We are installing colourful floral decorations in the High Street, a parklet in Phoenix Court, seating and new planters at Allen House Grounds, and a butterfly arch at Tunsgate, in partnership with Experience Guildford.

Cllr John Redpath, Lead Councillor for Economy, said: “We are using some of the funding from the Welcome Back Fund to dress the town green and celebrate biodiversity. Our town centre has always been a thriving and exciting place to be and with some of these new additions we are adding some extra interest, colour and life to really welcome people into the town centre. As one of our priorities is tackling climate change we wanted to include pieces that help people reflect on the natural world, particularly insects which are a vital part of our ecosystem and greatly affected. Having wild flowers above our High Street is also a fitting reminder that we celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Guildford in Bloom this year.

“We know that being out in nature helps our mental wellbeing and creating green spaces in the town centre will help to give people some respite. Looking down to the green fields of The Mount in the distance is a great reminder of how lucky we are to be so close to nature in the bustling town centre. I know we all need to take a little more care after a very hard year.

“We have also planned a fantastic summer of entertainment with local community groups, even more planters to make the town centre colourful and lively, as well as safety measures so people can feel confident about their visit.”

Amanda Masters, CEO of Experience Guildford, said: “With staycations still going strong this year, we’re delighted to be part of a project which will help enhance the town for local residents and visitors who are celebrating summer in Surrey.

“We hope that the additional seating provided will help to encourage people to stay longer when popping into Guildford for a spot of shopping and that the splashes of colour around town will help to brighten up even the greyest of summer days!”

The installations are part of how we are using the £140,000 Welcome Back Fund. The government scheme is providing councils across England with a share of £56 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to support the safe return to high streets and help rebuild after the pandemic.

We already have a diverse range of events taking place in the borough including the Big Mouth Bonanza Weekend, making a patch event for Guildford’s Quilt, Heritage Open Days and free music in the Castle grounds. The season of events will culminate in late September with Car Free Day, a day that puts pedestrians first in Guildford’s town centre. The fund is also supporting the Pirbright Parish Fair.