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Transport Group Annual Report April 2016 ( 2015-2016 )

Aug 2016

Transport Group Annual Report 2015-16

Much of this year's work has involved the development of topics discussed in previous years.

Railway Station Site Development
 Solum invited us to a transport workshop in July which showed considerable improvement on earlier designs for the Station forecourt but only showed conceptual ideas for connecting pedestrian movements to the west side of the tracks, for implementation at some future date. We contributed to the Society's major public meeting in January.

Dunsfold Park
Waverley BC held a consultation on this considerable housing development and later received a Planning Application from the developers. We considered that the traffic provisions would be inadequate to deal with the likely increase in traffic towards Guildford along the A281, through the villages including Shalford and Compton. This was an issue which should be addressed for major investment arranged by the County.

Town Centre Masterplan 
Allies & Morrison initiated a consultation on their draft plan. We commented at an early stage, addressing the GBC Scrutiny Committee when the draft was presented to them in September. We criticised it for lack of evidence on the transport issues involved and in due course an additional document was published, reporting the GOTCHA (GuildfOrd Town Centre and Hinterland Assessment). This did not include any true Hinterland or new data, relying solely on Gyratory movements recorded in 2011. We noted that the Masterplan, approved by the GBC Executive in March, makes no mention of the Sustainable Movement Corridor (SMC), recommended by consultants Arup in their Movement Study which had been endorsed by the Executive in April 2014. It is now expected that this will be incorporated in the updated Local Plan.

Guildford Rapid Transit System
The Society had been approached by Mr. Warren Lister. His company, Listavia, had, in 1995, developed in considerable detail, with the backing of a financial consortium, such a system for Guildford. He told us that he was now promoting a similar proposal but this would consist of electronically controlled, driverless light vehicles of bus dimensions, with rubber tyres, running on a two-way dedicated track. The track would run mainly above ground on pillars and would have a low visible profile. The proposed route would aim to connect the north-eastern part of the town with the Hospital, University and Research Park via the Town Centre. This would be very much in line with the SMC mentioned above, but at that stagethere had been little interest from GBC. The Group considered that the idea had considerable potential and would probably, in the end, be the preferred solution, particularly if private financing could be secured.

North Street Site 
Following developments in which M&G took charge of work on this project, we invited their transport specialist from Mott MacDonald, Nick Richardson, to discuss with us the transport issues involved. He made it quite clear that it was essential to resolve these issues before a meaningful project could be presented and that bus movements would be paramount, incorporating the replacement of the current bus interchange facilities. These issues involved wider traffic movements than just those in the town centre.

Guildford Park Road Consultation
 GBC launched a consultation on their proposed scheme for housing and a multi- storey car park on the Guildford Park Road car park site. Members visited the exhibition and made their comments. While being satisfactory in isolation, we were concerned that, if approved in that form, it would preclude any new rail crossing arriving from the east.

SCC consultations
 Members attended SCC's consultations on the Town Centre Transport Package and on their Cycling Strategy, both dealing with welcome improvements to walking and cycling routes across the town. Further, more expensive, improvements for cyclists at the Wooden Bridge and from the Midleton industrial estate to the University campus, were put forward by members. Little information was gained on the question as to how an experimental closure of Walnut Tree Close was envisaged.

Membership
 We were sad recently to receive John Jagger's decision to retire from the Group. He was one of the "founder" members when the Group was re-established in July 2002 and has provided us with valuable insights into railway operations. In July we welcomed Chris Shaw with his knowledgeable transport background. Otherwise little has changed, with Chris Blow in the Chair and Maurice Barham as Secretary being ably supported by Hugh Anscombe, John Beynon, Keith Chesterton, Roger Jones and Colin Selvin.

Maurice Barham April 2016