Fringe Box



Revised Corporate Plan for Borough Council To Be Debated

Published on: 26 Jul, 2016
Updated on: 28 Jul, 2016

Corporate Plan 2015-2020A revised Corporate Plan, is is expected to be approved by Guildford Borough Council (GBC) this evening (July 26).

The purpose of the plan, according to a council press release, is to provide: “…a robust framework to address the challenges ahead.”

Leader of the council, Paul Spooner (Con, Ash South & Tongham), said: “Since becoming leader of the council I have emphasised our responsibility to balance the needs of town, villages and countryside to improve people’s lives and prospects.

“This revised version of the Corporate Plan provides a framework for the council’s strategic challenges, priorities and other plans, aligned to the issues that most concern local residents and businesses.

“As well as enabling more affordable homes and job opportunities, our creaking infrastructure is one of the greatest challenges, so we are working with partners to help deliver the massive transport improvements needed in the next 20 years.

“However, it’s not just about houses and roads, every person matters, and through initiatives such as Project Aspire we will work together to strengthen communities and help them become healthier and more self-reliant.

“Despite the ongoing austerity, with less government funding, we will continue to make progress, be ambitious and make the difficult choices to ensure a thriving and sustainable future for everyone in our borough.

“This includes an increased commercial focus on how we achieve greater efficiency in council projects, assets and capital investments.”

Leader of the opposition at Millmead, Caroline Reeves (Lib Dem, Friary & St Nicolas) said: “The Corporate Plan is a plan for everyone and if councillors are to make progress and work together, it should not be an overwhelmingly politically driven document.

“The achievements to date show that where possible, if we work together we can achieve some progress in what are very challenging times imposed on us by central government.

“There should be political debate along the way, and there’s certainly a huge need for agreement in order to move forward.”

GBC point to the following achievements since the council first adopted the latest Corporate Plan in October 2015:

  • Establishing our own Housing Company to build a range of new homes
  • Town Centre Master Plan public consultation
  • New setts in Guildford High Street
  • Purple Flag night time safety award
  • Draft Local Plan consultation
  • New Rural strategy published
  • Millmead offices accessibility and other improvements
  • New Transport strategy published
  • Guildford Park Road mixed development planning application submitted
  • Project Aspire launch and initial community funding
  • Customer Service Excellence award retained.

Managing director of the council, Sue Sturgeon, added: “Our job is to bring the actions in the Corporate Plan to life and respond to any changes and future need. Improving people’s lives across the borough and developing the ways we work are central to our commitment to deliver the revised programme up to 2020.

“It remains a financially challenging time for the council. We have already saved £2.2 million and secured additional income of £4.4 million since April 2013. The Corporate Plan is not static and will continue to develop and grow as we identify further savings and opportunities to deliver the services that our community depend on.”

But Amanda Mullarkey of the Guildford Residents Association (GRA), an umbrella organisation representing 26 Guildford residents’ bodies and four parish councils, was critical. She said: “GRA warmly welcomes GBC having a Corporate Plan to set the strategic direction for the council.

“However, we are shocked by the direction it sets for our borough, at the way this is produced without consultation and by the timing of this update, which ignores all the feedback on relevant issues in the Local Plan consultation.

“This Corporate Plan exposes the thinking that has caused such problems in the latest version of the Local Plan.  Housing “to meet the rising prosperity of the area and Guildford’s role as a smart growth hub” will just bring more people into the area, more expensive homes and add to pressure on services and the environment.

“Transport expert Richard Jarvis has shown that even with all the schemes proposed in the Local Plan, “congestion will worsen” and there will be big increases in traffic on minor roads.

“We would like to see:

  • a commitment to producing a business case for an A3 tunnel and protecting land for tunnel entrances
  • plans for an additional road crossing over the railway for our physically divided town
  • an attractive central all-direction bus interchange to open up the town to reliable affordable car-free travel
  • and more emphasis on providing affordable homes in the town centre instead of a 40% increase in retail land.”

The council agenda for its 7pm, July 26 meeting, including the revised Corporate Plan, can be seen at

Share This Post

Responses to Revised Corporate Plan for Borough Council To Be Debated

  1. Susan Parker Reply

    July 28, 2016 at 6:50 pm

    The Corporate Plan should now reflect some measure of revised thinking – we have had a major consultation on the draft Local Plan, with substantial public comment, and the political and economic climate has changed since the first draft of this plan two years ago.

    Despite that, the changes are minimal, and there seems to be some retrospective justification of the first version of the plan. In particular, we would expect there to be some substantial rethinking of the housing proposals which has not been done.

    No one realistically thinks that building a few houses in Guildford will change the affordability of homes in the South East, but this is still being trotted out as a lame justification for the excessive levels of houses planned for the borough.

    Another concern is the proposals for increased SANG – Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace – which is neither an alternative to existing green space (it is already a green space by definition) nor desirable – it just acts as a mechanism for allowing development within 5km of protected areas.

    Transport aspirations are just that – aspirations – and are not within the capabilities of Guildford Borough.

    So in summary, there is not very much here that we would welcome, and lots of general spin which is lacking in substance.

    Susan Parker is the leader of the Guildford Greenbelt Group at Guildford borough Council.

  2. Jules Cranwell Reply

    July 28, 2016 at 9:31 pm

    Please could Cllr. Spooner tell me just how removing our villages from the green belt and building large housing estates on it, is going to “improve people’s lives and prospects”. His plan will do nothing to improve my life, or that of anyone in my village. It will make our lives hell on earth.

    The above is just more spin on the Executive’s “trajectory”.

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 *