Fringe Box



Independent Challenges All-Tory Ash Parish Council For Seat

Published on: 21 Apr, 2021
Updated on: 23 Apr, 2021

By David Reading

The Conservative domination of Ash Parish Council is being challenged by Carla Morson, standing as an Independent on May 6 for the vacancy left after Cllr Graham Eyre resigned.

She is up against Conservative Murray Grubb Jnr. Ms Morson is also standing as a Lib Dem for Ash South in the county council election but believes parish councils should stay free of party politics.

The 11-member council, all Conservatives, was caught up in controversy last summer after Cllr Paul Spooner, the former GBC leader, resigned.

At a full council meeting, held online because of the pandemic, Ms Morson sought co-option but the council chose Conservative supporter Bill Cole – a move which upset residents, who claimed his selection was “a done deal” before the meeting.

Then, when Cllr Eyre resigned his Ash South Ward seat last September, residents took action to ensure a local election to fill the vacancy.

The rules state at least 10 people must request an election before one can be held, otherwise the council can co-opt their choice. Within less than 24 hours, more than 20 signatures were obtained.

Both May 6 candidates have issued statements.

Murray Grubb Jnr

Murray Grubb Jr (Conservative)

My background

I grew up in Fife, in Scotland. After working at Rosyth dockyard as an apprentice electrician, I moved into sales within banking and relocated to London. I moved to Tongham 18 years ago, then to Ash and now I am in Ash Green.

I am married with two young children so I have become well-versed in the area’s schools, parks and clubs. I have been actively involved in politics since my late teens and joined the Conservative Party almost 20 years ago.

My incentive

Anyone getting involved in politics must be realistic in what they want to achieve and what is possible. I have been involved in the political scene since moving here and served two terms on Guildford Borough Council, where I headed the Transformation portfolio on the Executive.

As I live here and want to represent my area, my incentive is to make it the best area to live that I can make it.

My aims

First, it is controlling the mass of development and making sure we get additional resources deployed to the area through infrastructure and green space. Second-biggest issue is the increasing reports of young groups and anti-social behaviour.

I hope that as things open up, including the youth centre, this will start to subside but we still need investment for youth services and parks or places for young people to have some freedoms.

Should political affiliation play a part in parish councils?

Party politics in parish councils is a difficult situation. Having the support of a party gives you access to various resources and people to bounce ideas off. But it should never mean you have to toe the party line if you disagree with something being done.

Overall, people should work holistically to make the area better. If that means leaving your politics at the door then that is what should be done.

Carla Morson

Carla Morson (Independent)

My background

I have lived in the Ash parish for many years. After a career in government service, I volunteered as an adviser at Ash Citizens Advice.

My work during the pandemic

Since the beginning of the pandemic, I have headed the local Coronavirus Support Group in Ash. Volunteering has highlighted just how important community is and this is why I’m standing to represent Ash South.

Many lives have been devastated by Covid and what we considered normal is normal no more. Businesses and livelihoods are suffering.

Despite this, we have risen to the challenge and pulled together, making our community a much more supportive and pleasant place to live.

My overall aim

Life has changed and I want to play my part in making things even better. Undoubtedly, we’ll have to make adjustments. To do this, we need parish councillors who will engage with residents.

We cannot assume the interests of residents are being represented if they aren’t consulted. Our community has grown and become more diverse; we need to take this into account. Our services need to be sustainable and to meet the needs of all.

The most important issues

I share the concerns of many about increased antisocial behaviour and housing developments springing up with no supporting infrastructure. In addition, there are constant road works, damage to our environment etc.

I want to influence, shape and comment on these and other issues. I want the quality of life for our community improved.

As a parish councillor, I would work towards this by supporting local projects, lobbying other service providers and working in partnership with other parishes and local authorities. New ideas and thoughts can only be for the good.

Should political affiliation play a part in parish councils?

I am a Liberal Democrat, but I’m standing as an Independent because I strongly believe there is no place for party politics in parish councils. They should exist entirely for the benefit of the community and this should come above all else.

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