Fringe Box



Letter: I Was Invited to Resign

Published on: 31 Mar, 2023
Updated on: 31 Mar, 2023

Cllr Tony Rooth

From: Tony Rooth

In response to comments made on the article: Dragon Interview – ‘Battle for Guildford’ Campaigner Robin Horsley

I decided to accept Cllr Joss Bigmore’s proposal to resign from R4GV and become an Independent.

The R4GV 2019 election manifesto contained many promises of openness, transparency, democracy, and the widest communications and consultation.

I really believe in openness and transparency, communication and consultation, overview and scrutiny towards councillors and residents alike. However, it took me many months (and a question at full council) to obtain Cllr Bigmore’s agreement that councillors be given advance notice to consider material, such as slides, rather than just at the following presentation itself.

The devil can be in the detail of proposals from the council and other parties especially developers. I have the time and the legal background to consider the vast amount of documents produced on the many major projects including North Street, Debenhams, and “Shaping Guildford’s Future”.

As a result, I challenged the North Street development, especially the deterioration of sustainable bus services resulting from fundamental changes proposed to bus station access, size, layout etc (which were the basis of the refusal of planning permission).

I questioned projects such as “Shaping Guildford’s Future” on which £2 million has already been spent (and a further £3 million agreed) on a consultation exercise including four one-hour online sessions each attended by less than 100, many being consultants and councillors (I know, I was there). Likewise, the consultants’ fees on major projects totalling over £14 million across financial years 2020-21 and 2021-22.

Yes, I do have the independence of thought and diverse opinions which R4GV’s 2019 leaflet requested – “We are determined to have an independence of thought and we value diversity of opinion.”

In R4GV’s 2023 election leaflet, party Leader Cllr, Bigmore states that “R4GV is a group of independent, free-thinking people.”

I regret to say that Guildford residents should consider whether, like all political parties, R4GV are what they say on the tin – not necessarily what they may hope to do but in the way that they actually do it.

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