Guildford Borough Council Celebrates

Posted by

Emma White

Posted by

Emma White

We were proud to win two awards at the 2023 Guildford Design Awards last night (Thursday 23 November).

The Walnut Bridge project, an important part of making our town more accessible won the Public Realm category. It was recognised for making our town more connected and bringing everyone together.

Our Guildhall won in the Small Conservation Project category. This shows how much we care about keeping Guildford's history alive. Both awards tell everyone how dedicated we are to making Guildford better and connecting everyone while keeping our town's beauty intact.

Leader of the Council, Cllr Julia McShane, shared:

"We're so happy that people noticed how Walnut Bridge has changed Guildford for the better. It doesn't just help people get around —it also makes a nice, friendly place for walking, biking, and somewhere to sit and relax. A big thank you goes out to Knights Architects for leading the design of the Walnut Bridge.”

The new bridge includes a sweeping ramp and steps that open up the area. The new landscaping complements the structure and provides a welcoming space. It encourages people to not only walk and cycle from the station into the town centre but to use the area for recreation. Designed as part of our wider Town Centre Regeneration Strategy, the bridge improves the east-west connection.

Peter Coleman Chairman of the Judging Panel commented:

“The judges agreed about the design quality of this important addition to Guildford’s infrastructure. This new footbridge across the River Wey improves the east connection from the railway station to the town centre and increases the capacity of pedestrians and cyclists crossing the river. The 20m steel structure is understated and a contemporary design, contrasting with the adjacent brick buildings.

“The judges felt this exemplary new bridge will hopefully act as a catalyst for further regeneration to this area of Guildford and will encourage more public realm improvements around the town centre.”

Cllr Julia McShane went on to celebrate our second win:

“We're incredibly proud of the Guildhall's recognition. This win celebrates our commitment to preserving our heritage, ensuring its timeless features continue to inspire for years to come. We extend our gratitude to Stedman Blower Architects for their exceptional expertise and dedication in overseeing the restoration of the Guildhall."

The Guildhall project focused on the comprehensive restoration and enhancement of our historic Guildford landmark. Dating back to the 17th century, this building underwent careful repair and refurbishment. It involved a range of tasks, from restoring windows to ensuring the proper functioning of the historic clock. This restoration aimed to preserve the building's historical significance while revitalising its grandeur for future generations to admire.

Peter Coleman Chairman of the Judging Panel said:

“The judges were impressed by this complex conservation project involving repair and redecoration of the front and rear façades of the Guildhall, Guildford’s unique landmark, a Grade 1 listed building. The work included restoring the octagonal bell tower and the magnificent clock that cantilevers out over the High Street.”

View the full list of the Guildford Design Awards 2023 winners.