Fringe Box



Letter: My Green Belt Defence Has Always Come Before My Party

Published on: 18 Mar, 2021
Updated on: 18 Mar, 2021

From: Sir Paul Beresford

In response to: Mole Valley Leaflet Includes ‘Blue on Blue’ Criticism

The David Roberts letter (March 16) says “Imitation is the highest form of flattery”. I don’t disagree, but it may be worth considering who is imitating whom in this instance.

As the MP for Mole Valley, fully supported by my association and local members, I have been vigorously opposed to plans for developing the Wisley site as well as the removal of green belt sites from the villages within the GBC wards of the Mole Valley constituency.

This has been my stance since I first viewed these proposals in what was, at the time, the draft Local Plan. In fact, my opposition began long before GGG was even conceived. My position remains unchanged today. This is very well-known, documented in countless letters, speeches and leaflets.

The Local Plan must, by law, be reviewed and, if considered appropriate, revised within five years. This review could have been commenced immediately after the last Guildford local elections, thereby reversing the ongoing raid on our green belt.

My repeated requests to the then Liberal Democrat leader of GBC to trigger a Local Plan review were rejected. The GGG councillors have had since the last local elections to act on their manifesto pledge to reverse those green belt losses. Sadly, I have yet to see any evidence of action on their part.

Mr Roberts also makes passing mention of the local platform Next Door. Since lockdown, I and my small team reckon we have received and dealt with in excess of 42,000 emails, letters and phone messages.

Of those on Next Door who claimed I had not responded to their email, all bar one proved untraceable. The one we did find which slip through the net was obviously the 42,000 + 1, for which I apologise. This particular email referred to a local government matter, within the purview of the local councillor and not me as MP.

The key point is that Mr Roberts should not be so surprised to detect hints of “blue on blue” in my most recent leaflet. I stood in clear opposition to GBC for years when it was Conservative-controlled. This is nothing new.

My commitment to green belt protection has always transcended party affiliation. Based on the range of other letters Mr Roberts has written to The Dragon, I strongly suspect he has a grasp of the local situation and is fully aware the facts are as I have laid out.

He may indeed wish to take a cue from the article of mine titled “In defence of Objective Truth”.

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Responses to Letter: My Green Belt Defence Has Always Come Before My Party

  1. David Roberts Reply

    March 18, 2021 at 6:02 pm

    By “GGG councillors” does Sir Paul mean the Lib Dems or R4GV?

    As a small opposition party, GGG is not on the council Executive and so is in no position to reverse the green belt losses it condemns.

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