Fringe Box



Letter: If You Just Have Day to Day Needs Move to a Village

Published on: 21 Dec, 2017
Updated on: 20 Dec, 2017

From Helena Townsend

In response to: Guildford Should Be Planning for the Shopping of 2030+

Am I missing something? Guildford ranks in the top 50 centres out of a 1,000 assessed and Mr Atkinson still thinks it’s not a retail destination?

Perhaps what’s holding it back is the lack of space available – there are many retailers desperate to secure space in our town but there is no availability.

The High Street does not cater for modern retail with many shops listed, meaning they cannot be adapted. The Friary is almost at full occupancy – no one can dispute its popularity now – you can’t even get a table in the food court.

Of those shops moving in we have Hummingbird Bakery (first outside London) Jo Malone (first outside of London) Anthropologie (first in England outside of London) Cos (almost first outside of London) etc.

Look at what this tells us. These are not standard High Street shops many of these are premium brands and many of our existing shops are flagship stores – we are a major centre, plain and simple.

We even saw Hillary’s blinds open a showroom this year – a company normally associated with having no stores – they want a showroom in Guildford.

Queensberry has updated the Tunsgate Quarter website and is now showing that they have two units available. I am honestly tired as are most, of a small minority of individuals trying to constrain this town’s growth. If it’s not residential growth its now retail- shall we look at restricting industrial next?

I think if you want somewhere that caters for day to day needs move to a village and do us all a favour.

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Responses to Letter: If You Just Have Day to Day Needs Move to a Village

  1. A Tatlow Reply

    December 21, 2017 at 7:16 pm

    I already live in a village, thank goodness.

    However, my day to day needs are barely met, following the closure of local banks, post offices, pubs, shops and decimation of the bus service in the locality. So inevitably, I occasionally find myself in Guildford, where I was born some years back when it claimed to be no more than a thriving market town – very nice too.

    Nowadays, my business concluded, I can retreat with relief from the materialistic credit-laden atmosphere swirling around the increasing number of temples to consumerism, which are apparently seen as essential for our county town. What I can’t understand is why Helena Townsend doesn’t live in London, which she clearly rates so highly.

    I for one have no desire to compete with a metropolis so easily accessible to Guildfordians by public transport, should they be suffering withdrawal symptoms from the “premium brands” listed. I shall be happy continuing to shop among our characterful ancient streets and lanes, supporting independent retailers when I can. Living in a village doesn’t stop me having an opinion about my local town…or should that be “retail destination”?

  2. A Atkinson Reply

    December 21, 2017 at 7:29 pm

    Just a couple of comments re Ms Townsends letter. Firstly, I did not say that Guildford “wasn’t a retail destination” She must have mis-read. I said Guildford was not “the shopping capital of the South East”, as she claimed in her comment on Gordon Bridger’s article: Guildford Cannot Support a 40% Increase In Its Retail Space.

    She says that the Guildford Cos was, “almost first outside of London” but Cos in Bath, Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol, Glasgow, Kingston, Leeds, Oxford and Richmond already existed.

    I’m not belittling Guildford’s attraction as effectively a physical engagement space for these high-end brand building. What I want to see is how Guildford retains what Guildford is, a thriving market town rather than being an identikit replication of the shopping offer of Kingston, Richmond and Wimbledon who also have a Jo Malone and Richmond also having an Anthropologie.

    Again, I will re-iterate, I’m not against development and growth but what I do want is a proportionate balance of the borough’s and town’s ability and its real need to expand to the extent proposed in the Local Plan. I think 40% more retail space for such a “retail destination” is too much when it could be put to better use.

    I hope Guildford thrives, but again I reiterate, having lots of stuff for the sake of lots of growth is not suitable for the gap, market town of Guildford, surrounded by beautiful AONB, green belt, SPAs, flood-prone areas, which is constrained by railway lines, the A3 and other major trunk roads.

    Anyone who wants a sprawling shopping centre devoid of character should move to Kingston.

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