Here we unpack the figures used in our 2023 manifesto for GBC elections.
Failed to build 3000 council houses
These were promised on the front page of the Liberal Democrat manifesto for the last Guildford Borough Council Elections 2019. They built 36.
Returned over £2.3m to government and developers because they failed to spend it
The money was raised under the Right To Buy policy, but has to be surrendered to government if it is not spent on building further council houses within three years. The council failed to do this and the money was sent back in 2021.
The Liongate Building was bought by the council for £13m ten years ago but in 2021 was sold to developers for just £10m – a loss of £3m. The developer went on to convert the building into luxury apartments.
The council gave itself a budget of £600,000 to fight residents’ appeals after turning down developments in Effingham, Urnfield and Ash Manor. The sum was approved at a council meeting in November 2022. Inspectors overturned the council’s decisions at Effingham.
The development on North Street was hailed by the Liberal Democrats as their project October 2022 (see their pamphlet below) but in January 2023 they voted it down at a planning committee meeting. The time and money spent developing the North Street plans went to waste. Joss Bigmore, the leader of the council, said that an appeal would most likely add to existing development costs and come to “hundreds of thousands of pounds”
Failed to reply to 92% of customer complaints within their own agreed time limits
A KPMG report outlines the problems:
Failed to respond to 76% of planning applications within their own agreed time limits
Statistics from the Department for Levelling up, Housing and Communities.