Fringe Box



Tunsgate Quarter Straw Poll Gives Surprising Results

Published on: 25 Jan, 2019
Updated on: 27 Jan, 2019

Talk to people in Guildford about the Tunsgate Quarter and they will probably bemoan the empty shops and the lack of customers. “It’s a white elephant for Guildford” some have said.

But that perception is wrong according to a straw poll of the Tunsgate Quarter shops.

Tunsgate Quarter entrance on to Guildford High Street.

The majority of shops interviewed were very upbeat, saying that business had been good in 2018 and that they were hitting their sales targets. Most were feeling very positive for 2019.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, many called for a café to be set up in the atrium. Some remembered the old Tunsgate café and the Tunsgate Man statue.

“All of our customers talk about a café.” said one shop. The lack of a café or some focus to the atrium was raised as one reason why footfall appeared to be low.

Some shops felt that footfall was inevitably low as the shops tended to be ‘high end’. “Tunsgate Quarter is designed for a certain demographic” said one interviewee “30-plus and monied. That can put some people off.”

Tunsgate Quarter in Tunsgate itself. Claire Suggitt, the centre manager, says that she is aiming for a café-style experience with tables outside on the newly refurbished Tunsgate pavement.

The overall positive feeling from the shops was echoed by Claire Suggitt, the Tunsgate Quarter centre manager. She said: “Almost one year in and the general feedback from our retailers is that they are happy with performance.

“86% of our shops have been let or are in solicitor’s hands. We have had month on month growth in footfall with a 56% rise over December.

“At Tunsgate Quarter, we offer more of an experience. It’s like walking into a hotel – it’s how you are greeted that’s so important. We support our retailers to raise the bar to make sure that the customers get the best experience.”

And with good news for Guildford customers, Claire added: “One of my aspirations this year is to have a café space in the atrium.”

There are 16 shops trading currently in the Tunsgate Quarter with seven empty at the moment.

Tunsgate Quarter is owned by the Merseyside Pension Fund and managed by CBRE. It opened in March 2018 after a delay to the completion which frustrated local traders in Tunsgate who had seen a fall in trade during the construction.

The poll was carried out on Thursday, January 24 by The Guildford Dragon NEWS who spoke to 15 of the 16 shops currently trading. Four were unable to provide a response.

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