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Walnut Bridge and Bedford Plaza projects take a further step forward

Last updated 02 October 2023
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Walnut Bridge

Plans for a new bridge to improve sustainable travel in Guildford town centre and to enhance a public space have taken another step forward.

Further funding of £800,000 was allocated to The Walnut Bridge and Bedford Plaza projects at Guildford Borough Council’s Executive meeting on January 7.

Enterprise M3 LEP is contributing £1.5m to the £3.4m cost of the bridge and the works are due to be completed by 31 March 2021.

Cllr Caroline Reeves, Leader of the Council, said:

I am very happy that these important projects have both taken a step forward. The new, wider bridge will be the first in Guildford in many years and will allow a safer crossing for all pedestrians and an easier route for cyclists as well as being DDA (Disability Discrimination Act) compliant.

The current bridge has limited cycling and pedestrian access and we, as part of our climate change agenda, are keen to reduce reliance on cars where at all possible and alleviate congestion in the Town Centre.

The new bridge will also include a sweeping ramp and steps down to the Plaza which will open up and transform the whole area. The new landscaping around the site will complement the structure and ensure the space is welcoming and encourages people to not only walk and cycle from the station into the town centre but to use the area as somewhere to sit and relax.

At the meeting it was agreed that the Walnut Bridge and Bedford Plaza improvement works are to move forward and, in order to do this, it was agreed that £450,000 be released from capital funds for Walnut Bridge, along with a further £350,000 to fund the work at Bedford Plaza.

Enterprise M3 LEP's Head of Transport, Kevin Travers, said:

I am delighted Enterprise M3 LEP is supporting this project, which underpins our plans for economic growth and better quality of life in Guildford. This is an important river crossing, linking Guildford rail station and town centre.

As well as directly providing a better quality bridge and environment, increasing footfall and access to the town centre, it will support the significant investment the LEP has already made in the transport infrastructure of the town, helping to meet the wider challenges and objectives identified in our emerging Local Industrial Strategy around place and connectivity by promoting town centre renewal to secure inward investment and create vibrant communities.

This project forms part of long-term plans developed by Guildford Borough Council and supported by Surrey County Council to improve links within and around Guildford by providing improved travel routes for cyclists and pedestrians.

From 1 April 2024, the responsibility for LEP functions across the Enterprise M3 LEP region has transferred to Hampshire County Council and Surrey County Council.

The Enterprise M3 Board met for the last time in March 2024 and Enterprise M3 LEP is no longer operating as an organisation.

For any enquiries relating to economic development across the counties of Hampshire and Surrey, please visit the Hampshire County Council website and Business Surrey respectively.

Please note that Enterprise M3 LEP staff have transferred to Hampshire County Council to continue to deliver services and activities in Hampshire, including the Growth Hub, the Careers Hub, work on key business sectors, and trade and investment.  

They can be contacted by emailing growth.hub@hants.gov.uk and careers.hub@hants.gov.uk respectively. Alternatively, please contact the economic.development@hants.gov.uk.

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