‘Bland? Ugly’? Approved

October 11, 2018
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The go-ahead has been given for a town-centre bridge that cyclists have warned is unsafe and one councillor labelled “extraordinarily ugly”.

Councillors approved the planning application to replace Walnut Bridge – the footbridge at Walnut Tree Close, linking Guildford railway station with the town centre.

Guildford Greenbelt Group councillor Susan Parker said Guildford Borough Council, which is also the applicant, must impose tighter controls.

She said: “No one has said they like this bridge. It is extraordinarily ugly. I think it’s abominable and we must be able to do better. If we are the applicant and we put in something dreadful how on earth can we expect other applicants to put in good designs when we are expressing a view?”

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Bridge over the River Wey

Cllr David Bilbe joked that “hopefully” the controversial artist Bansky – whose iconic artwork appears on the side of buildings and structures – would come to Guildford in a bid to making it look better.

Cyclists raised concerns of having to share the path with pedestrians and sharp turns that would be dangerous to navigate.

One speaker described it as a “bland bridge to nowhere”.

But they were reminded by Guildford Borough Council planning committee chairman when discussing the application on Wednesday October 10 of the Highway Code.

Cllr Marsha Moseley said: “Rule 66 is very clear about cyclists sharing an unsafe gated pathway with pedestrians – cyclists should slow down and, if necessary stop, to allow pedestrians and other users across so I think it’s all about of a red herring.”

Just at the last minute before the planning meeting GBC announced it had “acquired” the leases for the Odeon and Old Orleans restaurant buildings in the Bedford Wharf area – building for which it already owns the freehold.

The Odeon cinema will continue to operate in the same building.

The terms of the agreement for the surrender of the leases are part of a commercial agreement that will not be made public.

Council leader Paul Spooner said at the meeting: “Today’s announcement that through the leasehold reversal GBC now has full control of the Odeon and Orleans site including Bedford Wharf public realm area I think is important as it allows us to move forward in relation to the bridge after the process today. And being given full control means we don’t have to deal with some of the legal issues we have had to contend with.”

He said the design was “not a thing of beauty” but with the Solum development approved for the area and the council needing to demonstrate they were using cash from a M3 LEP grant, something was needed in the short term.

Article source: https://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/surrey-news/bland-ugly-approved-guildford-footbridge-15266402


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