Fringe Box



Letter: Cllr Spooner Is In No Position to Criticise

Published on: 14 Oct, 2020
Updated on: 13 Oct, 2020

From: Gordon Bridger

hon alderman and former Mayor of Guildford

In response to: Now It Is My Turn to Urge Faster Progress

It was Paul Spooner’s Conservative party, while in power at the borough council, who insisted on a 40 per cent increase in retail space. Quite ridiculous, even before the pandemic.

They drove through an unpopular Local Plan with no proper town centre component.

At the same time, their negotiations with Solum resulted in the worst planning decision for Guildford (admittedly not the council’s) ever, for a new development at the station.

Mr Spooner is in no position to criticise others.

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Responses to Letter: Cllr Spooner Is In No Position to Criticise

  1. Paul Spooner Reply

    October 14, 2020 at 12:10 pm

    One thing Alderman Bridger and I definitely agree on is just how awful the Solum scheme is for Guildford, but I cannot criticise anyone involved from the Guildford Borough Council (elected councillors and officers) or GVG in efforts made to try and stop that planning application.

    Whilst unsuccessful in securing refusal at appeal, the council and GVG presented a very persuasive case in my opinion. My predecessor Stephen Mansbridge worked hard in trying to negotiate a better position for the community and I continued to try and shape the development supported by Executive colleagues, local ward members and officers, but in the end Solum were not prepared to scale back their proposals and were successful at appeal.

    Paul Spooner is a former leader of Guildford Borough Council and a Conservative borough councillor for Ash South & Tongham.

    • Julian Lyon Reply

      October 14, 2020 at 8:39 pm

      I suggest Cllr Spooner (whose memory seems to be a bit flakey these days) goes back and takes a look at the original reasons for refusal. These proved indefensible and is the reason we will have the shadow (and it will be a massive one) of Solum hanging over us. The Guidford Society and the Guildford Vision Group (GVG) worked very hard to help GBC defend its position but you can’t ward off invading forces with sticks of rhubarb.

      Julian Lyon is a member of GVG and a former chair of The Guildford Society.

  2. Adam Aaronson Reply

    October 14, 2020 at 1:21 pm

    The Guildford Local Plan pushed through by Mr Spooner stands head and shoulders above all the other contenders for “Worst UK Local Plan, 2019”.

    If Mr Spooner disagrees, perhaps he could indicate another contender and explain why he considers theirs worse.

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