Fringe Box



Green Belt Group Will Not Stand in Borough Council By-election

Published on: 12 Aug, 2014
Updated on: 13 Aug, 2014

ballot boxA Guildford Greenbelt Group (GGG) spokesperson said last night (August 11) that the “GreenBelt Party” will not be fielding a candidate at the by-election for Lovelace ward, announced following the death of Cllr John Garrett (Con).

A written statement said: “The GreenBelt Party is awaiting approval by the Electoral Commission and so will not be able to field a candidate directly for this by-election.

“GGG considers that the green belt is the major issue confronting voters in Guildford, and believes that the Draft Local Plan currently under consultation is deeply flawed.   We believe that housing need in the borough must reflect local need, not the aspirations of developers, and there is sufficient brownfield land to meet that need, especially in urban areas.

“It is very important that the public votes for candidates who will fight to protect the green belt.

“GGG will be asking supporters to vote for candidates in this by-election who share GGG’s objectives – at least one prospective candidate  is a GGG member.

“In the general and local elections in May 2015 we will field candidates to defend the green belt where existing representatives have failed to do this.”

Selection of the Conservative candidate will not be conducted by the Guildford Conservative Association but to their colleagues in Mole Valley, because the Lovelace ward lies within the Mole Valley parliamentary constituency.

There is speculation that a GGG member who has been highly critical of GBC might be considered for nomination as the Conservative candidate but this has not been confirmed.

Cllr Matt Furniss (Con, Christchurch), speaking on behalf of the Conservative group at Millmead, said: “Cllr John Garrett was a much-loved local councillor who served people in Wisley, Ockham and Ripley for many years.

“His death has caused much sadness locally and the Conservative party is currently selecting to ensure we have a candidate who will be able to carry on John’s work and show the dedication and industry that was his hallmark.

“People in Lovelace will expect representatives who understand the rural issues that affect them and will work hard to preserve the character of the area and address infrastructure challenges.

“John was a champion of the green belt and rural life and was in a position to take these views to the heart of Guildford council’s administration.”

It is understood that the Lib Dems might be considering fielding a GGG supporter too. Their group leader, Cllr Caroline Reeves said: “We feel it’s very important to have a local candidate and we are in the process of selecting someone through our usual panelling procedure.

“The most important item on the campaign plan will be ensuring all residents engage with and comment on the Draft Local Plan.”

A spokesperson for Guildford branch of the Labour Party said: “The Guildford Labour Party was very sad to hear about the recent death of Cllr Garrett. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.

“The people of Lovelace ward will soon be asked to elect his replacement until next May when a full election will take place for all Guildford Borough Councillors. This ward has only one councillor, so although the term for new councillor elected at the by-election will be short it is vital that an energetic capable candidate is elected.

“Lovelace ward of Guildford Borough Council is within Mole Valley Parliamentary constituency. We look forward to working with our colleagues in the Mole Valley Constituency Labour Party to contest this by-election to ensure the people of Lovelace ward have the representation they deserve at a time when so many important issues for this area, such as the Local Plan, the state of our roads, social care and the NHS, should be on the council’s agenda.”

See also: By-election Called In Lovelace Ward – Debates on Green Belt Issue Expected.

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Responses to Green Belt Group Will Not Stand in Borough Council By-election

  1. Bernard Parke Reply

    August 12, 2014 at 6:51 am

    National party labels often cloud local issues and perhaps this will be the case in the coming election.

    Perhaps an answer would be for the selection of an apolitical independent candidate to stand to protect the green belt.

    This would enable all party supporters who wish to protect our heritage to vote freely on this one issue in protest,

    Remember that there will be another election in a few months and those that wish vote on party lines would be free to do so.

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