News on local economy developments and issues. The Economy Group (See More Details) keeps this area under review. We also post items of interest on the economy from other organisations, including the government.
Coronavirus is certain to impact the UK economy in both the immediate and long term, with many current economic trends likely to accelerate.
Guildford has prospered for several decades. It has successfully developed a mixed economy based on professional services (legal, accountancy); education (the University etc.), retail; and a group of hi-tech industries fostered by the Research Park and the Pirbright Institute. Of these, one of the most vibrant has been the games industry, which attracts a young and dynamic workforce.
Many in Guildford also commute to jobs in London and elsewhere (such as Heathrow), using the reasonable rail links to London and creaking road network.
Recently, there have been signs of economic problems emerging:
a) Several large companies have relocated, citing congestion and cost.
b) Retail has had a difficult decade. Guildford’s dependence on chain outlets has made it more vulnerable to changes.
c) New businesses have often elected to expand in locations other than Guildford for cost and infrastructure reasons.
d) Lack of affordable housing and traffic congestion have impacted growth plans.
e) The town centre outside the High Street and Castle area has few attractions and large parts are vacant land. Other centres such as Woking are rapidly overtaking Guildford as a destination (whatever your views on tall buildings).
f) Local industry and manufacturing have been discouraged. The rise of an industrial estate at Dunsfold employing 2000 workers is an example of what can be done (some of the businesses at Dunsfold having relocated from Guildford).
Guildford needs to develop a strategy which will minimise economic issues for the next decade and work to support growth sectors of the local economy. Our Local Strategy and Economy Group are considering:
The Local Strategy and Economy Group has a clearly defined remit and has produced a series of position papers on aspects of design. The chairman of the Local Strategy and Economy Group can be contacted at LSE@guildfordsociety.org.uk
Getting involved allows the society to continue its work. We welcome new members, from every age and background. Membership provides an opportunity for you to contribute to the continued health of the town and surrounding area, and to meet other people who care about Guildford.