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Letter: Guildford Needs a Different Attitude to Change

Published on: 6 Jan, 2022
Updated on: 6 Jan, 2022

From: J Taylor

In response to: I Find the Idea That St Mary’s Wharf Would Be Worse Than the Current Eyesore Baffling

Having watched all of the consultations by the developer, it is clear that a good amount of effort has been expended in putting forward a design that draws from existing structures and Guildford’s heritage whilst also being modern.

There has to be a pragmatic approach to any new developments and the economic viability of a project will also be a deciding factor. If the development is too small to be viable then it simply won’t happen.

I don’t think Guildford can really afford to have another site sit decaying like other prominent locations in the centre (I’m thinking of North Street), especially one in such a prominent location as “St Mary’s Wharf”. Seeing a shuttered building of a now-defunct retailer as you drive through the centre does not paint a favourable picture of Guildford.

As a resident, what is there really to look forward to except more stagnation? Most proposals fail to get past the planning and concept phase, all the while more of the town centre continues to age disgracefully.

Oversight is important and I’m not suggesting tall skyscrapers like Woking, or building on the green belt, but a different attitude to change is needed should Guildford wish to remain Surrey’s county town in spirit, not just in name.

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test 4 Responses to Letter: Guildford Needs a Different Attitude to Change

  1. Richard Burgess Reply

    January 6, 2022 at 5:03 pm

    A vibrant high street needs punters.

  2. Sue Warner Reply

    January 8, 2022 at 10:25 pm

    I totally agree. I’m not from Surrey originally but I can remember the Plummer Roddis building from a young age when we travelled to Guildford for shopping. Now it looks sad and will only deteriote further, what’s the point in keeping it, no-one is going to take it on and refurbish it. Time to move on and revive the town centre.

    What the current developers are proposing has been amended to incorporate the wishes of people who have commented on their proposals. If we accept what is proposed, it will be far better than the Solum monstrosity at the station.

  3. Roger Main Reply

    January 9, 2022 at 11:13 am

    Classic GBC dragging their decision-making as they did when I was manager at the store and a major development took place in 2000. It took us months and months, including going to appeal, to get what we needed and, as I’ve commented previously in The Dragon, I think this developer is up against the same thing.

    It’s about time this council woke up to the fact that unless they do something this site will just fall into disrepair and be a total eyesore to a beautiful town (aspiring to be a city) like Guildford. I totally agree with the developers. It is an ideal site and will provide housing revenue for the council. Just get on with it. The longer they delay the more costs are involved by both parties.

  4. S Callanan Reply

    January 9, 2022 at 3:32 pm

    Mr Main might be right, if the site is allowed to fall into disrepair and become an eye-sore, but there are perfectly legitimate concerns about its development as flats. I suggest the building be demolished and the land turned into an open space for enjoyment by residents and visitors alike.

    It’s a great site, just down from the town centre and with an attractive river frontage. There could still be a bridge linking it with the Yvonne Arnaud and a place to moor boats. With some trees, benches and a small cafe with a few tables it would be far more attractive as a public realm than the Bedford Plaza will ever be.

    Or is this just a little too far outside the box?

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