The Draft SHMA (March 2014)
Our press release and response to GBC's Draft Strategic Housing Marketing Assessment are available here
The Consultation on the Draft Local Plan (July/September 2014)
July 2015 Briefing papers for Councillors
In July the GRA issued all Councillors with the above briefing papers covering housing, infrastructure and the
University. These were written especially to help the nearly 1/3 of new Councillors understand the GRA's views and concerns.
Some councillors have expressed amazement that the government statistical
service (ONS) is projecting that, taking account of births, deaths and movements within the country, the population of Guildford is projected to fall by 2031 from today’s level. The only growth in the borough's population is projected to come from net international migration - a projection
that the ONS admits can only be made with lower reliability and which does not seem to be supported by University plans. The papers below have
been issued to Councillors to make this point clear.
Because of this the GRA argues that the estimation of Guildford's future
housing need in the SHMA is greatly exaggerated.
November 2015 GRA Comments on the Draft Guildford Town Centre Master Plan
GRA very warmly welcomes:
- The commitment to protecting and enhancing the distinctive landscape, valued views and historical character of Guildford
- The proposed green corridor and access along the Wey
GRA has major concerns regarding the following and considers much more work is needed:
Harm to the High Street
- The plan relegates the High Street to a secondary “heritage area” and shifts the principal retail focus towards the northern side of North Street putting the vibrant character of the High Street
- More generally, there is too much focus on retail expansion.
- Making the bottom of the High Street into a main road (Scenario 1) and building a wide replacement bridge over the Wey, with raised approaches and junctions, would have unacceptable
consequences. These include noise, air pollution and visual effects of busy and queuing traffic, demolition of character buildings, loss of the present bridge and harm to the setting of St
Adverse impact on adjoining residential areas
- The plan pursues town centre expansion by shifting various town centre impacts, notably traffic and parking, into surrounding, well-established residential areas.
- The pedestrianised area proposed is too extensive for a gap town.
- Closing Walnut Tree Close would aggravate congestion.
- The removal of capacity on the gyratory would result in increased traffic on roads in adjoining residential areas.
- In practice, traffic will be moved outwards onto an informal outer residential “ring road”.
- Due to displaced traffic, current rush hour traffic levels will become the norm at off peak times on adjoining residential roads and air quality will deteriorate in these areas.
- Using town centre car parks for development and building 6 major new car parks in surrounding residential areas would have a damaging effect on these communities.
- The plan does not improve links across the railway and river exacerbating the problem of Guildford being a divided town.
- Closing Bridge Street to traffic (Scenario 2) to create a pedestrian route from the railway station to the town centre is unnecessary if an attractive new pedestrian route, including a wider
footbridge, is created along Bedford Road.
- Traffic restrictions on Bridge Street would result in a damaging loss of connectivity across the river and the congestion and traffic displacement, including vehicles finding alternative routes
through villages, would be too great.
- The existing bus station would be lost to development yet no site is proposed for a replacement bus interchange from which it should be possible to travel in or out in any direction. Bus
stands along Onslow Street would be unworkable and inadequate.
- Emergency access to the hospital from the east side of Guildford would only be possible by ambulance.
Inadequate delivery strategy
- The status of the proposed plan and the feasibility of delivery are too vague.
- Applications are being submitted which cut across core features of the plan.