Fringe Box



Letter: Guildford Borough Council Should Learn Lessons From Spelthorne

Published on: 15 Jan, 2017
Updated on: 15 Jan, 2017

From Norman Evans

A proposal was announced this week for building 3,000 homes on the Kempton Park racecourse, prompting the leader of Tory-controlled Spelthorne Council, Ian Harvey, to repeat his strong opposition to the plan which, he had previously said, would be “unwanted desecration” of valuable green belt land.

Pointing out that the council may now actually acquire the site for open space purposes, he said: “I’m fully aware of the views of local residents and have consistently made clear my strong opposition to development of this site and my determination to protect the Green Belt in Spelthorne.”

Even if the boroughs are different, here is one Tory council leader who understands residents’ views and makes good on his election pledges to protect the green belt.

In contrast, the Tories in Guildford have ignored the opinions of residents and are proposing a Local Plan that will see large-scale development, about two-thirds of which will be on green belt land.

This is in total contradiction to pledges in both the local and national Tory party manifestos. Of course, Guildford Tories have never apologised for  misleading the electorate and it seems impossible to believe it was not intentional.

Their draft Local Plan also includes developing the former Wisley airfield with a proposal to build 2,100 homes, a development which has attracted thousands of objections and which has been completely rejected  by the planning officers and the council’s planning committee.

Yet the council leadership still intends to include the site for development in the Local Plan. Perhaps it is noteworthy that the development company is based in the Cayman Islands and managed by Conservative councillor Mike Murray (Vale of White Horse District Council).

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Responses to Letter: Guildford Borough Council Should Learn Lessons From Spelthorne

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    January 16, 2017 at 11:06 am

    I think the writer has missed the point. The elected representatives have said “don’t build on the green belt and update the infrastructure”, but it was the ‘old’ mostly now departed ’employed’ planners who ignored both the elected officials and the electorate and produced a plan which went against the community.

    I am never sure just how much influence any individual elected official has on anything other than the wrapping paper of the policies.

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