Total: 48 seats
Lib Dems 17 (+7)
R4GV 15 (+15)
Conservatives 9 (-25)
GGG 4 (+1)
Labour 2 (+1)
Greens 1 (+1)
Conservatives have governed the Guildford borough council since 1999. Today they lost 25 seats – going from 34 out of 48 seats, to just 9 seats. All of these remaining 9 were in armed forces heavy villages around Ash and Normandy.
They lost remain voters in the town by becoming the party of Brexit. And they lost Brexit voters in the villages by dismissing the widespread opposition to the local development plan, and cynically passing it just a week before the election.
(The plan allows three separate developments in the green belt for a total of about 4000 new homes. It’s massively unpopular for a variety of reasons – green belt love, house price NIMBYism, bad traffic and amenities provision…).
Labour remained immaterial, winning their token 2 seats in Stoke.
Lib Dems gained much of the Remain vote in the urban areas in and around town – gaining 7 seats to become the largest party with 17 seats.
Two groups of local/independent parties – Guildford Greenbelt Group and Residents for Guildford and Villages – gained most of the previously conservative votes in the villages.
Both these parties were formed in opposition to large scale house building plans in the green belt. The Brexit voting conservative voters in the villages are angry about the developments, and punished the Tories for their arrogance.
I wonder if R4GV+GGG will now be brave enough to push for a recall of the much hated local development plan.
In my local ward, all three seats went to the Lib Dems. I voted for two of them. My third vote, the R4GV candidate, came in a very close fourth.
Perhaps anticipating the result, Tories couldn’t even find local candidates. One of the Tory candidates in my ward wasn’t from Onslow (ward), Guildford (town/borough) or even Surrey (county). He is a resident of East Hampshire, the next county over.