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Planning Committee Should Reject the Waitrose Scheme

Published on: 13 Jul, 2012
Updated on: 13 Jul, 2012

From Gordon Bridger

Hon. Alderman

While many of our more affluent consumers may be delighted to hear that the Council is negotiating with Waitrose to establish itself in the town centre and those pushing for it within the Council see the sale of this land as a huge financial benefit (one informed guess was that it could exceed £20m), those responsible for planning decisions need to look at the indirect and long term consequences of approving this development.

The main concern of this 22,000 sq ft development are its traffic consequences. The Councils own “Economic
Development Study” stresses that this is the most serious problem the town faces and is the key factor in  determining whether businesses stay in the town. How on earth can our traffic system cope with the huge increase in traffic which this scheme will generate? We need an independent traffic assessment, not one funded by the developers themselves.

The plan proposes that there should be 170 ground level car spaces. To allow such minimal use of land in a town centre is economically and socially unacceptable. This is extremely valuable land which should be used for a much higher priority – housing – possibly with an underground car park (if one is to ignore the traffic problems).

And thirdly the bland design of the development is totally out of keeping with the town centre and conflicts with council policy on “scale and character”. Waitrose could easily provide an alternative design which was in character of the town centre

The Planning Committee will I hope exert its independence and reject the scheme as they did some years ago when an Officer led proposal for a Westfield development was unanimously thrown out by the Committee.

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test One Response to Planning Committee Should Reject the Waitrose Scheme

  1. Rosemary Morgan

    July 16, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    I am writing to support the views expressed above regarding the proposed Waitrose development in Guildford… See full comment from Rosemary Morgan in the Letters section.