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Letter: It’s A Terrible Shame That the Opportunity for Change Has Been Missed

Published on: 17 May, 2019
Updated on: 17 May, 2019

Cllrs Joss Bigmore and Caroline Reeves

From: Anna-Marie Davis

In response to: Lib Dems Secure Leadership Of Borough Council With Tory and Labour Votes

For Cllr Reeves to harp on about climate change whilst backing a Local Plan reliant on destroying countryside and filling it with housing reliant on the car, is cognitive dissonance at its very finest. I am deeply saddened by the result on Wednesday, the people did indeed vote for a change, and this clearly isn’t it.

Will Caroline Reeves truly review the Local Plan and distance herself from the Tories, or will the tail wag the dog for four years before the Lib Dems face their total annihilation in 2023?

In her speech on Wednesday, Cllr Reeves stated that we need to “move away from governance by social media”. Perhaps, if governance was seen to be managed effectively in the chamber, then educated governance professionals in the borough will not feel obliged to point out the obvious failings of the council in this regard.

When former councillors Mansbridge and Juneja failed to declare their joint business interests, and I informed the monitoring officer, they were simply told to update the records. When the advice of the Bar Association was completely ignored regarding Monika Juneja’s claims to be a barrister the council disclaimed responsibility for its failed enquiry. In both cases the council, Cllr Reeves included, did not protest.

I’ll stop criticising the governance at Guildford Borough Council when the official channels are open to the truth and not closed in a foolhardy attempt to protect the council’s reputation. I am truly delighted to see that R4GV hold the chair of the Governance and Standards committee, because, frankly, Cllr Reeves has not proved herself in this area.

It was Angela Gunning [Lab, Stoke] who triggered the demise of Mansbridge with her question about his involvement with a campaign for a referendum to have an elected mayor. The Lib Dems have shown themselves to be entirely toothless, both when opposing policies and opposing misconduct.

The call-in procedure was manipulated by the outgoing administration with regard to the Wisley Garden Village bid, and Councillor Reeves was simply outmanoeuvred. I think it a terrible shame for Guildford that the established parties at Millmead did not embrace this opportunity for change as did their electorate.

I think Joss Bigmore would have made a fantastic council leader, but I think we all know the sums were done long before 7pm on Wednesday evening. We just have to wonder what was promised in return.

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