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Letter: New Bridge Is a Good Thing for Guildford Residents

Published on: 24 Sep, 2021
Updated on: 24 Sep, 2021

The new Walnut Bridge being lifted into position. Photo by Arcadis.

From: Cait Taylor

Lib Dem borough councillor

In response to: Crowds See New Walnut Bridge Installed

As one of the ward Councillors for Friary and St Nicolas I watched the installation of the new Walnut Tree Close bridge last week and I would like to echo the comments made by John Rigg: “This wider and more accessible bridge will create a better and safer route for pedestrians and cyclists…”.

I took the opportunity as the bridge was being lowered to ask several residents who were watching the spectacle, and also various pedestrians who were using the old pedestrian bridge, what their opinion was of this new bridge aware of the less than enthusiastic view held by some.

The response I received was universally positive, with residents and bridge users delighted that it was finally taking shape. Recently retired Lib Dem councillor Caroline Reeves campaigned long and hard for the bridge to be updated and I know how pleased she will be to see it finally coming to fruition.

Not only will the new bridge mean a wider and safer route for pedestrians, cyclists and wheelchair users needing to get to the railway station, the associated landscaping of Bedford Wharf alongside the Odeon’s planned redevelopment of the Old Orleans restaurant building, will help transform what has been a neglected area into a pleasant and attractive link to the town centre.

Projects like this take a long time to realise and had this been postponed or cancelled, the grant money would have had to have been repaid and the residents of Guildford would not have had anything suitable for at least another decade.

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test 5 Responses to Letter: New Bridge Is a Good Thing for Guildford Residents

  1. Martin Elliott Reply

    September 24, 2021 at 2:29 pm

    How much, in addition to the £0.5 million taken from the transport budget for “landscaping” the (now reduced by 50%) Bedford Plaza, will be needed to turn it into a “Meeting Place”?

    It may turn it into a pleasant space, but nothing will be there except the extended cinema, not even an empty restaurant. It is primarily a pass through route with no development plans for the southern car park etc removed in the Local Plan definition.

    As for accessibility, haven’t cycle groups continuously objected to the design of the bridge ramps because they have unrideably tight turns?

  2. Paul Spooner Reply

    September 24, 2021 at 2:32 pm

    I agree with Cllr Taylor and it is good to see the new bridge finally being delivered. This project was started by the previous Conservative administration and had strong cross-party support, especially from Cllr Reeves, and despite some resistance from new Councillors the project is being delivered by the current coalition.

    Paul Spooner is a Conservative borough councillor for Ash South & Tongham.

  3. K White Reply

    September 26, 2021 at 9:29 am

    How long before the first accident involving a cyclist and pedestrian? They don’t mix.

  4. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    September 26, 2021 at 10:14 am

    This new bridge has the wrong functional design as Martin Elliott has pointed out. It will require expensive maintenance of large areas of painted steel over a damp environment. Health & Safety would probably warrant closure of the bridge during maintenance work.

    It is a money-wasting scheme initiated and overseen by non-technical councillors and by inexperienced technical support at GBC. The eventual designers appear to have little understanding of the location and opted for a design that is unsuitable and unnecessarily complex.

    A new bridge – yes it should bring delight, but awaiting maintenance nightmare for GBC with not much experience in bridge maintenance.

  5. Jim Allen Reply

    September 26, 2021 at 11:11 am

    A bridge, is a bridge, is a bridge. The old bridge functioned well to get people and things across a flowing river. What more does this new bridge, with the associated £5 million expense do other than reduce the coffers of the borough council? Someone please tell me.

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