Fringe Box



Letter: Whose Opinion Counts – the County Council or the Residents?

Published on: 29 Jun, 2023
Updated on: 29 Jun, 2023

From: Pat Gallagher

I am most grateful to Cllr Davidson [R4GV, Guildford South East] for taking the time and trouble to offer some reassurances about what the state of play is over the London Road cycle scheme. As far as I am aware, her involvement is as a division councillor, acting in an exemplary fashion on behalf of her constituents.

However, it worries me that the openness, which I suggested was necessary, is not forthcoming from those at Surrey County Council. Presumably, the council officers responsible for the development of the design, implementation and engagement plans are acting under the instructions of the Cabinet member for Transport, Infrastructure and Growth, Cllr Matt Furniss [Con, Shalford].

Is it significant that Cllr Davidson has to refer readers to the London Road Action Group’s website for additional information? On top of the lack of detail of the design provided to the group, is this another layer of secrecy at SCC, which although it has the opportunity of providing updates to the public on their own website, chooses not to do so?

Cllr Davidson refers again to the LRAG website for a summary of unanswered concerns, many of which match my own checklist.

I also find it unsettling that among her list of participants in the stakeholder group that the voice of Guildford businesses is absent. Are they genuinely not concerned enough to turn up, or are there insufficient members of the Chamber of Commerce in the relevant area to know about the process?

Again, from my own notes I find it surprising to find that Cllr Davidson does not mention the involvement of the emergency services and essential delivery functions. Should their voice not be one to be listened to, in creating an understanding of the effects of the design?

Perhaps the most alarming feature of Cllr Davidson’s letter is the point I raised about feedback.

SCC were happy to establish, and quote figures for, a quantitative majority supporting the scheme, via their flawed initial consultation. The flaws in that process were clearly revealed at the public meeting, but now it appears that the consultation advisers have persuaded them not to expose the risk of finding out that there may not be majority support.

Whose opinion is most important? Those at SCC who are pressing to create the active travel scheme come what may, or the local community who may be significantly affected?

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