Zöe Franklin writes in support of Guildford city status bid

October 26, 2021 8:43 AM
By Zoe Franklin

ZF City Status LetterI have lived and studied in Guildford for more than 20 years and before that, I grew up in Farnham. Visits to Guildford as a child were always a treat, so as you can see, Guildford is in my blood and I am pleased and proud to support Guildford Borough Council's bid for city status for Guildford. It would, of course, be a 'third-time lucky' bid and I am hopeful that my home town will this time be granted the city status it deserves. The City of Guildford has a positive ring to it and as the county town of Surrey, with a Cathedral and a University, it makes complete sense for Guildford to be granted city status by Her Majesty to celebrate her 70 years on the throne next year.

Below there is a link to my letter to the Leader of Guildford Borough Council, Councillor Joss Bigmore, endorsing Guildford's city status bid. With our various communities, charities, businesses, associations, our rich history, a busy cultural scene, nightclubs, business parks, green spaces and parks, many varied restaurants and cafes, a beautiful river to row or float on (or run alongside) and so much more, everything about our wonderful home says that Guildford deserves to be a city. It would be a fitting reward to recognise how our people, our friends and neighbours came together through the pandemic. City status will enable local businesses to see inward investment and we can build on our reputation to grow our tourism industry. Whilst we would celebrate our new status we would still be able to retain the sense of community that is so strong here.

I know that there are people who ask why we need city status or feel city status will ruin our beautiful, historic county town and I would like to particularly mention 12 year old Ruby Moulden who has started a petition to ensure that local people can indicate whether they are against the bid as well as for the bid. I commend her for being proactive and taking an interest in local life. The Liberal Democrats welcome and encourage anyone who wants to play an active role in democratic debate. But, looking at other cities like St Albans, Winchester and Cambridge I know that the City of Guildford would be in the best company and will afford us the opportunity to evolve and grow into an important 21st Century destination.

You can read the full text of my letter below.

Zöe Franklin
Lib Dem Parliamentary Spokesperson for Guildford, Cranleigh & our Village

26th October 2021

Cllr Joss Bigmore
Council Leader
Guildford Borough Council
Millmead House

20th October 2021

Dear Cllr Bigmore

I am writing to you as Leader of Guildford Borough Council to endorse the council's city status bid for Guildford on behalf of myself and the Liberal Democrat party in Guildford.

I am proud to call Guildford my home and have done for over 20 years: before that I was drawn to it from my childhood home in Farnham to enjoy the history, culture and so much more that it has to offer. It has always been a surprise to me that, in spite of having a university, cathedral and one of the larger populations in Surrey, it has remained defined as a town.

There is so much to Guildford.

We have a rich history, thriving cultural scene, business parks and so much more. For me, city status is an important milestone in celebrating these. I also firmly believe that city status is also a fitting celebration of our diverse home.

Guildford's communities, charities, businesses and other organisations came together in a beautiful, supportive and inspiring way during the covid pandemic, helping to reduce the impact on the most vulnerable in our communities and keep local businesses afloat. This 'third time lucky' city status bid is perfectly timed to recognise this community spirit and set us on the path to even greater things as one of the UK's newest cities.

City status will also open doors for our businesses - cities are often more enticing destinations for new recruits and investors. Similarly, it will help keep our economy growing and evolving which, in turn, will keep other aspects of our home thriving.

It will also help recognise and highlight our place on the cultural map of the UK. I am continually blown away by the home-grown cultural talent we have and also the cultural tours we welcome to Guildford. Let's leverage city status to support more local talent to blossom and have a platform, and encourage more tours and culture investment.

I know that there are people who ask why we need city status or feel city status will ruin our beautiful, historic county town however we need only look to cities like St Albans and Winchester who have been cities for hundreds of years or Cambridge which was granted city status in 1954, to see that balancing preserving our history while embracing the benefits of evolution and opportunity that city status bring is entirely possible.

I sincerely hope that our city status is successful and that it will open the door to the continued celebration, success, and evolution of our home, Guildford.


Z Franklin signature

Zöe Franklin
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Guildford, Cranleigh & our Villages