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Waitrose Plan Opinion – What about the Kids and the Seniors?

Published on: 21 Apr, 2012
Updated on: 21 Apr, 2012

Ollie Clokie

By Ollie Clokie,

Chairman of G4 Residents Association

Two years ago Guildford had a day centre for old people – somewhere they could pop into and have a cup of tea, see a chiropodist or maybe learn how to write an e-mail. Now they’ve been booted out and the building has been flattened in preparation for a new supermarket. The day centre and the service it provided have not been replaced.

We now have a proposal for a supermarket with access that is dangerous and will cause more traffic chaos in Guildford.

Our grandparents have been abandoned and our children are more likely to be hit by a car, but we can buy more stuff more easily. Wonderful!

Readers may have enjoyed the opportunity to go along to the Guildhall to see what Waitrose are proposing, although many people living near to the development had no idea that such an exhibition was going on. In fact, as chair of a neighbouring resident’s association I had no idea until a friend mentioned it on her facebook status.

Apparently our association was “on their list” but without contact details – so what’s a multi-million pound supermarket chain to do? (Tip to Waitrose – Google is your friend.)

Residents associations aside, as someone who lives within 50 metres of the site, why was no letter sent to me or anyone else to the North of York Road?

It’s a good job facebook exists otherwise this lack of communication would have robbed me of the opportunity to have my views ignored.

Many parents from Sandfield Primary School are appalled at the proposal to fill in the underpass and introduce up to four more crossings on their journey to school. Underpasses aren’t very nice at night time, but how many children have been run over in them on their way to school?

Unless York Road is pedestrianised (there’s an idea), the underpass will remain the safest way for many of us to get our children to and from school. It is also used by many people with restricted mobility. None of us want to be trapped on a series of traffic islands in the pouring rain waiting for little green men to appear.

Parents at Sandfield Primary and other local residents have repeatedly tried to get something done about the  dangerous crossing that  exists beside the school. We have always been told that making it safe for our children would be too inconvenient for motorists. There have been mumbled promises about making it safer as part of this development, but nothing appears in the presentation.

To add this extra supermarket traffic to an already congested area is astonishing and inconsistent with what we have been previously told. To then force our children to play real life Frogger* on their journey to school is, to many parents, an outrage.

Let’s hope Waitrose are better at listening than our Borough Council, and go back to their drawing boards to think up something safe.

* – a computer game from the 80’s. A simulation is here – http://www.frogger.net/

See also ‘Guildford Waitrose Exhibition Attracts Large Numbers’ article

Is Ollie Clokie right? What do you think? Please use the ‘Leave a Reply’ feature below to air your view.

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test 6 Responses to Waitrose Plan Opinion – What about the Kids and the Seniors?

  1. Sandra Tingle

    April 21, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    I agree with you 100% and I also only learned of the exhibition via facebook!

  2. Caroline Reeves

    April 21, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    I would just like to point out that it is Surrey County Council, not Guildford Borough Council who have consistently refused to make the Stoke Road/York Road crossing safer, giving various reasons such as it would upset the traffic flow and there have been no major accidents or deaths so there can’t be a problem They also refused to add signage for the school because they said the area was already cluttered. After many meetings with the frequently changing officers at Surrey Highways, including involving the MP and the County Councillors, I was told in December 2011 that the Traffic Safety team had finally looked at the crossing and agreed with me that it isn’t safe. Now we just need them to do what they said was needed and upgrade all four directions of the crossing, which after all is a major pedestrian route into town as well as the school route.

  3. Bibhas Neogi

    April 22, 2012 at 10:13 am

    Subways make safer crossings of busy roads and to close any of them would be a big mistake. Closure of Debenhams subway was a mistake and congestion and delays are being experienced daily despite the widening of the on street crossing that existed alongside. Anti-social problems within the subways could be dealt with if there are CCTVs in operation. Subways could be closed out of hours when traffic has died down and when crossing streets at grade is reasonably safe. Cost of operating such an arrangement should be borne by the store or the supermarket that attracts large number of daytime users accessing their premises.

  4. Dawn Austin

    April 25, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    I totally agree with Ollie. This has not been thought out properly at all. Many residents and parents of the school are appalled.

  5. Charlotte Conquest

    April 26, 2012 at 5:13 am

    My family and I are regular users of the subway and to fill it in would worry me deeply. At school pick up and school drop off the subway is full of children, their siblings, pushchairs. It’s a great access route accessible for all regardless of any disability. It also allows some independence from the children walking away from school – immersed with their friends, relaxing, chatting – as apposed to having to immediately face the prospect of crossing an extremely busy road a few seconds walk from the school gate. It’s an urban, town centre, heavily trafficked area. The underpass allows pedestrians a more fluent, uninterrupted and ultimately safer journey through the area. I am assuming that was why the underpass was built originally when there were even less cars on the road. With regards to a pedestrian crossing adding to car congestion and the build up of pollution the stopping and waiting traffic will bring – well, just don’t get me started. Wake up Surrey County Council. Come and walk our walk, then you might talk our talk!!

  6. Sarah Salter

    May 21, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    Thank you Ollie for so succinctly setting out the case…and you manage to retain a level of humour too. I am a resident in Artillery Terrace and use the subway daily. For more see Letters…