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Dragon Interview: ‘Battle for Guildford’ Campaigner Robin Horsley

Published on: 28 Mar, 2023
Updated on: 11 Apr, 2023

Robin Horsley’s “Battle for Guildford” campaign video

Robin Horsley as part of his campaign against the proposal to redevelop North Street has issued a new, slickly produced, video “The Battle for Guildford“.

In the video, he is particularly critical of the Residents for Guildford and Villages party asking viewers not to vote for them.

He also highlights the career backgrounds of its leader Joss Bigmore and senior member John Rigg.

He claims that “very few people knew anything” about the North Street proposal before it went to GBC’s Planning Committee.

Dragon editor Martin Giles challenges some of his claims, explores Horsley’s motivation for his campaign and asks about his political background.

Please watch the interview…

Reacting to the video, Cllr John Rigg (R4GV, Holy Trinity) said today: “The North Street scheme was under way under the previous Tory administration who also failed to introduce any height restrictions in Guildford. A refurbished bus station, pocket parks, a pedestrianised North Street, and an improved market have all been negotiated into the scheme.

Cllr John Rigg

“North Street has been neglected by previous administrations at GBC for too long. We need people living in the centre to keep our town vibrant and the historic nature of Guildford will always be preserved on our watch.

“Thousands of people were consulted by the developer and many changes to the scheme were made.

“Anyone who cares about the town can easily keep an eye on planning applications and can make representations at an early stage.

“R4GV had to register as a political party so we can have our logo on the voting slip but we do not “whip” votes and we are not answerable to a national political party, only to local Guildford residents.

“Misrepresenting the facts does not enhance democracy.”

Christian Holliday

Christian Holliday of the Guildford Conservatives said, before the Dragon interview was conducted: “Robin Horsley is right to draw attention to the threat faced by our historic town centre from the current Lib Dem/R4GV administration on Guildford Borough Council.

“It was only following intervention from our MP Angela Richardson, and the Secretary of State, that the Lib Dems saw which way the wind was blowing and voted against the poorly designed North Street planning application.

“There is no place for out-of-character high-rise tower blocks in our town centre. Guildford Conservatives are committed to reviewing the Town Centre Masterplan, including genuine engagement with residents and community groups. Only Guildford Conservatives can be trusted to preserve our historic Guildford town centre.”

See also: North Street Plan Rejected by Borough Council in Knife-edge Vote

North Street Proposal Defeated by Casting Vote of Committee Chair (How Each Councillor Voted)

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Responses to Dragon Interview: ‘Battle for Guildford’ Campaigner Robin Horsley

  1. George Potter Reply

    March 28, 2023 at 8:55 pm

    If R4GV do not whip votes then how come Cllr Tony Rooth (one of R4GV’s founding councillors) was kicked out of their party simply for disagreeing with R4GV’s leadership on the approach being taken to the North Street planning application?

    George Potter is a Lib Dem borough councillor for Burpham

    Editor’s note: Cllr Rooth told The Dragon that he resigned from R4GV.

    • George Potter Reply

      March 29, 2023 at 5:11 pm

      In response to the editor’s note, every councillor at GBC was copied in on an email thread where the leadership of R4GV invited Cllr Rooth to resign from R4GV if he intended to disagree with the party line on the North Street planning application.

      George Potter is a Lib Dem borough councillor for Burpham

    • Craig Ellis Reply

      March 30, 2023 at 12:51 pm

      Nice distraction from the main thrust of the article from Cllr Potter.

      Cllr Rooth was clearly an ongoing issue for the wider team at R4GV and so as with any group or organisation he essentially managed himself out through his own actions. That is clearly different to whipping the votes of an important decision just to score political points and create difficulties for others.

      Re Robin Horsley, call me suspicious, but why would someone, who self-proclaims to be a “social media expert” and to have no idea of these highly publicised schemes, only pop up with his video polemics when there is a crucial vote or decision? Has anyone ever seen him post on Nextdoor for example, at any other times?

      He claims to be “only interested in democracy” yet seems very keen on forcing a certain point of view and manipulating opinion.

      Also, whilst no particular fan myself, his personal attacks on Cllr’s Rigg and Bigmore leave a bad, unprofessional and indecent tastein the mouth. This wreaks of a political agenda.

  2. John Redpath Reply

    March 30, 2023 at 11:39 am

    Cllr Rooth did indeed resign.

    But before that, he continued to make attacks over several years on much of what R4GV was trying to acheive.

    Attacking the party, especially anything John Rigg was involved in, sadly became the norm for Tony. It became an obsession, one might say (maybe due to Guildford Vison Group, which John chaired at the time, causing his ousting from the Leadership of the borough council a decade ago).

    But even so, we still kept him in the party and respected the fact that we don’t all share the same views.

    Cllr Potter should accept that he resigned and stop playing clumsy politics.

  3. Barbara Ford Reply

    March 31, 2023 at 3:47 pm

    Thank you, Dragon, for drawing attention to Mr Horsley’s thoroughly nasty video – with its implication that two leading members of R4GV had a personal stake in the North Street development proposal. One does indeed wonder about his motivation.

  4. Joan O'Byrne Reply

    April 1, 2023 at 11:42 am

    I’m pleased you have challenged this video. It certainly left a bad taste in my mouth. The picture he focuses on for North Street Regeneration shares nothing of the actual proposal which is fully described on line.

    I urge people to look for themselves. These videos contribute nothing to our democracy if they’re so inaccurate and biased.

  5. Barry Williams Reply

    April 3, 2023 at 6:03 pm

    In another blog featured on The Guildford Dragon NEWS Mr Horsley claims to be a proud European. Good for him; must have been another Robin Horsley who stood as an Independent candidate for Mole Valley and campaigned for Brexit from his so-called “Brexit Studios”.

    Mixed PR messaging it seems? Readers can decide upon this gentleman’s true motives.

    If he feels so strongly about the “failings” of our local politicians and councillors perhaps he might dare to stand as an Independent at the upcoming local elections?

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