Fringe Box



Council Group Leader Interview: Angela Gunning – Labour

Published on: 4 May, 2015
Updated on: 4 May, 2015

The Guildford Dragon NEWS has invited a leader of each political party and a representative independent candidate, standing for election to Guildford Borough Council (GBC), to be interviewed. The response to each question is limited to up to 100 words.

Unlike the parliamentary candidate interviews there is no scoring or comment on of their responses.

Angela Gunning is the leader of the Labour group at GBC and is standing again in the Stoke ward that she represented in the last council. The Labour Party are fielding candidates in 17 of Guildford Borough’s 22 wards.

Angela Gunning

Cllr Angela Gunning voiced the only concerns about the planned expenditure1. Most respondents to GBC’s own Local Plan public consultation do not want developments to be built on the green belt. What “exceptional circumstances” can you imagine that would justify such development.

The green belt was conceived to protect towns from merging into each other by ribbon development, and other forms of uncontrolled development. Population growth naturally means there will be a need for more homes. Keeping towns compact, and using or reusing urban sites for both housing and industrial use is an obvious priority.

However where no sites can be found and there is a demonstrable and urgent need for homes for local people, then some green belt land has to be used – and the boundaries adjusted. We owe it to future generations to build homes and places of work.

Labour logo2. Do you agree with the government policy of capping Council Tax rises of 2% or more without a referendum?

You get what you pay for. 2% is an arbitrary figure, and yet no one will admit to wanting to pay more Council Tax.

3. Would your party be prepared to enter a coalition, or any kind of working agreement, with any other political party in the council, should the need arise?

No, because all issues must be considered on their merits and the evidence placed before committees or council. Cooperation with like-minded colleagues is the positive way forward to achieve the best for Guildford. Debate and discussion always achieves more than confrontation.

4. Can the council do anything to speed up development of brownfield sites and allow the construction of more houses on them?

It all depends on who owns the sites, the proposals they bring to the council, and how their ideas meet the requirements of the Local Plan. Certainly the council should do nothing to obstruct legitimate and appropriate development

5. Is there any way, other than social housing provision, to prioritise homes for local residents?

More council housing to take people directly off the council waiting list is the answer


6. With the rejection of Guildford Museum’s bid for Heritage Lottery funding how can a “History Hub” that befits Guildford be afforded?

A purpose built museum, and art gallery, should be a long-term aim. The current museum is not fit for purpose. An ambitious fundraising scheme should be set up, a site identified, with a time table that can be achieved. Use of funds from planning gain could be a way forward for part of the plan.

 7. Do you agree that the new proposed “hybrid” model of governance at the council will, if approved, improve things?

Yes – the working party examined the issue in great detail, and produced a report with recommendations, which the council debated and unanimously agreed.

8. Why can it be so hard to get people to stand as councillors. Is the low level of allowances a factor?

It is unlikely that allowances are a factor. The bad example of House of Commons is very off-putting to anyone with modest ambitions to serve the community. However, the time to devote to being a councillor is a factor.

9. Do you agree that the Planning Inspectorate should have the final say on planning applications that go to appeal and the Local Plan?

Yes – why not?

10. What is the most important issue facing Guildford Borough Council over the next four years.

Housing for those who need it; there are other issues… but that is the most important.

What do you think of  Angela Gunning’s answers?  Have your say by using the ‘Leave a Reply’ feature below.

Click here to see other GBC group leader interviews.

Click here to see Parliamentary candidate interviews.

Candidates from the following parties are standing in the Guildford Borough Council elections on May 7th: Conservative; Green Party; Guildford Greenbelt Group; Labour; Liberal Democrats; Peace Party; UKIP. There are also Independent candidates.

The Green Party declined the invitation to participate in these interviews.

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