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Letter: The Facts About the Conservatives and the Local Plan

Published on: 24 Mar, 2021
Updated on: 24 Mar, 2021

Guildford Borough Council debating the Local Plan before the votes were cast

From: Fiona White

Lib Dem borough councillor for Westborough and county councillor for Guildford West

The Conservative attempt to undo their own borough Local Plan ahead of the county council elections have resulted in inaccurate statements about Liberal Democrats from members of other council groups and residents.

I wish to correct them by placing on record what actually happened.

I attended both borough council meetings in April 2019 because I was a candidate in the borough elections in May 2019 and I have a long-standing interest in planning matters. I have also checked the minutes of the meetings to make sure my facts are correct.

At the April 9 meeting, all Lib Dem councillors voted for the motion to defer the adoption of the Local Plan until after the elections on May 2. The motion was voted down by the overwhelming Conservative majority on the council.

Liberal Democrats were clearly in favour of allowing the new post-May council to make the decision. That would have put the councillors elected in very different position from the one we inherited.

The Conservatives called an Extraordinary council meeting for April 25, 2019, to adopt the Local Plan, despite the protests from all opposition parties at the earlier meeting.

At that meeting, Lib Dem councillors had a free vote that allowed them to make up their own minds. Only one Lib Dem councillor voted for adoption, three Lib Dems voted against and two abstained.

Two Lib Dem councillors were unavoidably absent when the vote was taken. Again, the Conservative majority meant the Plan was adopted exactly one week before polling day.

In future, I hope whoever comments on this issue will do so on the basis of facts, not on their own, sometimes flawed, recollections.

See also the Dragon report of the meeting: New Local Plan Adopted at Extraordinary Council Meeting – How They Voted

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Responses to Letter: The Facts About the Conservatives and the Local Plan

  1. Ben Paton Reply

    March 24, 2021 at 5:46 pm

    And how did the Lib Dems vote on all the related issues over the previous ten plus years?

    Which Lib Dem voted to adopt the Local Plan – their leader.

    Two couldn’t be bothered to attend and two abstained.

    Not a show of conviction or a glorious record of dissent.

  2. Adam Aaronson Reply

    March 24, 2021 at 9:16 pm

    It is very helpful to have a reminder of the actual voting pattern. In a free vote, two abstained and one supported. Says it all really.

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