Fringe Box



Dragon Interview: Julian Lyon, Senior Policy Adviser to R4GV

Published on: 24 May, 2019
Updated on: 26 May, 2019

Julian Lyon is a senior policy advisor for the Residents for Guildford & Villages (R4GV) Party which even to its candidates’ own surprise won 15 seats at the recent borough election. Mr Lyon was going to stand as a candidate himself but felt compromised by his status as a Savills employee, so withdrew.

The interview is part of a series with those who are involved in behind the scenes party organisations.

In the interview conducted by Martin Giles and videoed by Mark Insoll, Julian Lyon reflects on the R4GV campaign and some of the policies that need to be adopted…

See also: Dragon Interview: Bob Hughes, Chairman of the Guildford Conservative Association

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test 7 Responses to Dragon Interview: Julian Lyon, Senior Policy Adviser to R4GV

  1. Paul Bishop Reply

    May 24, 2019 at 2:47 pm

    Good questioning from Martin Giles. Really good to see the issues being opened up from the standard Local Plan discussion. Not sure how integrating social housing into future developments is a solution when R4GV are clearly focused on stopping any future developments in the borough by frustrating the Local Plan adoption.

    Town centre development is a great sounding idea but without specific locations being identified it is a bit of a non-starter. Personally I am still yet to be convinced there is enough depth and substance to R4GV to really delivery across the borough’s issues but hopefully with more interviews like this pressing on wider issues they can begin to build.

    • Julian Lyon Reply

      May 24, 2019 at 6:29 pm

      Interesting to note a few things here:

      (1) the R4GV [Residents for Guildford and Villages] position is not quite the same as “frustrating the Local Plan adoption”. There will most likely be applications for a Judicial Review of the plan. R4GV would like to find a way to manage that process by an independent review of the plan and its adoption, by seeking some common ground, and by mediation if that can help to accelerate the JR process and deliver an adoptable plan more quickly.

      (2) a number of the R4GV members have been part of the Guildford Vision Group who have developed a master plan for the town centre ( and a fly-through that sets out to provide a holistic plan of the area; and

      (3) as people often point out (because the Local Plan, like Brexit, gets much of the air time) there are also other issues to be tackled, and the stated intent of the majority of the councillors at Millmead is to deal with these issues. I really hope the appetite and drive is there in the Executive to deal with these, inclusively, openly and quickly. Here, for a little light reading, is the analysis I did for the Guildford Society as part of the Local Plan submissions ( You can check the data via the government’s portal (

      We really can make a difference, and, as R4GV has been saying, this will take a coming together of like-minded councillors, engagement with the public and its community groups, and a will to fix some really tough issues using all of the tools available.

      Julian Lyon is a senior policy adviser to Residents for Guildford and Villages

  2. Jim Allen Reply

    May 24, 2019 at 5:59 pm

    I don’t think R4GV are trying to ‘frustrate’ the local plan adoption, I believe they are extremely concerned that while scheduling large amounts of houses, there is no real justification for them by any calculation; the scheduling of the associated infrastructure is not compatible and is simply not possible in the same time scale.

    Currently, according to the plan 3,500 houses will be built before the treatment plant comes online in 2025 if ever, TWPLC has no money allocated before 2025, while the roads process is even further behind with nothing between J10 and the A320 planned before “sometime never” as they persist in “migitation” instead of “solution”.

  3. John Rigg Reply

    May 24, 2019 at 9:00 pm

    I am not sure where Mr Bishop gets the impression that “R4GV are clearly focused on stopping any future developments in the borough by frustrating the Local Plan adoption.”

    Even before the formation of R4GV, for many years, Julian Lyon and I with others in GVG tried to persuade the last council leadership to work towards including 3,000 more homes in the town centre to save greenbelt. However, their approach was to build on green belt: good for developers windfall profits but not for sustainability or congestion.

    R4GV want growth and sustainable homes and a good plan. It just so happens that voters realised this was not a good plan. In any event, the council cannot challenge its own plan so we will await the outcome of any judicial reviews that residents may bring. Whatever the outcome, R4GV will be pressing for more town centre homes with proper infrastructure solutions. I am optimistic this time it will be with the support of other parties.

    John Rigg is the R4GV borough councillor for Holy Trinity ward.

  4. David Roberts Reply

    May 25, 2019 at 7:08 pm

    I believe the council can, and should, apply for a judicial review of its own decision to approve the Local Plan.

  5. Paul Bishop Reply

    May 25, 2019 at 10:25 pm

    I think my views are perfectly justifiable.

    I’ve found two quotes from the R4GV website that seem to suggest two thought processes. On the front page, they pledge to back “Implementing the Local Plan within a coherent Borough-wide vision for a vibrant and thriving community”. But look more in detail at the manifesto pledges and you will see: “We pledge to continue to fight for a Local Plan that reflects a positive future for Guildford town and its surrounding villages and countryside”.

    The wording “Continuing to fight” does strongly suggest they will be looking to frustrate the adoption of the Plan. Although maybe, based on the quote from the front page, they are due a manifesto update?

    The information posted by Julian Lyon is really interesting and I thank him for the great work he is clearly doing as part of GVG. My concern remains that R4GV is a group built around Local Plan opposition which is not the best approach to solve the many other issues Guildford relies upon a strong borough council for.

    We have been let down in recent years and I’m not one to get overly excited about a new group, just because they have a popular opinion. I’m happy for their actions to convince me though.

  6. Brenda Jones Reply

    May 27, 2019 at 7:32 am

    Would Mr Lyon please outline R4GV’s policy on infilling outside villages, as last week a planning proposal was approved some 180 metres from one village boundary?

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