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Letter: If I Have Misremembered, I Retract

Published on: 1 Oct, 2021
Updated on: 1 Oct, 2021

Cllr Joss Bigmore

From: Joss Bigmore

In response to: Joss Bigmore Overstates My Influence

Julie Iles says that I was “…considered, measured, and accurate,” in my interview with Dragon editor, Martin Giles. I feel we are almost becoming friends!

But in all seriousness, if I have misrepresented anything she said during the SCC Election Campaign I apologise.

I had a recollection of “verbal assurances from ministers guaranteeing lower housing numbers”, if you didn’t say this and my memory faulty then I retract.

Maybe in return can we agree that our 2019 election manifesto promising to improve the worst aspects of the Local Plan was published prior to the adoption of the Plan just a week before the election?

Obviously, our ability to make those necessary improvements quickly was severely hindered by the controversial adoption process. I seem to make this point quite regularly although it still hasn’t hit home with everybody.

We are committed to doing everything we can to shift development from the countryside to more sustainable locations. A shift in National Planning Policy to make that easier would be welcome, as would a decision by the government to use the most up to date population figures to recalculate our true housing need.

See: Dragon Interview: Council Leader Says He ‘Understands the Anger’ Over the Local Plan

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test 3 Responses to Letter: If I Have Misremembered, I Retract

  1. Julie Iles Reply

    October 1, 2021 at 11:42 am

    Cllr Bigmore’s response completely misses the point. At the end of his interview, he suggests that Sir Paul Beresford, myself and the rest of “our crew” may have promised Mole Valley councillors something to help them with their housing numbers because Mole Valley is our constituency.

    He hasn’t misremembered anything about this. How could he when it’s pure fabrication that I’ve had any contact with Mole Valley councillors on this issue (or indeed any other)?

    At the time of the election campaign, I recall suggestions that a review of the Local Plan would risk a higher housing number being set for the Borough. But in December 2020, housing targets were put back to what they were.

    Surrey MPs also had confirmation that if locally calculated estimates of housing need could not be achieved without building on the green belt that a lower target would be accepted. I wrote about this in this article https://guildford-dragon.com/2021/03/19/now-tories-demand-review-of-2019-tory-local-plan/

    Regardless of when the R4GV election manifesto was published the pledge was to “Amend the Local Plan”. There were no caveats, no ifs, no buts or suggestions that this promise would be difficult to uphold.

    Julie Iles is a former Conservative county councillor for The Horsleys.

  2. Joss Bigmore Reply

    October 1, 2021 at 2:17 pm

    So Julie Iles is not my friend then?

    Joss Bigmore is the R4GV leader of Guildford Borough Council

  3. David Roberts Reply

    October 1, 2021 at 3:36 pm

    I appreciate that Ms Iles is sore at losing her seat, but she should re-direct her flak at the Lib Dems, who are tying Cllr Bigmore’s hands. They are surely a bigger threat to her party than R4GV.

    The Conservatives have no credibility on this subject while Cllrs Spooner and Furniss, architects of the Local Plan as former leaders of Guildford Council, remain in prominent local positions.

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