Fringe Box



Letter: Political Pancakes? The Council Plays Politics The Whole Time

Published on: 17 Apr, 2019
Updated on: 17 Apr, 2019

From Ben Paton

Guildford Greenbelt Group candidate for Effingham in the borough council elections to be held on May 2.

In response to: The Recent Pancake Race Was a Political Offering

Gosh, the council wishes to make some news about a pancake race. There much more to be shocked about in its own conduct.

Guildford Borough Council has politicised many aspects of life in Guildford. It plays politics the whole time. The Local Plan was a political exercise. It did not gather objective evidence then follow where it led. The Green Belt & Countryside Study and its supplements were commissioned to predetermine where to build.

The Strategic Housing Market Assessment deliberately took the largest possible figures for population growth. When the ONS revised its figures, GL Hearn had to reduce its household growth figures. The council ignored almost all of the objections made at the various so-called “consultations”.

The Local Plan details for two of the largest sites have, for most practical purposes, been written by the site-owners, Surrey University and Caymans-based Wisley Property Investments Ltd (WIPL). The council’s Executive has been careful to direct development away from the wards that its members represent.

There was even a proposal to create a new Metropolitan Green Belt around Ash. Many commentators said that flew in the face of the NPPF [National Planning Policy Framework] but the Executive left it in the final draft of the plan. Finally, the inspector threw it out.

Council collaboration with developers is a political act. WIPL and its advisers received advice from a former head of planning on local consultation to avoid objections, apparently wrote GBC’s Garden Village Bid and drafted SCC’s “letter of support”. Similar collaboration is held in undisclosed fashion with Surrey University.

The previous leader and deputy leader of GBC collaborated with others to pay university students to get signatures for a petition to change the system in Guildford to an elected mayor. Former leader Mansbridge had to come clean when The Dragon published the relevant minutes of a UoS Student Union meeting he had attended.

All these are blatantly political actions and the council has found them entirely acceptable. This is the council that refused to reopen its enquiry into Monika Juneja affair even after the Bar Standards Board wrote to inform them she was not a barrister. GBC brazenly ignores the facts and its Code of Conduct and is not in any position to lecture anyone about standards.

The council seems to consider they are doing local communities a favour by sending representatives to local events. Local communities should ask them to stay away. They do not need their patronage.


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test One Response to Letter: Political Pancakes? The Council Plays Politics The Whole Time

  1. Alan Davies Reply

    April 21, 2019 at 10:17 pm

    There is something rotten in the borough of Guildford. I have just seen this week’s Private Eye article which includes Guildford Borough Council in its “Rotten Borough” column for its actions over Wisley. I am shocked by the apparent underhand practices by council leadership, Wisley developers and former county council leader. Apparently, a letter was drafted by agents of the developers for the borough council to send to the county council who returned it to Cllr Spooner badged as an SCC letter.

    All this to support a bid by Guildford for Wisley ” Garden Village” money from the government. I recommend everyone reads Private Eye which rightly praises The Dragon.

    Such shame on the council. What we can expect next from Cllr Spooner and his Conservative team?

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