Fringe Box



Letter: If It Were Up to Me I Would Approve the North Street Application

Published on: 16 Aug, 2023
Updated on: 17 Aug, 2023

St Edward’s revised southern and eastern elevations of “Block E” in the new planning application.

From: David Roberts

In response to: North Street’s Development and the Dilemma Facing Our Politicians

The editor’s analysis seems about right to me.

North Street has become such a tangle of politics and disinformation that the only safe way forward is to ignore the hype and what-ifs and treat the planning application strictly on its merits – which is only what Planning Committee members are supposed to do.

The latest video circulating on social media, for instance, seeks to whip up hostility to the scheme by claiming that the 471 new flats will be occupied by social benefit recipients, strongly implying that this will lower the tone of the town centre. This hateful propaganda must be ignored.

Were the decision mine, I would probably approve the application. The design is criminally boring, but no other scheme is on the table. The choice is therefore simple: approve it or leave the site indefinitely derelict. This is quite different from sites such as the former Wisley Airfield where the choice is between building and preserving natural assets including food production.

Town centres are where most people – especially young, working people – want to live, and a vacant, brownfield site like this, with plenty of local jobs and infrastructure, is exactly where small new homes should be built.

Regenerating the town and protecting the countryside are two sides of the same coin. Encouraged by a defective Local Plan, Guildford has up to now taken the soft option of plastering green fields with executive homes while letting the town centre rot away. Here’s a chance to change direction.

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Responses to Letter: If It Were Up to Me I Would Approve the North Street Application

  1. John Perkins Reply

    August 16, 2023 at 4:59 pm

    There’s no need to worry about hateful propaganda – when I was young, such snobbery was water off a duck’s back to most people in council houses.

    Though the council should be aware of the immigration system in New Zealand, which favoured middle-class professionals. After a while, they were surprised to find they had too few tradesmen.

  2. Annie Cross Reply

    August 17, 2023 at 11:41 pm

    I don’t know all the issues surrounding this site apart from the height, but David Roberts is right, it is a criminally boring design totally unsuited for the townscape. Surely the design can be changed to make some attempt to be attractive in this historic town.

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