Fringe Box



Letter: The Lib Dems Must Honour Their Pledges to Protect the Green Belt

Published on: 6 May, 2015
Updated on: 6 May, 2015

green beltFrom Karen Stevens

Karen Stevens is a Guildford Greenbelt Group (GGG) candidate for Onslow ward in the borough council election.

Recent leafleting from the Liberal Democrats and their recently published local manifesto all trumpet that their party will protect the green belt. I, of course, welcome this, but would like to see them be more specific in their promises.

A recent letter in The Guildford Dragon by Ray Briggs (GGG candidate for Onslow ward) expressed doubt that this protection would be as robust as the people of Guildford would like it to be or perhaps would assume from reading the literature, but no response addressing this question has been forthcoming.

We believe that the majority of people of Guildford want to see the green belt untouched, and that if they are moved to vote (or indeed have already voted) for the Liberal Democrats by promises of this kind, it is because they believe the Liberal Democrats have committed to this aim and will deliver it.

If this is not the case, the Lib Dems in Guildford urgently need to clarify their position in order to ensure that the thousands of voters in Guildford Borough, concerned about this issue, can make a properly informed decision. Moreover, if they do not make such a clarification, all Lib Dem councillors who are elected must be bound by a mandate to protect the green belt from any, and all, incursions.

Unless it was a deliberate attempt to mislead the electorate, I’m not sure what sort of explanation the Liberal Democrats could make at this stage for backing down on these promises, given that it is now the eve of the election and many residents have already placed their votes by post.

There will no doubt be pressure brought from central government to roll back the green belt, but the people of Guildford will want, and expect, their councillors to stand firm against such pressure and to deliver promises made to its local elected representatives.

Candidates from the following parties are standing in the Guildford Borough Council elections on Thursday, May 7th: Conservative; Green Party; Guildford Greenbelt Group; Labour; Liberal Democrats; Peace Party; UKIP. There are also Independent candidates.

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Responses to Letter: The Lib Dems Must Honour Their Pledges to Protect the Green Belt

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    May 6, 2015 at 5:46 pm

    I trust all candidates who are elected no matter their colour, creed or politics will remember and take note.

    The Wey Valley and Burpham Court Farm are not only in zone 3b flood plain but in the designated metropolitan green belt as well.

    So no councillors should support the vanity project of the link road across the flood plain from Slyfield to Clay lane.

    I expect the first order of business at GBC council meeting will be to vote to and remove this proposal from the table unanimously.

    We will see.

  2. Stephen Johanson Reply

    May 7, 2015 at 9:46 pm

    I think the first thing the full council should do is to ask all the new GGG councillors to reveal their lists of brownfield sites they have been banging on about for so long.

    Only once these have analysed for their suitability, viability and availability will councillors be able to decide which pledges to stick to.

  3. James Gross Reply

    May 9, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    Well judging by the election results it would seem that the majority of Guildford residents are not in agreement with Karen Stevens.

    A mere 1% considered it such a strongly felt issue that they deigned to use their national vote in favour of Susan Parker.

    True (so far) 3 GGG local candidates have been elected, which admittedly for a single issue party on a local issue is not a bad showing, yet with the local trend seeing a reduction in Lib Dem support (although proportionately higher here where we have have hard working elected members from all parties), it would seem that the primary concern of the electorate is around economic growth and stable government.

    I for one hope that the council uses this strong mandate from the majority of voters to get on with growing an economically dynamic Guildford which is open for business, new family housing and access to our quality environment – all in equal measure.

    Incidentally, and of particular interest to Stephen Johanson, I recall a very thorough piece of work into all of Guildford’s brownfield sites, from Slyfield, to the station and Bedford Road, forensically dissecting each for non-commercial deliverability and viability.

    It was produced by property agents as supporting documentation into the earlier appeal at Ash and Tongham which was eventually allowed. Unfortunately it seems impossible to to find online (if I do I will post) but is an excellent riposte to those suggesting we should adopt a brownfield first approach, as to my knowledge, save for part of the station, which the Civic Society [Guildford Society?] is resisting, none of these sites have come forward since I first moved to Guildford as a student 24 years ago.

    As a property professional whose worked on brownfield sites and studies as far afield as Louisiana to Prague and all the way back to a Brownfield Assembly Study for the former (Guildford based) Regional Development Agency, I know that the market will pick these sites up the moment the economics begin to work and not a moment sooner.

    For info, GGG attracted 14% of the vote in the borough council election. Ed

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