Fringe Box



Guildford Council Answers Questions About Walnut Bridge

Published on: 31 Jan, 2024
Updated on: 31 Jan, 2024

Walnut Bridge, taken in August 2023.

By Martin Giles

An apparent design or construction fault with the new Walnut Bridge which caused rainwater to gather and freeze in the sub-zero temperatures earlier this month has been explained as a problem caused by blocked drains.

Full use of the bridge, initially expected to cost £3.1 million, was subject to lengthy delays.

Dragon reader Barry Williams asked if we could raise the question with Guildford Borough Council. He wrote: “During heavy rain, the flat terrace/platform directly in line with the bridge between the upper and lower steps on the Bedford Road side regularly becomes flooded with standing water.

“With the recent cold snap, the standing water turned into thick ice and the steps had to be cordoned off with barriers for pedestrian safety although pedestrians and cyclists could still use the ramp for bridge access.

“Unless fixed this is a problem that is not going to go away, also is there a risk that standing water/ice could damage the structure over time if not attended to?

“For an outlay of close to £3.9 million for the bridge it does not seem unreasonable to ask that the ratepayers’ investment be protected. Could GBC comment?”

Noting that the most recent cost of the Guildford Design Award-winning bridge, as reported to the GBC Executive in November, was £5.6 million gross of which GBC will, or has, contributed £3.2 million (£950k from reserves), we put Mr William’s question to GBC adding three of our own:

  • one requesting them to confirm the bridge’s total cost;
  • one on the lighting, about which other readers have commented (see: Shine a Light on Walnut Bridge) is not yet working; and
  • one about the increasing amount of graffiti present.

The new bridge is attracting an increasing amount of graffiti.

A spokesperson responded: “The apparent issue with water pooling on the Walnut Bridge structure seems to come from blocked drains. We are working together with our maintenance team to resolve this as soon as we can.

“At the moment there isn’t anything to suggest the standing water would cause permanent damage to the structure. We will keep monitoring the issue and take action if necessary.”

“We will not be publishing the final cost of the bridge until we settle final payments.

“The lighting on the bridge deck has been fixed and will be live very soon.

“Graffiti was removed from bridge structures in autumn 2023. If residents see graffiti on the bridge (or on other council-owned property) please report it via our website.”

Walnut Bridge, near the railway station and Odeon cinema.

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Responses to Guildford Council Answers Questions About Walnut Bridge

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    January 31, 2024 at 6:04 pm

    For £5.6 million (gross) I’d want self-cleaning designs.

    Not good value for money!

  2. Dan Walker Reply

    February 3, 2024 at 3:35 pm

    This whole project absolutely stinks. Totally unnecessary from the start as there was nothing whatsoever wrong with the old bridge. Utterly disgusting amount of money over time and over budget of course, shoddy workmanship, and now this. Alsolutely emblematic of GBC, who let us not forget brought us The Village not once, but twice. Council refusing to let local charities use the Old Orleans even when they offered to refurd it thesmselves. Simply staggering that no-one is being brought to account for this absolutely scandellous complete waste of taxpayer’s money.

  3. Theresa Coleman (Mrs) Reply

    February 3, 2024 at 6:30 pm

    I have also found that the steps coming down to the cinema are dangerous, there are no hand rails and in bright light it is difficult to see the edge of the steps, which are often slippery.

    More importantly, how does such an extrodamary amount get signed off as okay, when Guildford finds itself struggling with reduction in services. Who is making the decisions to sign off this taxpayers’ money. Surely the taxpayers’ should be involved?

    Why does it cost this astronomical amount? It seems to suggest there is underhand work where people are paying over the odds and there is no governance on this. What else is the council paying out for that we are not aware of above the services we need?

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