Fringe Box



Letter: The Onslow Park & Ride Has Been Labelled a ‘White Elephant’

Published on: 23 Aug, 2018
Updated on: 23 Aug, 2018

From Bob McShee

Conservative borough councillor for Worplesdon

In response to: £5.4 Million ‘Material Misstatement’ Delays Council Audit Sign Off

A review of the borough council’s audit report has raised questions about the value of the Onslow Park & Ride.

When the Park & Ride scheme was first considered by Guildford Borough Council, I said that it would not be financially viable due to its disadvantaged location.  This has now been proven as the car park has to funded from Guildford’s on-street parking at an approximate cost of nearly £300,000 per annum.

The Onslow site is over a kilometre away from the A3, and motorists using it can get stuck during rush hours in a traffic jam to get there, and then again when they are on the bus into Guildford.  All the other Park & Ride sites are adjacent to the feeder roads serving Guildford.

The income from the bus fares goes to the bus operator, who continues to use double-decker buses, at least some of the time, which most of the day are empty.  Surely this is a wasteful use of diesel fuel and pollutes the environment.

The Onslow Park & Ride car park has been labelled a “White Elephant” and its future use should be investigated to see if it could be made self-financing to cover the council’s liability of maintaining the operation of the site.

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Responses to Letter: The Onslow Park & Ride Has Been Labelled a ‘White Elephant’

  1. Amelia Tilbury Reply

    August 23, 2018 at 7:57 pm

    I have met a number of people from all parts of the South eg Portsmouth, Camberley, Horsham, Worthing, and all the people I meet are always very grateful it’s there. I certainly would not like to go to the Spectrum Leisure Centre during the school holidays. It’s very busy and has times when I could not get in, hence I was pleased we have Onslow Park & Ride. I would be happy to pay full fare.

  2. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    August 24, 2018 at 12:04 am

    Currently, the access to Onslow Park and Ride is far from ideal. However, the county and borough councils failed to secure the access from the A3 because the A3 widening scheme was withdrawn from the roads programme when the design of the Park & Ride was being made.

    Access from the A3 and an exit to the A3 would be the only way to make this Park and Ride work efficiently. Highways England (HE) is developing the widening scheme at the present time but there are no details available in this regard.

    I have outlined my suggestion as to how the widening of the A3 and the A3/A31 merge could be accommodated while retaining the two bridges over the A3 within the scheme.

    In this suggestion, there would be a dedicated northbound off-slip that passes by the Park & Ride and connecting with it. A northbound on-slip split of the off-slip would allow access back to the A3.

    Added advantages of this layout would be that the A3 northbound carriageway would not require widening between the off-slip and the on-slip from Egerton Road, and this would also facilitate construction work that would be mainly off-line and thus reduce delays due to traffic management.

    I hope the HE would consider these suggestions and evaluate their feasibility. Please see the sketches below:

  3. Tim Down Reply

    August 24, 2018 at 8:29 am

    Just include the Royal Surrey County Hospital as a stop on the route. You will change a “white elephant” into a Gold Mine and create a real public service. Have you tried to park at this hospital?

    • Martin Elliott Reply

      August 26, 2018 at 10:47 am

      Except such an arrangement is an obvious breach of the conditions of the lease of the land from the University.

      Of course one could also ask why land obtained for sports facilities are actually used for a commercial interest?

  4. Jan Messinger Reply

    August 24, 2018 at 8:30 am

    I quite agree. Every time I have used it there were very few using it and it’s only useful for non-residents of the borough. It would be cheaper to do a residents’ system where we could pay to get on any bus outside our front door – cheap fares in and out of central Guildford only. We would just need a resident’s card as proof of living in the borough.

    I have tried the bus service, there are plenty of bus stops near me but costly fares and infrequent buses make it impossible to use and it would not fit in with workers’ times. If I lived on the loop of the university I would not have an issue with the frequency of buses.

    If they wish to get fewer people on the roads they should do something sensible for the residents in this highly populated, soon to be more so, borough.

  5. Bernard Parke Reply

    August 24, 2018 at 11:38 am

    May I say as a local resident and a council tax payer, I am grateful to Cllr McShee for raising this issue.

    The Park & Ride will be in operation for five years this November and it has still not been actually finished.

    The cost of running this site is said to be “nil” as it is set off against on-street parking charges. Dare I say that this is a very unusual way of accounting.

    Yes, the car park is often full but how many of those parking are actually using the bus service? If there are many who are not using the buses and paying, how much revenue could be raised by changing the charging regime?

    Just along the road hospital visitors visiting the sick are charged as much as £4 minimum charge for a short visit.

    Then again there is the congestion and pollution effect from the often empty shuttles travelling to and from the site. I have even noticed empty double-decker buses being used on this route.

    On a personal note may I say we are lucky to have a such a councillor as Bob McShee. However, this will be only for a short time now as he has been deselected by the Tory party for, it seems, simply speaking out for the people who elected him.

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