Fringe Box



Letter: The Real Question Is Does Guildford Want to Be a Predominantly High-rise Town?

Published on: 3 Jan, 2023
Updated on: 5 Jan, 2023

The 13-storey building proposed at the northern end of the four-acre North Street Regeneration site.

From: Richard Mills

Chair of the Town Centre Conservatives

In response to: There Has Not Been a More Comprehensive Consultation in the History of the Borough

In his lengthy reply to Robin Horsley Councillor Rigg “doth protest too much….”

The flood of detailed meetings, briefings, mail shots, videos, models, and so on to which he refers as evidence of consultation has served simply to obscure the only question that is worth asking:

Do the people of Guildford really want the predominantly high-rise town that approval of this scheme will set in train and which under R4GV’s Master Plan is likely to culminate in no less than 34 blocks of flats between North Street and Ladymead?

Or do they want Guildford to continue as a predominantly low-rise town with new developments in the centre restrained to the four or five stories which can fit comfortably in their surroundings, and which cities such as Oxford and Brighton are now mandating?

We should not blame the developers and their PR staff for failing to ask this question. Their job is simply to promote their scheme by whatever means they can.

Nor in fairness should we blame Cllr Rigg. A long career facilitating development at one of the country’s leading estate agencies could hardly fail to condition the mind.

But it should have been asked by the wider leadership of R4GV, a party purportedly established to reflect residents views.

And maybe it should now be asked more urgently by Liberal Councillors still in uncomfortable partnership with them.


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Responses to Letter: The Real Question Is Does Guildford Want to Be a Predominantly High-rise Town?

  1. Jackie Spalding (Mrs) Reply

    January 3, 2023 at 8:09 pm

    I think it would be a tragedy to make Guildford a high-rise town. It would just be extending the London zone with its inherent problems and adding to the traffic problems. Surrey does not have the infrastructure to cope. Planning permission for high-rise buildings is not suitable for Guildford.

  2. Stuart Barnes Reply

    January 4, 2023 at 8:52 am

    The simple answer to the question is no, No, NO!

  3. Jonathan Readings Reply

    January 4, 2023 at 2:34 pm

    Absolutely not! Guildford needs to become a lowish rise sustainable town where life revolves around social networks and local shops.

    Richard Mills should be applauded for highlighting this key issue which needs to be addressed before the planning application is considered.

  4. H Trevor Jones Reply

    January 5, 2023 at 10:20 am

    I don’t know about the provision of utilities, but high-rise buildings shouldn’t logically add to road congestion as lots of people living at the same place makes public transport provision much more viable. So folk in a high-rise near the town centre shouldn’t need to own, let alone regularly use, cars. There could be car pool systems for occasional car use.

    Personally, I’ve never even learnt to drive and have lived a long happy life without needing to do so.

    So I’ve no objection in principle to high-rise buildings as long as they don’t obstruct key existing views of the Hog’s Back, Pewley Down, the Guildford Cathedral on Stag Hill, and the castle from the town centre or the views in reverse from those vantage points.

    • M Durant Reply

      January 5, 2023 at 11:55 am

      Yes, the problem is public transport is not working so people are using cars more.

      I went to the railway station recently and it was shut due to the strikes. Even in normal times trains are constantly delayed and unaffordable for a lot of people.

      They have also reduced bus services in the area. Furthermore, the idea that people need to live in the centre of town while no jobs have been created is frankly ridiculous. What new companies have moved to the centre of town to give jobs locally to so many people? I have not heard of any.

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