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Letter: Waitrose Planning Approval – Closing The Subway Is A Mistake

Published on: 7 Nov, 2012
Updated on: 7 Nov, 2012

From Bibas Neoghi

There are two crucial aspects of this planning application that the Councillors who voted in favour ignored to take into account. These are the decision to close the subway and the second is the noise pollution in College Road.

The effect of closing the subway in Millbrook is causing daily congestion ever since. But no lessons have been learnt and the same mistake is going to be repeated here. The main reasons as far as I could gather are that the south ramp is in the way of the exit route and it impinges on car park spaces.

The fact is that the ramp need not stay and could be replaced by steps and the proposed pedestrian crossing would provide at grade crossing for those who are unable to negotiate the steps. As for anti-social activities, the subway could remain closed out of hours as would Waitrose car park itself.

The provision of a right turn into the site could and would cause traffic to tail back and obstruct the flow of eastbound traffic. The Councils should explore ways of providing a turning around facility in York Road that could also be useful in reducing congestion in Stoke Road.

The right turning from Stoke Road into York Road could be restricted (peak hours only) to be from a short bus lane created here and the rest turning left and using the turn around to go west towards Waitrose.

Full size articulated lorries could cause traffic problems in North Street when they exit from Leapale Road. One jack-knifed articulated vehicle during peak time would cause a total blockage here and affect a much wider area.

The residents of College Road should take the noise pollution issue up with Guildford Borough Council and demand that they are satisfactorily resolved.

I suppose we would hear next from Surrey County Council that Solum’s plans for the railway station would not have severe implications for traffic!

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Responses to Letter: Waitrose Planning Approval – Closing The Subway Is A Mistake

  1. Mark Payne Reply

    November 7, 2012 at 10:17 am

    Let’s be honest, this is the right thing to do.

    * It brings us 150 jobs for local people.
    * It renovates a derelict site.
    * It provides new homes.
    * It provides a new supermarket.

    Well done the Planning Committee for putting this through.

  2. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    November 7, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    I don’t think anyone would dispute Mr Payne’s list but it is unfortunate that Surrey County Council (SCC) has failed to come up with any innovative approach in sorting out traffic problems in Guildford but are now pronouncing that there are no severe implications on traffic.

    The traffic problem has been festering for a long time and all SCC has done, so far, is to introduce some bus lanes. Taking away a safe subway cannot be justified for the danger is increased many times now by forcing school children to cross York Road during peak periods.

    Have they explored options whereby the subway could be retained and have they explored options for improving traffic flow in York Road and Stoke Road? I don’t think so. On the contrary, they are accepting a right turn into the site that could and would impede eastbound traffic if waiting traffic tails back. As for full size articulated delivery vehicles turning into North Street from Leapale Road, I hope traffic engineers have checked the turning circles of these.

    Objecting to the planning application, as it stands, does not mean that the plan is rejected but if the issues raised are resolved satisfactorily, it leads to achieving a good result for all.

  3. Caroline Reeves Reply

    November 9, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    Surrey County Council confirmed in writing that it was their intention to close both subways under York Road regardless of the Bellerby site application, closing subways is their plan for the whole county. The intention for the roundabout by the police station to be replaced by lights and the subway replaced with an at grade crossing is well known.

    The Bellerby site application provided the opportunity to make safe the crossing at Stoke/York Road, a busy crossing with a nursery school on one corner and a junior school on the other, and only one ‘green man’ crossing. By including this as part of the application the work will be done by Waitrose and has to be completed before the store opens rather than being left on the long list of work that SCC have to complete in their diminishing budget. The cross roads will be safer for all pedestrians using all four arms of the crossing.

    At least this way we have two new crossings rather than keeping the subway for a short while and being left with no other improvements when the subway is filled in. Meanwhile the various traffic and highway studies being undertaken will suggest changes to the traffic system to be included in our new Local Plan.

  4. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    November 10, 2012 at 8:23 am

    Cllr Caroline Reeves, says: “Surrey County Council confirmed in writing that … closing subways is their plan for the whole county.”

    I don’t know the background or the reasons behind this decision… To read the whole comment please see ‘Letters’.

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