At the Executive meeting tomorrow please could you consider delaying the adoption of the ITCF? It seems that there is not yet enough information to make a decision on it.
Perhaps you could consider the following points.
- It is vital that a full report on traffic in Guildford is done before any decisions on development are made. This will not be available until 2014.
- For businesses coming to Guildford the biggest problems are housing for staff and traffic.
- Does Guildford actually need a huge increase in retail space?
- Would houses be better on the site north of North Street?
- The area considered in the ITCF should include the university, science park and cathedral. A third of Guildford’s wealth is generated in this area.
- There should be a better overall vision for Guildford.
- Huge shopping centres have a negative effect on a small town centre like Guildford’s.
- We should concentrate on our own character, and make Guildford special.
- An independent consultant should be engaged (not one who also works for John Lewis as the current consultant does).
This does not reflect on the hard work of our planners: it is simply that such a huge undertaking needs people who can see the bigger picture and who can concentrate on the problem full time.
This is too big a decision to be taken by the executive. The full council should be involved. We have to get this decision right. We already have empty shops in the town. Building houses would help the economy as a whole, and meanwhile we can see whether shops are really what we want.