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Review Changes Most of Guildford’s Ward Boundaries But Number of Councillors Remains 48

Published on: 16 May, 2022
Updated on: 24 May, 2022

Map of GBC’s recommended new ward boundaries. Click on image to enlarge.

By Martin Giles

Guildford is set to have new boundaries for its borough council wards.

The Local Government Boundary Commission has finalised its review of Guildford’s boundaries to make sure councillors will represent about the same number of electors and that the ward arrangements will help the council work effectively.

If ratified by Parliament, as expected, the new arrangements will apply for the 2023 council elections.

It is recommended that the borough council will continue to have 48 councillors to represent the borough with a projected electorate of about 120,000 by 2027.

There will be 21 wards, one less than there are now. Eight will be three-councillor wards, 11 two-councillor wards and two one-councillor wards.

The boundaries of most wards will change and eight will have new names including “Castle, Bellfields & Slyfield and St Nicolas in the town centre while Normandy & Pirbright will become a single ward as will Send & Lovelace.

An enlarged Pilgrims ward, to be represented by two councillors, will include Tongham and the largest northern section of the old Friary & St Nicolas ward takes the name Stoke ward while the old Stoke ward becomes Bellfields & Slyfield.

Publishing the report Professor Colin Mellors, Chair of the Commission, said: “We are very grateful to people in Guildford. We looked at all the views they gave us. They helped us improve our earlier proposals.

“We believe the new arrangements will guarantee electoral fairness while maintaining local ties.”

One main aim of the review was to create “electoral equality”; so the number of electors in each ward per councillor will be as near as possible to other GBC wards, ideally within a 10 per cent tolerance.

The commission worked out the average number of electors per councillor by dividing the electorate by the number of councillors

59 people and organisations made comments to help decide the new wards. Details can be found on the LGBCE website.

Cllr Tony Rooth

Cllr Tony Rooth (R4GV) chaired the boundary changes working group at GBC and has been the sole member for Pilgrims ward for 19 years. He said: “The recommendations reflect widespread future changes anticipated across Guildford borough.  The Boundary Commission has adopted the council’s proposals for electoral equality and identifiable ward boundaries with some ward boundary and name alterations plus the amalgamation of Pilgrims with Tongham parish to form a two-member ward.

Personally,  I believe the final recommendations are fair and reasonable for our borough’s ward boundaries.

Whether the same can be said of proposed parliamentary boundary changes which may well see substantial changes remains to be seen. For example, the Clandon and Horsley, Send, Lovelace and Effingham wards may be incorporated into the Guildford constituency.

GBC wards, Shalford, Tillingbourne and the new Pilgrims, could join a new Godalming and Ash constituency. It is a pity and perhaps too much to expect the government to work out the parliamentary constituency and  council ward boundaries at the same time

Whether parliamentary or council elections, I sincerely hope that more independent local people will put themselves forward as candidates  – and that more residents turn out and vote.

It has been a pleasure to chair the cross-party group who acted throughout in an impartial, non-political manner – I wish decision making, generally, worked that way.“

Brian Creese

Brian Creese, Guildford Labour chair commented: “We applaud the commission for its sincere effort to even up the number of constituents to councillors, and for some good working adjustments to put stray streets in their rightful communities; overall we do feel these changes make a great deal of sense – although I do wonder just how many people will know which ‘Stoke’ ward they are voting in at the next election (Friary or Bellfields and Slyfield).

“We were disappointed that the Broadacres/Barnwood area at the north of Park Barn Drive has been left within leafy, rural Worplesdon rather than becoming a part of Westborough, and we also feel that the Weston Road area sits more easily within the new Stoughton South ward – but these are issues which I am sure can be adjusted at the next review.”

Sallie Barker, chair of the Guildford Conservative Association, said: Guildford Conservatives are pleased the LGBCE listened to the views of residents, especially in maintaining local ties, and we are satisfied with their final recommendations.

Ash Parish Council

A review of the ward boundaries for Ash Parish Council resulted in only one change, the absorption of Ash Rowan Field ward into Ash South.

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test 5 Responses to Review Changes Most of Guildford’s Ward Boundaries But Number of Councillors Remains 48

  1. George Potter Reply

    May 24, 2022 at 6:56 pm

    One other notable decision by the Local Government Boundary Commission is to rename the Friary ward to Stoke ward.

    Editor’s response: We are grateful for Cllr Potter’s (Lib Dem, Burpham) comment and have amended the article accordingly.

  2. John Perkins Reply

    May 24, 2022 at 7:22 pm

    This is all very well as far as it goes, but to me it smacks more of fiddling around the edges rather than genuinely providing “electoral fairness”.

    The combination of First-Past-The-Post with multi-member wards is an abomination. Yet if FPTP were replaced by Single Tranferrable Vote it would solve many of the issues of fairness irrespective of boundary changes.

    In Northern Ireland the system has been in place for 50 years and, while it does not seem to have reduced the tendency to vote along sectarian lines much, has shown other benefits. In nearly 20 years of STV in Scotland the problems of uncontested seats and single party states have disappeared and voter participation has increased.

    Of course, neither of the two biggest parties in the UK want any form of proportional representation as it can only lead to a diminution of their power.

  3. Jules Cranwell Reply

    May 24, 2022 at 7:25 pm

    One has to wonder why a provincial town like Guildford needs so many councillors. Toronto is Canada’s largest city, has only 26 including the mayor, and manages such a metropolis quite nicely.

    So here’s an idea; reduce the council to 24, and use the large sums saved from expenses and allowances for areas of concern to residents, say keeping public conveniences.

  4. Martin Giles Reply

    May 24, 2022 at 9:21 pm

    Whilst Cllr Tony Rooth expresses some concerns about rolling ward changes over into Parliamentary Consistences, he says nothing about the consistency with SCC Divisions.

    Or even ‘the elephant in the room’ of Ash Parish Council which seems to now be merged from four wards, down to only three. How does that change the fiefdom at next year’s elections?

  5. Martin Giles Reply

    May 24, 2022 at 9:21 pm

    Martin Elliott

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