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Letter: GBC Should Commission a Survey on the Issue of Building Height

Published on: 10 Sep, 2022
Updated on: 10 Sep, 2022

From: Bill Stokoe

chair of the Guildford Vision Group

In response to: Local Parties Asked, ‘Should We Have A Building Height Policy in Guildford?’

My interest is centred on the town centre. 
 
I think we should have a policy that strongly indicates that developers should look to build up to six storeys maximum, in the town centre, with height appropriate to setting. The policy should not rule out an exception or two, provided the building fits well into its setting and has significant architectural merit.
I think that public opinion is very mixed on the matter. When it comes to residential, I believe people do want homes above all else. And the consequence of not going up is to spread wider into more green space. Is that what we want?
How best to gauge opinion? A structured survey via The Dragon, surely!
I do think it would be worth Guildford Borough Council’s while to commission a proper, representative survey regarding height so as to guide the planners as they draw up and revise policy.
Maybe the survey could also cover the thorny subject of modern versus pastiche?

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test 3 Responses to Letter: GBC Should Commission a Survey on the Issue of Building Height

  1. Bill Stokoe, chair, GVG Reply

    September 10, 2022 at 3:04 pm

    My late footballer namesake would no doubt be tickled pink to be recognised as the author of this piece on a Southern dilemma. But I have to own up – the remarks are mine.

    Editor’s response. Many apologies. (The article gave the author’s name as Bob Stokoe, a former manager of Sunderland Football Club.) Article corrected.

  2. Ben Paton Reply

    September 10, 2022 at 9:22 pm

    Bill Stokoe writes: “I think we should have a policy …”

    So why doesn’t Guildford have some policies on the heights appropriate to new developments in different areas?

    What has the Guildford Vision Group been up to for all these years?

    Why the deafening silence from R4GV? Wasn’t it elected to sort out these issues?

    It’s just facetious to suggest that an online newspaper should carry out a ‘survey’.

    Policy should be based on objective evidence and rational analysis not an online poll.

    A proper policy ought to have been put in place years ago.

  3. S Callanan Reply

    September 12, 2022 at 12:36 pm

    “Policy should be based on objective evidence,” says Mr Paton. Good idea. But wasn’t that what Guildford Planning had as a bit of a mantra some time back: “evidence-based”? What they did before is anybody’s guess.

    As to height limitations, I don’t recall anyone saying what is actually wrong with low-rise development, though it’s easy to see the problems with high-rise.

    If you walk up The Mount and look across to Woking you can see what looks like a city of the future from some 1950’s sci-fi film. And the two blocks at the foot of The Mount are a lasting and awful warning. I know they’re in a valley but they go quite a long way up.

    Fundamentally all developers are interested in is their bottom line. It’s funny that in their plans they’re always going on about “community” and “vibrant spaces” and that sort of thing, but “profit” is never mentioned. Maybe that’s why low-rise isn’t popular with them.

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