Fringe Box



Letter: GVG Ideas ‘Can’t All Be Pie In The Sky’

Published on: 6 Feb, 2020
Updated on: 6 Feb, 2020

From Andrew Whitby-Collins

(see ‘Vision Group Calls For Bold Measures To Tackle Guildford’s Traffic Problems

While the Guildford Vision Group (GVG) is to be commended for its attention to the problems facing the town centre, we need to address the elephant in the room: its euphemistically titled “corridor”.

Traffic building up in Onslow Street

What this means in practice, unless the plans unveiled a year or so ago have been updated, is a new road bridge over the river, blighting the houses in its shadow, that simply moves the problem (and the traffic) to the other bank only to bring it back across the already congested (and narrow) Farnham Road Bridge and over the, even narrower, Town Bridge before it carries on along the no less congested A281.

And the cost? GVG doesn’t know, but it is estimated to run into billions of pounds. Guildford’s very own HS2.

Nor must we forget that many of the problems we face now are thanks to the past efforts of some associated with GVG. Whilst various incarnations of the council bear no small part of the blame, the obstructionist efforts, legal threats and judicial reviews made in the past (at great cost to the hard-pressed Guildford taxpayer) are a significant part of the reason the multi-storey Great Wall of Guildford, otherwise known as Solum, was allowed on appeal.

An artist’s impression of Solum’s development at Guildford station.

Without those, we could have had a policy that would have given the planners something to prevent us becoming the next high rise capital of the South East, rivalling Woking, which could be our destiny now one monolith has been allowed.

GVG is right that we urgently need to address the problems facing Guildford before it is further choked by traffic. And they need to be a part of the discussion (that was the great mistake of the last administration). But the ideas need some level of practicality and can’t all be pie in the sky (or a bridge to nowhere).

Opening up the river is a great idea, although is it too late? In the long-term tunnelling would be fantastic, but could we raise the cash?

There are plenty of ideas but there has been so much talk (and argument) that nothing has been achieved. The first step must be a realistic plan that prevents further degradation before we move on to reimagining our historic town centre.

We must not make perfection the enemy of progress.

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Responses to Letter: GVG Ideas ‘Can’t All Be Pie In The Sky’

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    February 7, 2020 at 10:47 am

    Cody, Joseph Bazalgette, Brunnel were all told ‘pie in the sky’ and look what they achieved!

    Without great imagination, we never move forward.

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