Fringe Box



Letter: Who Does Hon Alderman Bernard Parke Support?

Published on: 19 Feb, 2017
Updated on: 19 Feb, 2017

From Paul Spooner

Guildford Borough Council leader, lead councillor for planning and Conservative ward councillor for Ash South & Tongham

In response to Bernard Parke’s comment on the opinion piece: What Does the Housing White Paper Mean for Guildford?

I question who Bernard Parke advocates supporting in May [at the Surrey County Council election]?

As far as I can tell, he dislikes Conservatives, Lib Dems and Labour, so is he advocating the Guildford Greenbelt Group as the best for Guildford or is he just anti-establishment no matter what?

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Responses to Letter: Who Does Hon Alderman Bernard Parke Support?

  1. Bernard Parke Reply

    February 19, 2017 at 1:48 pm

    I would not presume to advocate the support of any party. Indeed, who on earth would listen to me anyway?

    However, I believe that the green belt should be left unsullied, as we were led to believe it was to be, in 2015, when we were told, in Conservative election literature: “Greenbelt To Stay”.

    In May I shall not be voting for the Guildford Green Group or any particular party. Instead I shall be voting for an individual candidate, regardless of their political affiliation.

    • Jim Allen Reply

      February 20, 2017 at 10:22 am

      Well said Alderman Parke – don’t vote for a ‘colour’ vote for principles and personalities – for they stand a far better chance of affecting outcome in the long term. All colours fade into grey after being put through the wash but basic sound principles and strong personalities rarely change over the years.

  2. Martin Elliott Reply

    February 19, 2017 at 2:01 pm

    Gosh have the hustings opened already?

    Perhaps Bernard Parke has the privilege of now being independent and speaking his mind on any particular subject, without the dictate of a party position?

    It’s a pity that isn’t the case for many local councillors, who despite it being stated there is no party “whipping” at Guildford Borough Council (GBC), seem to vote en bloc despite the expressions of local opinion.

    I remember being told in a local discussion meeting with long-term councillors nearly 50 years ago, that the biggest obstruction was party politics. Seems to be worse now, at times.

    The vote in the Planning Committee on the proposed Guildford Cathedral housing, partially on Canadian Armed Forces memorial land, was a surprise for once, sort of.

    The block vote to refuse the application seemed to be against the development on grounds of further traffic congestion and inappropriate development. That was, it appeared, strangely against normal establishment views of the council officers, Guildford Cathedral, and the council leader/planning lead and deputy leader.

    Perhaps Cllr Spooner should be asking himself what he should support as both councillor for Ash South & Tongham, and as the GBC leader?

    Planning Committee decisions should be apolitical, as the committee chair clearly reminds councillors at each meeting. Ed

  3. Paul Spooner Reply

    February 19, 2017 at 4:42 pm

    I am very grateful to Hon Alderman Bernard Parke for his response, a people person rather than a party person.

    Very good to be reminded that people make the difference at a local level but it is important, in my opinion, to have the connection to enable real influence within central government, for the benefit of the borough.

    • David Roberts Reply

      February 23, 2017 at 10:27 am

      Cllr Spooner’s opinion is a recipe for a one-party state, which is virtually what we already have in Surrey.

      In practice, this just leads to fiascos like Cllr Hodge’s still-born council tax referendum – an internal party dispute worthy of the old Soviet Union.

  4. Ben Paton Reply

    February 19, 2017 at 5:32 pm

    If Mr Parke is not standing for election then what does it matter who he supports? Is it anybody’s business but his? Surely it’s a matter for his conscience – just like any other voter.

    What purpose do national parties serve on local councils anyway – given the very limited functions and powers of the borough council? The primary function of the council is to preserve and protect our environment – the built environment and our green infrastructure. So it is entirely justifiable to vote for a local party that represents local interests and focuses on the the council’s primary responsibility – planning.

    The national parties created the policies that, in turn, have created the present shortage of council houses and failed to exercise any restraints on immigration. We are still selling off social houses faster than building them.

    We don’t need more people to represent the policies of the national parties. We need more people to represent local people and their interests by trying to improve the situation locally rather than blindly following some central diktat.

    Local politicians with national party ambitions seem prone to promote excessive development in a place and time where there’s limited unemployment – for no better reason than to curry favour with their political leadership. The local electorate deserves better than to be treated as guinea pigs for some economic policy experiment dreamt up by research assistants for a national political party.

  5. John Oliver Reply

    February 20, 2017 at 4:51 pm

    I totally agree with Ben Paton that: “We need more people to represent local people and their interests by trying to improve the situation locally rather than blindly following some central diktat”. But we need central government to empower the local communities.

    As it stands, much of the legislation favours the central diktat. This is why it is necessary to get people into parliament who have local people at the core of their thinking.

  6. Jules Cranwell Reply

    February 21, 2017 at 1:16 pm

    Oh dear, the pressure must be mounting. It is typical of this council regime to take cheap shots at a member of the public, just because they hold them to promises.

    What part of “Green Belt To Stay” did Paul Spooner not mean, at election time. To attack someone for just pointing this out is another example of the Tories playing the man, not the ball.

    Maybe if he listened to the public, for example the many thousands who objected to his ruinous draft Local Plan, we would not need people like Bernard calling him to account.

  7. John Perkins Reply

    February 22, 2017 at 2:21 pm

    Paul Spooner [council leader at Guildford Borough Council] is of the opinion that it’s important for local councillors to have a connection with central government in order to influence it.

    Surely that’s what MPs are for?

  8. Mary Bedforth Reply

    February 22, 2017 at 10:04 pm

    Councillors should be apolitical.

    Bring back, “The Ratepayers Party”.

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