Fringe Box



Council Group Leader Interview : Harry Aldridge – UKIP

Published on: 3 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 of, or comment on, their responses.

Harry Aldridge is standing in Worplesdon ward. He is also the parliamentary party candidate for UKIP on May 7th. UKIP are fielding candidates in six wards across the borough.

Harry Aldridge

Harry Aldridge ukip1. 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.

 “Exceptional circumstances” can be if the development needs of the borough cannot be otherwise met. We would say that a brownfield first approach should be taken but a small amount of green belt can be developed to meet the need if all other avenues have been exhausted.
UKIP logo2. Do you agree with the government policy of capping Council Tax rises of 2% or more without a referendum?
Yes. Raising taxes substantially should not be a matter of course. The council should focus on value for money and the cap achieves this.
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?
We would not seek to enter a coalition. We would look to work with any and all councillors and parties on a case by case basis.
4. Can the council do anything to speed up development of brownfield sites and allow the construction of more houses on them?
We have set out a range of policies to incentivise brownfield including decontamination grants, underwriting insurance costs, and removing stamp duty. But I think we may need to look at deposits when granting planning permission, and time limiting planning permission, to incentivise development.
5. Is there any way, other than social housing provision, to prioritise homes for local residents?
No. Social housing should be prioritised for locals but we must ensure private housing supply ensures prices and rents remain affordable.
6. With the rejection of Guildford Museum’s bid for Heritage Lottery funding how can a “History Hub” that befits Guildford be afforded?
The council should use its role to facilitate private funding by encouraging donations and support.
7. Do you agree that the new proposed “hybrid” model of governance at the council will, if approved, improve things?
Ideally we need to move to a full committee system to rejuvenate democratic accountability and scrutiny and to force a more consensual approach.
8. Why can it be so hard to get people to stand as councillors. Is the low level of allowances a factor?
I don’t believe so. Allowances are a significant cost and should be rationalised. Instead allowances should be reduced or means tested. People are perhaps disinclined to stand when the council is seen as a closed shop and hard to break into and affect change. A more consensual committee system might change this.
9. Do you agree that the Planning Inspectorate should have the final say on planning applications that go to appeal and the Local Plan?
We must have local democracy and final decisions must remain local. Although an outside appeals process to ensure the process is fair and transparent is good. But communities must take responsibility for meeting their needs.
10. What is the most important issue facing Guildford Borough Council over the next four years?
Obviously putting in place a long term plan for development needs and crucially for infrastructure is vital. We need infrastructure planning to ensure the town’s development and improvement and housing to prevent the area pricing out young people. Also budgetary planning to handle the funding squeeze is a challenge.

What do you think of Harry Aldridge’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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