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Letter: The A3 Issue Means We Must Review the Local Plan

Published on: 31 Mar, 2021
Updated on: 31 Mar, 2021

From: Matt Furniss

Conservative county councillor for Shalford, cabinet member for Highways

The A3 capacity upgrade was the key constraint on the Local Plan, without it we must review.

The A3 has always been a key infrastructure issue and constraint in Guildford. The University Interchange section alone has 50% local and 50% strategic traffic using it at its peak. One of the highest on a network.

If there is an incident on the A3, Guildford’s local road network gridlocks. This is how interdependent they are on each other.

Without the A3 capacity upgrade housing numbers need to be reduced by 32% or 5,404 over the plan period.

It is not about politics it is about making sure that Guildford’s residents get the right level of housing based on the infrastructure delivered.

The Road Investment Scheme phase 2 (RIS 2) (for the 2020/21 – 2024/25 Road Investment Period) makes no mention of the A3 Guildford scheme that was understood to be being developed during RIS 2 as stated in RIS 1.

When the Local Plan was being produced during Road Investment Scheme 1, the A3 capacity upgrade was included.

That now is not the case and a review is sensible to make sure the correct level of housing to infrastructure is delivered.

Highways England and Surrey County Council have discussed a possible review and stand by to assist Guildford Borough Council in reviewing the transport modelling now that the A3 cannot be delivered until after the Local Plan Period.

A capacity upgrade will be required, and SCC will be lobbying for it to be included in RIS 3 (2025/6 – 2030/1) for design and delivery in RIS 4 (2031/2 – 2034/5).

Guildford Borough Council only need to ask.

Our MP Angela Richardson like the former Conservative Administration is taking action to solve problems.

I am supporting her campaign to increase the capacity of the A3 ahead of building a tunnel.

Angela Richardson’s petition can be found here: Petition · Expand capacity on the A3 at Guildford! · Change.org 

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test 10 Responses to Letter: The A3 Issue Means We Must Review the Local Plan

  1. George Potter Reply

    March 31, 2021 at 7:22 pm

    “Highways England and Surrey County Council have discussed a possible review and stand by to assist Guildford Borough Council in reviewing the transport modelling now that the A3 cannot be delivered until after the Local Plan Period.

    A capacity upgrade will be required, and SCC will be lobbying for it to be included in RIS 3 (2025/6 – 2030/1) for design and delivery in RIS 4 (2031/2 – 2034/5).”

    Perhaps Cllr Furniss would be kind enough to explain how the above statement is not a clear, obvious, and egregious breach of purdah rules ahead of the county elections?

    George Potter is a Lib Dem borough councillor for Burpham and a candidate in the forthcoming SCC election

  2. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    March 31, 2021 at 9:15 pm

    What tunnel? The idea of putting the A3 in a tunnel has been raised by various interested parties but the Department for Transport has not done any study for such a tunnel, as far as I am aware. There had been long discussions on The Guildford Dragon on this topic. Please see – https://guildford-dragon.com/2013/10/12/letter-ideas-affordable-road-tunnels/

    Highways England has not made any ideas public as to how they were going to increase the capacity of the A3 other than announcing that they were working on possible widening between the A31 junction and Dennis roundabout. If they do work up a scheme for the widening, there is little chance of putting the A3 in a tunnel in the future.

    My website has ideas on the A3 improvement. It can be found by searching for ‘revamp guildford gyratory’

  3. Gina Redpath Reply

    March 31, 2021 at 9:32 pm

    I was at the borough council meeting some five years ago when Cllr Furniss said that a tunnel would be the most likely option for Guildford
    He said 2022 would be the start date which, then, seemed an age away – but acceptable.

    Not one of his reasons or excuses for non-delivery is acceptable.

    He has a huge portfolio and must deliver on his promises.

    Gina Redpath is an R4GV candidate in the forthcoming SCC election.

  4. John Rigg Reply

    April 1, 2021 at 10:17 am

    A great shame the Conservatives achieved nothing in relation to the A3 during their countless years in power locally, during their domination of Surrey County Council as Highway Authority and with their total control of national government and the roads budget.

    However, as our May county council elections approach I am so pleased and relieved to see that they are now taking action with a petition. Will they know someone in government to send it to? Perhaps they should ask the Roads minister to sign it too.

    With Guildford suffering a decade of the worst congestion, pollution and accidents and now tens of thousands of new residents planned for Tory greenbelt sites relying on cars to help ease matters an election time petition is clearly all that’s on offer and the sum benefit for Surrey for voting Tory. Crikey we are in trouble.

    John Rigg is a R4GV borough councillor for Holy Trinity.

  5. David Roberts Reply

    April 1, 2021 at 10:56 am

    This is about politics, and Cllr Furniss’s desperation to get re-elected on May 6. As deputy to the then leader of Guildford council, Cllr Spooner, and along with their predecessors, Stephen Mansbridge and the notorious Monika Juneja, he is the chief architect of the Local Plan as it stands and directly responsible for the inflated housing numbers it contains.

    GGG and others have been pointing out these flaws for seven years. No-one will be convinced by Cllr Furniss’s conversion as he faces the electorate.

    • Paul Spooner Reply

      April 1, 2021 at 1:00 pm

      Mr Roberts should read the article. There is no mention of inflated housing numbers or indeed anything wrong with the adopted plan, in my opinion, but there is an issue with Highways England in bringing forward key infrastructure.

      What County Cllr Matt Furniss is saying here is exactly what we stated prior to April 2019 adoption, it is our promise to the electorate that without key infrastructure being delivered the plan should be reviewed.

      This is entirely consistent with previous policy. Anyone going back to what was said pre-adoption will find that we are following through on what we have always said. It is a shame that other parties now seem to have reversed their position because the numbers may go up under the current administration, and I don’t recall GGG or R4GV stating that risk prior to the May 2019 elections.

  6. Harry Eve Reply

    April 1, 2021 at 12:16 pm

    A pipe dream leading to tunnel vision. A dream of Cllr Furniss and a nightmare for anyone who would suffer the construction work or live near the tunnel entrances. And it would not stop the vast increase in traffic, resulting from his failure to apply constraints, from heading into Guildford.

  7. Jules Cranwell Reply

    April 2, 2021 at 6:31 am

    Nobody will be fooled by this. Both Cllrs Spooner and Furniss were determined to push through this highly-flawed Plan at all costs.

  8. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    April 4, 2021 at 12:05 am

    The A3 widening has been abandoned for the third time by the Dept. for Transport. It seems unlikely that it would be resurrected for the fourth time any time soon.

    Housing expansion plans that would have required a widened A3 cannot be left unchanged. They need to be scaled down as much as possible and at the same time capacity of the unmodified A3 has to be increased. But how?

    The capacity could be increased without widening by reducing the speed limit from 70mph to 50mph or lower on some stretches monitored by average speed cameras. Whilst such a measure would make sense for peak periods it would be an unnecessary restriction during off-peak periods. Therefore speed limit signs would have to use VMS gantries like those on the M25 used for Variable Speed Limits.

    For a substantial number of commuters, working from home has become the norm during lockdown. The pandemic has changed the need to commute or drive to work for many and hopefully this would remain and thus reducing the traffic or slowing down the growth of traffic for the foreseeable future.

    Highways England could do well to initiate a study of introducing variable speed limit on the A3

  9. Ben Paton Reply

    April 18, 2021 at 2:02 pm

    Ms Richardson provides no detail or supplementary information about her “A3 tunnel”.

    Unlike long term commentators like Mr Neogi neither Ms Richardson nor Cllr Matt Furniss have any particular expertise in road design or traffic managmement.

    Where will the tunnel start? Where will it end? How long will it be? Where will the spoil be dumped? How much will it cost? How long will it take to build? When will it open?

    At a time when there are question marks over the government’s ability to fund existing infrastructure improvements on the M25 such as the “smart” motorways projects, what chance is there of the government finding £1.5 billion to build a tunnel in Guildford? How will such a project go down with voters in the Northern “Red Wall” constituencies that allowed the Conservatives to form this government?

    How will a tunnel arrive in time to make a jot of difference to the problems caused by the Conservative’s disastrous Local Plan?

    What a shame that Ms Richardson did not have the foresight to oppose the Guildford Local Plan – unlike the MP for Dorking, Sir Paul Beresford.

    How is this proposed tunnel any more practical than the LibDem’s bold but impracticable plan to build 3,000 social houses?

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