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Dorking was recently recognised by the Telegraph as one of Britain’s top five highstreets, due to a heady combination of independent shops, house price growth and average house price. What can we say? With a truly unique blend of independent shops, charming cafes and innovative, fearless chefs with their farm-to-fork menus, passionate craft gin distillers and authentic pubs and hostelries, Dorking is the hidden gem of the Surrey Hills.

Dorking highstreet has also been featured in the July issue of Surrey Life magazine. Be sure to pick your copy!

Dorking Surrey Life Editorial
Dorking Surrey Life Editorial

Here are the independents that have been featured:

Bourneside Gallery
Cobbetts
Dorking Butchery
Victoria Bra Shop
Westdaw Menswear
Aya Boutique
The Gilliangladrag Fluffatorium
Dorking Models
Talbot House Antiques
SC Fuller
Lemon Tree
The Fig Tree

We couldn’t fit all of our independents into Surrey Life magazine, but you can check out all of our shops here on our website. Why not start here?

Dorking Town Partnership and Mole Valley District Council are once more extending their Dorking free parking initiative, this time until 22 April 2022.

The Park for Free after Three scheme, funded by Dorking Town Partnership, allows drivers to park for free every Friday from 3pm in St Martin's Walk, Wathen Road, Southside and West Street car parks. Tickets are not needed during the free parking periods.  

The popular parking initiative was relaunched in May 2021 to encourage those residents who do not walk or cycle into Dorking - but instead choose to drive - to come and park for free and support the town’s businesses by shopping locally or having a drink or a bite to eat. The free parking scheme has now been extended a number of times and the decision has been taken to do so again.

Dorking Town Partnership has published statistics detailing a comparison between percentages of Friday footfall in 2019/20 and 2020/21. The figures show that, year-on-year, the free parking initiative has inspired an increase in the town’s footfall.  

Charlotte Whitaker, Business Improvement District Manager for the Dorking Town Partnership, said: “We are pleased to be able to extend our Free After Three parking on Friday in St Martin’s Walk, Wathen Road, Southside and West Street car parks in partnership with Mole Valley District Council (MVDC). Footfall has now been up year-on-year for 8 of the 9 months since the free parking policy was adopted, and we hope to see this continue into 2022.”

Councillor Clayton Wellman, MVDC’s Cabinet Member for Sustainable Economy and Security, said: “We are delighted to be able to extend this scheme once again, working closely with Dorking Town Partnership, to offer a free parking incentive to anyone who comes to Dorking by car. Encouraging more people into Dorking, along with visitors who walk, cycle or travel via public transport, can only benefit the town’s businesses after a very challenging two years.

“Parking also remains free throughout the day on Sundays and on bank holidays in all our car parks, as well as every evening from six o’clock.”

There are posters advertising Park for Free after Three on MVDC’s parking machines. If money is accidentally inserted during the free periods, it will be divided between the Chairman’s charities.”

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Your countdown to Christmas starts here…

For one very special day Dorking is transforming into a magical winter wonderland!

Christmas Festival Poster 2021

Join us to kick-start Christmas in style – you’ll browse market stalls from fabulous independent local retailers, be entertained by talented musicians, choir groups, and dancers, and sample some of the very best local produce around. There’ll be lots for all the family; roaming acts including Father Christmas, fabulous music, and the Fun Fair at St Martins Walk.

Come along, enjoy the festive atmosphere and support your local businesses, independent retailers, boutiques and traders. Keep your festive spending close to home as you tick items off your Christmas list. Not only will this support make a huge difference to local retailers, but there are also ecological benefits. Fewer out-of-town shopping trips and reducing packaging and transport by cutting down on online purchases will be a much-needed gift to the planet.

Before the countdown to Christmas gets fully underway, don’t forget to download Dorking’s LoyalFree app for shopping trails and keep up-to-date with special offers and what is open and when. A Dorking Directory filled with great gift inspiration, highlighting the vast array of shops and boutiques located throughout the town, will also help shoppers enjoy a stress-free run up to the big day.

Don’t miss out, be part of something special and join us for the Dorking Christmas Festival.

Christmas-21-Road-Closures-1536x1083

The Consultation on Road Closures for Dorking Christmas Festival on 28th November 2021 is now open

The proposal is to Pedestrianise part of the High Street, West Street and South Street for the Dorking Christmas Festival.

Following the success of last year’s closure of part of Dorking Town Centre, Dorking Town Partnership, in partnership with Mole Valley District Council, hope to pedestrianise the centre of town including the High Street and part of West Street. To facilitate this event, the District Council can issue a Certificate under the Town Police Clauses Act.

This requires that shops, businesses and adjacent residents are consulted prior to any certificate being issued.

This year it is proposed that a partial closure of the High Street and West Street takes place, between 6am and 8pm. Please see the map below for the exact times.

The proposed road closure would affect the following areas:

A plan (and times) of the areas that would be affected by the proposed road closure is shown below.

All car parks will still be accessible from various directions and other traffic will be diverted around the town.

The pedestrianised areas will be used for live entertainment and stalls and to help make it safer and more convenient for visitors attending Dorking Christmas Festival.

Christmas Festival Poster 2021

If you haven’t received a slip or would like to comment please download, complete and return the slip below. 

Here in Dorking, we’re lucky to have a wide array of fantastic restaurants, cafes, shops and businesses offering excellent personal service – and we want to shout about them!

In celebration of those special businesses that call Dorking home, we’re asking you to show your Love for Local and share something positive on your social channels about those local businesses that go the extra mile.

Whether it’s showing brilliant local knowledge, providing the personal touch, or simply offering exceptional service, we want to hear which Dorking businesses stand out to you and why. In return, each month we’ll be choosing three lucky winners to receive a meal in a local Dorking restaurant up to the value of £50 for free!

Entering is easy! Simply share a post to your main grid on Instagram, a post to Facebook or a tweet on Twitter about the special service you’ve received in Dorking and tag us @HelloDorking. We’ll then choose our favourite for that month when submission closes on the last day of the month to decide the winners.

Keep an eye on our InstagramFacebook, and Twitter for more information and follow us for the chance to win your favourite meal in Dorking! The competition will start on Thursday 1st July 2021 and run until the end of the year. Winners will be announced at the start of the following month. See our Ts and Cs below for further information.

Good luck!

The Ts and Cs

We're so excited to share our new Support Dorking Eat Local campaign with you. Launching on the 17th of May this campaign is designed to celebrate the opening of indoor dining and highlight all the wonderful places there are to eat in Dorking.

To start the campaign we have our new Eat Local video which we are excited to share with you!

Thank you to everyone who made this possible and participated and to ZED Creative for filming and producing this video.

We're going to release this video on Monday 17th May to create excitement and encourage our customers in Dorking and the surrounding area to Eat Local.

Like, comment, and share this video with your followers as it will be shared on our social media!

Here is a reminder of the new guidelines:

It’s safe to say, COVID-19 has had such an immense impact on our planet. In most cases, this has been a detrimental effect, especially for mental health. We know how incredible hard it has been for everyone. We want to share with you below some tips, resources, and support for everyone in Dorking and the surrounding area.

This is NOT in place of medical advice. Please consult with your medical professional.

Helplines and listening services (provided by Mind)

Apps for mental health (recommended by the NHS)

You may not wish or be able to speak over the phone. An App is a great way to support your mental health. The below link goes through to many different Apps recommended by the NHS which will hopefully provide you with some help and headspace during this unprecedented time.

Show me Apps

Visiting the Surrey Hills AONB

Nature continues to play a vital role in supporting us during the pandemic crisis. More people than ever are taking to nature for fresh air. Visiting our wonderful Surrey Hills is a great way to exercise and experience our beautiful surroundings.

However, tourist hotspots such as Box Hill Viewpoint and Leith Hill Tower are experiencing high numbers of visitors. New advice is to explore the countryside closer to your home to maintain social distancing and help prevent the spread of the virus.

You can read more information, with great walking trails and Surrey Hills news, here

Dorking Resources Available to You

Mole Valley District Council have put together a webpage to provide Surrey residents support and guidance during COVID-19. Their web page provides you with government official information from current health guidance to health and wellbeing support. See more in the link below

Mole Valley District Council and Coronavirus

#LiveBreatheDorking

We’re running a campaign to help bring a sense of mindfulness to your social media feeds. Mindfulness meditation is a great way to reduce stress and anxiety which may be heightened for you during this pandemic.

This meditation is to bring focus back on one’s self and one’s surroundings. We’ll be releasing short clips and images which will help you focus and bring you back to the present moment. Try this quick 1minute meditation exercise provided by Mind here!

Follow along with our #BreatheDorking campaign on InstagramTwitter and Facebook.

We are beyond excited to announce the winners of this year’s Dorking Town Partnership Christmas Window Competition. There were two trophies up for grabs - one for the Most Festive Christmas Window chosen by Charlotte Whitaker DTP Manager, Madam Chairman Councillor Mary Huggins and Councillor Clayton Wellman Holmwood ward and cabinet member for economy and the second was the People’s Choice Award as voted by the community.

Winner of BOTH awards are Flowers by Elaine!

Congratulations! Their fabulous festive display captured the spirit of Christmas with a beautiful arrangement of yuletide ornaments.

We are blown away by the support shown for everyone who entered this year’s Christmas Window Competition in Dorking. With over 300 votes cast this year on our online voting page, it has been a tremendous success in the community.

Dorking’s runners up..

In second place was Victoria’s Little Bra Shop

In third place … Mayflower Spa

Congratulations to you both on being this year’s runners up. The competition was super close this year, with only a few votes between each place.

Thank you to all of Dorking’s local businesses who entered our competition. You have spread such wonderful Christmas spirit throughout the town through your amazing festive window displays. You have uplifted our community - thank you!

Thank you to everyone who voted in our Christmas Window Competition.

We are currently in the process of selecting our 5 winners of £100 in shopping vouchers. We will put everyone’s vote entry into a random generator. Winners will be contacted soon!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Dorking Safe Streets is a coalition of local parents, educators, businesses and community members who are campaigning for a safe, pedestrian controlled crossing at The Triangle stores on Chalkpit Lane.

We interviewed Aimee Fairhurst and Kathy Kyle Bonomini, parents at St Martin’s Primary School, who have been driving the campaign.

How did this campaign come about? And when did it start?

Originally this campaign started many years ago! Parents at St Martin’s and The Ashcombe have been calling for a safe crossing at this spot for a long time. A different group of amazing people created a petition back in 2015. This was submitted to Mole Valley District Council and Surrey County Council in 2016, and as a result the crossing was put on the council’s infrastructure plan but nothing has yet been built as they haven’t found the money for it. We came together in September 2020 to try and make this a reality for our community. We have been overwhelmed by the support from residents, parents, business leaders, and community partners. This is more than a “neighbourhood issue” – it is an issue of strategic importance to the town of Dorking.

What is the desired result for Dorking Safe Streets?

We have identified some funding for the crossing, which is sitting with Mole Valley District Council. We are asking for them and Surrey County Council (who look after Highways) to conduct a feasibility study into the building of a crossing, and to spend the funding that they have on this important scheme.

How will this campaign improve the community in Dorking?

The primary aim is about safety, for all of our community. Chalkpit Lane not only gets busy with local traffic, it is also the bypass for traffic travelling from the North to the South West (and vice versa) and a lot of industrial traffic comes down that hill! Another aim is about helping people to make better choices for our environment. From talking to the community, many have said that they would leave their cars at home if they had a safe place to cross here, and for older children they could walk/cycle to school independently if this crossing was put in place. And our business partners tell us that this crossing would help ‘join up’ the town – so the campaign is also about cohesion. If you want to travel on foot/bike/scooter East to West across Dorking this particular road is a real barrier. We feel that we are bringing the town together, making it safer, greener and looking to the future, for everyone.

What does the community have to say?

“My son was almost ran over at the triangles two years ago as someone felt the need of their mobile at a well lit crossing and paid (no) attention of a bunch of crossing children… to be honest, I can’t think of a much more important thing than to have our little ones safe!”

“A proper crossing here would be one contribution to enabling more parents to leave their cars at home, while enabling children to become more independent and healthier for the added exercise.”

“It’s happened so often! The speed the cars come down the hill ! It’s been far too many times that we have had a close call.”

How can the community in Dorking help the Dorking Safe Streets campaign?

Please get in touch to tell us why you want a safe crossing on Chalk Pit Lane – we are presenting to both Mole Valley District Council and Surrey County Council on Wednesday 9th December and we would love to include your voice in the following ways:

1. You can sign our petition at: https://www.change.org/dorkingsafests
2. You can become a partner and demonstrate your support to the council: https://dorkingsafestreets.com/partners
3. You can share a testimonial why you think we need a safe crossing by getting in touch at dorkingsafest@gmail.com
4. You can follow us on social media or share our video: https://vimeo.com/483762824

Have you ever had a conversation with a talking statue, bench or lamp post?

Hello Dorking is making it all possible this festive season, by bringing our high street to life.

We know Christmas will look different this year. Hello Dorking is committed to creating a digital ecosystem to enable our local business community and partners to succeed. In addition to promoting Dorking businesses and hosting a list of online shops, we are now bringing Dorking street objects to life with a Christmas Trail.

We are creating a totally new digital experience for our local community and visitors with friendly, talking objects in five locations in Dorking. Users will be signposted to have friendly chats with people of all ages, encouraging visitors to experience our high street in an engaging and innovative way, whilst reinvigorating our local economy and keeping our community safe.

“We are delighted to team up with Hello Lamp Post, a playful, human-centric public engagement platform that allows citizens to chat with everyday objects to drive engagement and footfall to the high street,” said Andrew Fuller, BID Chairman. “We’ve seen award-winning results with this approach in Belfast and in Bristol.”

We are looking to empower people to provide anonymous feedback, to shop and to support local, and to share how they are feeling. Multiple lockdowns have been tough on everyone. We are launching this AI-powered platform to help us not only engage more people, but to help us to better understand our audience. Everyone wins.

How does it all work?

There are 5 talking objects across Dorking – just scan the QR code or text the phone number and start chatting by replying to the SMS.

  1. The Lamp Post next to the Old House Pub on West Street
  2. The Bench in the centre of St Martin’s Walk
  3. The Bench in front of the Post Office
  4. The Bench in front of the War Memorial across from Waitrose
  5. The Vaughan Williams Statue next to Dorking Halls

Say Hello

Keep Chatting

Learn more on all channels at @hellodorking.

Dorking Town Partnership
156 South Street
Dorking, RH4 2HF

T: 07377 0966892

E: charlotte@dorkingtownpartnership.co.uk

© 2021 Dorking Town Partnership
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