Fringe Box



Letter: R4GV Welcomes Cllr Spooner’s Conversion to Residents’ Champion

Published on: 3 Sep, 2020
Updated on: 3 Sep, 2020

From: Fiona Davidson

R4GV Group Chair

In response to: Conservative Independents Demand R4GV Clarifies Position on Local Plan

We understood Cllr Paul Spooner (Con Ind Group, Ash & Tongham) had blacklisted the Guildford Dragon, so we are very flattered we have provoked his re-emergence into the media. We are also pleased to read of his sudden assumption of the role of residents’ champion.

We need more councillors to champion the cause of residents, so we’re delighted to welcome his Damascene conversion to the cause. Given the huge burden of development in Ash and Tongham provided in the Local Plan passed by Cllr Spooner and his colleagues, we have no doubt Ash and Tongham residents will be very pleased too.

While on the subject of the Local Plan, maybe Clllr Spooner can explain what happened to the A3 developments which residents were categorically told had been agreed by Highways England? The Planning Inspector agreed these works were fundamental to the delivery of the Local Plan, but it appears Highways England is no longer committed to this prerequisite.

So, to the Planning White Paper, but maybe not. As Cllr Spooner will be aware, the new calculation method being proposed by the government is not actually part of the White Paper. Introducing the new method can be implemented simply by ministerial directive. This can be done at any time, without fanfare.

You may wonder why such a significant change is not part of the White Paper proposals. But then, so too is the plan to increase the number of houses that can be built without the need to allocate affordable housing.

The present number is 35. The proposals set the number at 50. At one fell swoop, this will provide a significant uplift in profit for developers, while depriving the people who can least afford it of the opportunity to buy a home.

Many Conservative MPs have voiced their horror at the new calculation. It’s worth reading the article on the influential Conservative Home website to judge the level of unrest in Conservative circles.

Cllr Spooner is clearly also very concerned about the new method, so we’d like to encourage him to use his contacts and influence in Westminster to add to the protests. As the change will be by ministerial directive, this is by far the most effective means of registering opposition.

And we at R4GV are left wondering why our local Conservative MP appears silent on the subject.

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Responses to Letter: R4GV Welcomes Cllr Spooner’s Conversion to Residents’ Champion

  1. Ben Paton Reply

    September 3, 2020 at 6:39 pm

    Government by formula. It is something out of Animal Farm.

    This particular formula is economically illiterate. It is premised on the false belief that the shortage of housing is greatest where house prices are highest. That’s a bit like saying that the demand for Ford Fiestas is highest in postcodes full of Rolls-Royces and Maserati’s. It just ain’t so.

    Houses are long-life capital assets and the annual supply of new housing is just not a significant determinant of house prices in the short or medium term.

    If the government can’t win the argument with logic and evidence what does it do? It rigs the evidence and then it introduces a formula.

  2. Jules Cranwell Reply

    September 4, 2020 at 7:08 am

    This is priceless, well done Fiona Davidson.

    I did wonder myself why, having flounced off so publicly from discourse with The Dragon, Cllr Spooner has chosen to re-emerge.

    Perhaps The Dragon would do us all a favour, and blacklist him this time?

    Editor’s response: We aim to represent all views so long as they comply with our letters and comments policy.

  3. David Roberts Reply

    September 5, 2020 at 1:17 pm

    Could The Dragon please tell us who these “Conservative Independents” are and how they differ from the other Tories on the council? Is this some kind of pro/anti-Brexit or Boris split or is it a clash of personalities or local policies? What does each faction stand for and how are they going to present themselves at the next election?

    Editor’s response: We will continue to try and obtain and report information about all local political parties and their policies. Please see: Dragon Interview: Former Conservative Group Leader – Why I Resigned and Local Tory Parties’ Silence on Spooner Split Seems to Say, ‘Least Said, Soonest Mended’

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