Jamie Hailstone 24 May 2016

Surrey council to vote on elected mayor

Voters in Guildford are to be polled on whether or not they want to have a directly-elected mayor.

A petition to Guildford BC calling for a referendum on an elected mayor has now reached the necessary number of signatures to trigger the poll, which will take place later this year.

More than 5,200 people signed the petition. The poll must take place before 24 October and the local authority will confirm the exact date of the referendum in due course.

A petition was originally handed to the council in May 2015, but it was declared invalid as not all the signatures could be verified.

The petition organisers submitted a series of amalgamated petitions earlier this year. The last one was submitted in April and in a statement, the council said it was ‘valid’ and the referendum will now go ahead.

‘The role of a directly-elected mayor is different from the current ceremonial mayor of Guildford,’ said a council spokesman. ‘A directly-elected mayor would have wide ranging decision-making powers.’

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