Fringe Box



Letter: North Street and Responsibility

Published on: 13 Oct, 2023
Updated on: 13 Oct, 2023

A CGI of how the proposed North Street development will look.

From: Tony Rooth

former independent borough councillor and Conservative council leader

In response to: North Street Approval is Good News for Guildford

The GBC Planning Committee’s approval of the latest North Street application recognises the need for redevelopment of the vacant site.

The approved scheme clearly has controversial aspects – its height, mass and design to name the obvious. However, it does address the major reasons for the committee’s previous refusal of the original application.

Now the development will include some affordable housing, retain existing bus access to the bus station and reduce the height of the highest building

John Rigg undoubtedly brought experience and expertise in his Executive role as lead councillor for Regeneration. He handled several projects including North Street which he strongly promoted.

Unfortunately, his letter seems more about politics generally, R4GV in particular, and the May borough elections, than the North Street project.

Mr Rigg should be careful in claiming the council administration was “R4GV run” between 2019-23 especially in the light of recent questions about its finances and housing contracts

In the previous four years’ administration. Council leadership was shared between R4GV and Lib Dems. R4GV’s Joss Bigmore was leader 2020-22, before handing over leadership to Lib Dem Julia Mcshane from October 2022 until the election.

R4GV Executive members controlled the Finance portfolio for all four years and signed off the Housing Revenue budgets (which include social housing repair and maintenance) with Cllr Mcshane as portfolio holder

Council finance figures should be precise (and put in the right column) but let’s not forget leadership responsibility is sometimes shared.

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