26th March 2020

Coronavirus - help with shopping


Just so you are all aware, we have set up a task force of volunteers on Abbotswood who are willing to do the shopping, or perform other errands, for those of you who have been advised to avoid public spaces, either due to your age or due to underlying medical conditions. If you need assistance with shopping, or collecting medication from a pharmacy, please contact me on or by phone on 01483 563439. The intention is to pair up those of you requiring assistance with helpers on a one to one basis so your helpers can quickly get to understand your needs and establish a routine that suits you both without compromising your safety.

15th January 2020

AMEN Pub Quiz Night


It appears that no amount of doctorates, diplomas, degrees, or even boy scouts proficiency badges makes any difference when it comes to pub quizzes. In fact, a certain degree of maturity seems to be a bit of a handicap. Anyway a truly international and highly distinguished team turned out for the AMEN Superstars at the Anchor & Horseshoes. After a hearty team building supper (we can recommend the “bangers and mash” or the “steak and ale pie”) we started with the picture quiz - quickly identifying Jeremy Vine, Cher and Claudia Winkleman, and a very youthful picture of Leonardo DiCaprio (thank you Evgeny). However the main quiz proved to be slightly more problematic with the team struggling to identify the colours in the flag of a central African state but quick to identify Rod Stewart as the pop star recently charged with battery and disorderly conduct (rock on Tommy). Unfortunately there was no sign of the Lovely Lisa who came to our rescue last year - but Sam made up for it in bucket loads - not that I’m suggesting in any way that Sam is as lovely as Lisa – just clever OK.

15th December 2019

The Abbotswood Christmas Party


So Christmas started at 2.00 pm on Sunday 15th December at Woodways on Abbotswood. That’s official. Just walking up to the house and seeing all those baubles hanging from the trees was quite something. Katie took charge of the face painting. She’s clearly an expert – no doubt a little trick she picked up at Glastonbury. Anyway the children loved it. I’m glad to see “loons” are back in fashion (that’s “bell bottoms” to you and me). I was also struck by the big mirror thing which looked remarkably like the big monolith from “A Space Odyssey”. Personally I’m convinced it was a “time portal” – one of those things you take a run at and jump into and it goes all gooey – and out you come the other side to Dr Who sound effects in "a new dimension in time and space” - and then a bell rings and you spin round and there’s Santa Alan Claus looking and sounding remarkably like one of my neighbours. Just for the record, grown-ups queuing up for Santa Claus on their knees do not remotely pass for little children – even when they are covered in face paint. Anyway Santa Alan Claus seemed to know an awful lot about all the children – their favourite cuddly toys and the names of their pets. Perhaps this had something to do with Dee’s “little magic book of secrets” and some timely prompting from Mrs Sue Claus. Happy Christmas, and a huge thank you to Chief Elf Melissa for your kind hospitality and many thanks indeed to the “Christmas Party Team” - Melissa, Dee, Katie, Sue, Fridrun and Eileen.

5th December 2019

The result of the three Judicial Reviews


You will remember that three applications for Judicial Reviews were lodged in the High Court earlier this year seeking to challenge the adoption of the Local Plan for Guildford on the basis that the Council had failed to demonstrate the “exceptional circumstances” required before releasing land from the Green Belt. This is because the provision of development land in the Local Plan far exceeds the housing need over the next twenty years. In fact the total site allocations in the Local Plan, which include large swathes of the Green Belt, have the potential to deliver 14,602 homes over the life of the plan compared with a total housing requirement of only 10,678 homes - a surplus equivalent to at least two of the three major strategic sites in the green belt at Wisley Airfield, Gosden Hill Farm and Blackwell Farm. However, I’m sorry to have to tell you that the three Judicial Reviews brought by the Compton Parish Council, the Wisley Parish Council and Jules Cranwell (on behalf of the Guildford Greenbelt Group) were all unsuccessful in the High Court yesterday. This judgement is very sad news indeed for Guildford. If Guildford Borough Council, led by the Conservatives, had stood with the community, instead of with the developers and the University, then things might have been different. The photograph is of Blackwell Farm in the green belt - now lost and waiting for the bulldozers.

9th November 2019

Autumn Clear Up Morning


It seems there are two categories of volunteers at these Clean Up Mornings – those who actually do stuff – and those who just faff around pretending to look busy and turn up for the lunch. I’m afraid I’m one of the latter who just faffs around (that’s a technical term) pretending to do stuff, so I can turn up for lunch with a reasonably clear conscience. However there are other heroes like Mike, John, Dee and Katie - too many to mention - who actually do stuff but leave all the carousing to others - that's what I call above and beyond the call of duty. The important thing is that we managed to plant all the bulbs - so hopefully - we can look forward to a lovely display of miniature daffodil-like thingies in the spring. As far as the leaves are concerned, we thought they looked so lovely lying around that we’d leave them for a few more weeks for you all to enjoy. Thank you again Eileen for another delicious lunch and good company and thank you everyone for all your help.

21st October 2019

AMEN Ten Pin Bowling


Having tried to coax everyone to turn up in fancy dress, he who shall remain nameless was the only person to turn up in anything remotely fancy dress (a rather large and lurid top hat) so lurid that Mike took it upon himself to reassure passersby that “it’s all right - he’s with me”. Once in the Bowling Alley, he who shall remain nameless set the tone for the evening by asking an attractive female in the next lane how the scoring system worked - only to be told, rather too loudly, that “my husband who is six foot nine and built like a Welsh rugby player will explain everything when he gets back from the bar”. OK. The award for the “Most Improved Player” went to Dave who, having failed to score in the first round, was persuaded to try aiming diagonally across the lanes - which seemed to solve the problem. The “Star Player” award went to Peter who quietly racked up an impressive score of 157 and, as we all assumed that he had somehow managed to hack into the electronic scoring system, was also handed the “Outstanding Technical Achievement Award”. Nobody won the “Best Fancy Dress” prize after Niels declared that “a full alligator outfit complete with goggles and flippers” was the minimum qualifying standard for any sort of prize and that a collar and tie simply wouldn’t cut the mustard. One of the blessings of these AMEN outings is that the wives are spared from watching their menfolk make such utter fools of themselves. See you at the AMEN Curry Night.

14th October 2019

Q & A Session with our Ward Councillors


Our second Q & A Session was held on Monday 14th October at the Hibberts. The meeting was attended by our two ward councillors Joss Bigmore and Dennis Booth, representing Residents for Guildford and Villages (R4GV), and Mark Brett Warburton our County Councillor. Joss Bigmore explained that the R4GV group is an alliance of a number of independent councillors and some disaffected former Conservative councillors who have come together to focus on local issues that matter to the residents of Guildford while not being tied to national party politics. Their proposal to establish a masterplan for the town centre has recently been approved and Cllr Rigg for R4GV is working hard to progress this. The masterplan will include investigating the use of more brownfield sites for housing and reviewing alternative proposals to alleviate congestion in the town centre. In the light of the trend towards online shopping, the retail content of the North Street Development has been reduced while the housing allocation has increased from 200 to 800 units. Following a recent decision by the council to accept an outbuilding of 40 square metres as "permitted development" in our conservation area, Joss has agreed to take up the possibility of altering the Article 4 Directions for Abbotswood to include outbuildings in excess of 10 square metres in the list of alterations from which permitted development rights are withdrawn. Finally a number of people expressed concern at the narrowness of the pavement between the Paddock and the Boxgrove roundabout and Mark has agreed to investigate the possibility of removing the slip road and widening the pavement as part of the sustainable movement corridor.

6th September 2019

Alan's AMEN Pub Walk


The AMEN Pub Walk proved to be more of a “safari” than a walk. Alan took us via the Paddock where we stopped to admire the new fortifications at the entrance (I think Alan could have done with a few more tank traps) and then on to Thorneycrofts Woods, which now appears to be over-run with killer rabbits. We then travelled on to Stoke Lock on the Wey Navigation, which Alan informed us was completed in 1653 at a cost of £15,000 (I’d say that’s pretty cheap at the price). At the lake, we saw swans and herons, and hoards of wildebeest (or maybe just a few cows – it’s difficult to tell in the twilight) - and, after an altogether epic journey, we finally dragged ourselves into the Anchor & Horseshoes where the pies and a few pints were very welcome. Hats off to the band of happy wanderers who braved the perils of Riverside Park and lived to tell the tale. Trips like these are open to anyone reckless enough to take the risk. You just need to be a bloke to qualify.

24th August 2019

AMEN Summer Barbeque at the Cordingleys


This week we heard the news that President Trump has his eyes set on Greenland and, no doubt is already planning “seal shoots”. I can tell you that the seals in Greenland are feeling very Danish about all this and are not going to stand for it. It’s bad enough that the glaciers are rapidly disappearing. Looking at the photos, Melissa and Vivien were clearly hooked on social media - or were they looking at their holiday snaps? It turns out that Misun’s thing is fishing – who would have thought that? So there was Misun telling us about the size of her latest catch while Henryk clearly remains to be convinced. Sam, and the one who shall remain nameless, had some friendly banter about the severity of their respective fitness regimes (while each of them was secretly thinking how many visits to the gym were actually plausible in one week). You may well ask what any of this has to do with the AMEN barbeque hosted by the Cordingleys. Well I think everybody will agree that Nick and Sarah managed to pull off a really fabulous evening with some delicious food, while AWIT, as usual, provided decorative company and kept the lads in order. So let’s give a big thank you to Nick and Sarah - and a big welcome to Reubin and Habiba who have recently moved into “Greenmantle”. Anyone interested in coming along to other AMEN (Abbotswood Men) events should just click on the tab in the left hand menu to find out more. You just need to be a bloke to qualify.

21st July 2019

Wood Street Jazz Festival


This was Bernard’s AMEN “Jazz on a hot summer’s afternoon” event. I have to say that the jazz was more Tubby Hayes and Ronnie Scott than Kenny Ball - so those expecting to skip jive to a little “trad jazz” might have been a bit disappointed. But the jazz was of a very high standard with the likes of Bruce Adams, one the jazz scene’s most dramatic and stimulating performers, whose long-running musical partnership with Alan Barnes has produced many acclaimed recordings. A reasonable party of about ten people turned up from Abbotswood including Paul Gillingham (minus his crash helmet - but I’m sure he was still wearing cycle clips). This event, sponsored by Rydes Hill School and the University of Surrey, is an annual event organised in support of the local charity "Challengers". Guildford Jazz aims to bring Britain’s finest musicians to a local audience in an intimate and welcoming jazz club environment. Described as the “Ronnie Scott’s of Surrey”, the club currently runs two very popular gigs a month: a Jazz Cafe at the Electric Theatre, and a jazz night at Guildford Rugby Club Pavilion. 

13th July 2019

The AWIT Summer Party


Another beautiful summer’s evening meant that it had to be the AWIT Summer Party at the Hibberts. For some unaccountable reason, everyone gathered under the oak tree in the back garden - unless of course it was to admire their beautiful garden. There were tales of derring do and swashbuckling in Croatia where the cut of your jib matters; romantic road trips through the Rockies, which apparently have an abundance of pine forests; and snorkelling in the Galapagos Islands, where you are likely to be photo bombed by the local seals who have thoroughly sussed out the tourists. Not to be outdone, the Corners had walked the length the Basque country, though I'm not sure Santiago de Compostela had a great deal to do with it - but Andrew and Sian were looking all the fitter for it. The evening of course could not have gone by without mention of Super Sunday and how England were going to thrash the New Zealanders at Lords – not so easy to say when your neighbour from New Zealand is standing right next to you. Anyway – I’m off to Littlehampton if I can find my bucket and spade. Many thanks to Graham and Sue for their kind hospitality and a lovely evening.

8th June 2019

Clandon open to the public


Following the terrible fire in 2015, the shell of the building has finally been made safe, and, until restoration work commences in a couple of years, the public are able to enter restricted areas of  the building at ground floor level to see the internal burnt out shell and what, quite remarkably, has survived, like the ornate marble fireplaces in the grand hall. In the basement there is an exhibition of items retrieved from the burnt out debris which was as much as eight feet deep in places. Astonishingly, there are two chinese figurines which used to stand side by side in a glass cabinet on the first floor. Both figurines were rediscovered amongst the debris, one miraculously almost intact, the other shattered into many pieces. The building is open to the public between 10 am and 5 pm from Wednesday through till Sunday. Entry costs £8.40p 

9th May 2019

Annual General Meeting


The Annual General Meeting was hosted once again by Peter and Yuko at Abbotsmead. A wet evening resulted in a fairly miserable turnout - obviously there was much more interesting stuff on television. Joss Bigmore, our new ward councillor, and leader of a new alliance of independent councillors known as Residents for Guildford and Villages, apologised for not being able to stay for the whole evening explaining that he had a prior commitment to attend an IT Training Session at the council offices. He said that discussions with the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives were ongoing regarding possible coalitions and that he and Dennis Booth would be happy to attend a Q & A Session on Abbotswood in the near future to introduce themselves and the R4GV group and explain their aims and objectives. During the meeting itself Niels gave an overview of the most significant events of the previous year including his usual rant about the iniquities in the Local Plan and corruption in high places. Sotaro showed Niels his new bean plant which, he explained, would eventually grow big enough to allow him to climb up into the clouds (isn't that amazing), and the Tolhurst’s cat, which is quite adorable, showed a keen interest in everything - which is more than can be said for the audience (winking emoji). The minutes are available if you click on ARA Meetings on the left hand side.

25th April 2019

Local Plan adopted at Extraordinary Council Meeting


The Local Plan for the Borough of Guildford was adopted at an Extraordinary Council Meeting on the 25th April, just one week before the Local Elections and despite strong opposition from ten public speakers and a packed public gallery. The meeting was preceded by a peaceful, and very British, demonstration attended by a number of local groups who later occupied the public gallery and an oversplill area set aside for the occasion. About 150 members of the public attended, and not one of them in support of the Local Plan. Twenty eight councillors, all of them Conservatives, bar two Lib Dems, including their leader Caroline Reeves, and the two Labour members, voted to adopt the Local Plan. Twelve councillors voted against, including all the Independents, Guildford Greenbelt Group members and two Conservatives, Jenny Wicks and Matt Sarti. Four abstained including two Lib Dems and Christian Holliday (Conservative). Impassioned speeches from local residents included arguments that the plan grossly overprovided for development sites well above that required to meet the housing need; lacked the necessary infrastructure to support the new development let alone cope with the existing congestion, and lacked any credible vision for the town centre. A sad day for Guildford.

13th April 2019

Spring Clear Up Morning


What an amazing turnout! Anybody would think that people on Abbotswood have an obsession with tidying their verges - or maybe it’s all about the lunch at Eileen’s, or maybe it's just Eileen. I hinted that there might be a prize for the neatest verge, but it seems that everybody claimed to have had a hand in the best looking verge, so I kept the prize for myself. Special gold stars have to go to the verges at Nos 23A and 28, which are seriously outstanding, and Graham (pictured) must get a special mention after his archaeological dig unearthed a whole new area of pavement which apparently had been hidden for centuries (something about the servant's entrance). So let’s give a big generous thank you to Eileen for organising everything and putting up with a happy bunch of scoundrels over lunch in her back garden. Personally I can’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

29th March 2019

The Inspector's Final Report is published


Following the Public Hearing held in February, The Planning Inspector’s Final Report has now been published. The housing target remains unchanged at 562 dwellings per annum despite the 2016 Based Household Projections published by the ONS last September which showed a 40% reduction in the housing requirement for Guildford in the period covered by the Local Plan. The Inspector also observed that “it is not possible to rely on increasing the supply of housing within the urban area to obviate alterations to the green belt boundaries” - something I'm sure the Guildford Vision Group would dispute. All the main Strategic Sites within the green belt (Blackwell Farm, Slyfield, Gosden Hill Farm and Wisley Airfield) are considered to be sound and remain unchanged. However several modifications consulted on in September to October 2018 have not been recommended in the Inspector’s Final Report. These include four additional site allocations that are therefore no longer included in the Local Plan for adoption. Paul Spooner, Leader of the Council, has now called for an Extraordinary Full Council Meeting for Thursday 25th April (just one week before the local elections) to formally adopt the Local Plan.

14th February 2019

Update on the Local Plan and the recent Public Hearing


The second Public Hearing on the Local Plan was held on the 12th and 13th February. The point of this extra two day hearing was to consider whether the conclusions arrived at last summer’s Public Examination should be reviewed in the light of the 2016 Based Household Projections issued by the ONS last September which showed a very significant drop in the number of extra households required in Guildford by the end of the plan period in 2034. The ONS now predict a need for 4662 extra households compared to the previous forecast of 7717 - a reduction of 40%.

In summary, Guildford Borough Council has now conceded that the housing need has fallen to 562 homes per annum from the plan target of 630 per annum and that all of the five extra sites put in last summer are no longer required. But much of this is still driven by an assumption of economically led growth of 0.8% per annum. Various local bodies made the point that GBC's target of 562 is still very high representing an uplift of around 80% compared to the demographic need of only 313 dpa, and called for a review of all the strategic sites in the green belt, particularly given that, with the current decline in demand for retail space, the North Street Development should be capable of providing a much more significant contribution to the housing supply. The Inspector is now anticipated to make his final report by the end of March. Following this, the Council will then make any final adjustments necessary before submitting the Local Plan to the Full Council for ratification sometime in the summer.

1st February 2019

Improvements to Stoke Park


Following a lengthy public consultation concerning the future of Stoke Park, the Council have identified three main areas for possible improvement (1) the catering facilities (2) the infrastructure and (3) the play areas. The plan is to replace the café with a much larger facility offering more choice and some indoor tables and seating; put in more paths and signage; and finally, refresh the play areas. The anticipated plan is projected to be rolled out over the next five to fifteen years. The consultation also threw up issues concerning heritage and whether the public ought to be more informed about the history of Stoke Park – like the tank traps installed during the war and Stoke Park Mansion which originally stood close to the site of the skate park. They also plan to enhance the wilder parts of Stoke Park and to make better use of buildings such as Burchatts Barn which is currently used purely as a wedding venue and as a polling station. Apparently everyone, and particularly members of the Bowling Clubs, would like to see more parking, and the introduction of parking charges is being considered to deter commuters from using the parking facilities during the day.

23rd January 2019

AMEN Pub Quiz Night at the Anchor & Horseshoes


I would like to thank Alan for organising a thoroughly entertaining event at the Anchor & Horseshoes the other night. If you ever need to know whether you are developing signs of “early onset whatever-it-is”, you don’t need a doctor – you just need a pub quiz night. A score of forty plus means – what on earth are you doing there? A score of thirty plus is understandable – let’s face it you are still stuck in the 70’s. A score of anything in the twenties means you are well advanced, so just keep drinking and you’ll soon forget all about it. If I’ve learnt anything from last night, it’s that Tom Hanks is easily recognisable from just his forehead - and I find that amazing. Needless to say, the AMEN Superstars didn’t win any prizes. Their score shall remain a well kept secret. They came notably unstuck on soaps and pop groups beginning with K (Kaiser Chiefs please - not Kinks or Kylie) and one Danish national on the team (who shall remain nameless) was unaware that the animal represented in Denmark's most prestigious Civilian Award is an elephant, not an elk (how was I supposed to know that). If truth were told, most of our score was thanks to Sam and Bruce, and the rest of it was probably down to the barmaid Lisa who took pity on us and helped out in the picture quiz. 

18th January 2019

Improvements to the A3 at Guildford


Over the coming months, improvements will be carried out to the University and Stoke interchanges to help relieve congestion and improve traffic flows. Average speed cameras will also be installed on the A3 northbound carriageway to smooth traffic flows and make journeys safer and more reliable. The southbound exit slip road at the Stoke interchange will be widened to bring the existing narrow lanes up to current standards and to extend the length of the marked lanes. The northbound exit slip road at the University interchange will be extended back towards the main A3 carriageway and widened to provide more capacity for vehicles exiting the A3 and reduce the possibility of tailbacks onto the A3. The current signage will be updated and the drainage along the slip road will be upgraded. Finally, average speed cameras will be installed on the northbound section of the A3 introducing a 50mph speed limit section through Guildford between the Hogs Back and Wooden Bridge junction. By reducing the occurance of heavy braking, these cameras should smooth out traffic flow and help to make the road safer by reducing congestion caused by traffic accidents. 

28th November 2018

AMEN Curry Night


A wet windy Wednesday night in November saw the annual AMEN Curry Night at the Rajdoot, hosted very ably by Terry. In the words of Terry – here was another opportunity to curry favour with your neighbours, spice up your winter blues, and poppadum to the Rajdoot. Anyway the turnout was very respectable – respectable in terms of numbers that is – not participants - who were all quite disreputable as usual. Bernard enlivened the evening by telling us all about his recent holiday in Colombia. Think Medellin (murder capital of the world), Pablo Escobar, FARC, drug cartels and cocaine production on an industrial scale. That’s Bernard for you. Patagonia, Outer Mongolia – he’s been there, done that, and got the T Shirt. If it's remote, hostile, extremely difficult to get to, and ends in “ia” - that’s Bernard’s cup of tea. Me? I’m more Littlehampton, deckchair, candy floss and a “kiss-me-quick” hat (just to give it a bit of edge). Apparently though, Bernard was a bit upset when, on his return through Customs, he was up-ended and shaken vigorously. But that’s the risk you take if you insist on going on these extreme holidays. Anyway it beats yoga. Thank you to Terry for an excellent night out. AMEN outings are open to anyone who lives on Abbotswood or thereabouts. You just need to be a bloke to qualify.

7th November 2018

Update on the progress of the Local Plan


Following the Public Hearing, the Council published modifications to the Local Plan which included six additional sites to boost early housing supply. The Local Plan was then subject to a final public consultation which concluded on the 23rd October. The Council will now summarise the responses to that consultation and, having considered these, the Inspector will then write his final report which normally would have been expected by late autumn. However, new figures just released from the Office for National Statistics show a very significant drop in the number of extra households required in Guildford by the end of the plan period in 2034. The DCLG now predict a need for 4662 extra households compared to the previous forecast of 7717 - a reduction of 40%, and a number of local bodies are now calling for a review of the housing target and a re-opening of the Public Hearing. In early November, the Examining Inspector Jonathan Bore asked the council to propose dates for another Hearing Session to reconsider the housing targets in view of the latest projections from the ONS. However the Guildford Society is pressing to expand the scope of the new hearing to include a discussion on the new Town Centre Policy S3. The Guildford Society believes the town centre could accommodate much more housing, thus releasing at least one of the strategic green belt sites from possible development.

News update: The date for the re-openned Public Hearing has been set for 12th and 13th February at Millmead.

13th October 2018

Autumn Clear Up Morning


Here are the smug goody goodies who kicked a few leaves around in the hope of a free lunch at Eileen’s. I’ll re-phrase that – here are some of your lovely neighbours who kicked a few leaves around in the hope of a free lunch at Eileen’s (although the amount of sacks left on the island tell a rather different story). I have to tell you that this bunch of no hopers endured a monsoon type cloud burst all in the hope of a free lunch. That’s desperation for you. Apparently all the bulbs got planted, so Eileen is a happy bunny. I noticed that quite a number actually helped out in the clean up, but were unable to make lunch. That is what I call “above and beyond the call of duty”. So thank you to Jenny and your two daughters from No22 and to Andy Crossley, John Yacoumis and Mike Sellers. It was also nice to see a few newcomers as well, namely Pete Ferguson (who obviously had nothing better to do) and Mike Wratten, newly back from Hong Kong, who wants to join AMEN. It’s amazing what lengths people will go to, to curry favour. Seriously - thank you all for your help.

26th September 2018

Q & A Session with our Ward Councillors


Our first Question and Answer Session with our ward councillors was held on Wednesday the 26th September at the Hibberts. It was a good turnout and it was especially nice to welcome Katie Wright representing the younger residents of Abbotswood. A lot of subjects were covered including plans for the Spectrum and its possible replacement; concerns about traffic in the town centre and congestion on the A3; and concerns about pedestrian safety on the Boxgrove roundabout. But it wasn't all serious stuff as can be seen from the photos. We had some laughs - the atmosphere was convivial - and Matt got away reletively unscathed. We plan to make this an annual event and an opportunity to meet our councillors, air a few grievances and hear about the many positive things planned for our town. Many thanks to Matt Furniss, Nikki Nelson-Smith and Mark Brett Warburton for giving up their time, and a big thank you to Graham and Sue for hosting the event.

15th September 2018

AMEN summer barbeque at the Stevens


The inaugural AMEN (Abbotswood Men) barbeque was held at Carol and Bernard's place on Saturday the 15th September. Wives and partners were included to add a bit of colour to the proceedings, and because, lets face it, we would have felt a bit stupid sitting around on our own. I don’t know what it is about men and barbeques, but - despite everything - there wasn’t a single burnt offering to be seen. In fact the food was quite delicious – so all credit to Bernard, Nick and Kevin – and anyone else who poked about in the embers. Good food - good company - what more could you ask for? So a huge thank you to Bernard and Carol for hosting the event and a special welcome to newcomers James and Georgette Ahearne, who have recently moved into 30A Abbotswood. I think we can safely say that the AMEN BBQ will become a permanent fixture on the AMEN annual list of events. Anyone interested in coming along to other AMEN (Abbotswood Men) events should just click on the tab in the left hand menu to find out more. You just need to be a bloke to qualify.

14th July 2018

AWIT Summer Party


This year the AWIT Summer Party was held at the Hibbert’s – and what a glorious summers evening it turned out to be. It was good to see old friends such as Mike and Georgina Drakeford (who must have left Abbotswood at least ten years ago) and also good to see some of the more senior members of AWIT such as Jean Trickett and Ruth Suttill still in such fine fettle. As the evening wore on, there was an attempt to persuade Graham to break into song following his recent choral adventures in Puglia, but he threatened to give a yoga demonstration instead, which was hastily declined. Later in the evening a group of stalwarts gathered round the table on the terrace to exchange amusing anecdotes about life as an expatriate and how, due to cultural differences, even simple and innocent requests can sometimes get “lost in translation” leading to quite embarrassing misunderstandings. The evening finally broke up well after midnight when everyone turned into pumpkins. Thank you to Graham and Sue for their kind hospitality. Anyone interested in joining AWIT (Abbotswood Women in Touch) should just click on the tab on the left hand side menu to find out more.

28th June 2018

Local Plan. Progress on Public Hearing


The Public Hearing has now completed its third week. In the four sessions I have attended so far there have been about 8 QC’s each representing various major developers, the University and Guildford Borough Council. The other attendees are the Green Belt Group (Sue Parker); the Guildford Residents Association (Neil MacDonald); the CPRE (Tim Harrold); The Guildford Society (Julian Lyon) and myself. I have had the opportunity to speak on four occasions about the calculation of the Objectively Assessed Housing Need (OAN); the effect of Un-attributable Population Change; the impact of students on the housing market; and on issues of housing affordability. In his mid-term summary, the Inspector has reached the following conclusions (1) that an appropriate starting point to account for population change should be 422 dpa (2) that an uplift to account for economic growth should increase this figure to 625 dpa (3) that an extra 23 dpa should be added to account for growth in student numbers and (4) that an additional 50 dpa should be added to address Woking’s unmet housing need – bringing the total OAN to 700 dpa. This is not a conclusion but a mid-term assessment to enable discussions on the trajectory of housing delivery to proceed. Powerful cases have been put forward to question the viability of the plan in terms of the delivery of vital infrastructure, particularly regarding improvements to the A3, which are already long overdue. Other issues include the impact of the strategic sites on local traffic at the Hogs Back and at Burpham. Also there is no doubt that the impact of the Blackwell Farm development and access to this development from the Hogs Back will have a detrimental effect on the OANB.

4th June 2018

Tree felling on Post Box Island


Unfortunately a large beech tree had to be felled on the Post Box Island last week. Although the tree appeared to be in good health and was showing no sign of dieback in the upper limbs, nor any signs of fungal growth at the base, I was assured that the tree had “kretzschmaria deusta” (brittle cinder fungus) disease which effects the roots and makes the tree unsafe. I was deeply disappointed as these trees are probably one of the more attractive groups of trees on Abbotswood. I did speak with Graham Banks, the Tree Officer at Surrey County Council, who is responsible for the trees on the public highway, but he insisted that it was a health and safety issue and that it had to come down.

10th May 2018

Annual General Meeting


The Annual General Meeting was hosted once again by Peter and Yuko at Abbotsmead. A fine evening resulted in a record turnout - presumably there wasn't a great deal on television that night. Niels gave an overview of the most significant events of the previous year including a report on the Solum Development and an update on the Local Plan which reaches its final hurdle at the Public Hearing in June. Niels also reviewed a number of social events which, following discussions at last years AGM, were now much more family focused. Matt Furniss, our local councillor for Christchurch, fielded a number of questions, including concern about the speed of traffic, and the narrowness of the pavement, on the slip road on the Boxgrove roundabout. Matt hinted that this might become a bus lane as part of the new "Green Route" being established across Guildford. The meeting ended with a presentation by Moira MacQuaide on the history of Burpham and it was fascintating to see old photographs and old maps of an area which is so well known to most of us. Her anecdotes about the more eccentric residents of Burpham over the centuries were most amusing. Many thanks to Peter and Yuko for hosting the event. The minutes can be accessed at ARA Meetings on this website.

21st April 2018

Mad Hatter's Tea Party at Woodways


What had originally started out as Melissa’s idea for an Easter Egg Hunt for the children somehow evolved into a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party for the whole family. The egg hunt was actually intended for the children, but it was noticeable how many adults seemed to emerge with handfuls of chocolate eggs. Perhaps they were just helping out or maybe I didn’t explain the rules clearly enough. Judging the hats was also problematic so it was decided to adopt a “Crufts” approach – lots of categories with a “best in show” thrown in for good measure. The “most floral hat” went to Fridrun while the “tallest feather in a hat” went to Alan because he literally had the tallest feather and it was a bit difficult to dispute that. The “best homemade hat” was won by Jenny by a country mile and, in the confusion, I think two people were awarded “best in show”.  There were sober conversations about “Brexit” and insane conversations about buying stuff on the internet – why that should be hilarious I really don’t know but it seemed to be at the time. The afternoon ended in an alcoholic haze of happy smiling faces - clearly it was time to go home. What a generous soul you are Melissa. Thank you from all of us.

7th April 2018

Spring Clear Up Morning


So this is the shower (a technical term for "motley crew") who bothered to turn up on our Spring Clear Up Morning. I expect the truth is that they were all half starved and this is the only way they are likely to get hold of a half decent meal. A few notable regulars were missing with pathetic excuses like “looking after the grand children” or “washing my hair” or "yoga classes". But it was heartening to see that there were a number of new faces including Sue Coldrey and Valerie Skelhorn who clearly had no idea what they were letting themselves in for. As usual, Eileen put on a fabulous lunch and Niels did his level best to eat everything on the table (and under the table). The daffodils are out and Spring is in the air and it’s still freezing - but we’re going to give it another go. Roll on summer.

9th March 2018

Planting on the Post Box Island


Following a very generous donation from Sue Coldrey to the Residents Association, it has been decided to use the funds to plant the Post Box Island with a variety of spring flowering plants in memory of Chris who loved Abbotswood and, as an active member of the committee for many years, did so much to improve the street lighting and the tree planting. The selected plants include cyclamen, crocuses and snowdrops and these will be monitored and developed over the years according to how successfully they colonize the island. The funds will also be used towards further planting in the verges. The photograph is of the "Planting Squad" Dee Wright and Ellen Bolton under the watchful eye of Superintendent Plantswoman, Eileen Chapman.

24th January 2018

Solum development wins appeal


The Solum Development, the largest development Guildford has ever seen, involving new residential blocks up to ten storeys high and extending 360 metres and along the east side the Guildford railway station, has been granted planning permission by the Planning Inspectorate following an appeal by the developers against GBC’s refusal in June last year. While everyone accepts that the station is ripe for redevelopment and that there is a desperate need for more housing, the Guildford Society is disappointed to see high rise buildings in the town centre as they are likely to block views of the surrounding hills, quite apart from setting a new precedent for high rise urbanisation which is quite uncharacteristic of Guildford. The Guildford Vision Group, an off-shoot of the Guildford Society, is also strongly opposed to the Solum scheme because it will block off attempts to create an integrated transport hub at the station and will cut off the possibility of providing a further bridge across the railway line to divert traffic away from the gyratory system and provide stronger links between east and west Guildford. The GVG also recognises that extra housing in the town centre is desperately needed but believes that, in adopting a holistic rather than piecemeal approach, its alternative masterplan could provide around 2,000 more homes in the town centre than in the submitted Local Plan and crucially, would not involve heights greater than five storeys.

18th January 2018

AMEN Quiz night at The Stoke Pub


A team of six hardy luminaries, Graham Hibbert, Paul Gillingham, Nick Pratt, Sam Samaratunga, David Leck and the redoubtable Alan Williams competed in the weekly Thursday evening quiz at the Stoke Pub garnering a respectable 38 points. In all the excitement they thought that they might be in for the cash prize, but were blissfully unaware that there were at least nine other teams scattered around the pub (senior moment). For the record, the winning team of three students scored an impressive 53. The quiz comprised five sets of questions beginning with a picture set which the team struggled with - getting obsessed with trying to identify a particularly attractive blond lady – but gradually came into their own with impressive recalls, such as Sam getting the name of the 1983 Barbara Streissand film where she appeared as a man - “Yentl”, and Nick knowing the name of the police office from Topcat – “Officer Dribble”, two fine examples of a misspent youth. Good pub, good food and well worth repeating. Anyone interested in joining AMEN (Abbotswood Men) should just click on the tabs on the left hand menu to find out more.

1st December 2017

Improvements to Wisley Junction on the M25

Plans for a £175m upgrade to the Wisley junction on the M25, one of the busiest motorway junctions in the country, have just been announced. Under the plans, the interchange between the M25 and the A3 will be redesigned to create four dedicated link roads for all drivers making left turns at the junction while drivers turning right will use a new enlarged junction roundabout.The A3 will also be widened from three lanes to four between Ockham and Painshill in both directions with two lanes remaining over the M25. The plans also include improved routes for pedestrians and cyclists, a green bridge linking Wisley and Ockham Commons, and better access to RHS Wisley via a new bridge and link road to the east of the A3 while minimising the impact on trees within RHS Wisley and ancient woodland near Ockham. The M25/A3 interchange is a key congestion pinch point on the strategic road network and has one of the highest recorded collision rates across the Highways England network. The proposed plans will help to reduce delays, make journeys more reliable, ease congestion and improve safety.

8th November 2017

AWIT/AMEN Bowling Night


The AWIT/AMEN tenpin bowling challenge cup was held at the Spectrum on Wednesday 8th November. In the event, it was decided to segregate the sexes in order to maintain a modicum of decorum and keep things reasonably under control. Graham Hibbert made the highest score of the evening but was disqualified on the grounds that it was clearly a fluke, while Fridrun humiliated all the men with a score of 132. At the end of the evening, Alan and Fridrun kindly invited everyone went back to their place for a nightcap and for a chance for the men to lick their wounds. The image is the reaction to Sue's "strike". Try clicking on it. Anyone interested in joining AWIT (Abbotswood Women In Touch) or AMEN (Abbotswood Men) should just click on the tabs on the left hand menu to find out more.

6th November 2017

Newlands Corner


Campaigners have welcomed Surrey County Council's announcement that it will not pursue proposals to create artificial play structures for children at Newlands Corner. The council had proposed to build six play structures on the common to make a family play trail. The Save Newlands Corner Campaign Group were of the view that the play structures would change the countryside irrevocably, calling it the "disneyfication" of the site. In February, Surrey County Council obtained approval to put parking meters and associated signage at Newlands Corner despite strong local opposition. However, SCC cabinet member for the Environment, Councillor Mike Goodman revealed on Thursday that the plans had now been put on hold.

28th October 2017

Autumn Clear Up Morning


Here are the even more "motley" crew that came out of the woodwork to help clear up the verges and plant a few more bulbs for the squirrels to dig up. Apart from the amazing amount of sacks left on the post box island, you wouldn't have thought that we had made much impression at all on the verges. But that wasn't really the point. It was all about getting a bit of fresh air and meeting the neighbours and realising that Eileen isn't some nameless person who lives behind a hedge. She's Eileen, and we love her, and thank you once again Eileen for putting on such a "hyggelig" lunch (that's very high praise indeed from a Dane). It seems such a long time to have to wait until next spring when we will can do it all again. 

16th October 2017

AMEN Curry Night


We now know what it takes to get the typical Abbotswood male off his backside - the promise of popadoms, curry and Cobra beer. There was a very encouraging turnout for the inaugural AMEN Curry Night and it was good to see a number of new faces. Just to reassure the wives, the talk was all about Brexit, trade tariffs and climate change. Despite rumours to the contrary, there was no discussion whatsoever about women generally, their physical attractiveness or their place in society - or indeed, their right to drive on the roads. After a Cobra or two, the gentlemen managed to find their coats and retreat in an orderly fashion. The next curry night will be in Amsterdam which, apparently, is a pretty little town with lots of canals. Anyone interested in joining the group can click on AMEN in the left hand menu to find out more.

14th October 2017

Newcomers Tea Party


Edward and Melissa kindly hosted our first "Newcomers Tea Party" at Woodways on Saturday when recent arrivals to Abbotswood had the opportunity to meet each other. The children were remarkably well behaved - as were the adults. Perhaps it was the abundance of tea cakes. Melissa invited Niels to say a few words and he explained how, many years ago, Woodways was saved from demolition by a group of residents, led by Carol Stevens, who managed to persuade English Heritage to have the building listed. Some of the guests enjoyed a tour of Woodways which included a visit to the "sleeping gallery" - an unusual feature that the architect Burlingham replicated in his own house "Newlands Cottage" in Trodds Lane. Many thanks to Edward and Melissa, and to Eileen, Michelle and Sue.


24th June 2017

The Abbotswood Summer Party


This year, conscious of the fact that there are a number of families with young children on Abbotswood, we deliberately extended the invitation to include children. So it was a pleasure to meet a number of families who have only recently moved to Abbotswood and it made for a delightful atmosphere to have such a wide cross-section of our neighbourhood all enjoying Eileen's beautiful garden. While Bob Thomas and Jane Balcombe exchanged memories of their flying days in open cockpit aeroplanes, the children made new friends on the lawn. In future we hope to make our social events more inclusive and I think we are all very lucky to have Eileen as a neighbour and wonderful host. Thank you Eileen.

7th June 2017

The AWIT Summer Picnic


"Smilng in the face of adversity" - but a few waiters in funny moustaches - and a glass or two of white wine - certainly helps. This is AWIT's summer picnic on Pewley Down. Don't you just love the general sense of disarray. It's a shame Seurat wasn't around to paint the scene. Great Britain at its very best. By all accounts, a brilliant time was had by everyone. Anyone interested in joining AWIT (Abbotswood Women In Touch) should click on the AWIT tab on the left hand menu to find out more.

18th May 2017

Annual General Meeting


The Annual General Meeting was held this year at Abbotsmead and despite a miserable wet evening, there was a reasonable turnout from the more stoic residents. We were also pleased to welcome our councillors Mark Brett Warburton and Nikki Nelson Smith. In addition to the usual routine matters, Niels gave an edited version of the Guildford Society's interesting ideas for the town centre and a slide show of buildings by the architect Burlingham after he finished Abbotswood. Sue thanked residents for completing the recent questionnaire and said that residents appeared to be generally very happy with the way the committee operates and happy to receive emails on wider issues affecting Guildford. Most residents would welcome more social events and some wondered whether these could be combined with the two neighbouring residents associations. She reminded residents about AWIT which organised social events for the women on Abbotswood and celebrated its twentieth anniversary this year. Niels would like to thank Peter and Yuko for their kind hospitality.

25th April 2017

Future plans for the Spectrum


There are plans to replace the Guildford Spectrum Sports and Leisure Centre with a new facility, but, I am advised, it is very early days yet. Ultimately the intention is to replace all the facilities in a new centre while keeping the Spectrum in full operation. This will entail building a new facility either on the site of the existing athletics field or on North Field, which is where a new football stadium was proposed not so many years ago.  The proposals are currently undergoing preliminary desktop studies to establish the likely demand for various activities as this will have an effect on funding from the Sports Council and the Lottery Fund. I am advised that the proposals will go through at least one, if not two, public consultations before any planning applications are submitted.

10th April 2017

Adjustments to Draft Local Plan


We have now had first sight of the changes to the draft Local Plan introduced by the council in response to last summer’s consultation. The changes can be found on the GBC website at Council & Democracy/Meetings & Agendas/Committee Papers from 2015 to present/Executive Advisory Board/Meetings & Agendas/Special Meeting 20th April/Agenda Reports Pack. The changes mainly concern amendments to the key Evidence Base documents like the SHMA which have been revised in response to the latest population projections from the ONS. These include a reduction in the housing target from 693 per annum to 654 per annum, and a reduction in the retail floor space target from 47,000 sq metres to 41,000 sq metres. This has resulted in adjustments to reduce the housing and retail provision on a number of site allocations. Crucially, the key strategic sites at Blackwell Farm, Gosden Hill Farm and Wisley Airfield remain unchanged subject to the provision of essential infrastructure improvements on the A3. All these changes will be the subject of a targeted public consultation in June.

8th April 2017

Spring Clear Up Morning


Here is the motley crew that turned out for the Spring Clean Up morning enjoying a well earned rest and recuperation in Eileen's back garden. Clearly they don't have any homes to go to as we couldn't get rid of them till well after 5.00 pm. A big thank you to everyone who turned up to help and a special thank you to Eileen for her kind hospitality. We'll have to do it again sometime.

14th March 2017

Newlands Corner


Permission has been granted to introduce parking charge machines at Newlands Corner despite hundreds of letters of objection. Surrey County Council (SCC) had applied to the Planning Inspectorate to install three parking machines and eight parking signs at the popular beauty spot. The commons land consent was granted on Thursday February 16 despite the Planning Inspectorate receiving 1,400 objections. Parking charges are now expected to come into force by late spring or early summer. SCC will use these parking charges to pay for managing Newlands Corner and other areas of the Surrey countryside. Visitors will have to pay £1 an hour for parking, up to a maximum of £4, with 20 minutes free. The proposals for a new visitor centre and an extension to the parking area to include new coach parking bays will all require planning permission and a planning application is now expected sometime in the next few months.

14th December 2016

Update on Local Plan


The Council are now working to a new timetable for the emerging Local Plan. This follows an unprecedented number of responses to the public consultation last summer when the council received 32,000 responses from over 7000 individuals and organisations. The planning officers are currently going through these comments and will prepare a Summary Report which will highlight the key issues and will include their responses. However, in view of comments received from the public, the Council has already decided to review certain aspects of the Plan. In order to ensure that the public have an opportunity to comment on these further changes, a targeted consultation is proposed for next June which will relate only to those changes. They will also be revising the housing target, and the employment, retail and leisure needs, in the light of the most recent population and household projections and the potential implications of Brexit. The Plan will then be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate who will fix a time for a Public Examination or Hearing. I believe that the Public Examination is unlikely to occur much earlier than December 2017.

6th December 2016

Martha's Lodge features in the Daily Telegraph


"Martha's Lodge" features on the front page of the Daily Telegraph Property Section. "Martha's Lodge" on Martha's Hill was designed by Alfred Claude Burlingham, the architect who, as a young man in his twenties, designed nearly all of the original houses on Abbotswood. He designed "Martha's Lodge" in 1932 in the Old English style employing authentic Tudor timber framed construction methods. The building sits on a huge 14 acre site and is thought to have been built as the lodge to a much larger building which was never built. The owner, a local banker, lost all his money in the Great Depression. The entrance pillars on the drive leading to the great house are still to be found abandoned deep in the woods some distance from the Lodge. Threatened with demolition, the building was listed by English Heritage in 2009. For many years it remained derelict until it was bought by Tracy Appel who has since had it completely restored. The architects Tracy employed for this renovation were Stedman Blower, who have also designed excellent and sensitive extensions to 38B Abbotswood and 34 Abbotswood.

22 October 2016

Autumn Clear Up Morning


This year we were fortunate to have a lovely sunny day for our clear up morning. Over the years I've noticed that the operation is becoming increasingly mechanised. This year, with two leaf blowers in action, we managed to achieve significantly more than in previous years. Eileen was also pleased that all her crocus bulbs were planted so hopefully we will have a beautiful display to look forward to next spring. Many thanks to everyone who turned up and especially to Eileen for providing a cosy lunch in her kitchen at "Greyfriars". Finally a big welcome to Mike and Michelle and their two children who have recently moved into "Crossways".

23 September 2016

Filming at "The Gatehouse"


A film crew descended on "The Gatehouse" at the end of September to film the Christmas advertisement for Aldi. While all the interior filming will be done at "The Gatehouse", I understand that a cute little cottage in Orchard Road, Burpham will feature in the external shots. By shear coincidence, the cottage they selected for the external shots was also designed by Alfred Claude Burlingham. This is not the first time one of Burlingham's houses has featured in a film. A couple of years ago "Martha's Lodge" featured in a film called "The Last Weekend".

20th August 2016

The Abbotswood Summer Party


The Abbotswood Summer Party came and went without any serious incidents to report. There was a good turnout with plenty of new faces and it was good to see such a wide cross-section of the neighbourhood represented. Some notable friends were absent - no doubt with much better things to do - but such is life. There was plenty of banter, good humour and the usual salacious gossip about Brexit, the Olympics, Off Shore Investments and Tennis (although I find it diffcult to understand what could possibly be salacious about tennis). Many thanks to Graham and Sue for hosting the event, and to Eileen our Social Secretary for organising these cheerful events. Hope to see you all again at the Autumn Clear Up Morning.

19th August 2016

Plans for Newlands Corner


Surrey County Council has put forward proposals to improve Newlands Corner in two phases. Phase 1 (which does not require planning permission) involves refurbishing the toilets, upgrade the existing access trail, introduce a new play trail (ten structures spread over two acres) and introduce parking charges (£1.00 per hour). Phase 2 involves building a large new Visitor Centre and the provision of coach parking bays, both of which will require planning permission. The “Friends of Newlands Corner” have put forward outline proposals to set up a charitable trust called “Friends of Newlands Corner” to take over the management of the site. The SCC is happy with this in principle but still insist on introducing parking charges and the “play structures”. They have now asked the “Friends of Newlands Corner” to assist in developing their proposals further. The “Friends of Newlands Corner” are strongly opposed to new parking charges, the introduction of “play structures” and the building of new Visitor Centre.

6th June 2016

Oak tree felled on London Road


The Surrey County Council Highways department have finally decided to remove the large oak tree in London Road that was leaning over "Greystones" on the corner of London Road and Abbotswood. The tree had originally been blown sideways during the great storm of 1987. However recent tomographical scans have shown it to be unstable and a decision was made to remove it. Thought to be at least 300 years old, it is extraordinary to think that this tree would have been at least 100 years old at the time of Nelson's victory at the battle of Trafalgar and formed part of the original tree lined approach into Guildford along which the stage coaches heading for Portsmouth would have travelled. According to Mike Drakeford's book, "when No 39 was built in 1915, abutting the London Road, on the road side of the boundary fence was a boarder to the road fifteen feet wide. It was planted with large trees and had an admittedly narrow pathway by the side of the road".

23rd April 2016

Spring Clean Up Morning


The usual suspects turned out for the Spring Clean Up Morning (with some notable exceptions who all had genuine excuses). We were delighted to be joined by the Turnock family who have recently moved in to Burwood House. There is something vaguely satisfying about clearing away all the debris from the winter storms. I say all of it - well some of it. Afterwoods Eileen invited all of us back to Greystones for lunch, which is about the best place to be on a chilly Saturday afternoon. So a big thank you to everyone for turning up, and a very big thank you to Eileen for her warm hospitality and tasty lunch. All very "hyggelig" as the Danes say. The photograph features the legendary "that is a leaf blower" leaf blower wielded by Kevin.

26th March 2016

Plans for Newlands Corner


The Surrey County Council have announced plans to improve the facilities at Newlands Corner. This will involve improvements to the toilet facilities, the re-paving of an existing trail, the installation of play features and the building of a new cafeteria and visitor centre. It will also include the introduction of parking charges.  Many local people are dismayed by what they see as the “commercialisation” of this much loved beauty spot and would prefer to see it remain natural and unspoilt. If you share their views you may be interested in

26th March 2016

The Solum development at Guildford Station


The developers Solum have re-submitted their proposals for a major new development at Guildford Station. This development, probably the biggest Guildford has ever seen, will include new residential tower blocks (which at ten storeys would be two storeys higher than the Surrey Police Headquarters building in Woodbridge Road), shops, a multi-storey carpark, a new booking hall and station office floor space. While the station precinct is ripe for re-development, both the Guildford Society and the Guildford Residents Association are reluctant to see high rise buildings in the town centre as they are likely to block views of the surrounding hills and of the cathedral, quite apart from setting a new precedent for urbanisation which is uncharacteristic of Guildford. The council is currently in negotiation with the developers. The date for determination is anticipated sometime towards the end of April 

24th October 2015

Autumn Clear Up Morning


There was a good turnout for the Autumn Clear Up Morning and, despite a heavy blanket of autumn leaves, a reasonable impression was made on the verges thanks to Lee Hatton and the her leaf blower. There was certainly a record number of sacks  on the island at the end of the morning and a lot more bulbs have been planted in the verges hoping for a good display next spring. The exertions were followed by another memorable lunch in Eileen's kitchen, full of banter and good humour. A big thank you to Eileen for hosting the event and to Lee for the (that is a leaf blower) leaf blower.

17th September 2015

New Masterplan for Guildford Town Centre


A new more developed edition of the Town Centre Masterplan has just been published with some very interesting and attractive ideas for developing new riverside parks along Walnut Tree Close and Woodbridge Meadows; extending the commercial area of Guildford to include the riverside; and alternative options for the gyratory system to divert traffic away from the town centre. The main theme of the masterplan is to reconnect the town to the river, and converting the dreary carpark by the George Abbott pub on the other side of the river into a green tree lined riverside space is just one good example. There will be a presentation by the architects and masterplanners Allies & Morrison on Monday 5th October at the Trinity Centre and this will be followed by a four week consultation period during the month of October.

9th July 2015

St Martha's Lodge has been fully restored


St Martha's Lodge, a delightful thatched building designed in 1932 by the architect A C Burlingham, and listed by English Heritage, has now been fully and beautifully restored. The architects for the restoration Stedman Blower have taken great care to incorporate materials such as green oak and lead into the new elements which will weather and age over time in harmony with the original building. The lodge was originally designed as the Gate Keeper's Lodge to a much grander mansion that was never to be built, the owner having lost his fortune in the Great Depression. Intriguingly, the ruins of the original gate pillars along the drive leading to this mansion are still to be found abandoned deep in the woods. Great credit for this beautiful restoration must also go to the new owner Tracey Appel. 

30 April 2015

ARA CC Annual General Meeting


The ARA CC Annual General Meeting was held at 38B Abbotswood on Thursday 30th April. The meeting was well attended including special guests, Matt Furniss and Nikki Nelson Smith, our two Councillors for Christchurch Ward and Mark Brett Warburton County Councillor for Guildford South East Division. The agenda included a presentation on plans for the Paddock from Hendryk Jurk, the new Countryside Manager for Guildford Council, and a lively update on issues concerning the new Local Plan from the Chairman Niels Laub. I am pleased to announce that Dee Wright will be joining the committee with special responsibility for the Paddock. The minutes are available on this website under ARA Meetings / ARA CC.

23 April 2015

Roads re-surfaced on Abbotswood


As you know, all the public roads on Abbotswood have finally been re-surfaced after all these years. As a bonus, uneven areas of the pavements have also been repaired and kerbstones re-aligned as necessary. Everyone seems to be very pleased with the standard of work and also with the courtesy and consideration shown by the contractors. Thank you all for your patience.