Fringe Box



Letter: Other Ways to Augment the Future For Guildford

Published on: 23 Feb, 2021
Updated on: 23 Feb, 2021

From: Bibhas Neogi

In response to: GVG Outlines Vision of 21st-Century Town Centre

I welcome GVG’s letter pointing out the aspects that need consideration when drawing up the town centre master plan (TCMP). I too have been developing ideas for improvement of traffic in Guildford and its bus station not being an integrated transport hub.

Please see the document “Possible-solutions-to-Guildford-traffic-issues” on On the following items highlighted by Bill Stokoe, my comments are:

1. Pedestrianising the town centre widely is indeed, a most important aspect of making the town centre a pleasant environment for shoppers and visitors. I have promoted ideas on how to achieve this.

2. Reinvigorating the riverside would be nice but rather tricky, considering what would happen to the Debenhams site. If the new owner makes a change of use, to create this riverside route would not be easy.

3. Redirecting traffic from the town centre is necessary to achieve No 1 above. Removal of the gyratory is part of this solution. I have proposed lowering the Millbrook and Onslow Street stretch underground in a tunnel-like structure, using a top-down construction method in two halves.

This method allows one lane of traffic to be maintained during the construction. A conventional cut-and-cover method would not be practical since traffic, albeit with restrictions, could not be maintained.

Also deep cuts would require support of adjacent ground and properties and that could prove very expensive. Conventional tunnelling is also not viable for the length required to go underground with a cover of at least five metres and emerging back up to road level.

4. More town-centre housing would be built as on-line shopping replaces retail outlets. This is being considered in the planning process.

5. Creating a new east-west link is the most important aspect of removing most of the east-west traffic through the town centre. Unfortunately, GVG’s option is now blocked by the Solum development. I do not know if GVG has found a way through Solum’s site.

I have also proposed crossing the railway and the river but with a route a little north through Jewson’s Yard and joining Leas Road on the eastern side.

6. In establishing an integrated transport hub, relocation of the bus station as close as possible to the railway station is no longer possible within the station site as Solum have not made any such provision.

Possible sites are Bedford Road surface car park and Mary Road car park (although this site no longer appears in the Local Plan list and I do not know the reasons for its exclusion).

With the new Walnut Bridge, a reasonable compromise would be to choose Bedford Road site. That North Street plans outlined by the developer include a full-scale bus station within this prime location site is surprising.

7. The historic town core would be preserved if the both the east-west route and the lowering of the Millbrook and Onslow Street followed my suggestions. These suggestions do not require a replacement Farnham Road Bridge and the east-west route does not require the viaduct to start from York Road roundabout.

8. New, green, public space, including squares, is desirable and the developer has indicated they would provide such spaces.

I would hope the council would be bold enough to consider my suggestions and make feasibility studies and cost estimates. I am confident many of these suggestions would be viable and provide cost-effective solutions to greatly improve Guildford and yet help to maintain its character almost intact.

Share This Post

Leave a Comment

Please see our comments policy. All comments are moderated and may take time to appear.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *