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Letter: GBC Stand to Get More Eye Awards Over Wisley

Published on: 7 Nov, 2018
Updated on: 7 Nov, 2018

From Tony Edwards

Wisley Action Group campaigner

Looks like Guildford Borough Council could be going for the double.

Having once won Private Eye’s “Rotten Boroughs of the Year” award, the top team at Millmead appear to be well on the way to repeating their previous success.

Last week’s announcement that “Three Farms Meadows” the former Wisley Airfield, will be submitted as a potential site for a “garden village” will undoubtedly provide a major boost GBC’s chances of yet another accolade from the satirical magazine.

In a masterly move, council leaders delayed the announcement until the very last minute, immediately prior to the Tuesday executive meeting, skilfully side-stepping the openness and transparency which might have denied them the award for a second time.

But this has not been an easy path to potential success. Plans to build a 2,000-house “new town” on the green belt site suffered a set-back when they were unanimously given the thumbs-down by councillors.  And, in June this year, the Secretary of State rejected an appeal by Cayman Island landowners to overturn the Guildford verdict.

But, undeterred and with sights firmly set on the main prize of a second award from Private Eye, GBC squeezed the same proposals into the draft Local Plan, upsetting Guildford residents along the way.


The “garden village” submission could well clinch the “Rotten Boroughs of the Year” award for Guildford because the Wisley site does not even meet the necessary criteria set out in the government’s prospectus.  Leading counsel acting on behalf of local campaigners advised that paragraphs 5-15 are the main issues which could render the application a total waste of ratepayer’s time and money.

The award clincher could well be para 8 of the prospectus which demands that: “New garden communities should offer opportunities for significant long-term housing and economic growth in local area”.The former Wisley airfield farmland offers none.

Back of the net!

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Responses to Letter: GBC Stand to Get More Eye Awards Over Wisley

  1. Alan Davies Reply

    November 8, 2018 at 8:53 pm

    Spot on!

    The only question is which Private Eye award – there are so many that suit Messrs Spooner and Furniss.

    How about “Council with most vanity projects”? We have: The Pop Up Village, Walnut Bridge and Tunsgate setts, must be a devastating combination for a gold medal.

    How many other awards can they win?

  2. Steve Jones Reply

    November 12, 2018 at 7:53 pm

    Surely the “Cock up Village” (£1 million), a Walnut Bridge too far (£3.3 million) and the Tunsgate setts (£800,000) are more than enough to support an award as “Most wasteful council”?

    What other fantasy projects are waiting in the wings until the very last minute, just like the Wisley “Garden Village”?

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