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Letter: It Will Take A Long Time to Rectify Damage Done by Decades of Conservative Mismanagement 

Published on: 25 Feb, 2022
Updated on: 25 Feb, 2022

From: David Ogilvie

Architect

In response to: Old Style Politics Have Served Guildford Poorly

Cllr John Riggs’ [R4GV, Holy Trinity] recent letter was a clear and accurate statement of facts from an exceptionally talented, knowledgeable and hard-working councillor.

I have voted Conservative all my life until the last local election when I was appalled at the behaviour, incompetence and mismanagement of the borough local plan-making system and the disastrous Local Plan voted through by Conservatives, the two Labour councillors and the Lib Dem leader.

For example:

  • GBC Conservatives committed this council to spending tens of millions on the Ash Road bridge scheme that should have been funded by SCC. Cllr Rigg has managed to mitigate these liabilities by securing improved grant aid but the whole cost should be the responsibility of SCC who too frequently were allowed to avoid paying or even contributing to local infrastructure improvements.
  • GBC Conservatives committed £millions on the Walnut Tree foot and cycle bridge. This bridge replaced a serviceable existing bridge and now blocks views from the River Wey towpath and has come in massively over budget due to worrying errors of judgement by Conservatives and Lib Dems on what is important.
  • The poor quality Local Plan was rushed through during purdah the week before the last local election against such local opposition that most Conservative councillors lost their seats.

We are now stuck with this Local Plan that removed more precious green belt from the borough than any other borough in the country. This loss of green belt can never be rectified.

Local villages were previously protected by being included in the green belt. Now even villages that do not have railway stations are unprotected and planning applications are pouring in.

The Wisley site was excluded from the green belt by the last council and zoned for residential use. This is a site that will be completely dependent on the car and is remote from exiting urban development but, of course, once out of the green belt it is virtually impossible to reverse.

The lack of any Guildford town centre policies in the Local Plan resulted in the Solum railway station plan being approved on appeal resulting in the impending construction of the “Great Wall of Guildford” which adds massively to delays and the difficulties of delivering regeneration and the new masterplan.

Lastly, the same Lib Dem/ Conservative majority voting in the first year of the current GBC administration has meant that R4GV has had only two years with any Executive powers.

It will take longer than two years to rectify all the damage done by decades of Conservative mismanagement.

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test 2 Responses to Letter: It Will Take A Long Time to Rectify Damage Done by Decades of Conservative Mismanagement 

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    February 25, 2022 at 2:31 pm

    A very accurate summation of the situation the failure to increase capacity of the sewage treatment works is just another result of this situation.

  2. John Perkins Reply

    February 25, 2022 at 8:45 pm

    GBC committed millions on the Walnut Tree bridge, at the same time SCC claimed they had no responsibility to maintain a footbridge over the Wey, despite it being a public right of way.

    Aren’t we lucky to have (or had) such gifted local politicians.

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