Fringe Box



Letter: All Political Sides Want the Pirbright Problem Solved

Published on: 6 Jul, 2021
Updated on: 6 Jul, 2021

From: George Potter

Lib Dem borough councillor for Burpham and county councillor for Guildford East.

In response to: Why Should Local Politicians Expect a Pat on the Back for a Problem They Have Failed to Deal With?

I’m afraid I don’t recognise Mr Hardcastle’s claims about what’s been happening at all.

No one is asking for a pat on the back because, obviously, the situation is ongoing and has yet to be resolved. The only reason this is being discussed on The Dragon is because of an open letter asking what was happening following the initial article: Pirbright Dump Being Investigated Following Reports of Toxic Waste Disposal.

No party mentioned Stoney Castle in their manifestos because it is, ultimately, a site-specific issue which is very much non-political given that people of all political persuasions simply want the situation resolved. Getting it resolved is not a matter of policy, it is an operational matter which significant resources have already been put behind, but it is an extremely complex issue with three different bodies all needing to work together to try to resolve it.

All political parties were aware of the problem well before the election, but there really is very little which can be said about it, by anyone, beyond “we want to get resolved as quickly as possible but the correct process has to be followed and we trust the various professional staff to do their jobs properly”.

Mr Hardcastle claims that Cllr Steel has been blocking residents who were trying to get the site closed down, and he also claims that there has been a “wall of silence and misinformation”. As far as I can tell, these claims bear absolutely no relation to reality and if Mr Hardcastle is going to make these claims then he really should be prepared to substantiate them.

To the best of my knowledge the local parish council, the local borough councillor, the local county councillor, the local MP, the county council, the environment agency and the borough council have all been aware of this, have all been doing everything in their power to address it and have all been very diligent in answering genuine enquiries from members of the public about it. So again, I question what on earth Mr Hardcastle’s accusations are based upon.

Nobody is satisfied with the situation, but nobody is trying to ask for a pat on the back either. So, frankly, Mr Hardcastle’s outrage seems to be completely misdirected and possibly based on a somewhat shaky understanding of the situation.

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