Fringe Box



Borough Council’s GGG Leader Susan Parker in Surprise Resignation

Published on: 30 Jul, 2020
Updated on: 3 Aug, 2020

Cllr Susan Parker

Susan Parker has resigned as leader of the Guildford Greenbelt Group (GGG) at the borough council.

The outspoken Cllr Parker (Send) said in a brief statement, she was resigning “for personal and health reasons but will continue as a backbench councillor representing Send”. She declined to comment further.

The new leader, Ramsey Nagaty, was elected as a borough councillor for the first time in May 2019, to represent Shalford ward, which incorporates Artington and Compton. Cllr Catherine Young (Clandon & Horsley) will be his deputy.

Cllr Ramsey Nagaty

Cllr Nagaty has lived in Guildford for 23 years and was a founding member of GGG. A party statement says: “He has a keen interest in all matters relating to the countryside with strong views for regenerating the town centre. Ramsey looks to maintain the high moral principles of GGG, well demonstrated by Susan Parker during her time as leader.

“We will continue to further our aims by encouraging co-operation, on a case by case basis, with others.”


Dragon editor Martin Giles commented: Cllr Parker has been a confrontational character at the borough council, prepared to take on the former Conservative leadership in debates when the Tories enjoyed an overwhelming majority.

She was a founder member and a driving force of GGG. Although the party did not achieve the electoral success it hoped for in 2015 the small group of three councillors was a thorn in the Conservative establishment’s side.

In 2019, the party fielded a reduced number of candidates but their supporters, concentrated mainly in the east wards of the borough, remained loyal and it increased its representation by one seat.

Cllr Parker was passionate and brave in her defence of the green belt and the environment, the two main planks of her party’s policy. Some of the treatment she received from senior members of the council during debates was criticised as unfair or unkind, at the time, by some councillors from within Conservative and Lib Dem ranks.

But clearly her views, especially the way that they were expressed, could cause others, even her fellow party members, to be frustrated at times and a working alliance with the Residents for Guildford & Villages group, which some expected, did not materialise.

In April, Cllr Parker contracted, what appeared to her doctor to be the Covid-19 virus, and in early June was clearly shocked and saddened by the death of Patrick Sheard, her ward and party colleague.

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Responses to Borough Council’s GGG Leader Susan Parker in Surprise Resignation

  1. Jules Cranwell Reply

    July 31, 2020 at 6:53 am

    Susan has done a brilliant job leading GGG. She has ensured that GGG has punched above its weight throughout her time as a councillor, very often in the face of much-undeserved hostility from the leading parties. She has ensured that the countryside and green belt have remained firmly on the council’s agenda, and has held the council to account, throughout the creation of the dreadful Local Plan.

    I wish Ramsey Nagaty all the best on picking up the reins. Illegitimi non carborundum!

  2. John Perkins Reply

    July 31, 2020 at 9:52 am

    Susan Parker has done good work in difficult circumstances.

    She has earned the right to respite.

  3. Mary Bedforth Reply

    July 31, 2020 at 2:09 pm

    I am very sorry to hear that Cllr Parker has resigned as leader. She has been on our side (ie saving the green belt) ere long.

    Best wishes to her for the future.

  4. Mike Murphy Reply

    July 31, 2020 at 4:10 pm

    Susan Parker is an amazing lady and I trust she will soon return to good health. I thank her for everything she tried to do for Send and Guildford Borough Council.

    I hope the party continues with the brilliant policies that were so cruelly ignored by Cllrs Spooner and Furniss. Their alternative will decimate the green belt in Send.

    The dreadful plan which has resulted in the removal of green belt status from Send has already resulted in a free for all of planning applications with hundreds already in Send. This is before the hundreds of houses required by the GBC Local Plan are implemented.

    It looks to me as if Cllrs Spooner and Furniss decided to punish Send for electing two GGG councillors instead of the incumbent Tories and for the thousands of objections to their dreadful plan.

  5. David King Reply

    July 31, 2020 at 7:26 pm

    Good luck to Susan Parker. She has done a great job informing GGG and holding the council to account.

    She deserves a rest and I hope she keeps well. I wish her all the best.

  6. Adam Aaronson Reply

    August 2, 2020 at 6:25 pm

    I’d like to congratulate Susan Parker on her remarkable achievement.

    It is exceptionally difficult to start a new political party, create a critical mass that will actually win seats at elections and four years later increase the number of seats held. You only need to look at how many politicians have tried to do this and failed, to realise how significant this is. To achieve this, Susan and her colleagues had to draw support from voters who would usually have voted for the more established parties. In doing so, she showed that it is possible to create a consensus among people who might usually be on opposing sides.

    This achievement paved the way for the founders of R4GV, who proved that it is possible to break the old tripartite stranglehold on local politics. Guildford Borough Council now has councillors from six parties plus one independent. In my view, Susan’s trailblazing has transformed the Guildford political arena.

    However, it should be noted that the emergence and success of the Guildford Greenbelt Group did not go down well with some of the old guard from more than one party. Many residents who attended borough council and Planning Committee meetings, sitting in the public gallery during the 2015-2019 council, in the run-up to the adoption of the Local Plan, were appalled at the level of bullying that was directed at both Susan Parker and her GGG colleague David Reeve. As someone who might have been interested in becoming a councillor, I, for one, was not prepared to enter what seemed to me to be an extremely toxic arena and I think that others felt the same way.

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