Fringe Box



Pop Up Village May Temporarily Close – Council To Decide

Published on: 11 Jan, 2017
Updated on: 11 Jan, 2017

Poor customer footfall has bedevilled the Pop Up Village since it opened. Photo Mandy Millyard

The Pop Up Village, by Guildford bus station, opened just before Christmas, might close until the spring, according to a report published by get surrey.

Cllr Paul Spooner

The Guildford Borough Council (GBC) leader, Paul Spooner, is reported to have told it: “I am committed to the principle of the Pop Up Village but it has to work for all stakeholders and we are discussing what is best for everyone.

“If we decide to temporarily close the village we will be reopening in the spring.” He added that a decision was due to be taken this week.

But a statement issued later by a GBC spokesperson indicated the decision will be made next week. The statement read: “Following concerns and comments regarding Guildford Pop Up Village, a number of options are being presented to the leader of the council and, once confirmed, these will be announced on Monday 16th January.”

Kevin Lorimer of local business promoters Experience Guildford said: “Good on Guildford Borough Council for sticking its neck out and trying this.

“I can understand that it might be the case a temporary closure is necessary but it was a great innovative idea which offered a much needed leg-up for small businesses.”

There are around 30 units, made from shipping containers in the “village”. Many have been closed over recent days. Photo Mandy Millyard

The village has suffered from low attendance by shoppers since its rushed opening before Christmas. Traders are known to be angry. Some have blamed poor design, planning and decision making by GBC and there have been comments from traders and shoppers about poor marketing and publicity of the new venue.

Council officers worked to very tight deadlines to get the village open before Christmas and some shoppers mistakenly thought that it was meant to be a Christmas market.

The  Pop Up Village was opened on December 1 (2016). From left: Stephanie Maynard of the council’s business team, Cllr David Bilbe, the mayor, Gordon Jackson, and Diana Parker of the council’s business team.

See also: Letter: Pop Up Village – Good Idea – Poor Execution ; Opinion: It Might Be Called A ‘Pop Up’ Village – But Instantaneous It Wasn’t and Traders Comment On News That Pop Up Village May Close

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Responses to Pop Up Village May Temporarily Close – Council To Decide

  1. Luke Anthony Reply

    January 12, 2017 at 9:06 am

    When I heard that Guildford was going to build a Pop Up Village I was very excited. I thought of my experience of Shoreditch Box Park and even read the planning documents submitted by GBC and saw this was referred to.

    What has been delivered however is completely the opposite. Its almost as if the person carrying out the lettings took any occupier prepared to pay the rent; some of the uses are questionable and do not complement the town or each other.

    The second thing is the design; tacky dodgem cars with music blaring out and cheap looking containers in green with patio doors on which look like they are left over from a 1980s Barratt Homes estate. Shoreditch is sleek and trendy. Did the council even go up and look at it?

    It could have been so much better. If they can’t improve this then maybe they should consider moving the market here and free up the busy pavement on North Street.

  2. Alan Cooper Reply

    January 12, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    I think that Luke Anthony is spot on with his criticism of Guildford Borough Council and their complete lack of business understanding.

    It is tacky. It looks like a garage sale on a Sunday and with that incessant noise from the dodgem cars, it is hardly surprising that people do not visit – that is if they can find it.

  3. David Smith Reply

    January 12, 2017 at 8:37 pm

    With the North Street development so far off, Guildford Borough Council need to sort this. It’s currently an embarrassment and makes the existing, successful, retail offer we do have look like it was achieved by accident.

    Who on earth was in control of the leasing and letting? Please have a look at the website of the Shoreditch Boxpark and see what the look and offer is there. It’s completely the opposite of what has been built here in Guildford.

    Guildford is an affluent town and I heard one of the top five shopping towns in the UK. What the council have done in part undermines that.

    Who is this Business Team behind this disaster and what are their qualifications? Can we not see if the company behind Shoreditch and now Croydon, can take over? Guildford has all the ingredients to make something well designed (and with a good tenant mix) a success.

  4. Denise Hilton Reply

    January 13, 2017 at 11:38 am

    Wrong town, wrong concept, wrong use of council tax.

    I don’t know anyone who enjoyed the experience or in many cases wanted to visit.

  5. Ron North Reply

    January 15, 2017 at 3:49 pm

    Nice concept poorly implemented.

    I’ve visited the ‘pop up’ on the day of opening and twice since. Sadly it doesn’t feel integrated into the town.

    This uninviting enclave, with its high (6ft) wooden hoarding, is abhorrent to the casual passer by and the local community.

    Opened up, I’m certain the ‘footfall’ (I hate management speak) would increase.

  6. Paul Newman Reply

    February 19, 2017 at 2:45 pm

    Oh dear, another example of how clueless Guildford Borough Council is. A bad idea from the start that was executed appallingly.

    With the continued disgrace that is North Street (resembles a scene from Beirut with dangerous uneven pot-holed road surfaces, confused parking and shoddy buildings) it is really time that heads should roll. In the real world of commerce they would all have been fired.

    Wake up GBC and give us the county town it should be, not this mess.

  7. Valerie Thompson Reply

    February 21, 2017 at 9:21 am

    Get on with planning for some good-quality mid-rise social housing in the middle of the town. This is an ideal brownfield site, just waiting to be properly developed.

    The area is dreadful as it is. The whole idea was ill-conceived and badly done. Not surprising it was not a success.

  8. Jim Allen Reply

    February 22, 2017 at 9:23 am

    Walked past there yesterday first time in three months. I wondered if I’d see it open in some format or other but it was simply a painted cattle yard of locked glass fronted containers looking forlornly at each other, waiting to go to the container slaughter house.

    It is a shame that councillors are no longer financially liable for their decisions. The only apt description of this project is a waste of tax-payers’ money.

    Along side was a car park with a notice: “Sorry no pay and display – telephone payment only,” with no explanation of which telephone number to ring or how to instigate it. How this is welcoming to outsiders to our town? Or for us locals who don’t know what number to ring? And guess who was in the car park – a parking warden booking cars.

  9. David Smith Reply

    February 22, 2017 at 12:27 pm

    This is an ideal brownfield site – but not for residential.

    It is well documented that this site forms a key part of the North Street re-development.

    The idea of a “Box Park” was a good one – but whoever organised the tenant mix and the look of the scheme perhaps didn’t have the experience that was needed, which is why it failed, in my view.

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