I entirely agree with Mr. John Scott (Letters, 6 April). A feature of the Railway Station scheme is that 400 car parking spaces on the east side would be relocated in new multi-storeys on the west, with access to and from an already congested Guildford Park Road.
This is just another example of the piecemeal town centre development, which is encouraged by the Masterplan (apparently to be renamed the Interim Town Centre Framework), without any consideration for its effect upon roads, traffic and pedestrians. Traffic matters are to be resolved later, we are told, by studies for the town centre which will be fed into the Core Strategy for the whole borough. In the meantime a number of these isolated but substantial developments will be allowed to go ahead.
What we really need is an independent, professional assessment of the current situation to establish where traffic and pedestrians come from and where they go to, and not just within the town centre, identifying through traffic, particularly by HGVs. This should include Engagement, not just Consultation, with communities, businesses, the University, Hospitals, the Cathedral, Research Park, County Highways and the Highways Agency (for the A3) to arrive at a long term transport framework for the whole area. The best way to develop sites and to create open spaces can then follow.
The recently published National Planning Policy Framework (para.41) requires local planning authorities to identify and protect, where there is robust evidence, sites and routes which could be critical in developing infrastructure to widen transport choice.
In order to benefit from this legislation there has to be an agreed Plan, which is currently non-existent and certainly no robust evidence appears to have been sought.
What if the preferred transport option were to call for a new rail and river crossing near to the Railway Station? If the necessary land had not been protected, a less attractive and probably more expensive alternative would need to be found – a tunnel perhaps?
Other towns have succeeded in investing in imaginative transport and environmental solutions, so why can’t we have one for Guildford in which Onslow Street might become a tree-lined boulevard with its space shared between pedestrians, cyclists and the occasional resident’s car?