Fringe Box



Letter: I Serve Local, Not Party Political, Interests

Published on: 13 Apr, 2015
Updated on: 17 Apr, 2015
Pauline Searle

Lib Dem councillor Pauline Searle

A Lib Dem Stoughton councillor, Pauline Searle, writes in response to Tony Ferris’ letter: “Why I Am Standing As An Independent For Stoughton“.

Being elected as a ward councillor means that you are there to represent the residents of that ward. I don’t think you would find any councillor saying they wouldn’t help any resident be they from your ward or from Guildford Borough as a whole, if they hadn’t voted for them, whatever political party they support. That is not how it works.

The advantage of being part of a political group is that you have colleagues for help and support. Also a network to get out information to all you residents right across the ward, something which an independent councillor might find challenging.

I am Guildford born and bred, having lived here all my life. I am passionate about where I live and only stand for election because I believe I can make a difference. I don’t do it for political gain. I work hard for the benefit of all my residents.

Over the years that I have been a Stoughton councillor I have championed road improvements, play areas, ponds for wildlife, environmental improvements, supported charity groups and community events like “Carols on the Green” and instigated the very successful World War 1 event in Cardwell’s Keep [Stoughton Barracks] last year.

I am very proud of all of these things. They are done because I want to improve life for my residents, not for any political reason, and certainly not for my own benefit.

As any borough councillor will tell, it can be a long and challenging task to get some projects completed, especially if you are working with other authorities. This particularly applies to anything to do with highways.

The procedure is long. Naturally there also has to be consultation with residents, and the highways work has to fit in with the bigger picture for the whole borough, Anyone who has sat on the Guildford Local Committee will know that I argue long and loud to get improvements to roads in my ward. Even taking part in street protests to show how strongly residents feel.

The funding for the environment improvements at Woodbridge Hill is not all from Queen Elizabeth Park Section 106 monies. We needed extra funding before work could start and this has come through from other projects in the ward as well as from a neighbouring ward.

This all takes time, it hasn’t been a question of a pot of money sitting waiting to be used. The plans have to be drawn up and agreed, then officers at Guildford Borough Council have to co-ordinate with Surrey Highways and their contractors to fit in with other Highways contractors to ensure the resurfacing work fits in with the overall project plan.

I have worked hard as a councillor in Stoughton to represent anyone living or working in my ward, regardless of their politics. Sometimes the process is slow , sometime I can’t get as much done as I would like and that is frustrating, but I will keep trying because of my passion for the Borough of Guildford and, in particular, for Stoughton.

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Responses to Letter: I Serve Local, Not Party Political, Interests

  1. Paul Spooner Reply

    April 13, 2015 at 12:59 pm

    Well said Cllr Searle.

  2. Jim Allen Reply

    April 13, 2015 at 4:20 pm

    Well worded indeed but I’m not so sure of the actions. If Ms Searle (she can’t call herself councillor during Purda*) is on the local committee why did she not argue for the money used on Clay Lane (link road) investigation and re-surfacing to be used re-surfacing roads in Stoughton? Why did she support the Aldi Planning application on an unsuitable site in Burpham and why is she, along with her party, supporting the building a road damming the Zone 3b Flood plain? None of these things are to the benefit of either Stoughton or Guildford Borough, as a whole.

    I too do work for the community but in coordinating the Burpham Neighbourhood plan I did try and not adversely affect other areas of the Borough with its contents.

    *For information: The Guildford Dragon NEWS has checked with Guildford Borough Council, councillors remain councillors during the election campaign and for four days after the election it is then that the transfer of responsibility officially takes place to any new councillors elected. This is unlike MPs who cease being MPs once an election is called.

  3. Tony Ferris Reply

    April 16, 2015 at 9:09 am

    I agree that Cllr Searle has worked hard for the benefit of Stoughton and Guildford residents. The World War I event in Cardwell’s Keep [Stoughton Barracks] last year was a great success. Well done. Local people should be the ones representing the local area with local issues absolutely to the fore.

    However a lot of people I have spoken to tend to vote party and not person. This does not necessarily get the right person for the job and can’t be right. I don’t think that allegiance to a party, whether it be orange, blue, green, purple or red, should be a factor in local councils.

    It is challenging for all candidates to get information out to the residents. I also agree that it’s hard work, but it is a great way to meet people and canvass their views.

    But I am not on my own, I also fortunately have people who can help me. I will also be exploring other ways of communicating including the use of e-methods to help to widen the availability of information to help in this respect.

    Regarding the time taken to get things done, especially highway schemes, the process can be long and hard. Working for a consultant who delivers highway schemes, I know only too well the frustrations.

    We are now entering a new age where highway authorities want more delivered for less money. I endorse the new approach. They want: “right first time”, shorter delivery, sustainable, environmentally friendly, less cost and safer schemes. These are the things that I deal with daily – and I can bring this expertise to the table.

    As an Independent I would not be working alone. I would be part of a council team effort bringing my experience for the benefit of Stoughton and borough residents.

    I say good luck to Pauline Searle with her campaign. I would be delighted to work with her for the benefit of Stoughton and Guildford residents should we be fortunate enough to be elected.

  4. Neil Mason Reply

    April 19, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    I say good luck to Pauline Searle. Her energy and effort has been appreciated by our charity which serves the same community. She has been very supportive and nothing is too much trouble for her at our grass roots level, whenever we have called upon you.

    Whatever the outcome, we have benefited from her contribution at FurnitureLink and I would like to publicly thank her.

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