Protesters set up camp in Guildford town centre car park

Banners and England flags
-Credit: (Image: Surrey Live)


A car park in Guildford town centre has become an unofficial temporary base for climate activists. Labelled the People's Climate Conference protest, they have parked several caravans on the site just off North Street.

While the Commercial Road car park may have been closed to the public already, the protesters are certainly making themselves known, by putting up a series of posters and flags. Those going past the site will have seen the several mannequins as well as lots of messages about the earth.

Nick Smith, who was at the car park, told SurreyLive: “The idea is to bring people together, to discuss what action needs to be taken to fight the Global Climate crisis. This is in a sense a protest site, but it is not about fighting it's about looking for solutions.”

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Nick told SurreyLive that his group, who call themselves the Guildford Diggers, had been parked elsewhere in Guildford before being moved on. According to those at the car park they had been there since the beginning of the week.

The Commercial Road car park has been shut since May 27 ahead of construction for the North Street development. Work to build 477 homes, a medical centre, refurbished bus station and space for cultural and leisure uses, along with pedestrianisation of North Street, is set to begin in the autumn and will last several years.

Nick told SurreyLive the group plans on staying until they are forced to leave, or building work begins. SurreyLive has contacted developers at the Berkeley Group for comment.

Guildford Borough Council told SurreyLive: "We are aware of the unauthorised encampment in the Commercial Road car park. We are monitoring the situation along with the police to resolve the issue.”

Historically speaking the Diggers are a group of protesters from around the 17th Century. Formed amid the backdrop of the Civil War, they were a radical group who said all men had an equal right to use and benefit from land. They made their impact on Surrey by digging the common ground of St George's Hill in Cobham . They were later imprisoned.

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