Fringe Box



Letter: The Power of GBC’s Council Officers Must Be Broken

Published on: 23 Mar, 2024
Updated on: 23 Mar, 2024

Angela Richardson MP

From: David Roberts

In response to: We Should All be Asking ‘Where Is the New Local Plan?’

Oh dear – more crude electioneering from our MP.

Revising the Local Plan would not be so urgent if Angela Richardson’s party had not made such a mess of preparing it during the many years that they controlled the council; and if they had not forced it prematurely through the council (with the full support of Labour and the then Lib Dem leader) just days before being massacred in the 2019 local elections.

This is a Tory plan, and its defects have been well known and thoroughly documented for the last ten years, in particular its promotion of greenfield over urban development and its “housing need” figure based on outdated population projections which the ONS (Office of National Statistics) admitted years ago were inflated. What is this figure, if not a Tory top-down housing target? And it’s still being used to justify huge, unnecessary so-called “strategic” development sites in the Guildford countryside.

But it’s disingenuous for the Lib Dems to pretend they are boxed in by Tory policy. In power in Guildford for five years, they have consistently slid away from the issue of a Local Plan review and still have absolutely no known policy on local development planning. Their lead councillor is a foremost exponent of the false notion that planning is purely procedural and that all elected politicians can do is agree to whatever their council officers say. The power of the latter must be broken.

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