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Letter: I Also Said This About Paying for Countryside Services

Published on: 26 Feb, 2019
Updated on: 26 Feb, 2019

From Keith Witham

Conservative county councillor and selected borough council candidate for Worplesdon

In response to: Worplesdon County Councillor ‘Rants’ About Critics of Countryside Policy

What I also said (not reported) was:

All I ever hear from residents who are opposed to this, that or the other are three things:

1. “Well I pay my council tax, don’t I?” This does not grasp the reality that the money now raised by council tax is not enough to provide all the services that everyone would like, everywhere. And while funding has reduced, demand and costs of other services have increased.

2. “Well just take the money for this (that I’m interested in) from somewhere else (something that I’m not interested in).” Please refer to the previous answer, as all the “somewhere else” items are under the same money pressures.

3. And then finally they say, “Well how you pay for it is not my problem, it’s your problem.” And in that they are right. Because councillors do have the responsibility to find a way of financing these services that people value well into the future, hence the 25-year strategy being drafted to make the countryside estate and its finances sustainable.

The problem is everyone wants something, but no one wants to pay for it, or for it to be paid for by the mythical “someone else”.

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Responses to Letter: I Also Said This About Paying for Countryside Services

  1. Valerie Thompson Reply

    February 27, 2019 at 8:34 am

    But if the borough council stopped wasting money on “vanity projects” (eg the failed Pop Up Village) and unnecessary consultations (Walnut Tree Bridge consultation cost over £1 million, though the current bridge is fine, safe and practical) there might be money available for what the Council should be doing – preserving libraries and paying for child, elderly, sick and disabled welfare, social housing, and so on.

    We would also like to see the countryside cared for with a return of the rangers and charges removed from commonland car parks.

  2. Keith Witham Reply

    February 28, 2019 at 11:23 am

    Valerie Thompson seems not to be aware that nearly all the things she mentioned re libraries, services for children, elderly, sick and disabled welfare, countryside care and charges at Commons car parks are all Surrey County Council costs, not Guildford Borough Council. She gives examples of what, in her opinion, are “not necessary” but councils have a wide range of responsibilities and have to make those judgements. Also, if she looks at just how much GBC is doing on social housing she might be very surprised at just how much it is.

    It’s always easy to criticise – less easy for elected councillors who have actual responsibilities, not just their opinions.

    Keith Witham is the Conservative county councillor for Worplesdon

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