The Walnut Bridge and the Bedford Plaza projects took another step forward at last nights (7 January) Executive meeting.

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 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 it 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, is was agreed that a £450,000 be released from capital funds for Walnut Tree Bridge along with a further £350,000 to fund the work at Bedford Plaza.”

The Bedford Plaza plan is integral to the Council’s Town Centre Regeneration Strategy and Sustainable Movement Corridor initiatives and will include improving station and riverside access for pedestrians and cyclists, new landscaping, public art and open space for community events.

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.”

The bridge project was awarded LEP funding as part of the ‘Unlocking Guildford, Guildford Town Centre Transport Package’ in 2014. The LEP funding agreement means we must have spent the funding and completed the works by 31 March 2021.

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