Fringe Box



Letter: This is My Constructive Advice…

Published on: 2 Oct, 2023
Updated on: 2 Oct, 2023

R4GV group leader Joss Bigmore

From: Dennis Paul

former Conservative borough councillor for Holy Trinity

In response to: Dragon Interview: Joss Bigmore, R4GV Leader at GBC

An interesting interview. If I were to offer any constructive observation it would be as follows:

1. Don’t allow opponents, and indeed the media to set the terms on which the election is fought. Not an easy task, but from the hustings I attended the main focus centred around the height of town centre development and technical debate on greenbelt/Local Plan. Sadly, little discussion about the many services delivered by the council and the people who deliver them who have a stake in its future.

2) The debate over new homes provision does not have to be green belt vs town centre. There was little consideration given to broader urban regeneration. GBC owns huge assets in the form of council housing which is largely low density. With some imagination, there is an opportunity to be innovative and redevelop some areas or spots into higher-density dwellings and upgrade existing infrastructure.

3) When elected, scrutinize and hold officers to account. The trappings of office can result in members see themselves as part of “The Establishment” and there to defend the reputation of the institution. I took it as a compliment when a councillor to be described by my own party leaders as anti-establishment for challenging poor spending decisions around the ill-fated “pop-up village”. Today’s problems at GCA [Guildford Conservative Association] stems from failure of successive administrations to thoroughly scrutinize and question advice provided by officers

4) When in office, appoint a small team with special technical advisors to report directly to the Executive team and attend key meetings to ensure there is some scrutiny and challenge to existing management culture, outlook and orthodoxy.

Perhaps the election result can be seen as a blessing, providing the space to develop a vision that connects with residents next time round.

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