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Car Free Day fuels calls for more

Car Free Day 2021 - Couple on High Street

More than 24,000 people visited our town centre on Sunday to help make Car Free Day a resounding success. 

The total number of visitors is the highest since April, when we saw an unprecedented number of people hit the High Street. It's also an increase of 16% from the previous Sunday. 

Several roads were closed to make space for stalls and activities and help people to have a more enjoyable day out. Residents, businesses and local groups were delighted as pedestrians were put first, bringing calls for more Car Free Days in future. 

Cllr Maddy Redpath, Ward Councillor for Holy Trinity said: "It was a brilliant day with a great atmosphere, and thankfully some amazing weather. It's shown everyone that we really can do something different. We need to reimagine what our town centre could be like, to put pedestrians first and take some radical steps to tackle climate change."

Amanda Masters, CEO of Experience Guildford, said: "There was a real buzz around Guildford town centre last Sunday for the Car Free Day event. It was great to see so many local residents in attendance, safely enjoying all the extra space the road closures created for pedestrians. The entertainment from the ACM, Rock Choir and Chantry Singers, and live art installation commissioned by the Home Club were particular highlights in the scheduled activity." 

Social media buzzed with people sharing how much they enjoyed the day, the activities and finding out what more they could do to tackle climate change: "was great to see the High Street and parts of North Street car free today. Certainly the way high streets should be. Feels cleaner and more enjoyable to be in." Another person commented: "a great day, a fabulous atmosphere on the High Street and some food for thought on the little things we can all do better."

Also on social media, Zero Waste Shop Solar Sisters said: "We were blown away by the support and kindness of Guildford residents! It's been so inspiring to discover that there is such a hunger for more environmentally-friendly businesses and movements within Surrey. We are being the change we want to see in the world and it feels great." 

The community spirit, made stronger throughout the pandemic, was clear to many strolling down through the town centre: "It was amazing to see the community come together and celebrate Car Free Day on the high street!" Another commented: "What an amazing day! We are still buzzing from all the lovely encounters, connections, chats and community love." 

Cllr Maddy Redpath continued: "Thank you to everyone who came, took part, supported, and made the day what it was. A huge congratulations to the hard work put in by council staff who have worked tirelessly to pull off this event. We've already had some really helpful feedback from residents and businesses about how we could improve a similar event, access to the town centre and more pedestrian-only routes. We want to know what you think too." 

Visit www.guildford.gov.uk/carfreeday to tell us about your experience of Car Free Day and be in with a chance to win one of three prizes including tickets to a family activity at Spectrum, two tickets for BBC Big Band: Frank & Ella on Saturday 29th January 2022 at G Live or a FitBit. 

Car Free Day is part of how we are using the £140,000 Welcome Back Fund. The government scheme is providing councils across England with a share of £56 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). This is to support the safe return to high streets and help rebuild after the pandemic.  

Car Free Day - Cllrs Joss and Jan on smoothie bikes   Car Free Day - Stalls on Upper High Street

Published on: 30 September 2021

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