Guildford Borough Council [GBC] and Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership [LEP] have a strongly intertwined relationship, with a former leader of Guildford Borough Council and a leading figure from University of Surrey sitting on it’s board. The council and the LEP have together created a shared Strategic Economic Plan [SEP] that is seeking funding from the EU (initially £38.54 million) and UK government sources (£70.00 million from the Local Growth Fund for housing alone) and further funding steams such as the New Homes Bonus (GBC received £1.5 million New Homes Bonus 2012/2013) plus others from the Homes & Communities Agency ). The funding streams are contingent on a growth strategy, stimulating employment and thereby driving local housing demand and potentially stimulating new house building.
Guildford figures large in these plans, being characterised as one of the UK’s top performing non-metropolitan boroughs and the primary employment centre in Surrey. Within this, University of Surrey features as an important contributor with its plans for the new veterinary faculty and its investment in high technology areas and its Science Park.
Lurking in the background is a view that all this could be held back if new housing is not available, so the SEP offers solutions, such as converting redundant office space to homes, forward funding of infrastructure to support development of housing sites (on a loan/grant basis) and measures to increase the prominence of small and medium house builders.
Be in no doubt, it’s all about money.