Category Archives: Letters to Surrey Ad

20130316_Sledgehammer to miss a Nut

Onslow CPZ – a sledge-hammer to miss the nut

Oh dear! I fear once again (p2. Surrey Ad 15th March ‘Upset at plans for extension to CPZ’) that we are seeing all of the results of a comprehensive lack of strategic planning, a prevalence of tactical initiatives to treat symptoms, an absence of imagination and a failure to understand the needs and frustrations of residents.  This time it is not about the town centre but the circumstances are all too familiar.

The area was largely developed since the 1930’s (connected to Guildford only by a bridge built before cars and trucks were even invented), and yet Onslow contributes well in excess of £2bn each year to the local economy and houses the major employment and economic drivers in the town (yes, even including the retail area!): the University, Research Park, Hospital and so much more. The only parking strategy that has been applied in the past few decades has been to restrict on-site parking provision for out-of-town businesses and institutions – whilst allowing them to expand enormously – on the assumption that, despite a woeful public transport provision, employees and students would somehow leave their cars at home.  Continue reading

20120803 Parking Profits not helping ease Congestion

I note by simple calculation from your headline: ‘PROFITS ON PARKING TOP £6m’ (Front page, Surrey Ad 27th July) that the Council does not see fit to invest one to two months of that profit in a proper professional town plan (as called for by the Guildford Vision Group) to overcome the congestion misery that plagues those creating the profit by parking in town and the businesses and retailers who attract them in the first place. This just shows how much more important generating cash is than the long-term well being and prosperity of Guildford (see www.guildfordvisiongroup.com).

120505 Local Democracy

Letter to Surrey Advertiser

Sir

I read with interest the letters of Mr Slade and Alderman Bridger and the comments of our Council Leader (Surrey Ad 4th May) and, having spoken at the Committee meeting to which he referred, I can clarify a few points for your readers.

Peter Slade is absolutely right about the crucial role the Philharmonic (GPO) plays in the image and cultural outreach and vitality of Guildford – so much so that all of the Councillors barring perhaps Cllr Meredith were vocal in support of retaining the GPO in some form and gave unequivocal backing to a requirement for the Chief Executive and lead Councillor Jen Powell to revert back without delay with a clear fact-based recommendation as to the future of the GPO.

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120429 Waitrose

Letter to Surrey Advertiser (unpublished)

Sir

I attended the Waitrose exhibition and I have considered long and hard what I saw and heard and, however much I would love to have Waitrose in Guildford, I simply cannot see why it should be on the Bellerby Theatre site.

As a property professional with almost thirty years of experience, I know that it would be a much better idea to have both John Lewis and Waitrose anchoring the Friary extension and regenerating the area that has been all but set aside for tens of years pending development.  The combination of these two sister stores in a large format could well be the difference between a viable development or not.  Furthermore, the development of a new residential quarter should be capable of generating attractive returns for the Council’s site.

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120116 Town Centre Masterplan

Letter to Surrey Advertiser

Sir

I am writing having read your article about the Guildford Society meeting about the Town Masterplan (Surrey Ad 13th Jan).

More than 100 attendees laid into the lack of vision and small-mindedness of the current consultation draft – I urge Guildfordians to express your views by 23rd January – and concerns that decisions are being made just days before the deadline that prejudge (or deliberately discount) the responses that may be received.

Three councillors from Ash, two from Clandon, a couple more rural councillors and a token member from a town ward make up an executive who seem to believe they do not need to hear the results of a public consultation before committing yet more of our money on flawed consultancy briefs.

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111207 Bus Station

Letter to Surrey Advertiser

Sir

I have read with interest the correspondence in your pages regarding the proposed bus station relocation.  I have also received a copy of the draft Town Centre Plan.

Cushman & Wakefield’s Town Centre Development Study (March 2010) noted (6.5.2) that “The bus station is run down and in a very poor state of repair…The level of integration between the main railway station and the bus station is…limited…resulting in a relatively small proportion of bus services stopping at the railway station.”  This finding is borne out by other contributors to this letters page.

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111122 Guildford Philharmonic

Letter to Surrey Advertiser

Sir

I now feel as though G-Live (“Garrett-Live” as the great Diva styled it) has at last been well and truly opened.

Congratulations to Nicola Goold and Clare Lister who have worked tirelessly over the past many years to bring concerts to different venues around Guildford.  This was a stunning concert by anyone’s standards and, as Stephen Bell (conductor) said, the Philharmonic is an Orchestra of which Guildford can be justifiably proud.  It ranks up there with any other professional orchestra and the programme (which I thought was a little like a sampler CD for a high-end stereo system) showed off the colour, technical excellence and professionalism of the orchestra to great effect – making use of, and bringing the acoustic qualities of the hall to the audience with astounding crispness and brightness.

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110703 G-Live

Letter to Surrey Advertiser

Sir

Councillor Mannings (Letters 1st July) set out reasons why we should celebrate G Live – I also hope it will be a great success.  He highlights how Guildford should be content that the subsidy is not at the level paid in Basingstoke.

The Anvil and Haymarket halls in Basingstoke are both run by the Anvil Trust (charity number 1034961) and the Trust received around £1.25 million in grants from Basingstoke & Deane Council in the year to 2010.  It operates the two halls and works in the community to produce more than 600 events per year and it sets its aims as “to present and support arts and entertainment in its two buildings The Anvil and The Haymarket; to create education and participation opportunities that include all members of the community; to present and create work that celebrates cultural diversity; for the benefit of those who live in work or visit the Borough of Basingstoke & Deane, the county of Hampshire and the wider region”.

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110617 G-Live

Letter to Surrey Advertiser

Sir

I very much appreciate Gordon Bridger’s analysis in your Letters page (Surrey Ad 17th June), but I have a little further financial insight as a result of my Freedom of Information Request (made in April).

It seems there is a total investment (net of the contingency of £1.1m, most of which should revert to the Council’s Capital Funds) of £25m.  There is a contribution of over £470,000 for the set up costs (on top of the £750,000 ‘we’ have paid for the fit out for HQ’s chosen internal layout, equipment and finishes – included in the £25m).  Then there is an annual subsidy of £325,000.

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110522 G-Live

Letter to Surrey Advertiser

Sir

Contrary to the correspondence trail in your pages (especially my part in it) I am pleased that Guildford will finally get a concert hall back.   I just disagree fundamentally with the way Guildford’s Leadership went about delivering it to us.  I have criticised the funding structure and, in conversation the other day, a parallel was suggested to me which I thought I would share with your readers.

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