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Letter: What Can Be Done to Camouflage the Scandal of Guildford’s Solum?

Published on: 24 Jan, 2021
Updated on: 24 Jan, 2021

From: R Connor

In response to: Solum Starts Station Phase for 98 New Homes and 640-space Car Park

Guildford town centre is ill-prepared to cope with this poorly conceived design. The reality of living in small flats during lockdown should have warranted a new design with more open space at the very least. And for the price/rent to collectively drop on properties.

The outdated “Guildford wall” will now dominate the skyline without compromise, shrieking out that our borough doesn’t seem to care about cohesive design.

At the very least there is very little improvement to the station, no possibility of an extra railway line, insufficient parking, poor open space, and all disgorging onto an already tricky one-way road system with narrow pavement where it is impossible to do social distancing. It does nothing to link the station with the town.

That the residents, who didn’t want this size of development on such a difficult spot, are now going to have to put up with building difficulties, noise, pollution and long construction hours seems unbelievably unfair.

Can our councillors and officers ensure every effort is made to make Solum (since it is such a huge development on an awkward site), run a tight ship on hours of work, noise levels, the correct number of floors, traffic issues?

Maybe a specific phone (not Solum) number or email to contact if these things are flouted? It would be a crumb of comfort for those of us living nearby, in the months to come.

Can they also be working on creative ways to hide it, for instance green walls, generous foliage or even a small surrounding Amazon forest to soften its lumbering outline?

Guildford is a very different place to what is was pre-lockdown, with an empty High Street, and yet this development has been allowed to stomp forward unchanged. Solum should hang its collective head in shame.

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test 3 Responses to Letter: What Can Be Done to Camouflage the Scandal of Guildford’s Solum?

  1. Stuart Barnes Reply

    January 24, 2021 at 2:51 pm

    An excellent letter. Guildford used to be a beautiful town but has been wantonly destroyed over the years.

    This proposed atrocity will continue the destruction.

    As the great late Patrick Hutber said “improvement equals deterioration”.

    This sort of “improvement” will hasten the wish of potential shoppers and others to go to other less “improved” towns like Godalming or Cranleigh.

  2. Vicky & Sam Barlow Reply

    January 24, 2021 at 4:10 pm

    We absolutely agree – the whole project is disastrous, and totally negates all the excellent work done by the Guildford Vision Group over many years.

    However, it needs to be pointed out that the Borough Council opposed the plans from the start, and turned down the original application after consultation with residents. It was the Secretary of State who allowed the application after an appeal was submitted.

    Editor’s comment: That permission was obtained on appeal, following unanimous refusal by GBC is mentioned in the article.

  3. Janet Moorhouse Reply

    January 25, 2021 at 10:57 am

    A pedestrian walking up Park Street to Guildford station dices with death. The pavement is too narrow for two pushchairs to pass each other. There has been one death already at this crossing. When will the County Council rectify this by recognising how dangerous the one-way system is?

    This massive development is not needed and is being pursued only for profit. Whose profit I can only guess but it will not be the local residents.

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