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Letter: Large, Additional Amounts of Retail Space Never Made Sense

From Gordon Bridger

hon alderman and former Mayor of Guildford

In response to: Local Plan Inspector ‘Very Concerned’ with ‘Unacceptable’ Speed of Housing Development

Congratulations to The Guildford Dragon; where would we be without your constant informed and balance coverage?

The council’s plan for a 42,000 sq metres of additional retail never made economic or planning sense, even three years ago.

Yes, more housing can and should be accommodated in the town centre but the danger is that the developers will claim that only high rise flats are “viable” and a bus exchange facility is not. And on past experience, the council will agree as it is the only viable option.

But why should we pay developers who almost certainly overpaid for their asset?

There is now a real danger that basic character of our town centre will be sold to emulate Woking or Croydon. If the developers do not like this they can sell off their property as Westfield’s did and let someone else take over and produce a plan for the town centre which respects our special differences.

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