Fringe Box



Letter: Take Note of What is Happening in Walnut Tree Close

Published on: 15 Sep, 2018
Updated on: 15 Sep, 2018

From David Ogilvie

Architect and town planner

Are the people of Guildford aware of what is happening along Walnut Tree Close and particularly on the banks of the River Wey?

Along the river bank, there are currently six developments, either completed or in the pipeline, designed, mostly, for student housing, some of them up to twelve floors high. The attached illustrations give an idea of what to expect. A student ghetto is being created in an area that is ideal for Guildford resident housing being close to the town centre and close to public transport.

The university has ample land and permissions for student housing on its own land, therefore the Guildford planners should not be giving permissions for student housing in this area when there are 3,000 people on the housing waiting list.

If all this development goes ahead it will create a canyon along Walnut Tree Close and destroy the rural setting of the River Wey. Through lack of planning foresight, we are missing out on a landscaped linear park along the west bank of the river continuing that which is already established between Ladymead and the railway viaduct.

Such a linear park could be created through section 106 agreements with developers resulting in room for separate footpaths and cycleways amenity parkland and a first stage flood channel. Instead, we are getting planning by developers for maximum profit.

In my view development between the river and Walnut Tree Close should be no higher than 3.5 floors to allow views out from the river and no higher than 5.5 floors between Walnut Tree Close and the railway to prevent overcrowding and blocking views of the cathedral.

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Responses to Letter: Take Note of What is Happening in Walnut Tree Close

  1. Ben Paton Reply

    September 16, 2018 at 7:16 am

    Another example of the hand-to-mouth, disjointed, piecemeal approach to planning of the Guildford Conservative party. It’s too late to revoke the permissions granted along Walnut Tree Close. But it’s not too late to stop the disastrous Local Plan that will further mess up a messed up traffic system.

  2. Myrtle Baker Reply

    September 16, 2018 at 8:42 am

    I totally agree David Ogilvie. Walnut Tree Close should be for housing that is so badly needed for people other than students.

    We should make the most of the River Wey to encourage visitors to Guildford. Dapdune Wharf is a great example of what could be achieved. We are surrounded by students and as stated the university has so much more land that they could use for student housing. Guildford needs to put its own residents to the fore as we are slowly being driven out of the area.

  3. John Hawthorne Reply

    September 16, 2018 at 9:26 am

    I would have less objections if the project was for industrial start up projects rather than student housing. Obviously, in the scheme of things, housing is more important than views or industry so I stand to be corrected but bear with me.

    Traditionally river banks were used by town councils as locations to put town industry. Historically, town industry relied on water power (eg Frairy beer). In the 19th century, the River Wandle in Surrey (around Croydon) was the most industrialised river on the globe. It still has many industrial estates on its banks (eg IKEA) and now one or two parks.

    It would be nice if we continued the flow of our industrial heritage and encouraged start up local crafts people to locate along our river, tax free.

  4. Bernard Parke Reply

    September 17, 2018 at 10:45 am

    More student accommodation when we desperately need more housing for our key workers.

    Even many of our own children here in Guildford cannot afford to live here.

  5. Valerie Thompson Reply

    September 17, 2018 at 3:22 pm

    What on earth is the council thinking of to allow the university to build student accommodation elsewhere than on their own land? Or did GBC actually propose this use of Walnut Tree Close? If so, why? What have they to gain from this cosy arrangement with the university?

    Are these blocks really going to be 12-stories high? If so, that is higher than Solum’s much opposed “Great Wall of Guildford” at the station. Walnut Tree Close is an inappropriate place to put such high structures.

    Why is GBC not encouraging town-centre development, which is much needed? Why will they not even consider talking to Housing Associations, who might get on with the job of providing small homes quicker than GBC seem capable of?

  6. Jim Allen Reply

    September 17, 2018 at 3:43 pm

    Was it Nero who fiddled while Rome burned? Yet another common sense and rational comment in The Dragon while GBC proposes to build more houses and spend £100 million on a privates companies infrastructure.

    Is it legal to pay a PLC to provide a statutory undertaking (sewers) they have been charged and accepted to take legal responsibility for across the South East?

    I wonder at what stage the Thames Valley approach and rationale, with a hint of common sense, will flood up the Wey and wash the Guildford approach back into the hills where it belongs?

  7. Ray Mitchell Reply

    September 18, 2018 at 2:14 pm

    A high percentage of the houses in WTC are actually student bedsits already. Unfortunately, when my mum had to go into a nursing home we ended up selling our house which is now used for students.

    The houses at the station end, near what used to be Billings, were nice places to live when I was there from 1958-94 however the top and bottom ends of the road have been subject to lots of change. Student accommodation could and should be on campus at Stag Hill and affordable housing built in WTC. However, I doubt if the council will want to spend the money.

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