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Letter: Ash Residents Need To Be Consulted Before Council Boundary Decisions Are Made 

Published on: 2 Aug, 2021
Updated on: 2 Aug, 2021

From: Claire Lipscombe

As a resident of Ash, I should like to draw people’s attention to the boundary changes that are being made locally within Guildford Borough Council and Ash Parish Council. (See item nine on this GBC full council agenda of July 28).

I am writing this letter through frustration really.  I am the administrator for the Ash and Ash Vale Community Facebook Group.  We are a large group of around 7,600 members.  We started life over 10 years ago as a local parenting group and have evolved over the years to the community group it is today.

Over time we have gathered many of our local councillors within the group – which is great as it shows that we have council members that are understanding the importance of a social media presence in today’s society.

Currently, we have a few councillors who regularly post information that they want us to know about. However, when it comes to consulting us on future plans and changes or finding out residents’ views or even answering questions from residents, they are not so forthcoming.  The communication is somewhat selective on their part.

GBC map showing its proposed ward boundary changes. Click on image to enlarge.

This brings me to the local boundary changes.  Not many members were even aware that this was happening as nothing had been mentioned (that I can find) nor have we been consulted with regards to how the changes could affect our community.

Everyone locally knows that our area has been swamped with GBC’s allocation of new housing and planning for more. We seem to be one of the only areas outside Guildford town centre that have no protected green belt status.

With all the new builds and plans for more, our population has grown and will grow significantly in the years to come.  This will mean with the proposed boundary changes put forward by our very own APC and GBC councillor and other GBC councillors, we will have one less councillor to represent our area at GBC level, and other areas with a smaller population will be over-represented.  This doesn’t seem logical nor fair for the residents of this area.

Late Friday night, we posted a poll in our group to highlight what is going on with the boundary change.  We put two proposals in the poll: one of which was the GBC proposal, the other is a community proposal.

The community proposal would ensure we gained the councillor we deserve by adjusting the boundaries in a more logical way.  At this point in time, the poll stands at 131 in favour of the community and six in favour of the GBC proposal.

Although these are small numbers, percentage-wise it is clear that, so far, those that chose to take part in the poll would prefer the community option and indicates that the councillors clearly do not know what the residents want.  (Our smaller group for Ash Green has a similar result in the poll.)

I am inviting the councillors to be more present in our group.  We would love for them to engage with the residents that they represent to listen and respond to concerns raised and to respond to the many concerns that affect our community.

We want them to be involved and to involve the ever-increasing community.  We as a group will of course support them in doing this as it can only be a force for good.

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test One Response to Letter: Ash Residents Need To Be Consulted Before Council Boundary Decisions Are Made 

  1. Jules Cranwell Reply

    August 3, 2021 at 6:20 am

    I’d like to correct the statement on Ash being the only area without green belt protection. 13 villages were robbed of their green belt status by the notorious Tory Local Plan, including the Horsleys, where we are seeing limitless development which will increase the housing stock by 50%.

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