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Letter: We Worked on Allotment Move, Not on ‘Photo Ops’ Like Guildford’s MP

Published on: 18 Feb, 2023
Updated on: 20 Feb, 2023

From: James Walsh

Labour borough councillor for the Stoke ward

In response to We ‘Stand to Lose this Year’s Crop’ Says Allotment Tenants as New Plots Not Ready

This situation has dragged on for too long and there has been a litany of problems that have prevented plot holders from transferring to the new plots in good enough time for spring.

Contrary to Angela Richardson’s (Con, MP for Guildford) comments, Cllr Gunning (Lab, Stoke) and I have been in regular communication with officers about this, and with those plot holders who have contacted us about their concerns. Unlike Angela in her various online and print communications, we didn’t go for the obligatory photo ops looking perturbed and ready for action every time we had a meeting or dealt with casework.

This has been an extremely tricky process right from inception and the first public consultation in 2019. Leaving aside the problems caused by Covid and the lockdowns, there has been a range of issues during the subsequent three years from securing the future of the “Aggie” club to a prohibitively-long wait for Angela’s Conseervative party colleague, the Secretary of State, to make a decision about the site, something we feel that she could have done more to help with.

In addition, there were questions about rights of way over footpaths, problems with car parking proposals at the new site and poor communications between various interested parties.

While it feels like many of these problems appear to be almost resolved, I do still have concerns about the amount of time this is taking and also about ongoing issues at the North Moor site, such as the flooding, the volume of stony material there and the inadequate toilets that have been installed. I have asked for an update to be provided this week.

I’m not sure if Angela was at the meeting back in January, I didn’t see her during the few hours I was there, but it was a useful opportunity to see how individuals felt, as well as speaking to Philippa and officers about the remaining problems.

Incidentally, I refrained from agreeing to be in a GBC photograph for publicity that morning because, sometimes, you just have to listen, learn and forget about the political hack stuff.

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Responses to Letter: We Worked on Allotment Move, Not on ‘Photo Ops’ Like Guildford’s MP

  1. J Holt Reply

    February 20, 2023 at 6:50 pm

    Given that there are borough elections in May and that many voters have reservations about local councillors pursuing national party agenda it is most important that the party affiliation of councillors corresponding with The Dragon are clearly stated.

    Why has this not been done for this letter?

    We do usually include this information. In this instance it was omitted by simple error. Ed

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