Guildford Borough Council's Prudence Pays Dividend

03/03/2019

Councillors David Elms, Dennis Paul & Keith Witham welcome recent budget statement.

Guildford Borough Council has recently agreed a budget for local investment, more savings and continued service improvements.

Against a backdrop of a shift in national funding priorities towards Healthcare and other key services, your local Council has been raising more money locally through prudent investments and other income streams to continue delivering excellent local services. Guildford Borough Council continues to prioritise essential services and enable borough-wide improvements that benefit local people and support our local economy.

  • Investing £86 million through our capital programme in 2019-20 and £375 million over the next four years - along with securing £28 million of inward investment

This programme includes strategic projects in the GBC Corporate Plan and projects emerging from the new Local Plan. The Council has also secured £28 million of inward investment from external agencies, such as the Local Enterprise Partnership and Homes England, to help deliver the ambitions of the Local Plan, the supporting infrastructure delivery plan, and the town centre regeneration strategy.

For 2019-20 GBC has allocated funding to the following schemes:

  • sustainable movement corridor
  • A331 / A31 junction improvements
  • Guildford town centre transport improvements (Scheme LRN1 in the local plan infrastructure delivery plan)
  • Walnut Bridge Replacement (part of the above town centre transport improvements scheme LRN1 in the local plan infrastructure delivery plan)
  • Slyfield internal estate road
  • Guildford Park car park redevelopment
  • Middleton Industrial estate redevelopment
  • continue with the crematorium rebuild project.

Guildford has the 2nd lowest council tax in Surrey in 2018-19 - with an average increase of 9.6p per week agreed for 2019-20 - a rise of 3.09%.

GBC keeps less than 10% of the council tax that it collects, with the rest of your tax going to fund County Council activities and the Police precept.
GBC will continue to build on the £11 million of savings made in the last five years and with its plans to transform its services to make them more efficient and cost effective. Focused savings, local investment and increased efficiency help us to provide services in the most effective way
These GBC services include:

  • caring for communities, the homeless and providing transport, meals, activities and support for older and vulnerable people
  • collecting recycling, rubbish and garden waste
  • safeguarding and showcasing our heritage and local attractions
  • making sure our beautiful parks and countryside can be enjoyed by everyone
  • looking after public health and making sure our taxis and food outlets are safe
  • enabling a variety of sports, leisure and entertainment opportunities for all ages and abilities
  • supporting and developing our local economy and encouraging tourism.
  • Providing and building a mix of homes to buy and rent at market and affordable prices

GBC own, manage and let a wide range of 5,200 homes at social housing rents and are reducing these rents for the fourth year in a row, by 1% in 2019-20, helping those people on low incomes. At the same time the Council will spend £5.1 million maintaining and improving our tenants' homes.

It is investing £74 million in building a mix of new homes for sale or affordable rent across Guildford borough in the next four years. They are already building on a number of sites - including:

  • Guildford Park Road on previous open-air car park site (160 homes, 64 for affordable rent)
  • Apple Tree pub site in Park Barn (18 homes, all for affordable rent with nine fully wheelchair accessible)
  • Ladymead site near the new Fire Station (12 homes, all for affordable rent)
  • other smaller scale previously-developed sites (21 homes across five sites, all for affordable rent).

By carefully managing Guildford's housing stock and finances, GBC are now in a strong position to provide and build a mix of homes to meet the different needs across our communities. We believe that every person matters and we continue to invest in providing affordable social housing.

GBC are also increasing the homes provided by North Downs Housing Ltd, the Council-owned market housing landlord company. The company is intending to build new homes to complement the properties it is acquiring to let, all with a focus on keeping homes to rent available to those struggling to own a home.

Cllr David Elms
Cllr Dennis Paul
Cllr Keith Witham