Fortiter et Fideliter
(Latin: Bravely and faithfully)
Guildford shown within Surrey
Guildford shown within Surrey
Coordinates: 51°14′46″N 0°33′07″W / 51.246°N 0.552°W / 51.246; -0.552Coordinates: 51°14′46″N 0°33′07″W / 51.246°N 0.552°W / 51.246; -0.552
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Constituent country England
RegionSouth East England
Ceremonial county Surrey
Established1 April 1974
Administrative HQGuildford
 • TypeNon-metropolitan district
 • BodyGuildford Borough Council
 • LeadershipLeader and cabinet
 • ExecutiveLiberal Democrats - R4GV (council NOC)
 • MPsPaul Beresford (Mole Valley[n 1])
Michael Gove (Surrey Heath)
Jonathan Lord (Woking)
Angela Richardson (Guildford)
 • Total104.6 sq mi (270.9 km2)
 • Rank144th
 • Total143,650
 • Rank152nd
 • Density1,400/sq mi (530/km2)
 • Ethnicity
93.5% White
2.1% S.Asian
1.3% Black
1.3% Mixed Race
1.7% Chinese or Other
Time zoneUTC+0 (Greenwich Mean Time)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+1 (British Summer Time)
ONS code43UD (ONS)
E07000209 (GSS)
OS grid referenceTQ0105550700

The Borough of Guildford is a local government district with borough status in Surrey, England. With around half of the borough's population, Guildford is its largest settlement and only town, and is the location of the council.

The district was formed on 1 April 1974, under the Local Government Act 1972 by an amalgamation of the municipal borough of Guildford and Guildford Rural District.


Borough councillors and officers work on devolved issues such as parks, leisure, older residents' services, youth services, streetscene, refuse collection, planning and aspects of business and tourism;[1] Surrey County Council deal with transport, publicly owned infrastructure planning and maintenance, education, social services and overall waste management. The Borough owns significant heritage assets that include monuments such as Guildford Castle, as well museums, art collections and civic regalia.[2]


Guildford has the second largest population of Surrey's eleven districts (based on census statistics, only 600 residents behind Reigate and Banstead).[3] Approximately half of the Borough's population live in the town of Guildford.


To the year ending 31 March 2012, £106.629m was received by Guildford Borough Council, plus £7.43m from its financing/investment arm, plus £17.571m in other taxation and non-specific grants.[2]

A large wholly exceptional overspend resulted from Guildford acquiring from central UK government all self-financing rights over housing for £192.435m, otherwise spending amounted to £136.778m. Of this spending the largest item was non-Local Authority housing benefits and services amounting to £33.93m however accounting for £32.74m of income. The largest item producing a net cost was Environmental and Regulatory Services costing £16.643m while contributing £6.861m. Spending on this item fell by 2.63% compared to the 2010-2011 period.[2]

Housing owned by the Borough

Housing stock owned by Guildford Borough Council is valued, as securely tenanted at £359.316m as at 1 April 2012.

If all of the housing stock were sold untenanted, or to present occupants at full value, then the correct value at that date was £995 million.[2]


Of the eleven Surrey districts, Guildford has the third-lowest Band-D council tax for 2012-13 and fourth-lowest average overall council tax (the level of difference is a reflection on an area's skew as to higher band properties).[4]


Guildford Borough Council
Founded1 April 1974
Julia McShane, Liberal Democrats
since 11 October 2022
Deputy Leader
Joss Bigmore, R4GV
Dennis Booth, R4GV
since 11 May 2022
Seats48 councillors
GuildfordBC Nov2022.svg
Political groups
Administration (31)
  Liberal Democrats (17)
  Residents (14)
Opposition (17)
  Conservative (8)
  Greenbelt Group (4)
  Labour (2)
  Green (1)
  Independent (2)
Length of term
4 years
Last election
2 May 2019
Meeting place
Millmead House, Millmead, Guildford, GU2 4BB


Main article: Guildford Borough Council elections

Borough elections take place for the whole council on a four-year basis.

2 May 2019 saw the most recent cross-borough election that produced 17 Liberal Democrat seats, 15 Residents for Guildford and Villages (R4GV) seats, 9 Conservative seats, 4 Guildford Greenbelt Group (GGG) seats, 2 Labour seats and 1 Green seat on the borough council.


Following the May 2019 borough council elections Guildford Borough Council is in no overall control meaning that no single political party or group has a majority of council seats.

On 15 May 2019 councillors voted by 23 to 19 to elect the Liberal Democrat group leader, Caroline Reeves, as Leader of Guildford Borough Council over the leader of the R4GV group, Joss Bigmore. On 20 May 2019 Caroline Reeves announced that (including herself) the council's Cabinet would consist of 8 Liberal Democrats, 1 R4GV and 1 GGG councillor with an additional R4GV councillor attending cabinet as a non-voting deputy.[5] However, on 27 August 2019 the GGG member of the Cabinet resigned and was subsequently replaced by an additional R4GV councillor (the formerly non-voting deputy member of the Cabinet).[6][7][8]

In May 2020 it was announced that an agreement had been reached between the Liberal Democrats and R4GV to rotate the council leadership between them as part of a coalition arrangement which saw four Liberal Democrat councillors leave the council's Cabinet and be replaced by two R4GV councillors to create an evenly split cabinet of four Liberal Democrat and four R4GV councillors. As part of this arrangement the leader of R4GV, Joss Bigmore, was appointed as the Deputy Leader of Guildford Borough Council. In October 2020 Joss Bigmore was elected as council leader for two years, due to the leadership rotating to R4GV, and in October 2022 Julia McShane was elected as council leader due to the leadership returning to the Liberal Democrats.[9][10]

Political Composition

Following the May 2019 election the Green councillor chose to sit on the council as part of the R4GV group. The political make-up of the council was altered in September 2019 when a Conservative councillor quit his party to sit as an Independent councillor, and again from July to December 2020 when four councillors left the official Conservative group and formed a separate 'Conservative Independent' group on the council before later re-joining the official Conservative group. However, these coun [11][12]

In June 2020 the death of Patrick Sheard, who was a GGG councillor for Send, caused a vacancy on the council. A by-election was delayed until the 2021 local elections and was held at the same as two other by-elections caused by resignations (one Independent and one Liberal Democrat resignation). The outcome of these by-elections restored the political balance of the council to the state it had been immediately after the May 2019 elections.[13][14] In November 2021 a Liberal Democrat councillor defected to the Conservatives, but later left the Conservative group in July 2022 to sit as an independent councillor.[15][16]

A further by-election was held on 20 October 2022 following the death of former mayor Richard Billington, a Conservative councillor. The by-election was won by the Liberal Democrats.[17] As a result of the by-election campaign the sole Green party councillor chose to leave the R4GV group to sit alone as a Green councillor.[18]

In November 2022 a further councillor left the R4GV group to sit as an independent.[19]

Council composition by political party allegiance as of July 2022[20]
Political party Council members
Liberal Democrats 17
17 / 48
R4GV 14
14 / 48
Conservative 8
8 / 48
4 / 48
Labour 2
2 / 48
Green 1
1 / 48
Independent 2
2 / 48

Members of Parliament

See also: List of Parliamentary constituencies in Surrey

Constituency Member of Parliament Political party
Guildford Angela Richardson Conservative Party
Mole Valley Sir Paul Beresford
Surrey Heath Michael Gove
Woking Jonathan Lord


The central 'Guildford Town' area of the borough comprises the town centre and immediately surrounding areas, including: Bellfields, Boxgrove, Onslow Village, Park Barn, Stoughton, Westborough, and the (former) villages of Burpham, and Merrow.

Third tier of local government

Apart from the town of Guildford which has no third (or most local) tier, most of the rest of the borough has civil parishes of unpaid councillors who are entitled to charge a small extra precept for services they pay out for:[21]

Map of Guildford Borough showing its parts: Guildford town and civil parishes which provide an additional layer of government for nearby villages
Map of Guildford Borough showing its parts: Guildford town and civil parishes which provide an additional layer of government for nearby villages


The council is based at Millmead House on Millmead in Guildford. The original house dates from the late seventeenth century, with extensive modern additions to the rear.[22] Prior to the local government reorganisation of 1974, the building had been the headquarters of Guildford Rural District Council.[23]

Notes and references


  1. ^ Mole Valley UK Parliament Constituency and two of the others include some peripheral wards.


  1. ^ "Guildford Borough Council". Archived from the original on 28 May 2003. Retrieved 2 March 2004.
  2. ^ a b c d "Guildford Borough Council Statement of Accounts 2011-12, pp 4, 12 and 79". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 9 November 2012.
  3. ^ List of English districts by population
  4. ^ 2012-13 Council tax (average Band D and average per dwelling) and % change: individual local authorities
  5. ^ "Lib Dem Leader Appoints Her New Team For Guildford Borough Council". Guildford Dragon. 20 May 2019.
  6. ^ "GBC Executive Shock as GGG's Susan Parker Resigns Over 'Conduct' Claim". Guildford Dragon. 27 August 2019.
  7. ^ "New Executive Member for Guildford Borough Council". Guildford Borough Council. 26 September 2019.
  8. ^ "A new leader". Guildford Borough Council. 12 October 2022. Retrieved 21 October 2022.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. ^ "Guildford Borough Council leadership to 'rotate' between Lib Dems and R4GV following 'new agreement'". Get Surrey. 7 May 2020.
  10. ^ "New Guildford Borough Council Leader". Get Surrey. 8 October 2020.
  11. ^ "Guildford councillor Gordon Jackson quits Conservatives over Brexit". Get Surrey. 16 September 2019.
  12. ^ "Guildford Council's Breakaway Tories 'Return to the Party Fold'". Guildford Dragon. 17 December 2020.
  13. ^ "Councillors Shocked By Unexpected Death of Patrick Sheard, Member for Send". Guildford Dragon. 5 June 2020.
  14. ^ "As It Happened: Tories Lose Four Guildford Seats But Retain County Council Control". Guildford Dragon. 8 May 2021.
  15. ^ "Shock Move at Millmead – Leading Lib Dem Councillor Defects to the Conservatives". Guildford Dragon. 3 November 2021.
  16. ^ "Former Lib Dem Councillor Now Quits from the Tories". Guildford Dragon. 4 July 2022.
  17. ^ "Guildford ward where The Holiday was filmed taken by Lib Dems off Tories". Get Surrey. 21 October 2022.
  18. ^ "Green Party Member Quits R4GV Group Because of Impending By-election". Guildford Dragon. 29 September 2022. Retrieved 21 October 2022.
  19. ^ "Ex-Guildford Tory leader quits residents' party and slams paperwork relating to town centre revamp". Guildford Dragon. 17 November 2022. Retrieved 19 November 2022.
  20. ^ "Your Councillors". Guildford Borough Council. Guildford Borough Council. Retrieved 21 October 2022.
  21. ^ Surrey County Council Archived 26 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ Historic England. "Millmead House, Millmead (Grade II) (1188094)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 14 July 2022.
  23. ^ "The Rural District Council of Guildford". London Gazette (33887): 7597. 29 November 1932. Retrieved 14 July 2022. the Rural District Council Offices, Millmead House, Guildford...