Fringe Box



Letter: Is There Any End To These Broken Promises?

Published on: 11 Apr, 2017
Updated on: 11 Apr, 2017

From Fiona Curtis

So, in short, much of Guildford’s Local Plan is not for local people but for the greater good. The green belt, as it stands, will not be protected and there are no viable long-term solutions to the traffic problems that will ensue.

The number of houses needed (as stated in the OAN – objectively assessed need) remains as much a mystery now as it ever was, and the “uplift” applied in an effort to make housing more affordable will not work.

On the upside, there will be two new railway stations where property values will undoubtedly increase, perhaps offsetting the decrease that will likely occur in other parts of Guildford, blighted by increased traffic and all that goes with it?

The comments on “modal shift” leave me with little confidence that anyone believes this is truly viable.

It is of course relatively easy for the cause of any problem to provide a solution, i.e. the university could build the accommodation that they said they would build ten years ago when 64 acres of green belt was released for Manor Farm.

This would release homes for key workers in the town without the loss of more of this precious land. If less was spent on the commercial property portfolio that Guildford is accumulating then much needed social housing could be built without the need for a 60%+ buffer to cover the costs.

I strongly disagree with the assertion that everything has been done to meet the OAN on brownfield first. There are many acres of surface car parking in key locations that are owned by Guildford Borough Council that could be more effectively used whilst providing more parking if some were converted to multi-storey or subterranean with development above.

Finally, the Conservative Party did not promise to protect the green belt “wherever possible” on any of the literature that came through my door or the doors of my friends and neighbours who live at various locations within the borough. The promise was without caveats and absolute.

Politician doublespeak might fool some of the people, some of the time but many must be asking whether there is any end to these broken promises?

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Responses to Letter: Is There Any End To These Broken Promises?

  1. Tony Edwards Reply

    April 12, 2017 at 9:00 am

    Surely there can be no doubt in anyone’s mind that the Tory party can’t be trusted with the green belt – from Downing Street down to the depths of Millmead.

    But I’ve yet to meet a Conservative councillor or MP who doesn’t claim they’re in the green belt protection party. Have they all been brainwashed or are they simply unable to comprehend what that commitment means in the real world?

  2. Jules Cranwell Reply

    April 13, 2017 at 1:57 am

    We are rather getting used to such broken promises from this Executive. This is their established modus operandi. Promise what you think is needed, and then renege when you think no one is watching.

  3. Guy Sutlieff Reply

    April 13, 2017 at 2:15 pm

    Whilst I have no issue with the overall thrust or content of Ms Curtis’ letter, I do see raised again the thought about there being acres of car park which can be used for housing.

    I think keeping the spaces and building houses above etc is a fine idea actually, but I am sort of struggling to identify where these acres are.

    They are already planning to build on the car park behind the railway station and I believe there are plans in place to do likewise at Bright Hill. One has to assume that building large scale developments is a non starter at Millmead and Millbrook and Laundry Road is marginal in size. I think that just leaves the G Live car park, but with the best will in the world, I can’t see that being big enough to make a huge difference.

    If anybody can think of any others let me know, I’m happy to stand corrected.

  4. Fiona Curtis Reply

    April 14, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    I would like to thank Mr Sutlieff for his comments. My observations concerning surface car-parking are based on an analysis I carried out just over a year ago in an effort to provide some positive suggestions as part of the Local Plan Consultation.

    I am not an engineer, architect, mathematician or planner and hence the methodology used may be criticised and the results are unlikely to be 100% accurate but they should be a good estimate.

    I used ‘Parkopedia’ to list all the car parks in Guildford and their capacity. I noted which were surface and which were not. I then used close up satellite views of the car parks and Acmeplanimeter to ascertain the actual surface area in acres or part thereof.

    The above showed that there are 24 public car parks in Guildford operated by GBC and four Park & Rides. They are all surface car parks with the exception of York Road, Castle Car Park, Leapale Road, Farnham Road and Bedford Car Park (i.e. there are five listed as multi-storey).

    Information supplied indicates that approximately 29.5 acres is given over to car parking which provides approx. 7,808 spaces. In short, only 13% of this land is used for multi-storey parking yet it provides 42% of the spaces with the remaining 87% providing 58% of the spaces.

    These findings exclude the many privately owned surface car parks that provide parking for retail parks, the Research Park, supermarkets and the university etc.

    It is interesting to compare Guildford’s use of land by using the satellite function on Google Maps and comparing the town with others. It is also interesting, but not statistically valid, to look at the usage of the car parks using the satellite function (albeit it is just a snapshot). At the time, 5.6 acres of car park was unused, those with spare capacity being the Park & Rides, Bright Hill, a contract car park, Millbrook, G Live and Guildford Park.

    In short, if Guildford had five multi-storey car parks the size of Bedford Road, this would essentially provide the same level of parking plus an extra 500 spaces in three acres rather than the 29+ acres currently used.

    I would like to see a comprehensive professional analysis included as part of the evidence base in order to better understand the assertion that brownfield sites are being optimally used as my findings were based on what was available to me as a member of the public at that time.

    I am happy to send Mr Sutlieff a copy of the report, via The Dragon, should he wish to see it. Parts will need updating to account for development plans included in the last and most recent draft of the Local Plan.

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