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Transport - Annual Report 2013

Jun 2013

Waitrose:
The Group was strongly involved in preparing The Society’s comments on the transport implications of Waitrose’ planning application for a foodstore on the Bellerby site. These included an analysis of their Transport Assessment made by an outside consultant engaged by the Society. We were particularly concerned at the prospect that the present pedestrian subway, used much by the local school and Guildford College students, would be blocked. At the time of writing the Group was investigating plans to keep the subway open.

We considered, along with the Society’s Planning Group, a proposed radical solution to removing through traffic by providing a tunnel from York Road car park to Millbrook for east to south traffic, and incorporating a new rail/Wey bridge to the north of the railway station for east-west traffic.

Guildford:
Early in August we heard that SCC had plans to do some traffic modelling of the Guildford network and, on obtaining details, we discovered that, not only were they planning to investigate the gyratory system but also were developing “an ambitious 30 year transport strategy” to support the emerging Local Plan.  This seemed to be very encouraging so we drafted a Society letter to SCC and GBC officers and councillors in early September. We pointed out the opportunity to share information between the two entities and with the general public to ensure their support, since earlier schemes had failed due to lack of proper consultation.

We heard in November that a very positive meeting had taken place between SCC and GBC where it had been agreed how transport matters for Guildford would be taken forward. So we sought a meeting to discuss some of the details with SCC and this took place in January. We expressed our concerns, together with members of other Society groups, about the transport impacts of developments around the town including the possible effect of the Solum proposals for the Railway Station. The meeting was attended by GBC’s newly appointed Principal Transport Planner who gave us some very positive news about the Borough’s plans. He then provided us with data from an origin and destination survey for the gyratory, which had been commissioned by SCC, and which we have been able to use in our latest transport studies. Arrangements will soon be made for a follow-up meeting.

During the year the Transport Group has been engaged in researching and drafting a portfolio of longer term ‘congestion busting’ schemes ready for discussion with SCC and GBC in the late spring.

Our Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Enterprise M3, has been gaining funding for transport improvements from DfT. We are keen to influence the use of any further available funding for the A3 junctions.

We were encouraged to see that £4m from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF) was approved for expenditure in and around Guildford. The greater part of this was for a new Onslow Park and Ride facility at Manor Park which was supported by the Society, although we expressed some misgivings regarding the tortuous access to it. We also welcomed plans to upgrade the A25 and other cycle and pedestrian pathways.

Rail:
The Transport’s Group member John Jagger forwarded comment through Railfuture, a rail campaigning  group, on the Thames Link, Southern and Southeast new rail franchise and the Southern Rail Strategy consultations. It is hoped that the North Downs line will at some point be electrified between Redhill and Ash with improved services to Gatwick. Also, there is now a possibility that a station at Park Barn could be considered by SCC to reduce congestion in the area around the Hospital and the University.

And…
+ Although no official statement has been made by GBC, it became evident during the year that it was unlikely that they would pursue their proposal for a new Bus station on the Bedford Road site.  Bus facilities are now written into the latest brief for the North Street development but it will be for the selected developer to devise a suitable arrangement. 

+ We were consulted by Travel SMART* to discuss ideas for direction signs in the town centre. The Society concluded that Transport for London’s (TfL) mapping system, Legible London, could be used and identified maybe 6 or 7 signs for the town centre. However we made clear that we needed to see some alternative designs and to make good use of the recommendations in the Society’s publication ‘Walking Audits’ which we made available. (*Travel SMART is a Surrey County programme designed to provide people with more travel choices that help cut carbon, calories and cost.)

Membership:
The year started with changes in the running of the Group with Roger Jones taking over the Chair and Maurice Barham becoming Secretary.

During the year we were sorry to see the departure of Bob Thomas who had been a member of the group for over 10 years and who sadly died this year. More recently, Tim Langhorn after 7 years with us has resigned due to business pressures. However we have been fortunate to be joined by four new members, Hugh Anscombe, Colin Selvin, John Beynon and Keith Chesterton. An existing member of the Group, Chris Blow ran a tutorial for them as part of the ‘new boys’ induction.  

RAJ/MGB

Comments and suggestions are always welcome. Please send them to: transport@guildfordsociety.org.uk by clicking this link.