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About Us 2017-10-27T05:00:48+00:00


We are a group of mainly professional people from all walks of life who share a common goal and passion – that Guildford should become an even more attractive, vibrant and pleasant place to live, work and visit.

We came together to form the Guildford Vision Group to respond to Guildford Borough Council’s initial draft Town Centre Framework in 2012.

We all believed that this was poor and lacking in vision and inspiration.

Since then we have campaigned tirelessly for a visionary plan with the Council having the determination necessary to develop the town as a holistic whole around its people and place making, rather than bit by bit through the piecemeal expansion of its buildings and roads.

We are delighted that the Council listened to us and commissioned consultants Allies and Morrison to prepare a broader and better Masterplan.

However, the Council has yet to commit to delivering the plan.

So our work continues even more urgently as we seek to ensure the best elements of the new Masterplan are put into action and changes are made where required.

Most importantly we believe that the only way to deliver the full vision of a truly pedestrianised town centre and open riverside for Guildford is to create a new crossing over the river and railway which takes traffic around the town centre.

If you represent an organisation which has a view or role to play in developing an inspirational future for Guildford please do find out About Us – Guildford Vision Group by getting in touch through the CONTACT US page on this website, or directly with our Campaign Manager Yvonka Wilkinson at .

If you would like to help us in any way, or you feel you have the skills, knowledge or experience which could help our campaign, please do let us know using the enquiry form on the Contact Us page – we would love to hear from you.


The Guildford Vision Group is the operating name of Vision for Guildford Ltd. Company number: 07998876. Registered Office: 24 Bury Fields, Guildford, Surrey, England, GU2 4AZ.


John Rigg Chairman The Guildford Vision Group


John is co-founder and Chair of Guildford Vision Group, a Fellow of Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, past Head of Central London and International Investment at Savills and Head of Strategic Investment, and now a consultant

“I am passionate about creating a better Guildford, one not dominated by the car but still operating highly effectively through good planning and effective infrastructure. This will need to be delivered by the built environment and through pedestrianisation, sustainable homes and place making.

“The challenges are amongst the most difficult to solve, and will take the best ideas, the most experienced urbanists and designers to deliver the buildings and more importantly the spaces between the buildings.

“There is scope to deliver excellence in many areas not least in recovering and restoring the riverside and town wharf as part of the historic core. There is room, opportunity and property values to deliver these aspirations, however much depends on the local authority and leadership.

“Will GBC want to take on the big challenges? Will it be on their terms with their imagination and track record setting the agenda?

“The Vision Group are working for a better Guildford and hoping for constructive collaboration. Currently the jury is still out on where the council stand.”

Nikki Ackerley, Guildford Vision Group


Managing Director of Property House Marketing. Editor of Guildford Magazine

Nikki began her career in public relations as a Promotions Executive at IPC Magazines, responsible for the publicity of Ideal Home and Woman’s World.

Following a career break she was appointed property correspondent of The Surrey Advertiser, a role she held for 15 years, winning Regional Property Correspondent of the Year.

A year after joining the Surrey Advertiser, she founded Property House Marketing. Now in its 23rd year, its impressive portfolio of clients includes well-known names in the housing industry.

Nikki has an extensive network of contacts encompassing national and trade property journalists, house builders, developers, estate agents and related property companies.




Maurice Barham, Guildford Vision Group


Retired Shell executive, secretary of Guildford Society Transport Group

Maurice started in refinery operations and moving through functions from refinery scheduling, economics, pipeline and shipping logistics in Venezuela and Singapore, to Shell Representative in Eastern Saudi Arabia in connection with the building of a new joint venture refinery.

Since retirement he has followed Matthew Alexander’s History of Guildford courses and chaired an amateur video group, directing topics such as Guildford in Bloom, people’s memories of Guildford in the 20th.Century and Centenary Year celebrations in the Borough.

He previously chaired, and is now secretary of, Guildford Society Transport Group and continues to carry out Transport studies for GSoc and GVG.

“I am appalled at the length of time that Guildford has suffered its traffic problems and I am passionate about giving Guildford new life and air for its residents and visitors by removing major traffic from Bridge Street and Onslow Street.”




Chris Blow, Guildford Vision Group


Former Partner and Director of Scott Brownrigg specialising in transportation terminals

Chris has been the architect/design manager for many transport buildings, notably airports such as Heathrow Terminal Four with bus and railway stations.

He is the author of many books and articles about airports, a member of the Board of British Airports Group, including leading trade mission to Athens.

He is visiting professor of engineering design, University of Surrey (Royal Academy of Engineering, 2004-2010) and Chair of Guildford Society Transport Group.

“My personal hopes, within the framework of the laudable Town Centre Master Plan, focus upon a modal shift away from private cars to sustainable and active modes. We need joined-up public transport exploiting the great potential for development of the five railway lines sharing Guildford’s junction.”

James Burland - Guildford Vision Group - Steering Group


Bath University 1980, Arup Associates 1978-85, Cox Architects (Sydney)1986-90, Arup Associates 1990-2000, Burland TM 2000 – 2010, James Burland Architect 2010-2014, Architectural Consultant to Terrell Ltd Structural Engineers, co-founder Terrell Associates Engineering Architecture

James’s past projects cover masterplanning, building design and working details.
His early work is best represented by a new college for Durham, Glasgow Arena, the BP Solar Showcase and Manchester City Stadium, all designed at Arup.

After Arup his work diversified with Ealing Film Studios, student housing in central London, Bristol Arena and an apartment building on the River Thames – all designed at Burland T.M.  Architects.
These led to masterplans at Pinewood and Shepperton Studios and urban design for Cardiff Bay Sports Village, more designs for Bristol Arena and a roof for Camden Market.

Recent consultancy work includes stadia in Debrecen, Naples and Cambridge and James is now working on the formation of an interdisciplinary studio for the Terrell Group.

Gillian Cameron - Steering Group - Guildford Vision Group


Honorary Secretary, The Guildford Society

Gillian has lived in Guildford for some 36 years and worked in a professional capacity at Royal Surrey Hospital and others across the borough and county.

She has been involved with GVG since its inception, assisting with publicity and organisation, because she whole-heartedly believes in what it is trying to achieve.

“My Vision for Guildford is of a greener town centre which capitalises on its rural context as a gap river town, with greater pedestrianisation and decrease of traffic congestion allowing more public spaces; no parks or buildings on the river banks; clear sight lines in and out of the town maintained; limitation to the heights of new developments and consideration given to roofscapes; high standards of architecture compatible with existing buildings demanded.

“Guildford could be stunning!”

Dr Michael Hodson - Steering Group - Guildford Vision Group


Industrial economist with experience in the private sector, consulting and government

Michael has launched a major new business area for an information company, helped design HMG’s assistance to business and been Head of Economics and Statistics at the Radiocommunications Agency (now part of OFCOM).

He is currently writing and presenting workshops on designing enterprise and is a member of the economics group of the Guildford Society, delivers furniture for BESOM and is the Reader at Christ Church, Guildford.

Michael has a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Cambridge.

“I’ve lived in Guildford since 1977 and have always been interested in its history, architecture and surrounding countryside.  Guildford is a town with much potential, especially in the town centre.  I would like to see this potential realised and enjoyed by all the people of Guildford no matter where they live.  Yet Guildford also has problems typical of towns surrounding London.

“I would like to see the people of Guildford working together to solve our problems of unaffordable housing, traffic congestion, pollution and the A3 divide. I believe can do this in a way that has a human scale, takes advantage of our wonderful geographic and economic setting, provides opportunities for employment and at the same time maintains an awareness of our history and has a townscape and buildings that bring joy to the people of Guildford and our visitors.”

Richard Jarvis - Steering Group - Guildford Vision Group


Retired planning and management consultant

Richard has many years’ experience as a transport planner, managing a wide range of projects in the UK and around the world.

He has led studies for highways, city planning and public transport and acted as an expert witness at public inquiries.

He was employed by WS Atkins for over 25 years, and headed the company’s transport planning practice before moving on to broader roles in the company, latterly as a main board Director.

He was subsequently Executive Chairman of consultants GHK, now part of the US-based ICF group.

“My vision for Guildford is for an expanding centre fit for the 21st century with coordinated development with quality buildings, well designed open space making best use of the assets of the historic core and the river, and a balanced solution for traffic, buses, cyclists and pedestrians with good interchange with rail.”




Michael Jefferey - Steering Group - Guildford Vision Group


Retired Director JAA/Ryder, Architects; Past Chairman, The Guildford Society and now Chairman of its Design & Heritage Group

Michael’s career has spanned both public and private sectors in the North of England, Scotland and London, latterly as Director of a London Architectural practice. A goodly proportion of that work was conservation and adapting listed buildings.

He moved to Guildford 40 years ago, to a town he had come to love over many years of holidays in the family home he now owns.

Michael joined the Guildford Society almost immediately, becoming chairman of its Design (now Design & Heritage) Group with the aim of encouraging and promoting new work worthy of this wonderful town – effected when, as Chairman of the Society’s Executive, he helped launch a “Vision Group” to take all necessary steps to ensure the Borough Council’s lacklustre proposals were replaced by a Masterplan with real vision.

“My vision for Guildford is for a flourishing town enfolded in its setting in the downs, a town which has had the guts to take those decisions necessary to remove road-traffic’s stranglehold and ensure courageous new growth of a scale to maintain the character of its wonderful heritage.”

Julian Lyon - Guildford Vision Group - Steering Group


Director of Worldwide Occupier Services, Savills; Chair, The Guildford Society; Chairman, RICS Corporate Occupier Group; Board Member, RICS Commercial Board

Past Chair, CBI Property Group; Past Chair, ACRE; Board Member, Corporate Landlord Accreditation Scheme; Trustee, South East Music Trust; Past Chair, CASE Community Trust.

“My vision for Guildford is a town centre everyone can get to easily (and avoid too if they have no need to drive through the heart of the town), and can get around safely on foot; a place to spend leisure time but that works for business; a place of history, heritage and character where development, spaces and the hillsides reflect that legacy but that provides comfortably for the future; an inspirational environment that is held up as a beacon for the art of the possible. A great place to live, work, study, worship and visit.”

Liz Markwell - Guildford Vision Group - Steering Group


International career in commercial, educational and arts organisations

Liz’s last full-time management role was at the Guildford Institute, an arts/educational centre in the heart of Guildford.

She is now involved in a number of different activities in and around Guildford including with the University of Surrey and Silent Pool Distillers, as well as voluntary work with the Guildford Society and G Live.

“I have lived and worked in Guildford for over 20 years and I love it here. I am also incredibly frustrated by the town. For too long, it has relied on the glorious lower High Street and ignored the rest. So many other towns are a pleasure to walk around during the day and in the evening. I want our town centre and riverside back.”




Dr Angus McIntosh - Guildford Vision Group - Steering Group


Economic, Chartered Surveyor and sustainable property consultant to Real Estate Forecasting Ltd. Visiting Post Graduate Professor at Oxford Brookes University and Royal Agricultural University, Hong Kong Academy of Management

Angus is a Chartered Surveyor and an Economist, having worked for the public sector, a property investment fund and three major international consultancies, and he is a regular speaker at major national and international conferences.

In recent decades he has been involved in town construction projects, including Dorking, Bracknell and Tunbridge Wells Stations, Central Birmingham, Prague and Barcelona; as well as major consultancy assignments in India, Central & Eastern Europe, Oslo and on French shopping centres. He is the author of “Towns & Cities Competing for Survival”.

“All towns and cities need a long-term strategic plan so that the ambitions of place are realised.
“Ad-hoc, piecemeal, un-co-ordinated development, as we know, leads to poor urban design, transport congestion, high pollution, health & safety issues and an adverse impact on economic prosperity and property values.
“Place Making must be at the heart of modern strategic town planning.”

David Olgivie - Guildford Vision Group - Steering Group


David Ogilvie Design Architects and Town Planners, Guildford Society Planning Group

David began his career with HKP&A in London and then with Nairobi City Council and Amyas Connel. He went on to John Madin Design (Birmingham) working on housing in Corby and then with James Robertson Grosvenor Hotel before becoming an Associate of Healy & Horne architects in Sydney. He was job architect for the RSBS Canberra University, shopping centres, offices and housing schemes before returning to the UK to join BDP in Guildford where he worked on Leatherhead shopping centre, VW dealership and various office, shopping and housing projects, master planned the RAE, Blood Products Laboratory, Hearn Airport and studies for IBM.

In 1991 he set up David Ogilvie Design undertaking housing, ecclesiastical and commercial work.

“I would like to see the traffic taken out of the town centre so that it can become a  landscaped pedestrian precinct all the way from the station to the top of the High Street. This should be extended through the Guildford Park site as a tree lined boulevard from the station to the university and the Cathedral.
“This can be achieved by building a new bridge over the river and railway to link York Road to Madrid road and by building a tunnel from York Road east of the car park to Millbrook, thus creating a ring road around the town centre to feed directly into car parks at the edge of town.”

Chris Shorter - Guildford Vision Group - Steering Group


Chartered Structural Engineer
Bill Stokoe - Guildford Vision Group - Steering Group


Retired banker and consultant

Bill and his family have lived in Guildford for over 35 years.

He is a former chair of Abbot’s Hospital, one of Guildford most historic buildings, offering an uninterrupted almshouse service for almost 400 years since 1622, and vice chair of Guildford College Group, Surrey’s largest FE & Skills college with over 10,000 students.

Over the years he has been involved with a number of local organisations and is a past chair of Burpham Community Association.

He is currently secretary and a trustee of Surrey 4×4 Response.

“I want to see the river fully opened up to the public for them to enjoy in a much more pedestrianised town. People first, not cars.
“New development should include one or two buildings of real distinction with a potential longevity to rival Abbot’s, and new town centre housing must help sustain an enhanced sense of community.
“The station has to be a key transport interchange and the new East/West link will make the exciting, world – class work of the University, Research Park and Hospital even more accessible.
“Attractive roofscapes will add to Guildford’s appeal when viewed from the many beautiful green vantage points around the town.”

Yvonka Wilkinson - Guildford Vision Group - Steering Group


Campaign Manager  and Administrator for The Guildford Vision Group

Yvonka has more than 20 years of experience in the world of retail architecture, including a term accompanying a Senior Partner on the British Council of Shopping Centres Awards Committee tour.

This taught her a lot about the importance of place making and sustainable architecture, and the implications of good, dynamic master planning versus having a town regenerated by piecemeal development and insufficient infrastructure.

She believes GVG has the wealth of knowledge and experience in the design and construction of place making development which Guildford needs to become the town it deserves to be.

“My vision for Guildford is a regenerated town with place making architecture all joined together by ‘areas of beauty’ and a proper road system.
“I fully support the move towards providing a new bridge crossing to remove traffic from the town centre which will enable more pedestrianisation.
“I wish that GBC and all prospective developers can make a reality of the dream to create superb end destinations of town squares; a riverside which is A vibrant ‘place to visit’ river; more town centre homes; a civic centre and leisure amenity whilst preserving Guildford’s fine heritage.”


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