Local councillors’ update: September 2023

September 11, 2023| Councillors Update, Past Issues

September & October bi-monthly update from local councillors George Potter and Jane Tyson.

Local councillors George Potter and Jane Tyson

Since our last update we’ve been working hard on local issues and continuing to hold our regular drop-in sessions where people can come to speak to us on the first Saturday of every month at (or outside) Burpham Bowling Club. Please get in touch with us if there are any issues we can help with!

Financial challenges facing Guildford Borough Council

In July the council passed a special budget in order to deal with financial difficulties caused by high inflation and rising interest rates on the council’s borrowing. The result of these financial pressures is that the council will have to make £18 million of savings over the next three years to balance the books, or else face having to effectively declare itself bankrupt. The biggest cause of the problem is high-interest rates, as previous administrations committed to borrowing large amounts of money to fund major capital projects, and the cost of repaying these loans accounts for around 80% of our budget gap. The situation has been made worse by years of government funding cuts.

The new Lib Dem administration has now imposed strict financial controls and set up a dedicated financial taskforce, and we will be looking very carefully at all of the council’s spending, borrowing and properties to find ways to cut costs, raise revenue and sell assets to restore sound and prudent finances. However, while we will have to make difficult decisions, the administration has been very clear that our priority has to be protecting the public services that people rely on, and, wherever possible, we will be looking to deliver services differently rather than just cutting them.

Proposed development for Gosden Hill

Martin Grant Homes have announced their intention to submit a planning application for the Gosden Hill Site on the edge of Burpham. The Burpham Neighbourhood Forum and Burpham Community Association will be organising an event this autumn to inform people about this and other planning issues, but in the meantime the developer has setup a website where you can register to be notified when the public consultation starts on the scheme: GosdenHill.co.uk

North Street application

A new planning application for the North Street re-development scheme has been received by the council and is now open for public comment. We don’t have the space here to give a proper update on it, so we have written a Frequently Asked Questions about the scheme on our website instead: GuildfordLibDems.org.uk/NorthStreetFAQs

Riverside Nature Reserve

Following resident concerns about the quality of work being done on footpaths at the nature reserve, the council has dismissed the contractors who were working on the project. The council has now crushed and relaid the stone footpaths to make them more accessible, and will be adding a gravel layer to provide a smoother finish.

Getting in touch with us

If there are any particular issues you’d like to discuss with us then please email us at george.potter@guildford.gov.uk and jane.tyson@guildford.gov.uk and we will be happy to do all we can to help.