Fringe Box



Letter: Conservatives Said That The Green Belt Would Be Safe In Their Hands

Published on: 5 Oct, 2015
Updated on: 5 Oct, 2015

A view across fields in the development area. In the distance, Surrey Sports Park.From Ray Briggs

Councillor Mansbridge takes an interesting position in his opinion piece, Greenbelt Group Is Wrong – We Must Be Broad Minded and Holistic. It that appears superficially reasonable, but perhaps all of us should examine the detail a bit.

Apparently business is in hidden decline. Hidden or non existent. Guildford was less badly hit than many other towns in the 2008 crash and broadly seems to be in good shape. Where is this hidden business crisis?

The electorate did elect a Conservative council, but it is not surprising given the overall majority, the overall political leanings of the borough, and the national election held at the same time. So I do not dispute that Councillor Mansbridge has a mandate. But what is that mandate?

Given that much campaigning by all parties included a ‘Greenbelt Safe with Us’ message it might be reasonable to expect that many if not most Conservative voters believe they issued a mandate to protect the green belt to the council.

Cllr Parker wants to protect the green belt. What’s wrong with that? From a standing start this year a significant number of the borough signalled that they agreed with this. Apparently it’s not ‘holistic’ to want to protect something that has been one of Britain’s best policies for several generations, and one that many visitors to our county think is a pretty sensible idea.

Part of the growth in Surrey is tourism, which will be seriously damaged if we put housing estates on our green land. Moreover, once we build on it we can never get it back. So decisions taken now will live with us forever. It won’t be evolution, it will be erosion.

He talks about tenacious hands grasping for great prizes and points to Farnborough, Woking and Basingstoke. I am not sure if he wants Guildford to emulate the changes in these areas or guard against it. I hope its the latter. I am deeply worried that the prize may only be profits to developers and a town that is ultimately faced with urban sprawl, loss of character, gridlock and urban decline.

And finally: are those reasonable people who voted Conservative, but who want to retain our countryside and protect our borough, not a little incensed that Cllr Mansbridge believes that wanting to protect the green belt is at variance with what’s wanted to be part of our borough and wanting the best for it? I know I am.

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Responses to Letter: Conservatives Said That The Green Belt Would Be Safe In Their Hands

  1. Bernard Parke Reply

    October 5, 2015 at 5:24 pm

    Very interesting, I still have the election literature which is as follows:

    1) Conservatives say Green Belt to stay

    2) Party promises to protect the Green Belt etc. under which are pictures of the candidates in various locations within the green belt zones

    3) Conservatives to say no to Farm development (Blackwell Farm)

    4) Clear promises – Delivered to everyone.

    It would appear such promises are to be broken “like Pie Crust” now that they are elected.

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