Fringe Box



Letter: Station Development Will Be A Blot On Guildford’s Townscape Forever

The “great wall” of Guildford. For scale reference, Ranger House is outlined on the left.

From Valerie Thompson

In response to: Opinion: Following the ‘Great Wall’ Go-ahead Expect More ‘Greedy Style’ Proposals

Guildford railway station will not be improved for access, particularly for the disabled, and there will not be another track, as originally promised. There are few small flats being proposed and little parking.

This development will be a blot on Guildford’s townscape and change its character forever.

What other “improvements” are in mind? Is it really intended to turn our historic town into a modern new-town with high-rise everywhere?

Certainly, the town needs money spent on it, but the Solum plans are no improvement on the hideous 1960-1980 blocks of flats and offices, instead they are in the same communist, brutalist style. Many of those could be demolished and be re-built in a more attractive design if any developer had the will or the money to do so.

And how can Guildford ever solve its pollution problems? Pollution collects at the bottom of a valley. Guildford is a gap town in a valley. There is nowhere for traffic to go other than the few roads passing mainly along the valley unless several tunnels are built but this is not practical.

Most people are not against brownfield development in Guildford, but they want appropriate heights, provision for low-cost dwellings, sufficient parking, preferably underground, a decent bus-station (the present one is a disgrace, filthy, ugly and unappealing for visitors), but the wholesale destruction of the green-belt is unacceptable.

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3 Responses to Letter: Station Development Will Be A Blot On Guildford’s Townscape Forever

  1. Mike Nicholson Reply

    March 12, 2018 at 2:23 pm

    Guildford stopped being Guildford when The Friary was demolished.

    As for the development plan for the station, it will not co-locate the bus station. There is no joined-up thinking on public transport. In Germany railway and bus stations are always co-located.

    After my miserable “Beast from the East” train trip home from London to Farncombe – watching fast trains come and go, the station staff told me to catch a bus but didn’t even know where the bus station is!

    By the way, the ease of movement of the fast trains suggested that poor disposal of train staff was the issue rather than the weather.

  2. Jan Todd Reply

    March 12, 2018 at 2:44 pm

    I agree that the proposed station development is too high, that it will do nothing to enhance its surroundings and that it is preposterous that it will do nothing to improve the station facilities.

    However, I question why Guildford seems to be constantly referred to by its residents as a “historic” town whenever development is discussed.

    Guildford is obviously not a “new town” and clearly has a history dating back many hundreds of years, but there is very little historic character left to preserve in its buildings.

    Guildford High Street and the Guildhall, Holy Trinity Church and St Mary’s, are all old and attractive, as is Abbot’s Hospital. That glimpse of the old RGS in the upper High Street is beautiful. The old fire station in North Street isn’t bad for a public toilet and the Guildford Institute building is still intact. The Edinburgh Woollen Mill building is nice and old too, but the rest of North Street?

    Though it might be ‘historic’, there’s hardly anything left of Guildford Castle. Unlike many other beautiful university and cathedral towns in the UK, Guildford’s are both modern.

    I am a fan of proper “historic” (I come from Greenwich) and I’m a fan of good modern architecture – I actually rather like the Waitrose building, partly because it isn’t trying to do what Tesco often attempt – a slightly tacky pastiche with ye olde clocktower perched on top. And while I certainly don’t want to see Guildford ruined any more than it already has been, I do question the constant use of the “our-historic-town” description whenever development is mentioned.

  3. Mary Older Reply

    March 12, 2018 at 4:25 pm

    Well said Valerie I couldn’t agree more with you!

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