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Letter: Councillor Cross Is Right About The GBC Executive

Published on: 7 Mar, 2017
Updated on: 7 Mar, 2017

From Susan Parker

Leader of the Guildford Greenbelt Group and a borough councillor for Send

I’d warmly endorse the proposal from Cllr Cross for a more representative Executive at Guildford Borough Council [GBC] as expressed in his letter: The Council Executive Should Represent the Whole Council.

Political allocation to the Executive Committee would reduce the risk of local government behind closed doors, as we have at present. This would be especially true if all parties were represented.

It should be remembered that the full council at GBC voted for a hybrid between the Executive/strong leader model and the committee system. That vote has now been forgotten, and was never implemented in practice. We have had a power grab by the Executive, and this has been effectively nodded through by the Tory majority.

The current system is up for review tonight (Tuesday, March 7) and there will be an interesting debate in the council chamber.

Those who are unhappy with the current system of local government – and there are many – should recognise that the Conservative Executive has abrogated all power.

There is almost no opportunity for scrutiny and challenge by backbench councillors, and we can only challenge from the sidelines. We are given as little information as possible, and our ability to influence is limited to asking questions. We do challenge, but have no power because of the established majority.

This should not be forgotten in the coming weeks with county council elections looming.

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test 2 Responses to Letter: Councillor Cross Is Right About The GBC Executive

  1. Ben Paton Reply

    March 8, 2017 at 4:08 pm

    GGG like the Guildford Residents’ Associations exists exclusively to serve the people of this borough. These organisations do not have any national agenda and so they do not have conflicts of interest.

    The Conservatives in Guildford have for some time been marching to a different drum – the drum of the property developers who are obsessed with all the pro-development clauses in the NPPF and deliberately ignore any clauses that protect the Environment or Heritage.

    The Guildford Conservatives have not been transparent or intellectually honest in seeking to conceal the Justin Gardner housing arithmetic model on which the housing need for the whole of West Surrey has been based. And they were incompetent in launching the first draft of the Local Plan without even having a Transport Plan.

    Additionally, they chose former Cllrs Mansbridge and Juneja to lead them. Enough said.

    Candidates for the national parties treat elections as one-off weddings for which they hire the latest identikit pledges from the Conservative ‘Moss Bros’ shop and then give back the hired pledges/clothes as soon as the election/wedding is over.

    GGG was formed by the people of the borough for the people of the borough for government by the people of the borough. They are almost the only voice speaking up for scrutiny of the actions of the Executive and the officials – who are otherwise almost unaccountable.

    The Guildford Conservatives cannot be trusted to observe self-restraint, to respect the rules, or to take the best ideas regardless of where they come from. One party rule is usually a bad thing – especially once longevity has imbued an arrogant “divine right to govern” mentality. The opposition – such as GGG deserves more seats.

  2. Jules Cranwell Reply

    March 8, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    I could not agree more with all the above.

    GGG has constantly punched above its weight to throw light on some of the questionable dealings of the executive, and has often been a lone voice in the wilderness.

    Apart from a very few independently minded councillors, such as Colin Cross and Bob McShee, it is GGG that has exposed the lack of real evidence in the “evidence base” which supports the Local Plan.

    As a result of GGG’s efforts, the local planners, are now having to review missing evidence, such as a sound infrastructure plan, environmental plans etc.

    It has at times been a thankless task, as any perceived resistance to the Executive’s ‘trajectory’ has resulted in abuse, threats and excommunication from working parties etc.

    GGG is not alone, and the groundswell of public support is growing. Vive la résistance!

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