Fringe Box



Citizens Speak: Views on Guildford’s Shops

Published on: 3 Jul, 2013
Updated on: 29 Aug, 2015

ShopsHigh parking charges, increasing rents and no shops for “bored blokes” – a recent letter to The Guildford Dragon News painted a bleak picture of our High Street, in contrast to research that portrayed it as healthy. We went into town to ask the shoppers what they thought.

Carol and Alan Forward from Farnham had been tempted by the craft stalls timed to launch the Summer Festival.

Carol and A Forward

Alan and Carol Forward

They shop in Guildford about once a month and usually catch the bus or use the park and ride from Merrow feeling that car park charges in excess of £1 per hour are too expensive.

Carol thought that there was a good range of shops and little improvement was needed. She particularly liked the old fashioned feel.

The couple both enjoyed the market on North Street and Alan thought some more pound shops would do well, as well as some charity shops to counter-balance the expensive shops.

Alan said: “Men don’t like shopping so much. I just go and come back with what I came in for.”

ick and jay brink

Nick and Jay Brink

Nick, Jay and Sedisha (not pictured) Brink were out shopping with toddler Zac. The Ascot family had brought Jay, who is visiting from South Africa, to show her a different town. She thought Guildford was “beautiful”.

The Brinks come to Guildford about once a month and prefer it to their nearest shopping centre, Windsor, as the town is less touristy. The noodle bar is a big draw as well as Trotters and House of Fraser.

Today they parked at Millmead, to enjoy the walk into town and thought that the charges were reasonable compared with Reading. Nick was particularly impressed with the cheaper Sunday rate.

Although Sedisha thought the range of shops was excellent, Nick told us that he was “only here for the noodle bar”. He agreed with the letter that the shops were female orientated and would be attracted by music and tech stores. He also thought escalators and more benches would improve the town.

Anon & Samantha Keenan

Samantha Keenan (right) with her partner

Samantha Keenan, from Stoke on Trent, was visiting with her partner. She loves the atmosphere in Guildford and comes about once a year, by train, while staying with her parents who live nearby

In common with the other women we spoke to, she enjoyed the range of shops. “There’s a good selection, one of the widest I’ve seen. That’s why I come here – it can match Birmingham. And there are fewer charity shops. It would be great to have a bigger market.”

Samantha agreed that the stores offered more for women, but suggested that was because the majority of shoppers were female. Her partner, who declined to be named, commented that perhaps there should be more chairs.

Peter Hall

Peter Hall

Peter Hall was in Guildford to run the craft market but, as a resident of a nearby village brings his teenage sons and daughter shopping in Guildford. “I come once every two months, but I don’t shop anywhere else. I love the High Street because it’s a proper place, not like those out-of-town shopping centres.”

“Today I’ve driven and parked with my special permit but I usually use York Road [car park] because you can pay when you leave. I got a parking ticket at the pay and display on Sunday because I didn’t realise that the charge was only for three hours.”

A Wormley resident, Peter thought that the mix of shops was good and covered most age ranges, with the Friary Centre catering well for youngsters. In common with the other men we spoke too, he also would like the High Street to be flatter, but enjoyed the atmosphere. He misses the sports shops.

Lindsey Hopkins

Lindsey Hopkins

Lindsey Hopkins is a Guildford resident and uses the High Street regularly, popping out for essentials in between work.

She finds the parking situation ok. “People moan that they have to queue up but it’s not for long. It’s expensive but the council have to make money.”

The Queen Elizabeth Park resident thinks that the range of shops is excellent, but she can’t bear some of the discount pop-ups.

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