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Letter: Where Do the Lib Dems Stand on the Local Plan?

Published on: 27 Oct, 2022
Updated on: 27 Oct, 2022

From: David Roberts

In response to: North Hertfordshire Planning Decision Has Implications for Guildford

While R4GV must take some blame for their unkept promises, where are the Lib Dems on the hated Local Plan? After all, they currently run the council and, after a convincing local by-election victory in Tillingbourne, must surely be hoping to win an absolute majority on the council in next May’s local elections.

Given the state of the Tories, this is a plausible ambition except for one thing: they have no policy on the biggest issue Guildford faces.

In 2019, the Lib Dems spit four ways over approving the plan. Their then leader (shamefully as leader of the opposition) voted with the Tories. Other Lib Dem councillors voted against, abstained or simply avoided attending the meeting.

Since then, the Lib Dems have used their R4GV coalition partners as human shields to deflect criticism from their own inaction and lack of policy. As far as I know, their current leader has never uttered a word on the subject.

The Lib Dems have the power, and with R4GV and GGG the support on the council, to start a meaningful and independent review of this atrocious plan immediately. Its terms of reference could easily be limited to correcting the fictitious population projections and housing need targets that Mr Laub has exposed. As he has demonstrated, the downside risks of doing so are negligible.

The upside electoral benefits for the Lib Dems would be enormous. Think, for a start, of the thousand voters who have already objected to Taylor Wimpey’s application to build 2,000 houses at the former Wisley airfield.

Or do the Lib Dems want to be outsmarted by the very Tory councillors who foisted the plan on us in the first place? Cynically, the Tories could well promise to amend the Plan themselves.

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