Fringe Box



Letter: We Need Politicians Who Listen, Not Idealogues

Published on: 22 Oct, 2023
Updated on: 22 Oct, 2023

From: Ben Paton

In response to: Housing Without Infrastructure Is Not Sustainable

Mr Allen’s points about capacity in the waste water infrastructure are just one of a number of examples of how the borough council ignores reality. If the evidence was examined objectively then the available capacity in health and transport infrastructure would also show a deficit.

Mr Allen has made his points with reasons and evidence. But the politicians have never shown any sign of listening.

In a manner of speaking, the residents “fired” most of the politicians who forced the Local Plan onto them. But the difficulty is that there are still no politicians with the intellectual honesty to address the facts.

What does the current council leadership have to say about waste water infrastructure and its capacity to support the housing set out in the Local Plan? Anything? Will it have the courtesy to answer Mr Allen’s legitimate questions?

The Conservative-led council created the 2019 Guildford Local Plan to replace the previous Local Plan that it put in place 16 years before – in 2003.

The 2019 Local Plan was well over ten years in the making. It included paying consultants vast sums of money to create an “evidence base”.

The process was not objective. It did not seek the truth about the number of houses needed or the available infrastructure. The evidence was collected to a) pay lip service to the rules and b) justify the plan that the council leaders were determined to force onto residents.

The evidence was “conclusions based” ie they came up with the conclusions they wanted and then went to get evidence to support it.

The most egregious example of this was the use of Office for National Statistics projections of population change that everyone knew were wrong. The ONS has now acknowledged that its statistics for Guildford are wrong. Yet the Local Plan has still not been adjusted to reflect the objective facts.

England needs politicians who 1) listen and 2) solve real problems – not ideologues.

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