Fringe Box



Letter: What Is The Plan For Guildford Then?

Published on: 30 Aug, 2022
Updated on: 30 Aug, 2022

By Gavin Morgan

founder of the Guildford Heritage Forum

In response to: ‘Guildford Should Not Look Like A Postcard From The 1900s’ Says Council Leader

It would be great if someone from the council could explain the council’s approach to the future of Guildford.

Martin Giles’s article (Opinion: In My Heart I Knew It Was A Forlorn Hope) says there are no set limits on height and that he was told that council planners deliberately steered architects away from elements of traditional styling preferred by a majority of public consulted.

Not much traditional about the style of the proposed Friary Quarter.

At the former Debenhams site, a proposal risks setting a new precedent for height in conservation areas thus removing the protection to the town’s character that conservation areas are supposed to provide.

We hear a lot about local plans, master plans, and town centre guidelines, but what are the actual guidelines? What is the vision? Based on recent articles, it appears that the future appearance of Guildford will be determined by the opinions of council staff and the ambitions of developers. Is that true?

Would it not be a sensible idea for Guildford to have its own plan, its own fly-through reconstruction? That way we would all know what to expect even if we did not like it all. And developers would have a starting point which might curb some of their excessive ambitions.

I am not saying there should not be a mix of old and modern and traditional styles. I am not saying there should be no high rise. I am just saying we should have a thought-out plan that can evolve rather than these wasteful arguments over individual applications.

I thought that was what a master plan was for. Maybe something does exist, but if so why are all these discussions popping up in The Dragon?

At the moment it feels like the future of Guildford will be determined by whatever idea developers come along with. We need something better. Perhaps someone from the council could provide some context.

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Responses to Letter: What Is The Plan For Guildford Then?

  1. Jan Messinger Reply

    August 30, 2022 at 11:33 am

    Well said, Gavin Morgan. I look forward to hearing a reply on the “plan for Guildford”. I’m sure it will be forthcoming. After all, there are elections soon, so I expect everyone will tell us what we want to hear!!

    But please politicians, don’t fight politics over what the best outcome for Guildford borough should be in relation to housing, infrastructure etc. We need a proper plan which includes our heritage, open spaces, housing, offices, shops and transport in and out of the town centre.

    And we need so much more than this. We need a proper vision for the future. Proactive not reactive measures. All I can see at the moment is we could look as awful as Woking soon.

  2. Ben Paton Reply

    August 30, 2022 at 6:13 pm

    “It would be great if someone from the council could explain the council’s approach to the future of Guildford.”

    And so say all of us.

    What sort of a ‘masterplan’ is it that has no plan for building heights?

    If there is a plan, would someone please explain what it is?

  3. Wayne Smith Reply

    August 30, 2022 at 8:47 pm

    I seem to remember that after the “Great Wall of Guildford” Solum railway station development was allowed on appeal, Guildford Borough Council said they would produce policy guidance for building heights to be followed by any future developments. What happened to that? The horse has long since bolted and they still haven’t managed to shut the stable door.

  4. Matt Huth Reply

    September 3, 2022 at 5:24 pm

    Look at cities in Germany, like Dresden and Potsdam, those cities have rebuilt their historic buildings, they are still doing this. So why can’t Guildford rebuild North Street as it was? If not everything at least the best buildings like the church, or other buildings that were demolished and somehow make new buildings harmonious? This is what should be done.

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