Fringe Box



Letter: Council’s Error on Liongate House Has Cost Guildford Residents Millions 

Published on: 6 Aug, 2021
Updated on: 14 Jul, 2022

Billboard advert for luxury flats at Liongate.

From: Howard Smith

vice-chair Guildford Labour

See also: Join My Call for an Independent Inquiry into GBC’s Sale of Liongate

There are many questions for the R4GV and Liberal Democrat-led Guildford Borough Council to answer about their sale of Liongate House on Ladymead, especially for the decision-makers including leader Joss Bigmore (R4GV, Christchurch) and lead member Tim Anderson (R4GV, Clandon & Horsley). And there is one question in particular that needs to be addressed.

Lambert Smith Hampton, the agents employed by the council to market the property and get the best price for it, advised that planning permission for conversion to residential would be extremely difficult.

But, contrary to this advice, the agents recommended selling the property to a company who declare themselves specialists in developing office buildings into residential under permitted development. In other words, it could be done in a way where no planning permission was actually required. And this is what has been done.

So the question is, why were the agents, or indeed the council, prior to the sale not aware that the building could quite easily, and very profitably, be converted to residential without planning permission and, at the very least, point this out in their marketing to get a much better price?

This simple but important error meant that the council lost out on several million pounds, money desperately needed, clearly, with the council’s finances in such difficulties.

I think the residents of Guildford deserve to know why. 


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Responses to Letter: Council’s Error on Liongate House Has Cost Guildford Residents Millions 

  1. Brian Creese Reply

    August 12, 2021 at 9:21 am

    We seem to be getting a lot of bluster from the Lib Dems and R4GV groups, but few answers. They even seem slightly shocked that opposition parties are asking them to account for their actions. These decisions cost all of us a huge amount of money, and we need to be sure that the ruling parties take responsibility for their decisions.

    Brian Creese is chair of Guildford Labour Party.

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