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Letter: Guildford’s Singular Heritage Badly in Need of Repair

Published on: 10 Mar, 2021
Updated on: 10 Mar, 2021

From: Christian Holliday

Former Conservative borough councillor for Burpham

When lockdown finally ends, town centres up and down the land will need to start attracting people back, to increase footfall and vitality in support of local businesses.

The alternative is creation of “ghost towns”, dominated by residential development of flats.

Each town needs to maximise its natural strengths. One key advantage Guildford has over newer towns, and ones damaged in the Second World War, is the survival of its heritage.

We are fortunate in having a conservation area at the heart of our town, centred around the High Street, home to many fine buildings and architectural features.

Yet anyone walking around the town would be confronted by heritage assets in trouble.

The Town Clock and the Guildhall windows in need of some tlc.

On the High Street, the iconic Guildhall clock is in a perilous state of repair, with rotting fittings and peeling paint clearly visible. The windows on the Guildhall itself don’t seem to be fairing much better.

Pavement cordoned off to prevent injury from falling masonry at the NatWest Bank, formerly the Crown Coaching Inn

Further along, the Natwest Bank building (Crown and Family hotel) is in even more trouble, with brickwork falling off the facade and posing a risk to passers-by. Bank staff have been seen inspecting the damage and the pavement has been cordoned off to prevent injury.

Flaking paintwork at Ernest Jones

The building housing Ernest Jones is now displaying flaking paint rather than jewellery.

Along Quarry Street, the 800-year-old Castle Arch is bruised and battered by numerous encounters with vehicles. How many more years does this fine feature have left before a recommendation is made to remove it to prevent a health and safety hazard?

How long will Castle Arch in Quarry Street survive?

These are just some of the issues that catch your eye as you walk around the town centre. As lockdown eases, I hope the council can get to work correcting these problems as a matter of urgency, working with landlords where necessary and using enforcement powers if needed.

I appreciate these are straitened financial times, but fixing the above issues should be regarded as basic maintenance and a priority to preserve Guildford, ready for the re-opening of the town.

In this age of internet shopping, nothing can be taken for granted. Action is needed now.

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test One Response to Letter: Guildford’s Singular Heritage Badly in Need of Repair

  1. Simon Mason Reply

    March 11, 2021 at 8:04 am

    Guildford also badly needs Christian Holliday back in local politics.

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