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Work to begin on Walnut Bridge to improve access to town centre for pedestrians and cyclists

Work begins on Monday 14 December on the new Walnut Bridge, which will create a wider bridge across the River Wey and a landscaped plaza to offer an improved route into the town centre for pedestrians and cyclists.

The project, which links Walnut Tree Close at the train station to Bedford Plaza, will be a safer alternative to the crowded pavements of Bridge Street for residents, commuters and visitors. It will also be a safer route to the town for the new residents who will be moving into accommodation further down Walnut Tree Close.

The first stage of the project sees Bedford Plaza close, but the existing Walnut Bridge will remain open and access through to Guildford train station will still be possible via a marked route.

The bridge is expected to be completed by the end of 2021.

Deputy Leader of the Council, and Ward Councillor for Friary and St Nicolas, Cllr Caroline Reeves says:

"I'm pleased that work can now begin to improve this area of Guildford, which will improve our already vibrant and prosperous town centre. The new, wider and more accessible bridge will offer a safer route into the town for pedestrians and cyclists, avoiding the narrow pavement on Bridge Street, which has been an accident black spot. It will also improve railway station and riverside access and transform Bedford Plaza.

"The plans are a key part of our Town Centre Regeneration Strategy and active transport initiatives. As more people look to reduce their impact on the environment, improving the options for walkers and cyclists is a priority for the Council as part of our plans to address climate change, reduce reliance on cars and alleviate congestion in the Town Centre."

She continues: "The bridge is fully DDA-compliant and will be of particular benefit to residents in the Walnut Tree Close area and the students and staff who frequently walk to and from County School. It will be the first new bridge in the town in many years and 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."

As part of the scheme, new lighting and a newly-landscaped Bedford Plaza will make the area more appealing. The design includes places to sit and enjoy a peaceful moment at any time of day.

The scheme is a key part of 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. The bridge project was awarded Enterprise M3 LEP funding as part of the 'Unlocking Guildford, Guildford Town Centre Transport Package' in 2014. This project forms part of long-term plans developed by the Council and is supported by Surrey County Council to improve links within and around Guildford by providing improved travel routes for cyclists and pedestrians.

Published Wednesday 9 December