Fringe Box



Ash Campaigner to Stand in Borough Council Elections

Published on: 20 Mar, 2023
Updated on: 22 Mar, 2023

Sue Wyeth-Price

By David Reading

Sue Wyeth-Price, a leading campaigner in the fight to protect Ash from what many residents regard as unacceptable housing developments, will be standing for R4GV (Residents for Guildford and Villages) in the Guildford Borough Council elections in May.

She will be standing in Ash South ward, which no longer includes Tongham, now part of Pilgrims ward.

Ms Wyeth-Price is former chair and now a committee member of AGRA (Ash Green Residents Association). 

She said: “I am standing for R4GV because I really don’t think that national parties have a place in local government. I also get frustrated at block voting so I confirmed with R4GV, before I decided to stand, that there is no whip system, and I would still be free to vote according to what is best for local residents. 

The redefined wards in the west of Guildford borough (click on image to enlarge)

“We need and deserve strong local candidates, people who live in the ward and have a track record of fighting on behalf of the residents. I think I really have to stand. I only wish that there were more local people willing to stand as residents’ candidates in the other Ash wards.”  

Asked to outline the major issues facing the Ash/Ash Green area, Ms Wyeth-Price said: “Obviously, planning is a major issue with 1,400 houses already having been built or approved and a further 400 to come. I’ve been very active in this area with the successful Judicial Review into the Ash Manor application to protect an important heritage asset and the flora and fauna in the surrounding area.” 

See: Ash Manor Housing Development Appeal Rejected

In total, she has taken part in three planning appeals relating to development in Ash Green. 

She said: “I am not against housing, but I think it needs to be the right housing for local residents. It needs to fully meet the requirements of the local plan. And we, as a community, old and new residents, should derive some benefit from it.” 

Ms Wyeth-Price also has strong feelings about Section 106 contributions – the money handed over by developers to support the communities in areas where they are planning to build. 

She said: “Associated with the planning is the failure to spend the money collected as developer contributions on the projects they were collected for. Whilst a big chunk of this is managed at county level, it’s up to Guildford to see that it is disbursed correctly and not just handed over without even a project plan in place.

“I want to work with the council to ensure that the money is spent on the projects for which it was collected, so that we get the road improvements and additional school places we were promised.” 

Primary healthcare is another major issue she is interested in. 

She added: “The council has made no progress with the promised new health centre in Ash Lodge Park, although some money has been spent on existing surgeries. The council has an option to take that allocated land for a community facility and I’d like to be sure that the residents are consulted on what they would like, be that a community centre, a pub or a skateboard park.” 

She added: “We are often the poor relation to Guildford town centre. Our GBC-provided services (elderly services, public toilets, bin collections, dog wardens, etc) are at risk simply because we don’t have a voice that is listened to.” 

Cllr Paul Spooner and Graham Eyre: “very strong ward councillors” said to be standing down.

One factor in her decision to stand was the fact that Cllr Paul Spooner and Cllr Graham Eyre have decided not to stand for re-election in Ash South. “Whilst I am the last person you could describe as a Tory, I think both of them have been very strong ward councillors and both live locally. They have given AGRA, and me, a good deal of support and advice over the last four years. Without them we need local candidates even more.” 

Cllr Paul Abbey

It has yet to be confirmed whether Paul Abbey, a sitting R4GV councillor for Ash South & Tongham, intends to stand in May.

Ms Wyeth-Price, who has strong Surrey roots, lives in Ash Green. She has been married for 20 years and she and her husband Ian have five children and five grandchildren. She worked for multinationals all her life and travelled extensively both for work and holidays.  

She joined AGRA when it was at risk of folding and since then the organisation has worked hard on behalf of residents to hold meetings to canvass their views, organised litter picks, beautification projects, village walks and signage and gateway features for the village. Most of her time has been spent on their behalf dealing with planning applications.  

She added: “We know that we need houses, but I think these should be the right type, we don’t just need huge executive homes and we should certainly not be having leasehold or those with unadopted features or having residents contend with uncapped managed service charges.” 

In her free time she is studying for a law degree with the Open University. 

See also: Borough Council Votes to Proceed with an Extra £5.6m Funding for Ash Road Bridge

Share This Post

Leave a Comment

Please see our comments policy. All comments are moderated and may take time to appear.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *