Fringe Box



Letter: Guildford Needs a Ring Road

Published on: 7 Feb, 2017
Updated on: 7 Feb, 2017

Dave Middleton

The only way to cure the through traffic problem that Guildford suffers from, is to bite the bullet, follow the example of Basingstoke some years ago, and build a proper ring road that can circulate the through traffic around the outside of the town.

Everyone knows this, but no councillor or politician, either in local or central government, is prepared to face down the inevitable howls of anguish from the people whose land it would cut through.

All the “visions” and “plans” that have been presented so far, are just tickling the problem and simply will not cure it.

Often the actions that have been taken so far, actually increase congestion and danger to road users, rather than relieving it. The Onslow Street, Woodbridge Road and Woking Road bus lanes are perfect examples, as was the mind numbingly foolish removal of the Debenham’s underpass on Millbrook.

As other contributors have said, a “modal shift” from motorised personal transport, be it fossil fuel or electric, to bicycles and walking is sheer fantasy.

On a personal note, a significant increase in the number of free motorcycle parking bays might just free up a bit of tarmac for cars. I’d be surprised if there’s more than 24 motorcycle bays in the whole town and from personal experience most of them are designed for tiny scooters and mopeds, not full sized bikes.

Share This Post

Responses to Letter: Guildford Needs a Ring Road

  1. Bernard Parke Reply

    February 7, 2017 at 2:55 pm

    Quite right, the congestion problem must now be addressed as a priority issue, building more houses in the Guildford Park area and Stag Hill will only add to the problem.

    In recent weeks we have seen far too many road accidents in the town.

    A ring road would take several decades to achieve unfortunately, we need to take action now. I have said before, and I make no excuse in saying this again, that through traffic should be liable for a congestion charge.

    It would at least provide an income stream from which would in the short term help to finance improvement to the traffic problem.

  2. Jan Messinger Reply

    February 7, 2017 at 3:22 pm

    Has anyone thought about the impact of a ring road on all the surrounding villages. This is what will happen if Guildford town centre is mainly pedestrianised.The traffic still has to go somewhere.

    With so much building planned in neighbouring counties this will just make a bad situation worse. All the local villages would suffer. People will still want to make their journeys and with an ageing population I do not see cycling as the option.

    Plus ring roads don’t always have a positive effect on town centres. We don’t want Guildford town centre to suffer. Think about what happens now certain areas with road traffic accidents cause the whole of the borough to grind to a standstill. This will get worse with a ring road.

    There will be same traffic but it will just be on smaller roads and more built up areas of housing will have more traffic. It will be a nightmare for those living out of the town centre.

  3. John Lomas Reply

    February 7, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    Bearing in mind that it is some years since I lived in the area and I don’t know exactly where people are wishing to travel to and from, my initial thoughts are that.

    While a full ring might take years to complete, to me the most obvious missing links are from the A31 eastbound onto the A3 southbound and vice-versa, and then from the A3 across to the A281 and A284 near Shalford.

    People from the Woking, Worplesdon/Bagshot, Aldershot and Farnham directions could then all access the Shalford side without passing through the town centre.

    Shalford to the A25 (Silent Pool) on the south side of Guildford and A3 to Silent Pool on the east side of Guildford would probably be achieved by a mixture of widening with some realignment and new routing.

  4. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    February 7, 2017 at 5:42 pm

    It has been said quite a few times, here on The Dragon, that there are no viable alternative routes for north-south traffic and the east-west traffic is congested being partly on the A3.

    So, a congestion charge would achieve no appreciable reduction in traffic through the town centre. It would be an unfair charge. It is unlikely that Surrey County Council would entertain it.

    A ring road around Guildford would have to be mostly in tunnels and cost huge sums of money to build that the central government does not have. It could be a tolled road but the volume of traffic would not be enough to raise even a modest part of the cost.

    In the shorter term, some modifications to the gyratory would improve flow a little but in the medium term, traffic from the gyratory needs to be removed if the town centre is to be made pedestrian friendly. This could be done as GVG is proposing but their scheme is not designed to cope with the current traffic (apparently requiring a 27% reduction from ‘modal shift’), let alone take on increases due to traffic from new housing within Guildford and Waverley Borough areas.

    Alternative scheme options for achieving a traffic free town centre would be to carry the A281 on a flyover on top of the road or put it underground in a tunnel-like structure. A flyover would of course not be acceptable as it would ruin the character of Guildford. So an under the ground option would be preferable, as shown on my website.

    A new bridge over the river from Walnut Tree Close to take northbound Portsmouth Road traffic together with a two-lane flyover for the east-west route is what I have suggested.

    I suggested the flyover, way back in 2010, that is further north of GVG’s location. The road on the bridge over the tracks would be about three metres above the car park level and it could slope down before it meets the access road. This would avoid having to the run the road at a higher level than the gardens behind the Rupert Road houses as in GVG’s proposal.

    In the longer term, the A281 Shalford Bypass and a link from the A3100 Artington Park & Ride could be constructed and then the road taken through a tunnel to the A25 Parkway and proceed to join the A3. This short tunnel effectively provides a north-south route. These suggestions are also on my website.

    The route from the A281 and the A3100 to the southbound A3 exists through Compton but it could be improved and widened with a bypass. A route connecting the A3 with the A31 in place of the B3000 is needed. The B3000 through Puttenham is congested and it should be part of the A3 improvements at some time in the future since new housing proposed for Normandy, Ash and Flexford areas would increase traffic.

  5. David Ogilvie Reply

    February 8, 2017 at 4:32 pm

    Dave Middleton is right Guildford does need a ring road.

    I wrote a letter to the Surrey Advertiser, published 31.5.1996, describing a tunnel from York Road to Millbrook 800m long through solid chalk using land already owned by the council and not requiring a single building to be demolished. This tunnel would create a ring road and take 38% of the traffic out of the gyratory system.

    Then on the 15th November 2011 I presented Sue Sturgeon, now the GBC managing director, with a plan that included the tunnel plus a bridge over the river and railway linking York Road to Guildford Park Road and thus enabling the pedestrianisation of Onslow Street and Bridge Street. All this effort fell on stony ground.

    I am glad that GVG are promoting this vital bridge link. To cope with future significant housing and business increase in Guildford improved rail facilities, platforms, lines and stations to encourage modal shift away from the road system will also be required.

  6. Guy Sutlieff Reply

    February 8, 2017 at 4:34 pm

    I don’t think we actually need a ring road as such, or certainly a complete ring in any case. The overwhelming volume of traffic coming through Guildford is moving on a North/South axis, i.e. from the A281 & A3100 towards the A3 and roads north or vice-versa

    So a solution would probably be a road linking the A281 at Shalford, via the A3100 at Peasmarsh, to the A3 at Compton.

    Perhaps it could branch off the A281 at the old railway line, crossing the marshland (perhaps on stilts to avoid damaging the ecology there) by The Parrot pub and onto Peasmarsh, then running parallel to the B3000, by passing Compton to the West to avoid the Watts Gallery and joining the A3 near the Charterhouse junction. Obviously you would need to improve that junction and make the A3 three lanes from there to the Stoke Interchange.

    I appreciate you would loose some farm land, which would be sad, but the reduction of through traffic in Guildford would be immense, it would be a huge planning gain, and might actually make the GVG fantasy and modal shift almost do-able.

  7. Simon Schultz Reply

    February 9, 2017 at 10:23 am

    I response to Guy Sutlieff: if I understand his route correctly, it takes out not just farmland, but two ancient manors, one ancient farmhouse, a 10th century church, impinges upon numerous other listed buildings on the west side of Compton, and some of the most beautiful green belt countryside around.

    In my opinion this area has much greater value than blighted central Guildford, which ought to solve its own traffic problems without inflicting them on surrounding areas.

    As far as I am concerned, there are too many roads, rather than too few. I would start by selectively closing roads to through traffic for six month periods and observing the effect. Blocking the B3000 to through-traffic would be a good start.

    • Guy Sutlieff Reply

      February 9, 2017 at 1:29 pm

      I am grateful to Simon Schulz. His final paragraph has certainly brightened my day. The “there are too many roads, rather than too few” is possibly comedy gold, to be laid alongside some of the council’s finest such as “Closing Walnut Tree Close will ease congestion in the town centre ” and “charging people to use the waste tip will reduce fly tipping.”

      Seriously though, he has obviously studied this route more than I have; it was just a back of the fag packet thought on how to dramatically reduce Guildford’s traffic issues. Clearly most traffic is on a north-south axis so it is a way of removing those movements.

      However it isn’t really worth having the debate (nothing personal) as we all know no one is actually going to do anything in general to solve this issue, and certainly not build this particular route. We could argue about by-passing Compton to the east or west, or the quality of the farm land alongside the Compton straight, but ultimately it’s not going to happen.

      The political will and/or funding to build roads went year ago, one could argue if that is wrong or right, but whatever you think I suspect dreaming of “modal shift” is cheaper and politically easier.

  8. Martin Elliott Reply

    February 12, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    Isn’t it strange that steadily over several decades, SCC has seen a town develop a road system, that’s not quite a ring road but seems to work, and massive redevelopments of shopping, commercial, educational, etc.

    Its called Kingston.

    • Dave Middleton Reply

      February 13, 2017 at 12:48 pm

      Nothing at all to do with the County Council HQ being in that particular town of course!

      Or am I being unjustly cynical?

Leave a Comment

Please see our comments policy. All comments are moderated and may take time to appear.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *