Fringe Box



Borough Council’s New Executive Announced

Published on: 20 May, 2015
Updated on: 24 May, 2015

The new Executive at Guildford Borough Council (GBC) selected by the re-elected council leader Stephen Mansbridge has been announced.

Cllr Stephen Mansbridge

Cllr Stephen Mansbridge

Cllr Stephen Mansbridge (Ash South & Tongham) Leader of Guildford Borough Council.

Former Coldstream Guards officer who led the rebellion to unseat Cllr Tony Rooth as council leader in September 2012. This followed a legal challenge from the Guildford Vision Group to the Draft Local Plan which caused it to be withdrawn, at that stage. His close friendship and business association with disgraced former councillor Monica Juneja, who he promoted onto the Executive to be lead councillor for planning, has led some to question his judgement. Minutes before he announced his new Executive he had to survive a council leadership challenge in which two of his own Conservative group abstained.

Cllr Nigel Manning

Cllr Nigel Manning

Cllr Nigel Manning (Ash Vale)Deputy Leader, Lead Councillor Finance and Asset Management

A loyal lieutenant to Stephen Mansbridge whose seat at Ash Vale is a little north of Mansbridge’s own. Both lie outside the Guildford Parliamentary constituency and so come under a different Conservative Association responsible, among other things, for candidate selection. The area of Ash, together with Guildford town, forms almost all of the 20% non-green-belt-land in the borough. Nigel’s wife is Cllr Marsha Moseley who also represents Ash Vale. Both work for HMRC. It is generally acknowledged that the council’s finances have, unlike some councils, remained in a healthy state during Cllr Manning’s stewardship.

Cllr Spooner

Cllr Paul Spooner

Cllr Paul Spooner (Ash South & Tongham)Lead Councillor, Planning

Since he was elected unopposed in a 2013 by-election, Paul Spooner has become another of Stephen Mansbridge’s right hand men. In September 2014, he came to attention when he was seen hugging Lib Dem leader Cllr Caroline Reeves at the Lovelace by-election count, joining in celebrations of a remarkable Lib Dem win over the Conservative candidate, Ben Paton, by the Lib Dem Colin Cross. This was because green belt activist Ben had made his antipathy for Stephen Mansbridge’s leadership well known. Planning is probably the trickiest and most challenging of all the Executive portfolios. Stephen Mansbridge took it on himself after Monika Juneja was asked to step down, following criminal charges, last August. Part of Spooner’s role is likely to be bridge building between the Tory and Lib Dem Groups. More hugs perhaps?

Cllr Matt Furniss

Cllr Matt Furniss

Cllr Matt Furniss (Christchurch)Lead Councillor, Infrastructure and Environment

A local boy, Matt Furniss attended George Abbot school where he was taught by one of his fellow councillors, Jenny Jordan. Believed by some to have political ambitions, Matt stood unsuccessfully for the chairmanship of the Guildford Conservative Association in 2013 but is thought to have the ear of Guildford MP Anne Milton. Cllr Furniss is also the spokesman of the Tory Group. Listing his employer as Roots & Wings Organic, Furniss certainly puts the hours in as a councillor. Infrastructure, like planning, is a tricky portfolio. Infrastructural improvements will be a key component of any Local Plan.

Cllr Geoff Davis

Cllr Geoff Davis

Cllr Geoff Davis (Holy Trinity)Lead Councillor, Economic Development

Geoff Davis has been promoted straight onto the Executive within days of becoming a councillor. He is the sole principal of Newman Davis & Co, chartered surveyors, and with a declared interest as a Director of Nevis Land Ltd, a company that buys and sells real estate, The Guildford Dragon has heard that he intends to make the council’s considerable property assets sweat. If true, it will be interesting to see the tactics.

Cllr Davis has himself five properties within the borough listed in the council’s register of interests. Their rate of perspiration is not known.

Cllr Tony Rooth

Cllr Tony Rooth

Cllr Tony Rooth (Pilgrims)Lead Councillor, Housing and Social Welfare

Former shipping lawyer and former council leader until 2012, Cllr Rooth has served on the council since 2003. He lives in Guildford town and represents Pilgrim’s ward, a safe, mainly rural, Conservative seat in the south west of the borough.

Observers will be keen to see how efficient the council is at carrying out  their policy of building more social housing. He takes over from Sarah Creedy one of the former Executive’s safest pair of hands who surprisingly stepped down at the last election.

Cllr Murray Grubb

Cllr Murray Grubb

Cllr Murray Grubb Jnr (Ash Wharf)Lead Councillor, Transformation and Customer Focus

One of the small number of councillors under 40, Murray is a Scot from Fife and was a trade-union member while working as an apprentice in Rosyth dockyard. He was quickly promoted to the Executive after he won his Ash Wharf seat in a by-election in May 2013. He is the fourth Ash area member of the ten-person Executive. Cllr Grubb was given the transformation and customer focus brief presumably because, in his own words: “I have a very specialised set of skills in technology transformations.”

Cllr Richard Billington

Cllr Richard Billington

Cllr Richard Billington (Tillingbourne)Lead Councillor, Rural Economy, Countryside, Parks and Leisure

The only Executive member to come from the eastern half of the borough, Cllr Billington lives in Gomshall and has, it is believed, two dogs, so he has the perfect excuse to don a Barbour and some Hunter wellies and inspect his new domain – the 80% of the borough that is still rural, agricultural and still green belt. At least Parks and Leisure should prove a relatively easy brief: admired by residents and visitors alike they are some of the jewels in the council’s crown. His frequent witticisms might help when Executive meetings get tense.

Cllr Graham Ellwood

Cllr Graham Ellwood

Cllr Graham Ellwood (Merrow)Lead Councillor, Community Safety and Licensing

Surrey County Councillor for Guildford East. Cllr Ellwood is a bit of a mystery. According to the register of interests, under the employment and land within the borough sections, it states: “The Council’s Monitoring Officer considers that the nature of Councillor Ellwood’s interest under this paragraph is such that disclosure of the details of the interest could lead to the councillor being subject to violence or intimidation. The details of the interest have therefore been withheld under the provisions of paragraph 19 of the Councillors’ Code of Conduct.”

Cllr Iseult Roche

Cllr Iseult Roche

Cllr Iseult Roche (Worplesdon)Lead Councillor, Community Health and Sport

The only female Executive member, Cllr Roche is a doctor at the Royal Surrey County Hospital.

Nothing is known of her sporting pedigree but the council’s register of interests shows that she is a member of Guildford Action for Community Care, the Guildford Citizens Advice Bureau and Jacobs Well Residents Association.

How those Worplesdon residents who have been vociferously anti green belt development will view her promotion might be interesting.

Share This Post

Responses to Borough Council’s New Executive Announced

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    May 20, 2015 at 8:23 pm

    I trust the Ash councillor crew do not intend to rename the whole borough, “The Ashes of Guildford”?

    As for “sweating the property assets” I hope the councillor remembers floodwater is ‘nature’s sweat’ and we don’t need our flood plains sweating into the homes of Burpham because anyone’s love of sweat on the overcrowded Slyfield site.

    In short – oh dear.

  2. Jenny Procter Reply

    May 21, 2015 at 4:19 pm

    An interesting set of credentials.

  3. Fiona White Reply

    May 25, 2015 at 1:39 pm

    It does seem a little odd that Cllr Graham Ellwood’s register of interests is withheld by Guildford BC but there are interests shown at Surrey County Council although his address is not given.

  4. Terry Stevenson Reply

    May 25, 2015 at 5:59 pm

    They were elected by the voting public, so you cannot grumble.

    If you don’t like the outcome, surely it is better to stand for election rather than shouting impotently from the sidelines – it is as simple as that.

    You never know, if you have a particularly big issue to latch onto, as the Guildford Greenbelt Group have, you may occasionally even be successful.

  5. Bernard Parke Reply

    May 26, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    An interesting point made by your correspondent on the voting public.

    However, the trend is to vote mainly for the party and not for the individual as we have seen in the recent local government election.

    Independent candidates are at a great disadvantage when up against the national party organisations.

Leave a Comment

Please see our comments policy. All comments are moderated and may take time to appear.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *