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Photo Feature: Car Free Day More Often Say Visitors and Shopkeepers

Published on: 26 Sep, 2022
Updated on: 29 Sep, 2022

By Hugh Coakley

“We should do this more often” was the most common response from those attending Guildford’s second Car Free Day on Sunday, September 25. The town was busy as people came to stroll around in streets usually dominated by cars and lorries. 

It was a great “team effort” said a staff member from Guildford Borough Council who had helped to organise the day.

The upper High Street was busy as people wandered around the various stalls.

The various stalls in the High Street included vegan, craft and the Antiques & Brocante fair and were really busy.

Comments were positive from couples, families and even traders who are usually more cautious with their praise. The weather held and that helped to keep the mood bouyant.

Old and young were enjoying themselves in Tunsgate play area.

Normandy residents, Nick and Sharon, said: “It’s good, we came last year as well. It’s good to see so many in town on a Sunday,”

Getting a free smoothie by cycle power had the audience clapping in appreciation. This young person pedalled furiously to get her free drink.

Another Guildford local, Steve Davis, said: “It’s nice to able to walk around Guildford without the fumes. It a real buzz seeing people in the streets chatting. There is a great vibe. It should be a whole weekend.”

Joshua Wilson (4) on an electric skateboard being cheered on by his sister, Freya Wilson (6). Dad Graig Wilson said: “It’s nice to able to walk around and not worry about the cars.”

For children, there were circus skills being taught in North Street, wall climbing in upper High Street and street play and drawing in Tunsgate. One mum said: “I really like that it’s not all about health and safety, it’s more about the fun.”

There were queues for the climbing wall in upper High Street.

Circus skills in North Street was a magnet for the kids.

Elodie (9), Anais (8), Chloe (4), with mum and dad, Emma and Jerome. Emma said: “We want more like this in Guildford. We can walk without traffic and there is even less traffic in our street near the castle.”

There was also upbeat feedback from local shopkeepers. Mark Goss from clothes store Moffats in North Street was enthusiastic. He said: “We have had a good day with lots of new faces in the shop. They should do it again and more often, maybe even a full weekend.”

Olivia Carpenter-Lomax from Zero Carbon Guildford said: “We have had about three times more people through our doors than a usual Sunday. We definitely should do this more often.”

Lucy Howard from Solar Sisters said: “It’s been about twice as busy as a normal Sunday for us. We definitely should do this more often”.

The Mayor and Mayoress of Guildford, Dennis and Mary Booth, were happy to see the High Street full of people. Mary said: “People are really enjoying it. We ought to close the roads more often.”

Guildford resident Steve Davis said: “It a real buzz seeing people in the streets chatting. It should be a whole weekend.”

Guildford’s MP Angel;a Richardson said the car-free day was “brilliant”.

Alistair Atkinson, who chairs the Guildford Environment Forum, said: “It’s so positive seeing loads of people out and about on car-free roads. Cars are a necessary evil, but the balance is wrong. More of the town should be pedestrianised.”

Car Free Day signs in North Street.

The High Street was really busy.

Dorking artist Luke Adam Hawker who had a stall in the craft market was making a pen and ink study of the Guildhall. He said the car free day was “incredible”.

Professor Prashant Kumar, air quality expert from the University of Surrey, gave one of the well-attended talks through the day.

Cutting food waste was the message from Zero Carbon Guildford on its stall in the upper High Street.

The market in the High Street, a sight which would have been familiar over the centuries in Guildford.

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Responses to Photo Feature: Car Free Day More Often Say Visitors and Shopkeepers

  1. Mark Stamp Reply

    September 28, 2022 at 3:33 pm

    I would echo the calls to have the event more often and to expand it as much as possible.

    The big thing that is lacking is a good bus service to get to the town so the day can truly be car-free. Surrey County Council needs to massively improve provision and get the Park & Rides reinstated.

    The number of buses that Stagecoach has cancelled in the last few months is staggering. Buses need to be more frequent (especially on a Sunday) and cheaper to encourage younger people and families.

  2. D Williams Reply

    September 29, 2022 at 8:29 am

    Guildford buses ought to be free of charge next time.

  3. John Lomas Reply

    October 6, 2022 at 10:35 am

    How would the arrangements for such car-free days fit in with the Disability Discrimination Act for people who don’t use mobility scooters but are only comfortable with walking say 50 yards out from their public transport service?

    If they are a blue badge driver they can’t even access the High Street and North Street normally without having to keep moving their vehicle from one parking spot to another.

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