Our Plan for Guildford

Since May 2019 Guildford borough council has been run by a Liberal Democrat-led administration.

We're determined to make Guildford borough a better place to live and work for all our residents and this is how we're working to get Guildford council to do it:

Housing

Although our borough is a wonderful place to live, for too many people housing is a major issue. Many people are unable to afford a place to live and many more are trapped paying out huge chunks of their income in rent. Meanwhile house prices continue to rise, making it impossible for most young people to even hope of getting onto the housing ladder.

That's why we're working on a comprehensive plan to tackle the housing crisis in Guildford, including:

  • Aiming to build 3,000 new council houses in the next 10 years
  • Working to set up a new Help to Rent scheme for first-time and low-income renters
  • Make developers build at least 40% affordable housing on new developments
  • Working to end rough sleeping with a 'housing first' approach

Transport

Guildford is the most congested town in Britain and our borough's traffic problems require urgent attention.

Our plan to fix things is built around a dual approach of fixing the traffic flow as well as reducing the overall number of car journeys by making cycling, walking and public transport safe, easy and affordable options for local people. We are:

  • Working with residents to set up Neighbourhood Zones in residential areas with 20 MPH speed limits and measures to make pedestrians safer
  • Lobbying Surrey County Council to properly fund road and footpath repairs in our area
  • Encouraging more car clubs and car sharing schemes
  • Requiring new housing developments to include electric vehicle charging points and working to get public EV charging points installed by the council
  • Aiming to draw up a plan for new and improved cycling and walking routes across the borough, as well as looking at a drastic overhaul of traffic flow in the town centre
  • Working with bus companies to encourage them to switch to low-emission/electric vehicles and to improve the services they run
  • Supporting plans to build new railway stations in Park Barn and Merrow

Planning

Guildford has a Local Plan that was adopted prior to the May 2019 council elections. For better or worse, the Local Plan is now in place and we're working to make the best of it for our borough.

We're working to make sure the implementation of the plan puts the interests of residents ahead of developers and to ensure that our borough builds the houses it needs whilst protecting our evironment and green spaces. We are:

  • Prioritising development on brownfield land ahead of greenfield wherever possible and making sure that developers stick to the highest possible environmental standards
  • Insisting that all new developments must come with the infrastructure to support them and that developers must meet the 40% affordale housing target
  • Working to adopt a masterplan for Guildford town centre to open up the riverfront and make the town a thriving place for residents and businesses

Environment and Climate

Despite our beautiful countryside and urban parks and green spaces, Guildford borough suffers from high air pollution and under-used green spaces, while climate change demands urgent local, as well as national, action.

We're working to protect and enhance our environment, to improve air quality and to take action on climate change. We are:

  • Drawing up a plan to the goal of making Guildford a net carbon-neutral borough by 2030, having already declared a climate emergency
  • Working to improve existing parks, green spaces and wildlife habitats
  • Taking urgent action to monitor and reduce air pollution
  • Working to end the unnecessary use of single-use plastics in the council's activities, and encouraging businesses to do the same
  • Looking at ways to increase local recycling rates and the types of materials reyclable
  • Requiring community energy schemes in new, large developments to reduce energy bills and carbon emissions

Business and Jobs

If Guildford is to thrive, it must continue to be an economic hub that brings employers, jobs and visitors to the town. We want to support the creation and attraction of clean, environmentally friendly businesses to our borough, while helping existing ones to grow and expand and create jobs.

We are:

  • Working with employers to tackle the issues around housing shortages and transport problems that cause difficulties in attracting staff
  • Supporting growth by encouraging big businesses to invest and offering help to small businesses
  • Working to help promote local independent businesses and to provide support for Guildford's Business Investment District

Young People

Children and young people are the future of Guildford. We're protecting services for families and supporting young people to reach their full potential within their local communities.

We are:

  • Working with schools to help poorer pupils and increase the uptake of free school meals
  • Working keep youth centres open and increase co-ordination between sport education, physical exercise and local leisure centres
  • Exploring ways to improve employment advice and career options for young people
  • Support Guildford's Youth Offending Team in diverting at-risk young people away from crime and anti-social behavior

Crime

People have a right to live in our communities without worrying about their personal safety or that of their families or properties. At a local level we're taking action in specific areas where Guildford Borough Council can, together with partner organisations, make a real difference to how people are affected by crime. We are:

  • Supporting stronger Anti-Social Behaviour Teams and looing to improve ways of reporting crime and anti-social behaviour
  • Working to revitalise Neighbourhood Action Groups
  • Working with the police and neighbouring councils to investigate human trafficking and to tackle drug dealing
  • Examining ways to improve youth services support for young offenders
  • Planning to bring back Community Wardens for all areas of Guildford and support more Neighbourhood Watch Schemes

Council Tax and Public Services

Central government cuts to local council funding means we face a tough balancing act on how to maintain high qualty public services. As part of that we're looking to improve how the council works with the voluntary and private sectors to help and strengthen our communities.

We are:

  • Fighting to ensure that residents get full value for money from their council tax
  • Working to increase transparency about where council income comes from and how it is spent
  • Protecting council tax support for low-income households and prioritising protecting public services for the most vulnerable
  • Working to keep all libraries open and to transform them into community hubs with improved facilities, services and opening hours
  • Protecting existing Council-run Arts and Sports venues, including Guildford Museum, the Spectrum and the Lido
  • Exploring ways the council can raise additional income by hiring out our in-house expertise and services to other councils and private businesses

Local Democracy

In the past, power at Guildford Borough Council has been concentrated in the hands of the cabinet picked by the leader of the ruling party with all other councillors too-often excluded from decision making.

Under Lib Dem leadership, we're making the council more democratic, accountable and effective. Members of two other political parties sit on the council executive and we're working to give all councillors a real say in decision making.

We are:

  • Working to strengthen ways backbench councillors can hold the administration to account and comment on decisions before they are made
  • Continuing to support the long term goal of abolishing the county council and replacing it with more efficient, unitary authorities
  • Supporting the creation of new parish and community councils where residents want them
  • Continuing to ensure that all Lib Dem councillors are not bound by a party whip and are free to vote as their conscience dictates on the issues affecting the borough

More Info

For more information please see our 2019 local election manifesto and our 2015 local election manifesto.