Fringe Box



Letter: New Stag Hill Homes Will Adversely Affect Traffic and Bus Services

Published on: 18 Dec, 2016
Updated on: 18 Dec, 2016

From Andrew Halliday

Managing director, Safeguard Coaches Limited

I refer to the amended and additional plans for the proposed development on land at The Cathedral Church of the Holy Spirit, Stag Hill.

Safeguard Coaches continues to object to this planning application on the grounds that it will generate further traffic in Guildford Park and add to the already severe peak hour traffic congestion on The Chase, Guildford Park Road and the Farnham Road access to the Gyratory.

Since our initial objection the council approved, in late November, the building of 160 dwellings and a multi-story car park at the surface car park at Guildford Park and this must now be taken into account, as the combined effect of both substantial developments on the transport infrastructure will be quite severe.

Without additional transport infrastructure, and/or improvements to its efficiency, the trips generated by these additional 134 households will further add to the growing problem, bring the area nearer to gridlock, and make life very much more unpleasant for all.

In the last 15 months (ie since September 2015) there has been an appreciable increase in traffic congestion on The Chase and Guildford Park Road, particularly between 4pm and 7pm towards the town centre. Among other things, this traffic congestion regularly delays our commercially provided local bus services making them less reliable, hence less able to fulfil their true potential.

Andrew Halliday, managing director of Safeguard Coaches, speaking at the launch of the improved hospital-town centre bus service

Having just, on December 3, doubled the number of buses serving the hospital, at our own financial risk, this is a real shame.

Developers and councillors should come and witness the traffic situation in the afternoon peak and imagine what effect traffic generated by the 160 homes and additional car parking at Guildford Park and the 134 homes on cathedral land will have.

In addition to our concerns regarding the principal roads (The Chase, Guildford Park Road, Farnham Road) we are also concerned that the addition of so many dwellings at a location accessed only by narrow residential roads (Ridgemount, Arlesford Road, Benbrick Road and The Oval) is inappropriate and represents an over-development of this site. Owing to the narrow residential roads it will be impossible to serve this development with conventional public transport services, further increasing car dependence.

We see nothing in the amended and additional plans that indicates that any of our concerns – and those of numerous local residents – have been taken into account. We request, in the strongest possible terms, that consent for this development be refused until these concerns are addressed.

Integration with the town centre and other proposed developments decisions on this application must be taken in the context of the Town Centre Master Plan (TCMP).

Piecemeal planning has failed Guildford and must not be allowed to continue.

We are concerned that the plans have not given adequate thought to the integration of the proposed cathedral development with the rest of the town. We think that much more thought needs to be given to access (certainly pedestrian access) from the university to the north, the university access road (‘Guildford Park Church Road’) and the pedestrian bridge across the railway (Yorkies Bridge towards Walnut Tree Close) to the east, the cathedral itself and the now-approved residential development at Guildford Park Car Park.

It is important that new clear and logical pedestrian routes from the town centre and railway station to the cathedral be opened up through the “cathedral quarter”. The development should have much higher aspirations than just be a “nice estate” like Scholars Walk that is largely residents only.

To be successful as a development and for it to add value to the town and cathedral it needs to have the activity caused by people passing through, providing benefits to the way the town works and is perceived, not just be extra add housing and funding the cathedral.

Again, we see nothing in the amended and additional plans that indicates that our concerns have been taken into account and once again request that consent for this development be refused until these concerns are addressed.

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Responses to Letter: New Stag Hill Homes Will Adversely Affect Traffic and Bus Services

  1. Ben Paton Reply

    December 19, 2016 at 9:27 am

    Reasoned, evidenced, and understandable comments. Common sense in fact. So the borough council will probably continue to ignore them. Its motto: why let the facts get in the way of predetermined dogma!

  2. Sue Warner Reply

    December 19, 2016 at 4:46 pm

    Well from what I can see, GBC don’t give a fig about the town – all I can assume is that these random idiotic developments are for some sort of financial gain.

    I know we need more housing but it could be planned so much better.

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