Fringe Box



Letter: I Am Being Impartial

Published on: 9 Apr, 2019
Updated on: 9 Apr, 2019

From James Whiteman

managing director of Guildford Borough Council

See also: Shouldn’t GBC’s Managing Director Be Impartial in This Debate? and Railroading The Local Plan Is An Obvious Abuse of Power

I am writing in response to the comments in letters from Mr Paton and Mr Roberts.  I do not agree with their views that I am not being impartial in my role as Managing Director.  Being impartial is a key part of my role and I always set out to ensure this is achieved.  I have a duty to ensure that I and my officers advise councillors appropriately, so they have an opportunity to consider all relevant information.

The advice note that I sent to all councillors on Friday, 5 April 2019, was in relation to paragraph 1 of a proposed motion that consideration of whether the council should adopt the Local Plan be deferred to a suitable and reasonable date after the Borough Council elections on 2 May 2019.

We have received legal advice, both internally and from leading counsel (who has been advising throughout the Local Plan process), and from our professional planners.  It is this advice that is within the note and I, as the senior officer responsible for all services and operations within the council, have used that advice to properly advise our councillors.

I have not suggested within the note that councillors should adopt the plan or not adopt the plan. The note clearly states that there is further information that will be available to councillors in the report for 25 April 2019, and a session with our external counsel on the 18 April, that will provide important guidance to councillors and inform the debate on 25 April 2019.

The whole reason for the note is to ensure good governance and help facilitate a fully informed discussion and robust decision: whether to adopt or to not adopt.  That has been my duty, and one which I have sought to comprehensively fulfill.


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