Fringe Box



Dragon Interview: Patrick Oven, GGG Leader at GBC

Published on: 27 Sep, 2023
Updated on: 1 Oct, 2023

It has been almost five months since the borough council election which gave a narrow victory for the Lib Dems. Enough time has now passed to reflect and assess.

Dragon editor Martin Giles invited all five of the political group leaders to be interviewed. Sadly, council and Lib Dem leader Julia McShane did not respond but the the others all agreed to participate and, we think, gave some interesting responses to the questions posed.

Subjects covered include: their reflections on the May election and the impact of the Battle for Guildford video; the current financial challenges faced by the council and planning a major and controversial issue for the borough following adoption of the Local Plan in 2019 and the development proposals in the town centre.

In this interview we hear the views of the new leader of the Guildford Greenbelt Group leader Patrick Oven. The interview with Labour group leader James Walsh will follow as the last in the series. The interview with Conservative group leader Philip Brooker can be seen here and with R4GV group leader  Joss Bigmore here.

Please listen, the decisions taken in our borough council have a direct impact on our community and lives. We should all become more engaged, more informed and more aware.

The series of interviews commenced before news of the Housing Revenue Account overspend investigation was known so questions on that topic were not included.

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Responses to Dragon Interview: Patrick Oven, GGG Leader at GBC

  1. Jules Cranwell Reply

    September 28, 2023 at 7:31 am

    What a marked contrast between the first and subsequent interviews. Cllr Booker came across as vague, stumbling and evasive. Both Cllrs. Bigmore and Oven presented well and were articulate, open and genuinely committed.

    The tories would improve their prospects if they would only and at last apologise for their deeply flawed and unsustainable local plan, and commit to helping to correct it.

  2. David Roberts Reply

    September 28, 2023 at 5:48 pm

    A very powerful interview. One point made by Cllr Oven is especially worth highlighting. The 2019 Tory Local Plan, which the current Lib Dem council at Millmead seemingly accepts in full, promised to end a development free-for-all in the borough.

    Instead, it has directly unleashed one across the sixteen villages, such as Horsley, summarily kicked out of the green belt. Back-filling and garden-grabbing, previously prevented by green belt protections, has proliferated.

    New, piecemeal “windfall” building is adding greatly to the infrastructure stress already caused by the Local Plan’s daft decision to plonk all big new housing sites on green fields rather than regenerate the town.

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