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Letter: I Hope Solum’s Appeal Succeeds

From David Smith

In response to: Opinion: We Need More Than a Patched-up Bridge

I’m sorry to say that I hope Solum’s railway station redevelopment scheme is approved at appeal, if only to stop this ridiculous notion of a new high level bridge or flyover tearing through Walnut Tree Close and many residential areas.

Guildford Vision Group’s unfounded proposal simply moves a problem further down the river and creates a path of destruction in doing so. I also have serious questions (which have remained unanswered) as to where GVG think the traffic will go when it hits the already at maximum capacity Surrey Police roundabout? Do they think cars will simply proceed up York Road or down Woodbridge Road? How would one get to the A281?

Bill Stokoe and his unelected group, should stand on the junction of Walnut Tree Close and Bridge Street and look at where the traffic is going currently – it isn’t going left it’s all going right towards Shalford and Portsmouth Roads!

In addition, any bridge proposal which seeks to cross so many railway lines is completely unviable financially. When we look at such a ridiculous scheme we should start giving serious consideration to a tunnel which in this case is likely to have far less environmental impact.

We should be discouraging cars from entering our town not making it easier (something GVG’s vision seems to be).

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4 Responses to Letter: I Hope Solum’s Appeal Succeeds

  1. Bill Stokoe Reply

    November 8, 2017 at 12:30 pm

    Around 500 people attended the February launch of our Masterplan. The exit poll, completed by half the attendees, recorded over 90% approval of the plan and our suggested route for the traffic around the centre. If you study our plan on our website you will see the crossing rises gently and, at its highest, only just touches roofline height around Walnut Tree Close, where only a small number of existing buildings would be affected. Most of it will be shielded by new buildings.

    Our plans predominantly involve only three landowners – Network Rail, GBC and Legal&General. That’s another advantage. Over the past six years, we’ve actually done rather a lot of standing around to judge how best to give the centre of town back to people and how best to deal with the road safety and pollution currently blighting the gyratory and elsewhere.

    We recognise our plan may not find favour with everyone but we really believe that pedestrians and cyclists should get a better deal in the centre, the riverside should be transformed into a great and accessible public asset. More public space – squares, boulevards, market space etc – should fill the space currently given over to too much tarmac.

    Bill Stokoe is a director of Guildford Vision Group.

  2. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    November 15, 2017 at 10:08 am

    I would leave Bill Stokoe to defend GVG’s scheme but David Smith hasn’t clearly studied GVG’s proposals and I assume he hasn’t studied my suggestions either.

    I support the need for a new east-west crossing over the railway. In fact I suggested the crossing at the northern edge of the site back in 2009. Yes, this new route would cross Walnut Tree Close and that means making way for it. As the saying goes – you have to break the eggs to have an omelette.

    I am sorry if Mr Smith is going to be directly affected by the removal of the properties along the route if this is also promoted by the councils but they have yet to disclose their intentions.

    I recall planning guidelines that exists/existed in the earlier days included the requirement of improved transport access to and from the station development to other parts of Guildford. Solum has given no attention to this at all.

    Solum is calling their scheme “station development” but in reality this is an out and out property development as no improvements to platform facilities, lifts or improved access are proposed apart from a larger booking hall. Yes, new housing is needed and very welcome but they should be planned and designed to fit in with the surrounds and access to and from the development must not cause further congestion. Solum has failed to mitigate both.

    Height and massiveness of the block of buildings are out of proportion. They also need to consider leaving room for a route through their site for a new east-west corridor. In France, for example, such developments are split up into blocks with their own parking and surrounding small green areas, areas for communal use, children’s play area and additional parking for visitors.

  3. Susan Kay-Attwood Reply

    November 15, 2017 at 10:37 am

    If Solum do succeed only the front of the station will be developed and there will be several very tall buildings there making it a very dark area. Also, the car park will mean even more traffic trying to exit Walnut Tree Close.

  4. Gemma Roulston Reply

    November 21, 2017 at 1:11 pm

    The taxi rank proposed is completely unacceptable. No real improvement for disabled people. Very few parking bays for disabled parking.

    Solum hasn’t thought things through or worked anything out. All they said was that it would help the housing, but refused to accept that people see this as a wall. They said that the taxi rank would have shelters like a bus stop, as it was more pleasing to the eye. No real help to passengers. Better on the eye for the residents, not passengers.

    If this goes through then the disabled will need to book assistance to get to and from the taxi rank.

    Gemma Roulston is the co-chair of Guildford Access Group

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