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Letter: Independents Must Share Lib Dem’s Concern for Guildford’s Neediest

Published on: 6 May, 2019
Updated on: 6 May, 2019

From Paul Bishop

In response to: What Awaits Guildford After Voter Revolution Topples Tories?

The serious defeat of the Conservatives in the recent elections has many people jumping for joy, but I’m concerned about who may suffer from this shift to the Independents. We aren’t far off a majority at Millmead for the “local parties”. The new kids on the block, R4GV [Residents for Guildford and Villages), and the seemingly reducing in popularity, Guildford Green Belt Group [GGG].

To have these Independents is, in theory, great. However, I am concerned that both groups seem heavily focussed on saving green belt and stopping the Local Plan, popular issues in the areas they have stood. My worry is for the areas these parties do not represent. Westborough, Stoughton, Stoke and Burpham are areas where these parties did not even stand, and these areas are some of the most heavily populated and have some of the most vulnerable residents who rely most heavily on a council who puts their needs top of the list.

I’m concerned that with this shift we are going to end up with Millmead too focussed on changing the Local Plan, on the villages and many green areas at the expense of our neediest residents.

I look forward to seeing some manifesto updates by both parties to see how they will be prioritising the least privileged. In the meantime, I am glad to see Lib Dem control of these four areas. All the Lib Dem councillors work tirelessly for the good of the residents and have real results to show for this. I really hope R4GV support them in this vital work, they’ve had a lot of faith put in them by the residents of Guildford, now the hard work must start to prove they are worthy.

Editor’s note: R4GV won 15 seats compared with 17 by the Lib Dems while GGG increased their number of seats from three to four, but fielded fewer candidates securing a smaller percentage of the popular vote. See: Comment: Analysing the Most Dramatic Local Election in Living Memory

 

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test 2 Responses to Letter: Independents Must Share Lib Dem’s Concern for Guildford’s Neediest

  1. Jules Cranwell Reply

    May 6, 2019 at 10:22 pm

    I don’t see how increasing their councillor count by a third equates to GGG becoming increasingly unpopular.

    I think we should give all our new councillors a chance to prove themselves. They could not possibly do a worse job than the Tories.

    They are not single-issue parties. They are also focussed on such issues as global warming, which the Local Plan would exacerbate, and the future of both town and countryside.

    • Paul Bishop Reply

      May 8, 2019 at 2:40 pm

      Issues such as global warming and the Local Plan are the main issues these councillors stood on, which is my exact concern. These are of course real issues but there are bigger issues which I fear will be playing second fiddle to these concerns – social housing supply, protecting community and children’s centres, tackling seemingly increasing local homelessness, community meals, solving traffic issues, maintaining and improving local facilities just to name a few.

      The Local Plan and where we build houses is clearly a very emotive issue, but it should not be the primary focus of any councillor when you see the number of other responsibilities they have. Let’s see how things pan out.

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