Town Centre Regeneration Progresses at Bedford Wharf

Exciting plans to regenerate Bedford Wharf which include improving station and riverside access for pedestrians and cyclists, new landscaping, public art and open space for community events were progressed at a recent meeting of the Executive.

The Bedford Wharf regeneration plan is integral to the Council's Town Centre Regeneration Strategy and Sustainable Movement Corridor initiatives which also include replacing Walnut Bridge with a wider and more accessible version and integration with the Solum Development at the station.

The acquisition of the Odeon and the Old Orleans buildings including the Plaza has further enabled the Council to move ahead with this comprehensive improvement project.

Deputy Leader of the Council and Lead Councillor for Infrastructure and Governance, Cllr Matt Furniss explains: 'We are thrilled that plans to regenerate this important area can now forge ahead cementing our commitment to improving our already vibrant and prosperous town centre. The next step is to appoint a landscape architect then we will hold a public consultation for ideas and suggestions on how this area could look for our residents, businesses and visitors. We are keen to see public art, maybe even water features to complete this urban realm enhancement which will reflect our heritage and innovation. High quality place making is one of our stated key aims and this supports our holistic approach to transforming our town centre.'

He explains: 'Spanning the gap between The Billings and Bishop Wharf buildings, the replacement Walnut Bridge will be the first new bridge for Guildford in many years and will serve as an impressive focal point for the redevelopment of Bedford Wharf while maintaining access to the river. The current bridge is too narrow, with limited cycling and pedestrian access. The new bridge adheres to Highways England requirements and will be much wider at four metres wide providing more prominence and enabling safer crossing for all pedestrians and easier passage for cyclists. It will also reduce reliance on the gyratory system as a main route.'

He adds: 'Unlike the current 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 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 use the area as a meeting point and somewhere to sit and relax.'

The public consultation on landscaping proposals is expected to start in summer 2019. The redevelopment of Walnut Bridge is funded by Guildford Borough Council, Surrey County Council and Enterprise M3 LEP.

Published on Thursday 14 February.