Fringe Box



Letter: How Can We Stop the Manhattanisation of Guildford?

Published on: 11 May, 2023
Updated on: 11 May, 2023

A developer’s impression of how part of the scheme might have looked. Image St Edwards.

From: Tim Clark

In response to: The Dragon Says – No Party Can Promise to Stop North Street Development

The North Street Development is of course all about income generation. The question is where would the income go? The developers have a huge incentive to maximise this income for themselves.

The local authority also stands to gain new revenue from taxes, so why should it want to interfere? It is already overstretched on other fronts and the electorate, which has the largest stake in the outcome, is left without a voice and subject to platitudes of the kind we see in The Dragons’ brilliantly pacifying article.

So why bother to oppose such developments, which as Robin Horsley points out, are legally required to offer only one means of escape in case of fire for those who may be stuck up on the 13th floor at that unfortunate moment? And if the scheme is called in by the Secretary of State for determination we can be sure that Michael Gove will be the last to reduce the amount of candy being snatched from this largely unsupervised baby.

“At that unfortunate moment” is perhaps the best way to describe the dilemma of all of us who are now obliged to stand by as Guildford falls prey to the exigencies of high-rise living and the huge new demands on infrastructure and vehicular access that these generate.

If we really don’t want to allow this kind of Manhattanisation, to spread we shall need to work at a much higher level and to find funding and sponsorship to match those who want to make more of it happen.

The general public has had enough. It needs new leadership to restore the sense of place that has been so casually sidelined while expediency alone has called the tune. For the future generations that will have to live with the consequences it is an unfortunate moment indeed.

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Responses to Letter: How Can We Stop the Manhattanisation of Guildford?

  1. Peta Malthouse Reply

    May 11, 2023 at 12:24 pm

    The irony concerning North Street is that it has been out to consultation for two years. Where was Tim Clark? More than that, the limitations of the Local Plan, supported by some of the Lib Dems and advanced by the Tories did not, as I have said before, place limits on the height of any development in the town, nor for that matter set limits on the developments within the now “inset villages”. Thus creating villages that look suspiciously like suburbia.

    The Local Plan is the blueprint the Local Planners and developers work to and which will be enforced by the planning inspector

    Prior to my role as a lawyer in the private sector, I worked for Guildford BC as a housing professional. I left in 1984.

    The North Street regeneration area needed regenerating then. Our town needs this development but there is nothing any newly elected member can do about it now. This is going to appeal and local democracy will have to put up with what a government inspector approves.

    So the whole basis of Robin Horsley’s campaign was misleading and allusions to Grenfell, in my view, were just scaremongering. Building Regulation Approval is required for every development and is totally separate from the planning process. Local councillors do not get involved and cannot take it into account

  2. S Collins Reply

    May 11, 2023 at 3:55 pm

    At least they will fit in if the council gets its way and Guildford becomes a city.

  3. David Roberts Reply

    May 11, 2023 at 9:07 pm

    “Manhattanisation”? Guildford the next Big Apple? Whatever happened to British understatement?

    Unfounded opinions about death-trap skyscrapers aren’t going to produce better planning decisions. As for “new leadership”, didn’t we just have our say about that on May 4th?

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