Fringe Box



Letter: This Masterplan Has Nothing of Substance

Published on: 10 Dec, 2021
Updated on: 10 Dec, 2021

From: Bibhas Neogi

In response to: GBC Masterplan Consultation Launched – Public Participation Encouraged

What can I say? A Masterplan that has nothing in substance except restatement of a list of wishes and sites owned by developers and the council.

The Masterplan is seeking a modal shift but the nodes of the network are not connected. Despite all the claims of reducing car travel by commuters, the proposed relocation of the bus station is no relocation at all – apparently it is staying where it is.

The Masterplan seems to be relying on commuters drinking the magic drink that gives them wings to fly to the railway station, cyclists following ET through the air and Scotty beaming up the entire traffic in southbound Onslow Street and dropping it somewhere in Shalford.

Asking people to come up with their ideas is fine but to date the councils have not listened to any of the suggestions that I can recall. Even Guildford Vision Group has failed to convince the GBC and SCC that a new east-west route is essential in sorting congestion and pollution of the gyratory. The chances of putting in such a route is fast diminishing, if not already missed forever, due to developers coming up with their plans for the sites that such a route would have to occupy.

This plan that fails to address improvements to the road network is going to kill off businesses in Guildford.

This precious town will further deteriorate unless the council’s consultants and architects produce well thought out real plans for traffic, pedestrian and cycle routes and relocate the bus station closer to the railway station. They can then invite comments and suggestions from the public. Improving the road network would free up space for safer routes for pedestrians and cyclists and enable the much-desired modal shift to take place.

The public has opinions and ideas but they are not qualified to understand the implications and practicalities of achieving successful joined-up outcomes. It is the job of the professionals to come up with options and then present them to the public for consultation.

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Responses to Letter: This Masterplan Has Nothing of Substance

  1. H Trevor Jones Reply

    December 12, 2021 at 8:38 pm

    At least we have a proper bus station in Guildford and will continue to have one that is within easy walking distance of the railway station (at least for the able-bodied), unlike in many towns.

    I know that ideally a bus station should be by a railway station for bus-rail interchange, but I believe a majority of bus passengers like the current town centre location, as shown by a survey of bus station users a few years ago.

    • Bibhas Neogi Reply

      December 13, 2021 at 11:29 am

      The survey was not carried out properly. If you ask a person who uses a bus service, his or her answer would depend on how they perceive their needs are met. A simple question like, “Do you think the bus station should stay where it is?” is likely to get a positive answer. It is a closed question.

      Relocation of a bus station may have other implications. It may reduce congestion, it may open up access to other areas like the railway station or free up an area better suited to housing etc. So a simple question may not, and most probably does not, lead to an optimum answer.

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