Guildford college link plus improvement scheme

Scheme background and wider context:

The Guildford College Link+ will use residential roads to provide a quiet and pleasant route for pedestrians and cyclists, connecting the new Walnut Bridge and the Bedford Wharf area to Guildford College.

The scheme will include the provision of directional signs, new controlled crossings and the provision of off-road cycle facilities.

The Guildford College Link+ is part of The Guildford Town Centre Transport Package (TCTP) which is a package of seven infrastructure schemes to be constructed between 2017-2020 which intend to make it easier for people to get around Guildford town centre on foot, by bicycle and by public transport.

During Autumn 2015, we consulted on a number of ideas that we were considering taking forward as part of the TCTP. Your views helped us to shape the proposals and decide on the seven specific schemes that would be developed further.

Following the submission of a successful business case in 2016, Surrey County Council and Guildford Borough Council have been granted funding from the Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership to construct the TCTP. We are working with our partners at Guildford Borough Council to deliver this scheme and to make sure that the works will complement the proposals in the Town Centre Masterplan.

Frequently asked questions:

We have produced this factsheet as a response to key questions relating to the Guildford College Link+ cycling improvements. This webpage will continue to be updated with any future questions we receive for the benefit of residents, businesses and stakeholders.

1. What are the proposed improvements?

Walnut Bridge is to be replaced with a new, wider bridge (this scheme is being developed by Guildford Borough Council), and this will be linked up to Guildford College with a new pedestrian and cycle route, known as the Guildford College Link+. The scheme will provide a route from Guildford Railway Station to the college by mainly utilising quiet residential streets and shared footways. This will include the provision of directional signs and new controlled crossings to ensure that those who walk, and cycle can do so safely. This will be complemented by a 20-mph speed limit which will be introduced on the roads bounded by the railway line, these roads are Stoke Road, Woodbridge Road and York Road. Public Footpath 45, which links William Road to Wharf Road, will be also converted to a shared facility for walking and cycling.

2. What are the benefits of this scheme?

The Guildford College Link+ is a highway improvement scheme to support easier cycling and walking between Guildford College and Guildford Railway Station, and points in between. The purpose of this cycle link is to make cycling a safe, practical and enjoyable way to travel for people with an 'average' cycling ability, to create more opportunities for more people to leave the car at home for shorter trips with associated benefits for road congestion. The scheme will contribute to the Surrey Community vision of a transport system that supports clean, green and safe communities, keeps people healthy and provides for lower carbon transport choices. This link is intended to form part of a future network of cycle facilities across the town, where the benefit of the scheme will be increasingly felt the more comprehensive this network becomes.

3. What is the implementation plan?

A pedestrian crossing on Woodbridge Road was completed on the 5 November 2020. Works on Stoke Road (between Markenfield Road and Guildford College) are ongoing and are due to complete on the 18 December. These works are taking place during the night to minimise impacts for road users in Guildford. Public Footpath 45, which links William Road to Wharf Road, will be resurfaced in the process of converting it to a shared facility for walking and cycling.

4. When will the scheme be opened for use?

We intend for the Guildford College Link+ to be opened for use in early January 2021.

5. Why are we undertaking the works during a COVID-19 lockdown?

When planning the delivery of the works on Stoke Road, it was not known that the Government would introduce a four-week lockdown starting 5 November. Should we not undertake the works as scheduled, there is a risk of substantial delay to the project. This is due to the presence of several other planned highway improvement schemes to be delivered across Guildford Town Centre. It would therefore not be feasible to find a suitable window to undertake the works on Stoke Road. The planning of works on the Guildford College Link have been in place since 2017. As such, we are committed to delivering this scheme in as timely a manner as possible.

6. Why are there temporary road closures on Stoke Road to facilitate construction works?

Works on Stoke Road are taking place at night. During the day, the road will remain open in order to minimise traffic impacts. The works will predominantly being undertaken during a southbound closure of Stoke Road and closure of Nightingale Road. However, periods of full closures will be necessary at times, particularly whilst working in proximity to the railway bridge.

7. How does the scheme make it easier to walk and cycle?

Quiet streets linking Guildford College with Guildford railway station will be connected in a chain that makes it easier to avoid main roads when cycling between these two locations and points in between. This will take advantage of the improved Walnut Bridge across the river, linking the railway station to the eastern river- bank and avoiding the gyratory. Cycling will be permitted on a widened footway along Stoke Road to link the college to this chain of quiet streets, at Markenfield Road. The new crossings and wider, resurfaced footways and paths will also make it easier to walk in the area. Specific improvements include:

  • The footway on the eastern side of Stoke Road between Guildford College and the railway bridge will be enlarged, and cycling will be permitted on this stretch of footway.
  • New crossings will be installed across Stoke Road/Nightingale Road (by the railway bridge) and Woodbridge Road (by Wharf Road).
  • Footpath 45, linking Wharf Road and William Road, will be improved and cycling will be permitted.
  • Cycling connection to the improved Walnut Bridge, linking across the river into Guildford railway station.

Advanced warning signs have been placed on the network to inform drivers of the intended closures, whilst local residents and businesses have received letters detailing the works. Suitable diversion routes will be signed as required, whenever a road is closed. More information about works being undertaken in the area is available via our roadworks and maintenance webpage.

9. Who will benefit from the scheme?

The measures introduced within this scheme will benefit the whole community. Improving walking and cycling facilities will encourage more people who live, work and study in the area to make trips on foot and by bike. With 43% of trips being under two miles (National Travel Survey 2019), making short journeys more convenient to walk and cycle is an effective, low cost solution to ease traffic congestion and improve air quality. It also helps residents to reduce their carbon emissions and keep healthy through everyday exercise. By increasing the proportion of short trips being made by foot or bike, there will be more space on our crowded roads for journeys that do still need to be made in cars, goods vehicles and so forth, benefitting both those from the immediate area and those travelling into Guildford from elsewhere.

Previous public consultations have shown strong support for making it easier to walk and cycle such local trips, to offer people more opportunities to leave the car at home when they can. In particular, these improvements will make journeys to two key local destinations easier: Guildford railway station, where approximately 8 million trips pass through each year, and Guildford College with approximately 10,000 students. The College provides cycle parking facilities across its campus and actively promotes the use of sustainable modes of travel for students, as demonstrated by the extract below:

"Guildford College encourages students to use alternative modes of transport other than cars. By doing this we are aiming to reduce the amount of traffic as well as promoting a healthy lifestyle and living environment." Source: Guildford College Website

10. Why are you implementing the 20 miles per hour (mph) speed limit on residential roads bounded by the railway line, Stoke Road, Woodbridge Road and York Road?

We have proposed a lower 20-mph speed to make these residential streets safer for those who reside in the area. It will also contribute to safer walking and cycling on the Guildford College Link route. Providing a 20-mph limit on the residential roads within this neighbourhood will reduce the risk and severity of collisions. More details can be found on our Guildford College Link 20mph speed limit proposal consultation page.

Objections and comments from the public will be considered before a final decision is reached about whether or not to go ahead with this scheme in its current form. This consultation will take place between 13 November and 11 December.

11. Which roads will be covered by the new 20 miles per hour speed limit?

The roads that will be covered by the 20 miles per hour speed limit are as follows:

Gardner Road, Markenfield Road, Nettles Terrace, Dapdune Road, Park Road, Drummond Road, George Road, Artillery Terrace, Artillery Road, Stoke Fields, Stoke Grove and Church Road.

12. What measures will be in place to ensure that road users abide by the lower speed limit?

Signage will be in place at entrance and exit points of the residential roads covered by the 20-mph speed limit, whilst repeater signs will be placed upon existing lamp posts. Having undertaken an analysis of speed data on Markenfield Road and Dapdune Road, it was decided that traffic calming measures such as speed bumps are not required. This complies with the county council's speed limit policy, based on national guidance.

13. When will be the speed limit be introduced?

Surrey County Council intends to introduce the new 20-mph speed limit in January 2021. The decision to implement the scheme, however, will be taken in December 2020 upon completion of the public consultation and consideration of objections and comments.