Fringe Box



Letter: All the National Parties Are Letting Guildford Down

Published on: 2 Dec, 2023
Updated on: 2 Dec, 2023

Dragon editor questions Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

From: David Roberts

In response to: Local Politicians Comment on PM’s Dragon Interview

I would be less sceptical about Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s sudden conversion to protecting Guildford’s countryside were his party not so complicit in covering it in concrete.

Take the former Wisley Airfield. As documented in The Dragon (see:The Story of Wisley Airfield Part 3) it was a Tory ex-cabinet minister, Lord (David) Mellor, who about twenty years ago founded a firm dedicated to building thousands of new houses there.

Later, it has been a leading Tory councillor from Oxfordshire, Michael Murray, who has fronted the failed planning application by an anonymous Caymans Islands company to do the same in 2017, before claiming to have sold an interest in the site to Taylor Wimpey and backing the latter’s current application for an almost identical scheme.

It was Guildford’s Tories who, before losing the local elections in 2019, smoothed the way for this second assault on the Wisley countryside by forcing through a Local Plan allocating the site for over 2,000 houses and removing green belt protection from it and two-thirds of Guildford’s villages.

It was the Tory leaders of that council, Cllrs Spooner and Furniss who registered hospitality they accepted from property development firms or PR companies and apparently saw no wrong in this.

Property developers have reportedly donated millions of pounds to the Tories since 2010 and, despite Tory backbench resistance, still appear to dictate the housing policy of this government and its anti-environmentalist leader.

By calling to restore national targets and build on green belt land, Labour have shown themselves no less in thrall to these greedy big-business interests than the Tories.

Neither party has any plan to address the fundamentals: market dysfunction and monopoly practices that are destroying our countryside while failing to regenerate our towns, contain house price inflation or meet people’s reasonable demand for homes they can afford.

The Lib Dems meanwhile have no known planning policy at all for Guildford. All our national parties are letting us down.

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Responses to Letter: All the National Parties Are Letting Guildford Down

  1. Ben Paton Reply

    December 3, 2023 at 9:21 pm

    Look at what the politicians do and take what they say with a pinch of salt.

    Don’t forget the people who set the “trajectory” for the Guildford Local Plan:- Guildford Conservative leader former Cllr Mansbridge and his deputy, Monika Juneja.

    Ms Juneja escaped a prison sentence for lying about her professional qualifications after Cllr Mansbridge and the council’s then MD went to the Old Bailey to give her character references.

    If the experience of Lord Mellor and Lord Archer is anything to go by Ms Juneja’s political service may yet be rewarded by elevation to the Lords!

    There is a segment of the community that wants and needs to rent decent housing at low rents. That segment is served by council housing. Council housing has assisted many people build their lives and make huge contributions to society. Paul McCartney grew up in a council house.

    The “real” housing need is council housing.

    Government exists to supply services that the ‘free market’ cannot or will not supply.

    None of the political parties has any credible policies to address this ‘real’ need.

  2. Valerie Thompson Reply

    December 4, 2023 at 12:41 pm

    If you go to Ben Paton’s link you will see my response to the problem in 2022. Further to these thoughts is the failure of GBC to build Social housing on their brownfield sites, in town, where fewer cars would be needed. GBC has proposed developments with expensive retail units beneath, none of which are required in Guildford; just look at the number of empty shops there are already. However, part of that problem is caused by excessive rates, excessive car parking charges, (I recently paid £3.20 for a half hour, as there was no other option), and degradation of facilities including closure of public lavatories.

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