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Letter: We Can’t Fit A Quart into a Pint Pot

Published on: 9 Sep, 2021
Updated on: 9 Sep, 2021

From: Fiona Curtis

former Compton parish councillor

In response to: Stop Further Development Until Congestion And Air Pollution Is Solved

Highways England states that it will: “ensure local planning decisions include steps, where required, to mitigate any impact on air quality and do not compromise either our network or local road networks”. Hopefully, the “where required” aspect is not the equivalent of developers saying “where viable” for affordable housing.

I still find it hard to believe that GBC approved the Local Plan without a plan for the town centre? This is surely tantamount to building a house and only then thinking about the electrics and heating?

Air quality issues in Surrey are and have always been seen as something that can be theoretically mitigated against (whether the theory translates into practice is another argument). The issues that led to the Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) in Compton were raised nine years ago and to date, all consultants’ recommendations have been ignored because retaining traffic flow has superseded the need to reduce pollution.

At the suggestion of Compton Parish Council, and no doubt mindful of the need to be seen to have done something, a “No Right Turn’ sign was installed in Compton, to prevent a tailback on the road behind vehicles waiting to turn right into Down Lane. This has been totally ineffective as it has never been enforced and because it spends most of its life hidden by foliage, anyway it would no doubt be unenforceable.

This has all been reported but as far as I know, nothing has been done about it, because SCC is unwilling to sanction plans that might adversely impact somewhere else and neighbouring Shalford is also an AQMA. In other words, you can’t get a quart in a pint pot.

As I understand it, a review of the Transport Plan will not be imminent because last year GBC and SCC agreed to use the new “Sintram 7” transport strategy and the sub-area model needed to undertake the review will not be ready until the first half of 2022 (all time frames are subject to change), after which, the modelling can begin.

Of equal interest is the study that Highways England plans to do based around the A3, and related growth plans, opportunities and constraints.

To date, thinking appears to be centred around a by-pass rather than widening, as the widening option does not offer similar additional capacity for future growth, or increase resilience of the network. A by-pass would however be more expensive and would impact the AONB.

The bottom line is how on earth can the area grow by 34,000 residents plus businesses and associated services and car journeys and not have an impact on the environment? Given the changing face of high streets across the country, alongside the current lack of evidence that the A3 works can ever meet the value for money test, or increase capacity without harming residents and motorists caught up in its fog of pollution – perhaps the Local Plan should be put it on hold until the post-Brexit and post-pandemic picture is clearer?

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test 4 Responses to Letter: We Can’t Fit A Quart into a Pint Pot

  1. Peter Elliott Reply

    September 10, 2021 at 12:34 pm

    The current CPRE [The Countryside Charity] magazine, in which it says that the ONS [Office for National Statistics] forecast for population growth in Guildford over the next 15 years is just 181, and 17,334 for the whole of Surrey?

    Bit different from 30,000 for Guildford alone, isn’t it?

    • Fiona Curtis Reply

      September 12, 2021 at 12:23 pm

      The housing targets across the country, when added together far exceed current and expected number of homes required by the estimated future population.

      The policy to incorporate growth as need (obfuscation, the like of which we see all the time but are currently seeing with the tax hikes for NHS dressed up as social care) must surely mean that immigration is higher than published, or growth via immigration is planned (which seems unlikely under Priti Patel) or this is a land banking gift to developers?

      Whichever way you look at it, the figures don’t add up.

      • Stuart Barnes Reply

        September 13, 2021 at 2:59 pm

        Of course immigration is higher than published. Remember when Tony Blair said that his changes would only attract 13,000! Never believe a word they say.

  2. David Roberts Reply

    September 14, 2021 at 4:29 pm

    The figures may not be perfect, but the best statistics available show a population increase for Guildford borough of just 0.8% between 2018 and 2028, due to natural growth slightly offsetting net migration out of the borough: see https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/populationandmigration/populationprojections/bulletins/subnationalpopulationprojectionsforengland/2018based.

    There is clearly no need for panic over inward migration, nor any need to build 14,000 new houses under the Local Plan.

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