120429 Waitrose

Letter to Surrey Advertiser (unpublished)


I attended the Waitrose exhibition and I have considered long and hard what I saw and heard and, however much I would love to have Waitrose in Guildford, I simply cannot see why it should be on the Bellerby Theatre site.

As a property professional with almost thirty years of experience, I know that it would be a much better idea to have both John Lewis and Waitrose anchoring the Friary extension and regenerating the area that has been all but set aside for tens of years pending development.  The combination of these two sister stores in a large format could well be the difference between a viable development or not.  Furthermore, the development of a new residential quarter should be capable of generating attractive returns for the Council’s site.

Continue reading 120429 Waitrose

120426 Address to Scrutiny Committee

Address as delivered to the Guildford Borough Council Corporate Improvement Scrutiny Committee (26th April 2012)

My name is Julian Lyon, I have lived in Guildford for all of my 51 years and, of the things that make Guildford so special, its excellence in the provision of Arts ranks very highly. 

I well recall many Sunday afternoons sitting in the back row of the balcony of the old Civic Hall with my parents and siblings from the age of five, listening to and watching the Guildford Philharmonic Orchestra – including, when I was around 7, hearing the Philharmonic Choir (now Vivace) performing the seemingly unapproachable piece: Elgar’s The Kingdom. 

I have to declare an interest this evening, therefore, because, according to the report in front of you, I have benefited disproportionately from the existence of the Philharmonic for 46 of its 67 years.  I am also a trustee – following in my father’s footsteps – of the South East Music Trust and I have, in the past, sung in the Philharmonic Choir. 

Continue reading 120426 Address to Scrutiny Committee

120423 Philharmonic and SEMT

Funding GPhil – a clearer future – SECOND DRAFT

Julian D S Lyon MBA (distinction) FRICS,
Trustee of The South East Music Trust
26th April 2012


Guildford Philharmonic Orchestra (under its original name) was founded by the then Municipal Council in 1945 and has, for 66 uninterrupted years, provided the town with professional classical music.

Initially, the majority of players and conductor were on the Council’s payroll. Today the Council employs 1.81 Full Time Equivalent staff [source: GBC 2010/11 Budget Book].

As I was growing up, my parents took me to the Philharmonic concerts and they were members of the then-linked choir, Guildford Philharmonic Choir (now Vivace) and the supporting group Guildford Philharmonic Society (disbanded 1999) which ran its own series of meetings and concerts for members.

Continue reading 120423 Philharmonic and SEMT

120421 Waitrose

Letter to Guildford Dragon

The travesty of the conflicting interests of the Borough Council when it comes to deciding how much of the gross capital receipts should be commuted for s106 and s278 agreements for highways improvements is that we have no traffic study or long term plan against which to measure the appropriateness of any allocation.

Indeed, Waitrose themselves (in the form of their traffic engineer at the exhibition at the Guildhall on Friday 20th) acknowledged that their modelling, based on a generic traffic modelling system, only analysed the traffic impact of their proposals on the York Road roundabout and York Road itself.

Continue reading 120421 Waitrose

120416 Philharmonic and SEMT

Guildford Philharmonic & South East Music Trust – FIRST DRAFT

GBC Scrutiny Committee 26th April 2012 – Julian D S Lyon MBA FRICS

Guildford Philharmonic Orchestra (under its previous guise of ‘[  ]‘) was founded by enlightened Councillors of the Municipality of Guildford in 1946.

South East Music Trust was founded in [  ] by a trust deed for the purposes of “[  ]“.

Over the past [15] years, the Council’s funding of the Philharmonic has come under increasing pressure and, since the old Civic Hall closed, Nicola Goold is to be congratulated for the way she has managed to string together seasons of concerts on a declining budget.

Continue reading 120416 Philharmonic and SEMT

120413 Master Plan

Letter to Guildford Dragon

Guildford desperately needs to address its traffic congestion (clearly confirmed by the meeting of 150 to 200 people on 21st March launching the Guildford Vision Group) and to create a vision for a better town to meet the needs of all its stakeholders.

The Council’s Draft Town Centre Masterplan, with minimal consultation over the busy Christmas period, has been widely criticised as “woeful”, “badly researched”, “lacking any vision” and “fundamentally flawed” – mainly because it did nothing to address congestion and the impact of traffic routes on pedestrian access between the station, the town, the river and elsewhere.

Perhaps having a plan approved by a Council Executive I have previously criticised for its lack of transparency, is more about selling off Council-owned (actually our) town centre sites, and triggering quick-fix solutions such as the Bedford Road bus station idea and the Waitrose supermarket land sale! (For those unaware, a sale of the Bellerby Theatre and surrounding land to Waitrose has been rushed through before the Council even had the chance to grant itself planning permission – although it did publish a planning brief to convert less lucrative residential use to a ‘preferred’ supermarket use without any reference to traffic generation or solutions).

Continue reading 120413 Master Plan