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Onslow and Park Barn Residents Criticise Proposed Park & Ride

Published on: 6 Oct, 2012
Updated on: 12 Oct, 2012

The public meeting held to discuss the proposed Onslow park and ride scheme. The panel from left: Malcolm Parry University of Surrey; Iain Reeve SCC; SCC Cllr Fiona White (chairperson); Chris Mansfield GBC; David Ligertwood SCC and Jo Bell GBC.

Criticism of the proposed £8.5m Onslow park and ride scheme, for up to 550 cars, was heard directly by councillors and council officers at a public meeting on Thursday evening (October 4). The meeting was organised by local residents’ associations and held at the Park Barn Centre.

The focus of much of the criticism centred on the lack of a direct entrance to the park and ride site from the A3. But Surrey County Council (SCC) representatives explained that this would require Highways Agency agreement and funding which was outside the control of the county council.

Forty were present at the meeting which was arranged by Wayne McShane, the chairman of the Park Barn & Westborough Community Association, in conjunction with Ashenden Residents’ Association. Several members of the public, who lived nearby, expressed their concern on the anticipated increase in traffic levels and local parking issues.

Mr McShane said: “My feeling is that this is just moving the congestion out of the town centre and into our council estate. It’s as simple as that. All the other park and rides in Guildford are directly off a main route, this one isn’t.”

Ian Reeve, SCC officer, responding to questions

Iain Reeve, assistant director, economy transport and planning at SCC, responded: “The traffic analysis we carried out showed us it would bring some extra traffic into this area but this would be outweighed by the benefits it would bring to Guildford as a whole. It is on the A3, although admittedly not directly. The A3 is a very busy road and we have been desperate to get a park and ride operating here. They have worked well elsewhere in Guildford.

“We are trying to give as many alternatives as possible to car drivers so that they do not drive into the town centre.”

In response to further probing by the chairperson, SCC Councillor Fiona White (Lib Dem, West Guildford), on whether direct access from the A3 had been fully considered, Mr Reeve said: “…we looked at what we could afford and what we could do… there may be a chance for doing more in the future, we are working with the Highways Agency on junction improvements, but at the moment the scheme we have got, is the scheme we have got.”

David Ligertwood, transport projects team manager, Surrey County Council, confirmed that the park and ride site was not intended to ease local parking problems for university students or the Royal Surrey County Hospital. He said: “Park and ride sites are about the town centre…. We might put in place measures to ensure that the car park is used only by those going into the town centre.”

Mike Davies makes his point about the existing problems of parking in the area

Local resident Mike Davies was one of a number who commented on the existing parking problems residents endure in the area. Some felt it a shame that the scheme would not help alleviate the problem.

Another resident had to be assured that work observed to have already taken place on the intended site was only that required to draw up plans necessary to make a planning application. But it was admitted that the Egerton roadworks were being carried out, at a cost of £4.5 million to cope with the anticipated extra traffic. This cost is additional to the £4 million the park and ride site itself will cost.

Malcolm Parry, representing the University of Surrey and the Surrey Research Park, was asked if the university, which is providing the land for the scheme, was supporting the project. He said: “The position of the university is that we see it as part of a commitment to improve the quality and environment of Guildford as a town… We are not going to support it [the planning application] or object to it, but we don’t have a problem with it.”

After the meeting Cllr Fiona White said: “I was very pleased that both councils sent senior officers to explain the proposal to local people.  However, it was clear that not enough thought had be given to the impact on people who live close to the site.  I hope that the [Guildford Borough Council (GBC)] planning committee will take residents’ concerns seriously when they decide on the application.”

Other GBC councillors present at the meeting were: Julia McShane (Lib Dem, Westborough); Adrian Chandler (Con, Onslow Village); David Goodwin (Lib Dem, Friary & St Nicolas (also SCC)) and Nikki Nelson-Smith (Con, Christchurch).

Onslow park and ride plan as provided by Guildford Borough Council (click on image to expand)

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Responses to Onslow and Park Barn Residents Criticise Proposed Park & Ride

  1. Bibhas Neogi

    October 7, 2012 at 6:12 am

    It is encouraging to hear from Mr. Iain Reeve who also headed up Transport for Guildford (TfG) that the Councils are working with the Highways Agency on the A3 junction improvements. But what about TfG?… To read full comment see ‘Letters’…

  2. Brian Holt

    October 7, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    If this park and ride site did go ahead people would only use it a couple of times, then give up because of the traffic congestion and go else where. What a waste of money that would be.

  3. Ray Springer

    October 8, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    Hopefully the proposal as submitted will be rejected by the planners.
    If the project does go ahead it must be changed to make the access to the car park off of the A3, a very difficult task, but more traffic onto Egerton Road will be absolutely horrendous.

  4. Mark Payne

    October 9, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    This proposal moves traffic from the town centre to an out of town area already suffering from congestion… To read the full comment see ‘Letters’…

  5. Cllr Adrian Chandler

    October 12, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    I felt that the meeting held in the Park Barn Centre on 4th October was excellent…. For full comment see ‘Letters’…

  6. Leighton Nottridge

    October 14, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    So not only will this increase traffic to this part of Guildford, the plan is to transform this green space into one giant slab of concrete!
    Is the need for a park and ride really that necessary? Apart from at Christmas time is the town centre parking really that bad? Is this seriously going to make a difference or is there a hidden future plan for this space?
    At a cost of a few million is this really worth it?
    Come on GBC [Guildford Borough Council], use some common sense here.

  7. Fiona White

    October 15, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    I’ve just had a look at the GBC Planning website and it looks as though they have received 11 letters objecting to the application so far. The website says that comments are welcome up to 12th October but the Planning Department have said that they will accept comments right up to the Planning Committee meeting when it will be decided.

  8. Bernard Parke

    October 16, 2012 at 10:52 am

    Some times things are not what they seem to be.

    Anyone who who has concerns should register them as soon as possible with the Borough Planning Department.