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The Borough Council Election – Ward by Ward Analysis Part 1 – Ash to Castle

Published on: 14 Apr, 2023
Updated on: 16 Apr, 2023

By Martin Giles

This is the first article of a four-part series.

The result of a Guildford Borough Council election has never been so uncertain and votes are likely to count more than ever before.

After decades of dominance by the Conservative Party, with occasional interludes of Lib Dem or no overall control a new party, the Residents for Guildford & Villages, smashed their way into the duopoly, pushing aside the Tories, to eventually share power with the Lib Dems.

But this was not a match made in heaven and there have been many falling outs which, as time progressed, became more and more public.

The big question now is can the independent parties R4GV and GGG (Guildford Greenbelt Group), with their partial election pact, hold their ground or even increase their presence at the borough council after the election on May 4? R4GV’s failure to review the Local Plan, and its support for controversial town centre developments, might count against it, aggravated by the “Battle for Guildford” video circulating on social media.

And would returning to sole control by the national parties improve things? Would more voters get council policies they would support?

Conservatives are campaigning against a national background of anti-Tory sentiment following “Partygate” and the disastrous Liz Truss premiership. And given their track record locally, will their new town centre “preservation” policy have credibility and attract support or will voters still hold the Local Plan controversy against them?

Nationally the Labour Party are riding high in the polls but will that translate into even a modest increase in the number of seats they win in Guildford borough?

And can the Lib Dems clean up simply by being none of the above even if their planning policy is unclear and their ambition to build 3,000 council houses still unrealistic?

GBC’s new 2023 ward boundaries with the number of seats for each ward shown.

Ward-by-ward analysis:

Ash (three wards, six seats)

The Ash wards in the north west of the borough, which remained the only Tory bastion after their unprecedented defeat in 2019, could this time prove to be a closer contest.

The corresponding 2019 results but ward boundaries may have changed. Tongham is no longer part of Ash South.

The Lib Dems are hopeful of making major inroads. Of the incumbent councillors, only Conservatives Nigel Manning and his partner Marsha Moseley are standing again, in Ash Vale ward. Can they succeed once more? It will be a straight fight against two Lib Dems, Carla Morson and Richard Lucas.

R4GV is not contesting Ash Vale or Ash Wharf which, despite the Green Party candidature in Ash Wharf, is likely to be effectively a two-way contest between the Conservatives and the Lib Dems.

In Ash South which no longer includes Tongham, R4GV was pleased to recruit Sue Wyeth-Price as a candidate. She has a track record of effectively representing her Ash Green community as part of the local residents association and probably stands a good chance.

Paul Abbey was not re-selected as a candidate to stand for R4GV and has switched to the Lib Dems, for whom he is standing in Tillingbourne ward.

With Conservative Paul Spooner stepping down as an Ash South candidate (he is standing in Westborough where his chances must be very slim) and Lib Dem Fiona White moving her candidacy to Ash Wharf, where she lives, it is all change in Ash where the consequences of major new developments and the proposed new road bridge over the railway might be major election issues.

Labour’s Mick Gallagher is also standing in Ash Wharf.


Ash South (two seats)

Philip John Buckley – Liberal Democrats
Martin Elburn – Liberal Democrats
Carl Kevin Flynn – Conservative Party
David Shaw – Residents for Guildford and Villages
George Edward Wrycroft – Conservative Party
Sue Wyeth-Price – Residents for Guildford and Villages

Ash Vale (two seats)

Richard Charles Lucas – Liberal Democrats
Nigel Manning – Conservative Party
Carla Jane Morson – Liberal Democrats
Marsha Jayne Moseley – Conservative Party

Ash Wharf (two seats)

Philip Edward Bellamy – Liberal Democrats
Mick Gallagher – Labour Party
Wendy Felicity Pritchard – Conservative Party
John Kenneth Tonks – Conservative Party
Fiona Jean White – Liberal Democrats
Claire Whitehouse – Green Party

The 2019 result for the old Stoke ward but boundaries have changed significantly.

Bellfields & Slyfield  (two seats)

This new ward has the most confusing name change. Much of its territory was in the old Stoke ward (the new Stoke ward is largely part of the old Friary and St Nicolas).

Labour will be hoping to preserve its presence at GBC by winning these two seats. James Walsh, who won in the old Stoke Ward in 2019, is standing but his former Labour colleague Angela Gunning is going into a deserved retirement after many years’ service.

But the Lib Dems are likely to be making a strong challenge to replicate their dominance in Westborough, and R4GV are standing here for the first time making it a four-way contest where narrow majorities might make for surprising results.

The move of the Sewage Treatment Works and the Weyside Urban Village could be points on contention here.


Amanda Creese – Labour Party
Philip Matthew Simon Hooper – Conservative Party
Steve Isaacs – Residents for Guildford and Villages
Suleman Miah – Conservative Party
Nicholas David Strugnell – Liberal Democrats
Linda Christina Serena Tillett – Residents for Guildford and Villages
Wendy Dawn Wakeling – Liberal Democrats
James Lawrence Walsh – Labour Party

The corresponding 2019 results but ward boundaries may have changed.

Burpham (two seats)

Burpham could be a bell weather ward. In 2019 the Lib Dems recaptured the ward after several years of Tory dominance but this time R4GV candidates are entering the fray. Will they split the non-Tory vote allowing the Tories to win, despite the obvious continuing unhappiness about Conservative Surrey County Council’s plan for new cycle lanes on the London road?


Ian Michael Creese – Labour Party
Adam Stewart Heilbron – Conservative Party
Christian John Holliday – Conservative Party
Liz Hyland – Residents for Guildford and Villages
George Matthew Potter – Liberal Democrats
Jane Tyson – Liberal Democrats
Charles Alistair Wilce – Residents for Guildford and Villages

The corresponding 2019 results but ward boundaries have changed.

Castle (three seats)

Castle Ward includes territory from both the old Holy Trinity and Christchurch wards.

The number of candidates in this ward makes the outcomes especially unpredictable. A small number of votes is likely to hold sway. The three incumbent R4GV candidates, father and daughter John and Maddy Redpath and John Rigg, will face a significantly different electorate than they did in the old Holy Trinity ward where they won all three seats from the Tories. But if R4GV don’t hold on, it will probably be a sign that they are in some trouble.

The corresponding 2019 results but ward boundaries have changed.

Two other candidates of interest are Conservative Geoff Davis and Lib Dem Ciaran Doran.

Geoff Davis was one of the three Conservatives who represented Holy Trinity before his party’s 2019 debacle. Like R4GV’s John Rigg, he is a chartered surveyor but his business history is more locally based although his main home is in West Sussex. Interestingly, he showed sympathy towards John Rigg when the North Street proposal was voted down.

Ciaran Doran is currently the chairman of the Lib Dems in Guildford and his political opponents recognise him as a capable man. If he wins and his party takes overall control of the council could he be its next leader? Would that be too tall an order for a newcomer? We’ll see.

The Labour Party and the Independent are unlikely to get much of a look in here.

Views on town centre redevelopment are likely to come to the fore.


Paul Edward Canning – Independent
Geoff ​​Davis – Conservative Party
Ciaran Pol Doran – Liberal Democrats
Sara Caroline Gillingham – Liberal Democrats
Richard Allen Mills – Conservative Party
Joan Anne May O’Byrne – Labour Party
Alex Perestaj De Gusmao Fiuza – Conservative Party
John Willem Edwin Redpath – Residents for Guildford and Villages
Maddy Redpath – Residents for Guildford and Villages
John David Rigg – Residents for Guildford and Villages
Matthew Philip Smith – Labour Party
Sean Paul Sussex – Labour Party

Next: Clandon & Horsley, Effingham, Merrow, Normandy and Onslow.

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Responses to The Borough Council Election – Ward by Ward Analysis Part 1 – Ash to Castle

  1. Keith and Lesley Childs Reply

    April 14, 2023 at 12:03 pm

    A succinct, clear explanation of the prospects in the wards covered so far. It will be interesting to see the effect on turnout of the new voter identification requirements.

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