Fringe Box



Letter: The Spirit of Lewis Carroll Lives On!

Published on: 9 Jan, 2024
Updated on: 8 Jan, 2024

From: Terry Newman

chair of the London Road Action Group (LRAG)

See: London Road – What Will SCC’s Survey Find?

Following my letter of December 17 about how the results of the recent public engagement might be revealed, a news update appeared on the London Road, Burpham – Active Travel Scheme – Surrey County Council ( website, two days later.

It reported: “A summary report is being collated by the consultation institute which will consider both the quantitate (sic) and qualitative data we have collated.”

A similar text also appeared on the Community Forum – Burpham To Guildford Active Travel Scheme – Commonplace website.  (The identical spelling of the word “quantitate” was present in both texts. According to online dictionaries it means: “determine the quantity or extent of (something in numerical terms)”; ie quantify).

Referring back to the minutes of the first meeting of the stakeholder reference group on March 29, it was asserted by the Consultation Institute that there needed to be “a qualitative outcome rather than quantitative”.

On several occasions, separate stakeholders asked about how an appropriate assessment of public desire was to be achieved.  This was in line with the commitment made by the leader of SCC. However, the stock answer to such a suggestion appears in the minutes of the meeting of July 26: “…the possibility of a vote on the scheme, the Consultation Institute advised it is not legally possible for SCC to have a referendum as the Electoral Register would have to be used.”

These repeated contradictions must be confusing for anyone not familiar with Lewis Carroll’s character, Humpty Dumpty, in Through the Looking Glass: “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.”

“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

For Humpty Dumpty and Alice, substitute whoever seems most appropriate, although SCC seems to suffer from the same syndrome, when it writes that “the road will remain the same width as it is currently” –  whilst the carriageway is being distinctively narrowed!

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Responses to Letter: The Spirit of Lewis Carroll Lives On!

  1. Anthony Mallard Reply

    January 9, 2024 at 10:02 am

    I suggest that Surrey County Council, in true Yes Minister pragmatic style be allowed a way out of this seemingly intractable dilemma. Without wasting any more public money.

    Perhaps something along the lines of, “As a General Election has been announced for later this year, the county council has decided to postpone any decision on the London Road Active Travel Scheme. Further consideration will be given in due course [or once the outcome is known].”

    The scheme may then be quietly shelved. Thus, neither the council nor any other interested party will lose face and a safer and more appropriate way to ensure the safety of pedestrians and cyclists may be found without harming businesses and a major access route from the east into Guildford.

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