A new co-operative approach to running the Council as it moves into the second year since the borough elections in 2019 was announced at a meeting of Full Council last night. The new approach reflects the fact that Residents for Guildford and Villages (R4GV) and the Liberal Democrats (Lib Dem) have an almost equal number of overall councillor seats and many shared priorities. The Council’s Executive now comprises four councillors from Residents for Guildford and Villages and four from the Liberal Democrats.

The New Executive:

From R4GV: Cllr Joss Bigmore, Cllr John Rigg, Cllr John Redpath and Cllr Tim Anderson.

From the Lib Dems: Cllr Caroline Reeves, Cllr Jan Harwood, Cllr James Steel and Cllr Julia McShane.

The change to the Executive takes place with immediate effect. Cllr Caroline Reeves continues to lead the Council in the short-term during its emergency response to Coronavirus (Covid-19) with Cllr Joss Bigmore as the Deputy Leader. The leadership will rotate between parties and follow the constitutional process with an anticipated September start at the Full Council meeting to maximise the strengths of the new partnership in serving the borough.

The R4GV leadership will run for two years, with the leadership reverting back to the Liberal Democrats for the period before the local elections in 2023. The talks behind these changes started before the current Coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis emerged and the agreement between R4GV and the Liberal Democrats has had to adapt to the current reality of the Council currently focussing on its response to the pandemic in this lock-down period.

Leader of the Council, Cllr Caroline Reeves said: ‘Following a successful year of working together, we are proud to join forces with R4GV and use our shared experience and talents under this new model. These unprecedented times mean we must make optimum use of our shared strengths to serve our borough in the very best way we can. The work carried out by the previous Executive (2019–2020) has been extensive, if quietly achieved and we will build on this. I would like to thank those from the Liberal Democrats who are standing down; Cllr Fiona White, Cllr David Goodwin, Cllr Angela Goodwin and Cllr Pauline Searle.’

Deputy Leader of the Council, Cllr Joss Bigmore said: ‘I welcome the new spirit of co-operation R4GV has established with the Liberal Democrats. Together we are determined to move faster and achieve far more for our residents. This will be a challenging administration which is committed to making tangible improvements to Guildford over the next three years. Cllr Reeves has been outstanding in her leadership of the Council’s response to the outbreak and if necessary, she will continue to do so after the leadership is reviewed.’

The New Executive Portfolios:

Resource Directorate: Corporate Theme – Improved Council
• Resources Cllr Tim Anderson (R4GV)
• Service Delivery Cllr Joss Bigmore (R4GV)

Strategy Directorate: Corporate Theme – Economy and Regeneration
• Economy Cllr John Redpath (R4GV)
• Regeneration Cllr John Rigg (R4GV)

Services Directorate: Corporate Themes- Climate Change and Environment, Housing and Communities
• Climate Change Cllr Jan Harwood (Lib Dem)
• Environment Cllr James Steel (Lib Dem)
• Housing and Development Control Cllr Caroline Reeves (Lib Dem)
• Community Cllr Julia McShane (Lib Dem)