It is a source of great pride for Guildford to host the University of Surrey and the many students from all over the country and beyond who come here to study. They add so much vitality to the town and we all gain from having them here.
One group that gains more than most is the town’s landlords. They can charge rents on short-term leases to large numbers of students. This is perfectly legitimate, of course, and benefits students and landlords alike. Or, at least, it should.
I remember being a student, then a young graduate engineer, in private rented sector accommodation where I rented a flat with others in my position. Studying or working long hours in communal accommodation means everyone has to muck in to keep it ship-shape.
It is really important that we provide a comfortable clean living environment for our students and young residents. That is why I spent today in Guildford Park Avenue. I was investigating the reports I had received about rubbish being uncollected and the street scene deteriorating.
This street has a high proportion of buy-to-let student properties. I would like to turn this situation around and help Guildford Park Avenue become a model of town and gown living.
The first thing we have to do is clean up the rubbish and get it ship-shape and Guildford fashion.
- The shopping trolleys won’t do – so I’ve contacted PC World and M&S to get them to collect theirs.
- The cable TV/phone cabinets hanging open won’t do either so I’ve filed a complaint with Virgin Media to get them replaced and cleaned up. I used to work for this company as an engineer so I
know these things are possible but only if residents complain loudly and repeatedly and I can do that quite well!
- The piles of rubbish, mattresses, broken furniture and estate agents signs lying in bushes won’t do, of course. I have written to the council, as well asfillingintheirfly-tipping report, andIhaveemailedFoxtons estate agent with a photo of their discarded sign.
To get Guildford Park Avenue ship-shape will need a good crew. Would you like to help? I expect the University and the council will get on board once they see what needs done. If the companies I have mentioned don’t sort out their flotsam and jetsam then we will take their trolleys and signs and anything else round to their offices and hoist it all aboard for them in person.
The current state of GPA reminds me of my own student days. Now that I’m a Captain I want to show that it needn’t be like this. Let’s get this street ship-shape for everyone. Let’s live together as one ship’s company. Let’s have a community.
UPDATE 31 OCTOBER:
Here are some of the responses received so far:
UPDATE 3 NOVEMBER:
We are starting to make some progress. These emails explain:
UPDATE 5 NOVEMBER:
I did a quick inspection yesterday and the rubbish pile I complained about has gone. Foxtons have collected their sign, M&S have removed their trolley and the fly-tipped furniture I reported has been removed.
This is good progress but the Virgin Media cabinets are still burst open with wires spewing forth and the PC World trolley is still there although they emailed yesterday to say it will be collected soon.
UPDATE 16 NOVEMBER:
The PC World trolley is gone now. I reported the discarded mattress and broken furniture dumped beside it to the council and they came and removed it all.
Virgin Media have replied to my third complaint promising to sort out their broken street cabinets asap.