Growing Local

Written by Ali Fisher

We loved the idea of being able to walk to Sainsbury’s, have a kid’s party at the village hall, grab a takeaway from the parade of shops (spoilt with options of a Chinese meal from Shangri-La, fish and chips from Seafare, a hand-made meal from Cook or a curry from Rajdoot!), get a dress dry-cleaned at Coronet’s or a half-term haircut at M&R Barbers or perhaps an indulgent blow-dry at Beyond the Mirror.

Then on top there’s everything that our historic town of Guildford has to offer us: 2 train stations, a castle, a cathedral, an abundance of shops and services and so much more. Burpham, and its surrounding area, is blessed with its abundance.

Yet with abundance comes the risk of value destruction. When things are harder to reach, when we have to work harder to get them, that tends to be when we value them most. We must be mindful to nurture what is on our doorstep, not to take it for granted. Next time you’re passing the Kingpost Parade, make a quick mental list of what’s there and whether you might have an opportunity to support them in 2020. Likewise, could we do more to support the events happening in our area to help keep them running?

Next time you’re passing the Kingpost Parade, make a quick mental list of what’s there and whether you might have an opportunity to support them in 2020.

Burpham and Guildford have felt the pangs of regret before when we have lost local services and amenities. During our Burpham residency, we have seen the fishmonger’s go, as well as HSBC bank. Before our time, the Green Man Pub closed in 2006, after 400 years on the London Road site i. In Guildford, rumours run fast of Debenhams and House of Fraser on the brink of bankruptcy. The top of the High Street is half ghost town with empty shells where Maplins, Giraffe and The Chilli Pickle once resided. Does anyone remember the wonderful travelling library that visited Sutherland Memorial Park once upon a time? Sadly that service was cut many moons ago – a significant loss for the Burpham community. Our area is not unusual in seeing so many closures and losses. In 2018, Britain saw an average of 16 store closures every day (compared to only 9 openings). ii

Spending locally might also make you happy. Helping others releases the hormone oxytocin which boosts mood and can help counteract the dreaded stress hormone cortisol.

What benefits can supporting local bring? Well, research has proven that buying local grows local. Research in the US has shown that independent retailers can return more than three times as much money per dollar of sales to the community in which they operate versus national retailers. Independent restaurants return more than two times as much money per dollar of sales than national rivals iii. Closer to home, Preston in Lancashire worked on a concept of locally in-sourcing, not out-sourcing, having discovered that only 5% of investment remained in Preston and only 31% stayed within Lancashire. The result of the refocus was that an additional £200 million worth of investment remained within Preston. iv

Many Burpham businesses are long-term supporters and investors in our community. With children at both Burpham Primary and George Abbot, I have seen our local businesses supporting our schools year after year, with sponsorships, donations or in-kind contributions, helping the schools and children to flourish. This support means so much when 4 out of 5 state schools in England are predicted to be worse off in 2020 in real terms than they were in 2015. v

For many of us, shopping local is another way to lower our carbon footprint, get a bit of fresh air and stretch the legs. Did anyone set a New Year’s resolution to buy less on-line and shop more locally? If not, now’s your chance! If you’ve got any suggestions for locally based gift buying, please add ideas in the comments section of this article on Perhaps you know of a cake-making business or a party company, a local electrician or plumber? Not all our local businesses reside in Kingpost Parade so give them a shout out here and help us to grow local.

Spending locally might also make you happy. Helping others releases the hormone oxytocin which boosts mood and can help counteract the dreaded stress hormone cortisol.

Some stay-local oxytocin boosting ideas to try:

  • Visit Guildford library next time you are in town or email in advance to borrow something from their ‘Library of Things’.
  • Any free Fridays? Buy fresh from the artisan bakeries, fruit and veg & flower stalls on North Street every Friday (cuts down on your plastic footprint too!).
  • Support Guildford’s iconic Cathedral with a Cathedral tour by emailing The ‘Tower Tour’ includes a climb of the 249 Cathedral steps to the top of the Tower to bask in stunning views across Surrey.
  • Check out the latest Burpham Community Association events to join at
  • Looking for a treat night out? When did you last seek some local theatre, musical, dance or comedy from one of our local arts houses? Yvonne Arnaud, G Live, Woking New Victoria or the Electric Theatre to name a few. Check out their latest What’s On lists.
  • Looking to support or learn more about the local environment, check out Guildford Green Drinks regularly updated calendar of events at

With the time-old adage of ‘use them or lose them’, there’s never been a better time for our environment, health and community to support local.

Local shops on Kingpost Parade:

Coronet Cleaning Centre
01483 563670
M & R Barbers
Seymours Estate Agents
COOK Guildford
The Bakery
The Beach
White Barnes Carpets & Flooring
Rajdoot Tandoori
Ace Bicycles
Wine Rack
Beyond the Mirror
Lodge Brothers

i Surrey Live (2009) Aldi attacked as old pub is bulldozed. Available at: (Accessed: 29.01.20)
ii Emily Mee / Sky News (April 2019) High street crisis. Available at: (Accessed: 29.01.20)
iii Mass.Gov (Aug 2013) Think Local! Available at: (Accessed: 29.01.20)
iv Rob Hopkins (October 2019) From What Is To What If.
v Sally Weale/The Guardian (September 2019) Funding for 80% of schools in England ‘worse next year than 2015’. Available: (Accessed: 29 Jan 2020)



One thought on “Growing Local”

  1. Hi there,
    A great article and yes, I’ve been trying to buy less online and use local shops much more over the last 18 months or so, it’s a small gesture and I’m getting better at it! Every little helps!

    With regards to local gift buying, I’m a Burpham resident and small business owner. I make gifts and keepsakes from my garden cabin and specialise in creating keepsakes of kids drawings but also make baby mobiles and many other items (instagram – @Adrawables)
    This year I had two local residents collect their purchases from me, at home, prior to Christmas…it was lovely to meet them because normally I post out my makes, so I miss out on meeting my customers face to face. It felt great having local people support my little business.


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