Fringe Box



Letter: Caroline Reeves Did Not Do a Good Job on the Local Plan

Published on: 15 Mar, 2021
Updated on: 15 Mar, 2021

From: Ben Paton

In response to: I Am Relieved That Cllr Reeves Is Leaving

I agree with Mr Roberts’ sentiments on the performance of Caroline Reeves over her years as a councillor.

Preparation of a Local Plan was an unavoidable statutory obligation. Did Caroline Reeves do a good job on this? She and her party were co-authors of the Local Plan. Guildford Borough Council strung out this process for over ten years. It cost millions and the outcome was intellectually dishonest. The result is a Local Plan that suits the needs of house builders but does little or nothing to provide needed social housing.

Scrutinising the work of the council, its Executive and its officers, is the core function of elected politicians. What is Caroline Reeves’ record on this?

She opposed any scrutiny of the Green Belt & Countryside Study and the Strategic Housing Market Assessment. The council designed these documents to justify a land grab on the green belt and to exaggerate housing “need”. In the “consultations” the public made thousands of comments pointing out the false premises on which the council based these documents. The council ignored them all.

When the Office for National Statistics reduced its demographic projections the tide went out on the council’s figures – leaving them swimming naked. Even after cuts in the housing need figures, the council still plans to build too many of the wrong sorts of houses in the wrong places.

And then there is social housing. How many social houses have the council built while Caroline Reeves was a councillor or was leader of the council?

The GBC website states that Caroline Reeves had specific responsibility for: Environment & Sustainability across the borough; Transformation; Sustainable Transport; Economic Development; and Governance.

How did she perform on Governance? Did she hold the Conservative administration to account? Where did she stand on the Monika Juneja affair? Did she agree with the Scrutiny Committee’s conclusion that Cllr Juneja had not breached the councillors’ Code of Conduct? Did she accept the reports that whitewashed the council’s investigation into Ms Juneja’s bogus claims to be a qualified barrister? Did her party make a single statement about this matter?

How did she perform on economic development? How is the council’s transport policy sustainable? It proposes to build over half the houses in the Local Plan on greenfield sites whose only or main transport will be by car on the A3.

Is the council’s environment policy that she has left behind sustainable? There is still no plan for putting housing in the most sustainable locations in the borough and it is unknown if there is any plan for Guildford Town?

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