Fringe Box



Letter: Some Questions Were Answered at the North Street Development Exhibition

Published on: 11 Aug, 2022
Updated on: 11 Aug, 2022

From: Bibhas Neogi

In response to: Be Sure to See the North Street Development Exhibition and Have Your Say

I saw the exhibition yesterday and had some discussion with a couple of St Edwards’ team members.

There is a well-made model that showed the development quite clearly and it looked impressive. I’m not too sure about the heights but I expect Guildford residents would let their views known when the planning application becomes available for all to view.

The model on display at the exhibition of the North Street proposal. North Street is on the left.

The bus station with its canopy looked neat but I have reservations about the proposed entry and exit located on Woodbridge Road.

I suggested that a trial should be carried out to assess the impact of such a change but I was told Surrey County Council had all the modelling information on traffic available to them for their appraisal and bus operators were apparently satisfied with the major changes.

I asked what would be the impact of 21 seconds for each bus movement at the sation but was assured that their traffic modelling did not flag up any issues with traffic congestion or delays beyond current usage.

I pointed out that congestion here was already pretty bad during peak periods and I did raise the possibility of tailbacks forming due to pedestrian crossings and entry and exit of buses on Woodbridge Road/Leapale Road – all requiring a three-way set of traffic lights.

I was told current traffic lights here were not controlled by the SCC Scoot system that co-ordinates the traffic phases in Guildford town centre. Without knowing the details of how modelling was carried out, it was not clear to me how the physical movements of buses around York Road roundabout were taken into account.

Buses from the south and the west would turn left instead of turning right from Bridge Street on to Onslow Street.

If a bus then from the lane in northbound Onslow Street is in the process of negotiating the roundabout and has to wait for its exit to be clear to proceed to Woodbridge Road, leading to the entry to the bus station, it could block all three lanes of the roundabout. This would be because of the length of the bus and its position straddling all lanes on the roundabout!

Other issues I raised were with delivery of posts and parcels to these apartments. I was told they would be kept by the concierge to be collected later by the addressees. Not a satisfactory arrangement I think.

Refuse collection would also be in smaller community bins and these later transferred to bigger ones for collection by the waste disposal lorries. These would use the delivery bays created in the widened Leapale Road.

Fire engines would have access through a gate in what is now Commercial Road. I wonder whether this would be satisfactory to deal with some 500 apartments in the blocks not so close to this access facility (opposite the bus station). Presumably ambulances would do the same. In addition to delivery bays, it would be preferable to have emergency vehicle access closer to each of the blocks of apartments.

The bus station would remain in operation during the construction phase of 6-7 years and apparently Health & Safety conditions would be met. Presumably a tower crane would be in operation and their safety record is not unmarred. There have been a couple of collapses in London in recent times.

Finally it was revealed to me why more housing could not be built even if the bus station were to be relocated elsewhere. The bus station is built over an underground car park and it would have been too expensive to use the freed-up area for construction.

I had no idea about this car park and who owns it or who actually uses this. This is certainly not a public car park and it is a bit puzzling as to why it was necessary to sell the bus station land to St Edwards.


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Responses to Letter: Some Questions Were Answered at the North Street Development Exhibition

  1. Maurice Barham Reply

    August 12, 2022 at 11:25 am

    An interesting synopsis.

    Hopefully, when SCC reveal the full story, they will have placed a northbound bus lane adjacent to the current one so that buses can turn right directly towards the bus station, thus avoiding the loop around York Road.

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