Fringe Box



Letter: It Is Shameful To Ignore 8,000 Signatures

Published on: 4 May, 2016
Updated on: 4 May, 2016

GBC petitionFrom Stephen Mansbridge

Neither Cllrs Gunning nor Spooner, who was then lead member for governance, recall the exact facts. I did not vote alone, Cllr Parker voted with me in rejecting the motion.

As I said at the time, 20 per cent of councillors were not consulted and the elected mayoral option was not examined seriously. There were no visits to places with elected mayors, unlike the other options, and the paragraph dismissing the option of an elected mayor had to be expanded at my request by the head of governance in order to give the impression that it had been considered in any sense.

Comments on wasting time are utterly shameful to over 8,000 people who have signed this petition, from all parties. As Cllr Parker once stated vigorously in a meeting with myself and council officers, that she did not care how much it cost the tax payer, democracy had no price. I find it disturbing that she and I are in agreement in successive paragraphs.

Of course, I have not forgotten what the council is like and that is why a robust form of governance is so desperately needed. Outside this bubble of councillors and the same few commentators, people have a different view from all corners of the borough. I collected signatures in Cllr Spooner’s ward and the response was almost unanimously in favour of a referendum with a sample of around 700 residents.

Whilst denouncing myself or Ms Juneja might be good sport, council group leaders are being entirely disrespectful to elements of their own electorate. Now, that is a disgrace.

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Responses to Letter: It Is Shameful To Ignore 8,000 Signatures

  1. Dave Middleton Reply

    May 4, 2016 at 11:10 pm

    I have no doubt that the organisers of the petition for a referendum on the elected mayor will, by steadily plugging away, eventually gain the required number of valid signatories and a public vote for or against the idea will take place.

    In anticipation of this, would Mr Mansbridge, or indeed any other contributor to this debate, like to explain the benefits of our having such an official in place and how it might improve the running and efficiency of the council.

    Also, should someone be elected to this new office and subsequently prove to be incompetent or otherwise unsuitable prior to the end of their elected term of office, how might they be removed from that office?

  2. Sue Doughty Reply

    May 4, 2016 at 11:38 pm

    Oh dear, this from a former council leader who seemed to deny being involved with the petition, and who associates with a convicted criminal. Guildford politics needs a really big clean up.

    Sue Doughty is a former Lib Dem MP for Guildford.

  3. Jeremy Pattison Reply

    May 5, 2016 at 6:49 am

    If 8,000 genuine and eligible signatures have been submitted then the threshold has been reached and we can look forward to seeing the views of the rest of the 92,000 at the referendum.

    8,000 seems a very neat, round number – can Mr Mansbridge, in the spirit of openness and democracy, share the number of signatures submitted at the most recent submission?

  4. John Robson Reply

    May 5, 2016 at 8:13 am

    But it’s not shameful or disrespectful to repeatedly ignore 20,000 people who responded to the consultation on the draft Local Plan, the majority opposing development on the green belt, because as Mr Mansbridge stated:

    “The Trajectory has been set….”

    You can’t just play the democracy card when it suits.

    The fact is the governance model, now, doesn’t suit those people who wish to see rampant growth and decimation of the green belt, it beggars belief you can spend a few quid, paying students to collect signatures, to instigate a process that could undermine a democratically elected council. Only in England…

    Why bother with a local plan consultation and why bother having local councillors if property developers can blatantly by-pass the majority view?

    You have to ask the question, if the main protagonists are no longer serving councillors and no longer carrying out the tremendously difficult job of serving their community, what is in it for them?

  5. Nigel Kearse Reply

    May 5, 2016 at 11:00 am

    Only a small point perhaps, but I was surprised to read Stephen Mansbridge’s comment about Cllr Spooner being the lead member for governance when, in fact, I believe it was Cllr Manning.

    So yes the comment about not recalling the exact facts is true but I don’t think it’s Cllr Spooner who is suffering from factual inaccuracy.

  6. Ramsey Nagaty Reply

    May 5, 2016 at 11:19 pm

    Mr Mansbridge says he asked residents to sign so as to have a chance to vote on the governance system.

    What he fails to tell people is that in doing so he is restricting the debate as his petition will block the petition seeking to change from Executive control of GBC to a more democratic full council committee governance.

  7. Paul Spooner Reply

    May 6, 2016 at 8:35 am

    I am a little surprised that the then leader [Stephen Mansbridge], who appointed me to lead member for planning and regeneration in his May 2015 reshuffle, has forgotten that he appointed Cllr Manning for governance at the same May 2015 reshuffle following the election.

    I agree that Cllr Parker did indeed object with Cllr Mansbridge, but in my opinion, given Cllr Parker’s unfortunate vote at last full council [meeting], that is no badge of honour.

  8. Jeremy Pattison Reply

    May 14, 2016 at 11:32 am

    Mr Mansbridge’s failure to share the number of signatures submitted could lead more cynical readers of The Dragon to conclude that the true total was short of the 8,000 he stated. Can he reassure us this is not the case?

    We understand that Mr Mansbridge is claiming that a gross figure of 8,000 signatures has been obtained. But so far, less than the 5,184 (five per cent of registered electors in the borough), necessary to trigger a referendum, have been accepted as verified by Guildford Borough Council. A further tranche of signatures (number not known) has been submitted to the council by the petitioners and is undergoing verification. Ed.

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