Fringe Box



Pop Up Village to Be Relaunched in June as ‘The Village’

Published on: 11 May, 2017
Updated on: 11 May, 2017

The Pop Up Village, which failed to attract sufficient customers after a rushed opening before Christmas last year (2016), is to be rebranded and relaunched.

“The Village”, which includes 25 retail units, re-opens on Saturday June 10. A street parade, will start in the High Street at 10.30am and make its way to The Village, to arrive there at 11am.

Included in the parade will be a giant puppet called ‘Eartha’, Queen of the Earth, characters from Alice through the Looking Glass and The Wizard of Oz, plus Egbert the Eagle from Eagle Radio.

Traders complained of insufficient footfall at the “Pop-Up” Village around Christmas.

A council press release says The Village, located by Guildford bus station, between Commercial Road and Woodbridge Road, will be: “a unique vibrant event space located in the heart of the town, which features a stage area, an open public space and seating. A mix of food concessions serving a tempting array of street food, retail outlets, toilets and a licensed bar will also be available for visitors to enjoy.”

Cllr David Bilbe

Lead councillor for economic development, David Bilbé (Con, Normandy) said: “We want to provide residents and visitors with a new and unique venue in which to shop, eat and enjoy themselves.

“Our team has put in place an exciting events programme that is a great mix of free activities to enjoy throughout the summer. To assist us we have also partnered with a number of organisations that have direct experience of running events on similar sites to The Village.”

Cllr Caroline Reeves (Lib Dem), whose Friary & St Nicolas ward includes The Village site, said: “I am pleased that we aren’t abandoning this site, and look forward to The Village opening with a new lease of life. Having learned from the mistakes last year, this new plan should address many of the issues raised.

Cllr Caroline Reeves

“With a full programme of planned events, specific opening times, a wide variety of tenants, an events management company and Eagle Radio as part of the team, The Village will be very different this time around.

“An added bonus would be some sunshine – Guildford could have it’s own ‘Henman Hill’ for Wimbledon fortnight.”

The Village will be free to enter but for licensing and safety reasons some events will be ticketed.

Open each week from Wednesday through to Sunday until December, there will be themed events and activities including: food festivals, film nights, live music, live big screen showing of summer sporting events, a car show, community and arts events, as well as day time activities suitable for all the family. The site will also have free WiFi for visitors to use.

The GBC press release continued: “Feedback from the original village last December was that potential tenants wanted greater certainty about the length of time that the venue would operate for, so we have created an events programme that extends across the summer months and beyond.

“Visitors also wanted a different experience. The Village, Guildford is no longer a “pop-up” site but a longer-term opportunity offering a flexible, different space for retailers, traders and entertainment in our town centre.”

Smiles were short-lived after this official opening of the Pop Up Village in December (2016).

Cllr Bilbe added: ‘‘It continues to be important that we are able to provide an opportunity for local business and new start-ups to develop and grow.

“This type of new offering takes time to establish and we have improved The Village to make better use of this dynamic space ahead of the proposed redevelopment of lower North Street.”

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Responses to Pop Up Village to Be Relaunched in June as ‘The Village’

  1. Valerie Thompson Reply

    May 13, 2017 at 9:35 am

    This absurd and unwanted retail “Village” needs to be stopped in its tracks.

    This is a perfect site for proper redevelopment. Come on GBC, do what you are meant to do and build some affordable houses or flats there, instead of wasting money on a pointless vanity project.

  2. Stuart Green Reply

    May 14, 2017 at 2:01 am

    When will GBC finally realise they are wasting time and council tax payers money on something that no one wants. How much has this absurd project cost so far and what are it’s profit projections if any?

    This area is earmarked for the great North Street development that we have been waiting on for nearly 17 years and it never gets any closer. GBC need to focus on what the town needs, investment and development not plugging the gap on a vacant plot of land for someone idiotic pie in the sky dream of an out of touch councillor or two.

  3. David Smith Reply

    May 14, 2017 at 5:36 pm

    Why on earth does this village needs to be stopped in its tracks? The Village has been built now so we may as well try and work with it.

    The council tried something new here, unfortunately it didn’t work out but credit to them for trying to fix it and persevering.

  4. Bernard Parke Reply

    May 14, 2017 at 7:24 pm

    Valerie Thompson has made a very valid point.

    However, this site is one of considerable value and I cannot see that GBC will be inclined to build the so-called “affordable” houses in central Guildford.

    Guildford, as we have been told, is now the sixth most congested town in the UK, and such a project will only worsen the traffic problem that we live with every day here in the town.

    The infrastructure problem must be addressed before any form of new development of any kind.

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