Blackwell Farm: Campaign group claims development would ‘change the west side of Guildford forever’

December 8, 2017
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The Save Hogs Back campaign group has claimed the proposed Blackwell Farm development would “change the west side of Guildford forever”.

They were responding to comments made by the University of Surrey‘s vice-chancellor, Max Lu, who said the university was “excited” to be part of the development project, which he believes will “transform the town”.

The land at the foot of the Hog’s Back, which is owned by the university, is earmarked for 1,800 new homes, as well as an extension of Surrey Research Park.

Karen Stevens, spokesman for the campaigners, said: “Max Lu is right in saying that the development will be transformative – it will change this beautiful countryside setting on the west side of Guildford forever.”

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She continued: “[It’s] a landscape containing high-grade farmland, bounded by an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a Site of Nature Conservation Importance, ancient woodland and the last remaining part of Guildford’s Royal Park.

“This transformation will bring homes, yes, but very expensive, executive homes, built at low density – not the smaller homes closer to town that Guildford needs and key workers can afford.”

Max Lu, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Surrey
(Image: UGC)

Mrs Stevens added: “It will also bring traffic chaos to this part of Guildford, causing potential mayhem to the ambulances serving the AE [at the Royal Surrey County Hospital], as well as bringing gridlock for the rest of Guildford.

“How is that good for the hospital?”

Mr Lu claimed the development would “change the Park Barn area” with “affordable housing to be included as well as a school”.

“This has been acknowledged as an area that is sort of less developed, there is a desire from leaders at Guildford Borough Council (GBC) to Surrey County Council (SCC) to really improve their lives,” he added.

“Blackwell, as I see it, is a critical piece of infrastructure as a community transformational project that is going to not only to help key workers in the region, it is also going to enable the Royal Surrey to be able to attract top technicians which will help provide a better health service here.”

But Mrs Stevens does not agree that it will be a “good critical piece of infrastructure” and questioned why the university supports it.

She claimed: “The University of Surrey is planning to make millions out of this development and is living up to past form by looking after itself rather than the town as a whole.”

Blackwell Farm, Guildford

Blackwell Farm, Guildford
(Image: Paul Farmer)

She continued: “Swap the photograph of Blackwell Farm which accompanied the Surrey Advertiser article [see above] for any expensive suburb of Guildford and an image of traffic jams outside the hospital and on the A3 and you’ll see what this ‘transformation’ will deliver.

“However, keep hold of this original photograph so that our children, and our children’s children can see what a dreadful mistake this council made.”

The site is included in GBC’s draft local plan, which was approved by the full council in November and will now go to the Planning Inspectorate.

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Article source: http://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/surrey-news/blackwell-farm-campaign-group-claims-14001306


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