Local councillors’ update: January 2024

January & February bi-monthly update from local councillors George Potter and Jane Tyson.

Local councillors George Potter and Jane Tyson.

Remembrance Day in Burpham

We were honoured and moved to attend this year’s Remembrance Service at St. Luke’s Church in Burpham Lane to remember Burpham’s war dead. With ongoing conflict and death in Ukraine, Israel-Palestine and elsewhere in the world it feels more important than ever to remember the horrors of war and to do all we can to strive for just and lasting peace. Thank you very much to Burpham Church and all the volunteers for organising and running such a lovely service.

Help with the cost of living this winter

We hope that everyone has been having a relaxing and peaceful holiday season, full of Christmas cheer. But, unfortunately, we also know that for many this time of year can be one of hardship. If you, or anyone you know in the local area, is struggling with the cost of living this winter then support is available, with details to be found at: guildford.gov.uk/costoflivingsupport

London Road & Burpham Lane

The public consultation on the much-debated proposals for an active travel scheme along London Road has now ended. We have been told that the County Council will be reviewing the consultation responses in January before deciding how/whether to proceed. We continue to support the principle of making walking and cycling safer along the London Road, but as local councillors we will be working to ensure that County authorities listen to the wide range of views expressed and, in particular, properly address any well-founded practical problems with their proposed scheme. Separately, after lengthy delays, we have been able to secure a new battery for the vehicle activated signage (VAS) on Burpham Lane, where a speed limit review (organised by George Potter as county councillor) is also due to take place in the next few months with a view to potentially reducing the speed limit to 20mph.

Planning update

It has been a busy couple of months when it comes to planning! We were delighted to see such a good turnout at the BCA’s update on local planning matters, and we’re hoping it will be possible for another to be organised in the spring. In October planning permission was granted for the 471-flat North Street scheme in the town centre.

This approval was as a result of amendments to the scheme which included reducing the height by two storeys, increasing the amount of affordable housing in the scheme, and a re-design of the proposed new bus station. Separately, the Gosden Hill development proposals on the edge of Burpham appear to have slowed down, with Martin Grant Homes recently announcing that their consultation on their plans for the site has been delayed until summer 2024.

Getting Guildford’s finances in order

Although Guildford borough council is still struggling with challenging financial pressures, we are pleased to report that, as a result of strict financial controls and a large reduction in planned borrowing, the gap in the council’s budget over the next four years has been reduced by more than half to £7.3 million. This budget gap is still challenging, and will require difficult choices to be made, but to have made this much progress so quickly is really encouraging and bodes well for the council’s ability to balance its books long-term without needing to cut essential public services.