Fringe Box



Letter: Government Should Let the Steam Out of the South East Pressure Cooker

Published on: 4 Aug, 2014
Updated on: 4 Aug, 2014

A3 northbound 2 280 JAFrom John Robson

You can tweak the timing of the traffic signals on both Egerton Road and the “gyratory” which might allow you “press the pedal to metal” for the next 100 yards. You could redesign the A3’s access and egress, add in a few extended filter lanes, even potentially widen it, if you weren’t restricted by cost and topography. Ultimately, you could even suggest we tunnel the A3 if it helps get the local plan approved.

However, in my humble opinion, you would just be papering over the cracks, as the benefit will last a few months before the new areas of tarmac are consumed by the rampaging, all-consuming motor vehicle. It appears our thinking is limited to moving the problem elsewhere, rather than dealing with the root cause of the congestion problem.

The additional 4th and 5th lanes of the M25 took how long and cost how much? Who knows? The M25 is our Forth Bridge, work will never end. But the original net benefit lasted how long? It was probably only six months or so before the world’s first circular car park was once more reinstated.

The green belt propaganda war rages on. “It’s only 2 per cent.” Say it enough times and they hope people may start to believe it. But, building 8-9,000 houses on the urban fringes of this town will lead to what percentage increase in traffic?

Will 16-18,000 additional cars only equate to only a, magically insignificant, 2 per cent increase as well?

To suggest that “most of the borough will remain relatively unchanged” is probably true given that much of the urban area will now be in permanent gridlock.

The government needs to realign the boundaries, but it needs to realign the economic boundaries. There is life north of the Watford Gap. Central government needs to let the steam out of the South East pressure cooker; there are vast swathes of the UK crying out for economic development. Instead of just lining the pockets of south-eastern property developers to butcher our playing fields, how about lining the pockets of people to rebuild the deprived regions of the UK?

Why doesn’t Guildford Borough Council send the message? Why doesn’t it protect the interests this town, reject the government’s housing figure and engage in controlled development, not promote development over which they would have no control?

Very soon the Pareto principal [aka the 80-20 rule] will be utilised to describe the population distribution of the UK: 80 per cent of the people will be living and working in 20 per cent of the land mass, i.e. in the South East of England.

We await the Guildford Society’s next presentation on how to fit a quart into a pint pot. Congestion charging will not kill businesses in the town centre, it’s just another tax that we’d have to get used to paying if this level of urban development goes ahead, it’s what we do, ask people in central London and Durham.

If something is not done the inability to actually get to those town centre businesses in the first place just may see their demise, regardless.

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Responses to Letter: Government Should Let the Steam Out of the South East Pressure Cooker

  1. Fiona Curtis Reply

    August 5, 2014 at 1:45 am

    Recent articles in respected journals have suggested that the pro-growth agenda is intentional and planned i.e. to create balance between young (who put money in) and the old (who don’t). Apparently, by the time many of us are long gone, our GDP will be winning gold medals and our booming economy will be self inflating in that the world and its mother will be wanting to live here.

    I am all in favour of a healthy economy, but prefer evolution to revolution as this would allow us to measure impact and adjust accordingly before we end up in a self perpetuating spiral. We must ask for an impact study as part of the Local Plan. It is irresponsible to proceed with major plans that will increase Guildford’s population by over 25% and add even more pressure to existing problem areas such as road congestion and services.

    We must also look at the cost of continuous growth in and around the London area. By the time we have built on our countryside, built umpteen schools and health centres and hospitals etc. and provided support for everyone who needs it, how much better off would we be?

    Additionally, how exactly are we going to feed the additional population when we are building over much needed farming land? Esteemed economists have said that there will be no net gain from current plans and that it is unsustainable, but this is like telling the Emperor that he is without clothes.

    An impact survey is needed, at regional and national levels, to assess the implications and set out clearly, what this is actually all about? It is ironic that we are commemorating the loss of those who fought for their country 100 years ago, whilst the powers that be are now selling off our country’s biggest asset, its land, to the highest bidder.

  2. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    August 5, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    Can you imagine what the population of the UK would have been had there been no empire? Just considering the big numbers only, say (totally my guesswork) 100 million Americans, 20 million Australians, 20 million South Africans and 15 million Canadians would have been born here! So thank God for the fact that people emigrated long ago to make room for the foreigners now buying up London and causing such intractable problems around it.

    The real fact is years of procrastination and neglect in keeping pace with increase in population and building infrastructures especially building roads have led to the problems we now face. Out of the four rings – A, B, C and D proposed for London years ago, the M25 is the only ring roughly between rings C and D.

    Years of wasteful efforts in planning ahead and general apathy to developments are the root causes. We take immense pleasure in opposing something or anything for that matter. It stimulates our intellectual ability to see every minute pitfall in advance and in seeking out reasons for likely failure of the proposed developments.

    Loss of agricultural land? How much food do we import and as long as there are poorer countries out there in the world, we would continue to import food. There is no way we could ever become self-sufficient in producing all the food we need. Opposition to anything and everything that changes the way we are is a national disease and we revel in it.

    We have endless meetings, consultations and prepare voluminous documents opposing development proposals. Consultation is good but meaningful consultation that requires professional knowledge and expertise could not be carried out if everyone regardless of their abilities take part in the process and puts in their two-penneth.

    The current consultation on the Local Plan is also suffering from overwhelming criticism and meddling by many unqualified people (the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) has granted us all the right whether or not we understand the basic principles of such work) demanding explanations and opposing proposals.

    So there you have it. Solving problems is not good for us. We need the problems to fester so that we can continue to remain disgruntled and complain about all that is wrong. These problems are our life enriching driving force. Without them we might as well be dead.

  3. Roland Lazarus Reply

    August 11, 2014 at 9:49 pm

    Last year the populations of 132 local authorities in England and Wales fell.

    They use the fact that it rose in some of these other already densely populated areas to conjecture and justify it growing ever larger.

    If Scotland gets independence the SNP policy is to relax their immigration laws to stop the loss of population north of the border.

    If we don’t produce our food we import it at a cost to our roads, atmosphere and carbon footprint. Ultimately down the supply line we can be seen to take food from the starving, or at least make it more expensive for the poor.

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