Fringe Box



Letter: More Reasons to Oppose Blackwell Farm Development

Published on: 6 Jul, 2017
Updated on: 5 Jul, 2017

From Fiona Curtis

In response to: Four Reasons to Save the Hog’s Back

It is incredible to see how regulations and policies that guide planning are being diluted in order to leave them open to interpretation. If not for this, Blackwell Farm would not even be considered for development.

Almost the entire area should, in the eyes of an independent expert, be designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). As Karen Stevens says in her article, it ticks all the environmental boxes and the damage it would cause would relate to much more than an extra ten minutes in traffic.

Congestion is probably Guildford’s biggest problem and the reason why businesses consider leaving Guildford. If around 13,000 houses are to be built over the next 20 years or so, to say nothing of shops, schools, businesses and many similar schemes around Surrey, Hampshire and Sussex, then the infrastructure had better be able to deal with it or Guildford (villages as well as the town) will be worse off than it is now.

An independent expert has already questioned the ability of the junction planned on the A31 to facilitate access to Blackwell Farm, without causing mayhem for everyone else. Highways also objected but following a meeting with GBC, withdrew the objection, although their views still stand.

In the current environment where houses must be built almost anywhere, how can we be sure that the decisions that will irreversibly impact Guildford will be the right ones?

Heaven forbids that anyone should mention the dreaded ‘C’ word and apply constraints. Given the austerity measures we all find ourselves in, a plan that is going for maximum growth with minimum input to support it, cannot fail but to reap the consequences.

When the A3 or A31 suffer congestion (every day at certain times and all day when a lane gets blocked off), the villages on the west side of Guildford (including NW and SW) get a lot more than just heavy traffic. The character of villages is destroyed once heavy traffic takes its toll, not least because of the gradual urbanisation needed to keep residents safe i.e. Illuminated signs, lighting, crossings, lines on the road, traffic lights etc.

It is interesting to note that the first AQMA (Air Quality Management Area, to manage pollution problems) likely to be recommended in Guildford for some time, is not in the town, but in a village, which suffers as a short cut especially when the A3 and A31 are congested, which is all too often.

Finally, in addition to responding to the Local Plan and making your objections very clear (experience shows that comments not clearly marked as objections will be taken as comments or even support) I would strongly recommend that those with a handle on the plan, register not only to attend the hearing with the Inspector but also register to speak (especially if you represent a bona fide group).

The hearing for Waverley’s Local Plan is currently taking place and whilst many residents submitted their views as part of the consultation, the majority of speakers at the hearing are developers.

This combined with a desire for maximum development and prohibition of the ‘C’ word does not bode well for a balanced plan. It is the planning inspector’s decision as to who is permitted to speak and there are no guarantees, but putting it bluntly, if you don’t ask you don’t get.

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Responses to Letter: More Reasons to Oppose Blackwell Farm Development

  1. Gareth Corbett Reply

    June 10, 2018 at 8:16 pm

    Does anyone who actually works in a Guildford live in Guildford? I don’t think so. I see hoards of people on the Normandy Road and Worplesdon trying to get in to Guildford each morning. Those who work here can’t afford to live here. So why are we building more houses?

  2. Gina Redpath Reply

    March 13, 2019 at 5:37 pm

    Why did this council release the developers from their commitment to build hundreds of flats (and affordable ones too) on the site of the old fire station? And what for? Another furniture store!

    Now hundreds more on the site of the railway station – unless there is some arrangement between the GBC and the university – we won’t be needing to build on that green belt at all. One thing that can never be replaced is farmland.

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