Last week Guildford Times reported the proposed addition of 40 car spaces and the extension of Platform One to accommodate twelve-carriage trains as part of a £200m redevelopment ofGuildford’s Mainline Station.
Local resident, Julian Lyon, who intends to stand as an Independent Candidate in the forthcoming local elections, believes the provision of a small number of extra car spaces hardly amounts to a cohesive transport strategy.
The proposed redevelopment of Guildford Mainline Station should include a full (personal rather than freight) inter-modal transit point according to Lyon who believes Guildford should be pressing hard for the creation of a fast rail link to Heathrow (connecting Heathrow and Gatwick via Guildford) and reinstatement of Thameslink services to Luton Airport; he adds: “We should also look to reorientate our public transport network so that most, if not all buses call at the station before reaching the terminus in the new Westfield development so that most people can get to and from the station easily without using their cars.”
In addition to providing Guildford with a great boost for tourism and helping with the longer term sustainability of the University and Cathedral,Lyon’s concept would help the various airports plan their Ground Transport Policy Papers in the context of their prospective growth under the SERA proposals. This approach would, however, necessitate a bold and aggressive change of thinking in terms of the transport infrastructure.
Lyon believes a holistic approach to transport and planning the built environment would also help solve many of the problems of capacity experienced on the One-Way system and he has put forward an outline proposal (which shows traffic/transport flows rather than specific routes) in the context of the station redevelopment that demonstrates how an inter-modal scheme might look. This proposal also provides a possible solution to the problems of theFarnham Roadbridge and the junction of Walnut Tree Close with the One-Way system.
Additional transport features could include a fixed link between the station and the Cathedral, University, Hospital,ResearchParkand park & ride sites, and a development of this kind would also provide the opportunity to create a gateway from the town centre and station to the University and Cathedral.
The Cathedral’s own ambitions for development to secure its financial future, and the University’s own expansion plans could be integrated into this exercise to create a high standard master plan for the ‘Cathedral and University Quarter’.
Lyon says “The lack of a unitary authority looking after Guildford’s wider interests prevents the current Borough Executive from tackling the wider issues of transport networks,” adding that “the unitary authority must be centred around Guildford and not a county-wide authority based on the inadequacies of the County Council”.
By addressing a broad range of issues there should be additional value created for the airports, Network Rail and the appointed developers of the station, Redrow Regeneration. The improved accessibility of the town and its amenities should help to reduce congestion in the town centre and should help to encourage the use of public transport and the proposed new park & ride facilities at ManorPark.