across the river, the former HQ of the Central Electric Generation Board (CEGB) which has lain empty for over 25 years.

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