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Letter: Sadly, Fake News Misled the Electorate

Published on: 9 May, 2023
Updated on: 10 May, 2023

From: John Rigg

Former R4GV lead councilor for Regeneration at GBC

In response to: Election Analysis – Triumph and Disaster Are Both Impostors

A good commentary by Martin Giles, although it omits to mention the cross-party support for North Street through action or inaction over three years until the night of the Planning Committee where political opportunism and social media attacks came into play.

One other slight absence was coverage or discussion about how the council had been run and how R4GV had so effectively led the council over its term in office. Our party held all the major portfolios Finance, Regeneration, Major Projects, Assets and Customer and Commercial Services.

Four R4GV Executive members with business expertise saved millions, identified millions wasted and put in place protections hopefully to avoid future repetition of losses.

R4GV professionally advanced development projects the previous council had committed us to and which could not be prudently curtailed approaching now £600 million in size.  R4GV started the essential journey to address flooding and at last opening the riverside in a vision for the town.

And through a joint venture with Waverley Borough Council we identified major savings for the future. I could go on.

Sadly, fake news misled the electorate and no meaningful coverage was given to the countless other issues on which the local election should have been decided.

Other than misinformation and character assassination the campaign revealed not much more than a reflection of dissatisfaction with national politics rather than an informed judgment of the challenges of running this council and the skills required.

These same national political parties will now undoubtedly be giving their time and energy to succeeding at the next general election rather than running Guildford Borough Council in contrast to the way R4GV operated with our sole focus on the interests of the borough and its residents.

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Responses to Letter: Sadly, Fake News Misled the Electorate

  1. P Knight Reply

    May 9, 2023 at 4:57 pm

    Councillors come and go, but sadly poor decisions on planning stay with residents forever.

    We can see many examples of this in Guildford and I think many feared that an R4GV council would take us all down that path again where their mission statement seems to have been development at any cost with the justification that “something is better than an empty site”.

    We all knew deep down that the North Street scheme wasn’t ideal but many of us tolerated it. The Horsley video [Battle for Guildford] provided a new perspective and showed it in its true colours and for me this undermined R4GV – they lost credibility.

    How can a council put a developer in the driving seat (to the point they could not confirm if St Edward would appeal or not) on sites they previously owned?

    We saw videos of at least one of their councillors championing affordable housing yet supporting schemes at St Mary’s Wharf and North Street which pretty much had zero affordable and at the same time Guildford Park Road has moved at a snails pace with the consented site empty for their whole 4-year term.

    Another thing for me was the cherry picking of success – even here John Rigg has said they pretty much had control of all of the lead functions at the council – all of the failing areas suddenly were down to Lib Dems.

    I can’t say a Lib Dem Council will be any better but at least you know what you are getting.

  2. Ben Paton Reply

    May 9, 2023 at 5:57 pm

    “…identified millions wasted and put in place protections hopefully to avoid future repetition of losses”.

    I don’t doubt that this may be true. But I don’t know what the “identified millions wasted” are. I suspect that most of the electorate is in the same boat.

    Would R4GV please tell us? After all, it needs to “bang its own drum”.

    The electorate has not been sufficiently informed.

    The Lib Dems now have the upper hand. Indeed they don’t need the Conservatives on the borough council. But for decades they have advanced policies that are indistinguishable – notably the 2019 Local Plan that they helped create, over more than a decade.

  3. Paul Spooner Reply

    May 9, 2023 at 8:26 pm

    Is this an R4GV official statement from a party perspective by Mr Rigg or a personal view? Response may be merited if this is R4GV Party propaganda.

    Paul Spooner is a former Conservative borough councillor

  4. Dave Fielding Reply

    May 9, 2023 at 9:18 pm

    That was a long letter from Jon Rigg but rather let down by providing no specifics on what this fake new was. Trump I think introduced the term which as far as I could see was used to rubbish facts he did not like.

  5. Jim Allen Reply

    May 9, 2023 at 11:50 pm

    Bottom line two videos paid for by one man fundamentally changed the voting pattern, to the detriment of Guildford Borough.

    The damage to the democratic process has been done. I trust Mr Horsley is happy with his £1,000 plus expenditure. He must have been desperate to spend such a some. He could have stood for election for free. I wonder why he didn’t!

    In four-years’ time we will need to hear if Horsley is happy with his efforts. I suspect he will say yes but think the opposite!

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