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Letter: Guildford’s Special Valley Topography Needs Protection

Published on: 29 Jan, 2022
Updated on: 28 Jan, 2022

A view over Guildford towards the Castle Keep, taken in 1958 from the roof garden of Harvey’s store shows the topography of the town.

From: David Ogilvie

In response to: We Can’t Give Up on Controlling Building Heights in Guildford

Nic Allen is absolutely right. As a valley town, Guildford is special.

But to fill the valley with tall buildings will completely negate this key feature of Guildford. You only have to stand in front of Boots in the High Street and see the visual damage that the two 1960’s tower blocks on The Mount inflict.

Yes, Solum’s railway station development has been approved by a planning inspector against the unanimous wishes of Guildford borough Council; let us make sure that this will be the last time that developers change Guildford from a gap town to a flat town.

Haussmann’s Paris and Georgian London, at no more than five floors plus setback floors, were dense and beautiful urban cities.

Guildford should follow their example and make five residential floors, plus a setback floor, as a maximum for the town centre. If this means that the developers have to offer less for the Debenhams site so be it.

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test 4 Responses to Letter: Guildford’s Special Valley Topography Needs Protection

  1. Ben Paton Reply

    January 29, 2022 at 9:34 am

    And so say all of us.

  2. Mary Older Reply

    January 29, 2022 at 5:14 pm

    I totally agree with David Ogilvie.

  3. Adam Aaronson Reply

    January 30, 2022 at 10:55 pm

    Well said. Five floor limit should be mandatory in Guildford.

  4. Susan Hibbert Reply

    January 31, 2022 at 9:30 am

    I absolutely agree with David Ogilvie and I know that concerned residents’ groups like the Guildford Residents Association (an umbrella group of residents associations & parish councils) feel exactly the same. Indeed we must not let Guildford ‘turn from a gap town into a flat town’. Well said David!

    A senior conservation officer once described the two tower blocks on the Mount to me as ‘Guildford’s 60s moment’. Surely we’ve learnt enough to avoid the 2020s being another disastrous decade in which huge and jarring buildings are imposed on our town in defiance of its natural character.

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