Fringe Box



Opinion: Lib Dems for a Greener, Fairer, Thriving Future for Guildford

Published on: 20 Apr, 2023
Updated on: 24 Apr, 2023

This week, The Dragon will be publishing an opinion piece from each of the parties with seats at Guildford Borough Council and who have candidates in the elections on May 4.

As always, our intention is to give our readers the best opportunity to hear the views and the ideas from the candidates and the parties.

Julia McShane, leader of the Liberal Democrats in Guildford Borough Council and candidate for the Westborough ward, writes:

If you vote for the Liberal Democrats on 4th May, you will be voting for a greener, fairer, thriving future for our town and villages. Not just for some parts of the borough, but for every neighbourhood and for everyone who lives and works here.

Four years ago we were elected as the largest party on the council with a local manifesto which put housing, climate change and community at its heart. Working together as a team for the town and villages we all call home, we have achieved much.

Julia McShane

We have invested £45 million in refurbishing council houses to make them safe and warm after years of Tory neglect, have put plans in place to build around 700 more, and have adopted a housing-first approach which has almost completely eliminated rough-sleeping in the borough.

We have declared a climate emergency, put in place an ambitious plan to make the council carbon neutral by 2030, launched the annual car-free day and have consistently put climate change and environmental protection at the heart of everything we do at the council.

We have faced up to financial pressures (caused by government funding cuts, the pandemic and high energy bills) by making millions of back-office savings and carefully managing the council’s commercial investments. We have also begun a collaboration with neighbouring Waverley Borough Council, merging the senior management at both councils to save taxpayers hundreds of thousands, with more savings on the way in the next four years.

In the face of the cost of living crisis we have kept council tax rises below inflation and we have protected public services from cuts. We have worked to support local businesses wherever possible, and Lib Dem councillors have been vocal champions for their local communities.

However, despite the progress made, there is still much more we want to do. Our full manifesto can be read on our website, but here are the headlines:


We are committed to funding the plan to make the council carbon neutral by 2030 and to work with communities and businesses across the borough to help speed the transition to net zero. We will launch an e-bike hire scheme for Guildford by the end of 2023, and will be developing a new joined-up cycling and walking infrastructure plan for the whole borough. We’ll continue to work to cut air pollution and to tackle the biodiversity crisis through re-wilding and eliminating the use of pesticides.


We will continue to prioritise the provision of affordable housing and the construction of new, sustainable, high quality properties for those needed council homes. We will prioritise protecting public services for those in need and work to support better community services across the borough. We will continue to work to end violence against women and girls, and to support our LGBT+ community in the face of rising prejudice.


We will continue to work to deliver the sustainable and sympathetic regeneration of Guildford town centre to ensure our local shops thrive long term, and work with parish councils and communities to revitalise out-of-town shopping areas.

We will continue to fight for better bus services, new railway stations and other transport improvements, and we’ll support 20 mph zones and better street lighting to create safer streets.

We will be launching a grant scheme to support businesses and communities in our rural areas, and we’ll support the creation of more community projects across the borough.

That is what you will get if you vote for your local Liberal Democrat candidates on Thursday 4th May. A team of dedicated, hard-working local people, united to deliver a greener, fairer and thriving future for everyone across our borough.

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Responses to Opinion: Lib Dems for a Greener, Fairer, Thriving Future for Guildford

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    April 20, 2023 at 9:29 pm

    No mention of infrastructure then!

    • Vanessa King Reply

      April 21, 2023 at 6:38 pm

      If Jim Allen by infrastructure means bus services, cycle schemes, train station improvements and other transport improvements, then I am sure, if he reads the above carefully, he will find mention of infrastructure.

      Vanessa King is a Lib Dem Candidate for Stoke in the forthcoming GBC election

      • John Perkins Reply

        April 26, 2023 at 12:07 pm

        With the exception of bus services, none of those things can be regarded as infrastructure.

        Jim Allen was likely referring to water and sewage provision.

  2. Jules Cranwell Reply

    April 21, 2023 at 8:59 am

    Finally, we get to hear from the elusive Lib Dem leader of the council.

    Is there an election on?

  3. David Roberts Reply

    April 21, 2023 at 2:51 pm

    Not a word about fixing the Tory Local Plan, which is the cause of all Guildford’s current development planning misery.

  4. Charlie Heater Reply

    April 25, 2023 at 8:12 am

    As a voter “sitting on the fence” there is much talk about the villages outside of Guildford but little seems to happen.

    Here in Ash, the constant building on any spare parcel of land does not seem to be matched by support for the extra required infrastructure.

    I was under the impression that building firms had to contribute towards this yet I see little of that. The roads are deteriorating due to construction traffic and not being made good.

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