So today the river is buried under the gyratory system’s heavy collar of concrete and tarmac, and its banks are hidden and inaccessible because of industrial and commercial buildings.
We have no town square, no market area, no fully pedestrianised streets, nowhere people can sit and enjoy the river and Guildford’s unique setting..
Our town is divided by roads clogged with traffic, and the river is no longer an asset to be enjoyed and used by the people living or visiting here, and it is difficult for businesses to flourish.
Or Vision – Guildford Vision Group: Time for Change
There is so much room for improvement – it is time for change.
We now have an unique opportunity to make that change as the Council finalises its Masterplan for the town centre’s future.
Our vision for that Masterplan:
* Enables full pedestrianisation of the town centre
* Recovers the riverside and makes it an area to be enjoyed
* Ensures priority is given to place making – creating environments people get pleasure from and want to visit
* Delivers an integrated and efficient transport hub and interchange based at the railway station
* Reunites East and West Guildford
* Enables businesses to flourish.
To achieve this the Council must create a new bridge across the river and railway that links Guildford Park Road with the York Road/ Woodbridge Road roundabout.
It can then re-open the Town Bridge, which was used for traffic until the 1960s, to carry two lanes of vehicles.
This arrangement will take traffic right away from the centre, enabling the land around the river to be opened up with a pedestrianised six acre riverside square for leisure, pleasure, business and homes.
It will also allow the rediscovery of the historic Guildford Town Wharf and for Bridge Street to be fully pedestrianised, or made pedestrian priority to allow access for buses and taxis.
You can download the updated briefing paper on our vision here.
In addition the new crossing will:
* Enable the riverside to become the heart of Guildford again – a magnet for residents and visitors
* Allow much better pedestrianisation of the town centre
* Take considerable air and noise pollution away from the centre
* Make the town safer by doing away with the current clash of pedestrians and traffic in Onslow Street and at the bottom of Bridge Street
* Help reunite East and West Guildford to create a complete town again, with economic and cultural benefits for everyone
* Make Bridge Street the principal traffic-free boulevard into town, with more economic benefits for businesses along the route
* Give better North/East journey options for traffic from Farnham Rd and Guildford Park/Madrid Roads. These routes will inevitably be carrying more traffic from new housing to the West of the town
* Allow the Farnham Road Bridge to be closed for rebuilding as traffic on Farnham Road and Madrid Road/Guildford Park Road will be able to go North and East, avoiding both Bridge Street and Onslow Streets.
These are all very real benefits for Guildford, but they can only happen if the crossing goes ahead.
You can download the updated briefing paper for more information on the crossing and our vision here.
Although Guildford Borough Council commissioned the Allies and Morrison Masterplan, it has yet to decide how it will deliver the full benefits of the vision.
As well as our proposal for a new crossing there are also still many areas of policy and detail to be settled including the need for:
* More housing in and around Guildford
* Infrastructure to manage the increased population and commerce
* An integrated transport hub based at the station which properly considers how travel by rail, vehicles, cycles and foot can work together
* Council owned sites to be used to drive the plan, rather than developed on an ad hoc basis as in the past.
So there is much work to be done and we need your help and support.
Please visit our HOW YOU CAN HELP page to find out how you can play a part in the future of Guildford – it only requires a few minutes of your time and is really important in winning the hearts and minds of the Council.
DID YOU KNOW? A sign, hidden from general view on the walls of the old wharf under the gyratory system states:
Town Wharf – Opened in 1653 – The secret of Guildford’s success.
Today, nearly 400 years later, we believe the Town Wharf and riverside can once again be the secret of our town’s success, but it will take focus, courage, determination – and most importantly your support – to make it happen.