Fears have been raised the plan could have a negative impact on the character of small villages surrounding Guildford by adding to pollution and traffic noise
BY MARK EDWARDS
Redeveloping Guildford town centre’s transport system will add traffic congestion to neighbouring villages, parish councils have claimed.
Guildford Borough Council is consulting on its town centre draft masterplan, which includes proposals to overhaul the much maligned gyratory one-way system.
There are two main options to transform how traffic flows through the town, with the first seeking to open up riverside land and remove traffic from Millbrook, shifting the balance from a traffic-dominated environment to a more pedestrianised space.
In scenario two, Bridge Street would be closed to all traffic and pedestrianised.
The remaining sections of the gyratory would be converted from one-way restrictions to two-way.
However, parish councils have expressed concern that these plans would increase traffic congestion and would impact the town’s surrounding villages.
Junction of North Street and Chertsey Street.Junction of North Street and Chertsey Street.
Karen Stevens, chairman of Compton Parish Council, said: “Compton residents are very concerned about the impact that the proposed changes to traffic flow will have on traffic through the village.
“If the Farnham Road bridge is closed to all traffic except buses and emergency vehicles during peak time, as proposed under scenario one, this would mean that drivers wishing to cross Guildford are forced to take alternatives routes, such as the B3000 through Puttenham and Compton, or the B3100 through Artington or the A3.”
The chairman said the routes were already heavily congested and the extra traffic would have a negative impact on the character of small villages surrounding Guildford by adding to pollution and traffic noise.
An artist’s view of changes around Guildford railway station in the draft town centre masterplanAn artist’s view of changes around Guildford railway station in the draft town centre masterplan
An artist’s view of changes around Guildford railway station in the draft town centre masterplan
A spokesman for Worplesdon Parish Council said the highway network within its parish already suffered severe traffic congestion.
The spokesman said: “The proposed changes to the highway network in the town centre will have a significant adverse impact on the parish.
“Whilst the parish council wholeheartedly agrees that action must be taken to improve traffic congestion, it does not believe that either scenario will adequately solve the problem.”
The spokesman said the masterplan appeared to want to prevent traffic going through the town centre by diverting it.
“Diverted traffic would create further issues for the surrounding villages, which are already badly affected by traffic congestions,” the spokesman said.
The junction of North Street and Chertsey Street.
Matt Furniss, lead councillor for transport and infrastructure, said that any impact on the surrounding villages had been factored in to the masterplan, including traffic problems.
He said: “If you look at these problems in isolation, then yes, the masterplan would make traffic worse. However, we are taking measures to solve these issues, including projects like widening the A3 with Highways England.
“But these changes will not be sudden, it will happen in an incremental process.”
Cllr Furniss said that he was aware of the parish councils’ concerns and that he, Cllr Paul Spooner and Cllr Richard Billington had been attending parish council meetings across the borough to explain the masterplan and take on board concerns.
Cllr Furniss said: “We are encouraging drivers to drive to the town, not through the town. We want people to drive to their nearest car park in the town and walk two minutes to work. It is about a change in driving and travel style.
“Also, through the masterplan, we want to make that two-minute walk much more pleasant for people.
“However, it really depends what kind of town centre people are looking for and that will inform how we deal with these issues.”
The public consultation on the masterplan is open until November 16, and anyone wanting to have their say can do so by visiting http://www.guildford.gov.uk/tcmp.