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‘March on Millmead’ – Council Leader Makes a Statement

Published on: 27 Nov, 2013
Updated on: 28 Nov, 2013
Stephen Mansbridge

Stephen Mansbridge

With news that several campaign groups, formed to resist proposals to consider building on green belt land, are planning to march on the Guildford Borough Council offices in Millmead this Friday, the council leader, Cllr Stephen Mansbridge (Con, Ash South & Tongham) has this morning issued a statement.

He said: “I am aware a number of different groups are planning on presenting petitions at the council offices on Friday.  I welcome these representations, this really is Localism at its best.

“I would however like to reiterate the following points:

1. In order to protect the AONB, the green belt and AGLV Land we really do need the Local Plan so we can manage any future development in a controlled way.

2. As the Leader, I hear what people are saying: that we need to push back at the Government’s suggestion that green belt development is necessary, but we need to assess this and the only way we can do this is through the Local Plan process.  Residents of Guildford need to be assured that while we know the the government has told us we have to consider sites across the borough for potential future development, we as a Conservative council, will not be building on the green belt until we have exhausted all usable brownfield sites first.

3. The land which has been identified in the Evidence documents has NOT been agreed for development and nor has it been earmarked for development.  This applies to both green belt land and brownfield sites: NO decisions for development have been made at this stage. We are purely asking for people’s views; that’s why this stage of the Local Plan is so important.

4. All residents of Guildford can simply send an email, write a letter or go into Swan Lane to give their views on what is important to them – they do not have to fill in a long questionnaire.

“All views will be taken into account to help the formulation of the draft Local Plan – which will go out for two further rounds of consultation.

“This is about creating a Guildford fit for the next 20 years, that works for everyone and that meets the challenges the future will bring – and over which we have no control – like population growth. It affects us all and it’s about listening to every point of view before taking an informed decision based on what we’ve heard, know and understand about the facts before us.

“Our residents’ views vary greatly, but people need to understand that we have presented the information as neutrally as we can. At this stage there is NO plan and we want residents to inform us of their views so that these views can influence the direction of the plan. I understand that people have made assumptions, but they have to be clear that we have no pre-conceptions and we will form a draft plan based on technical guidance, their views and our view as a Conservative Group running the council.

“I hope that everyone who comes to Millmead House on Friday afternoon has given their views to us in writing, as this is the best way to ensure that the message is heard. I have invited all key stakeholders to discuss their views with me and my team; some have and I hope the rest will. This should not be about who shouts loudest and personal attacks, but about presenting coherent views which build a strong case. These well-argued views will then help us to form our plan.

“For once, people of Guildford, the future development of your borough is in your hands.”

What is your view of or response to Cllr Mansbridge’s statement? Please use the Leave a Reply feature below to have your say.

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test 7 Responses to ‘March on Millmead’ – Council Leader Makes a Statement

  1. Jules Cranwell Reply

    November 27, 2013 at 9:56 pm

    I’m sorry, but we have yet to hear an acceptable answer to “villages we think should not remain in the green belt”, page 52 of the consultation document, citing 16 of 24 villages recommended for exclusion from the green belt.

    We hope to be given an answer on Friday. Please join us!

    Jules Cranwell is an organiser of the “March on Millmead”

  2. Graham Richings Reply

    November 27, 2013 at 10:18 pm

    There are far too many residences in Guildford let to students and more needs to be done to ensure that more students are house on the university campus.

    This would free up a lot of properties that could be sold on the open market to those who want to buy, thereby reducing the need to develope and keep the Local Plan down to brown field sites only.

    This town is currently being ruined by the number of propeties let to students. If more of these houses were sold to families more Council Tax would be coming into Guildford Borough Council coffers. The building of new houses must be kept to a minimum to save further spoiling this town for now and for future generations.

  3. Gary Cooper Reply

    November 28, 2013 at 10:46 pm

    Mr Mansbridge should appreciate that the residents of Send are having to put up a strong argument to retain green belt status of land in the village because councillors Keith Taylor and Terence Patrick have publicly stated that its loss is inevitable. Further, they have persuaded the parish council into supporting their line of argument. This alone simply stinks.

    If they do not get your troops lined up, all facing in the same direction as our MP, I am afraid Nigel Farage will have the last laugh at the next elections.

  4. Lisa Wright Reply

    November 29, 2013 at 9:06 am

    Every councillor, including those at the top, are acting as if development of the university site is a ‘done deal’ and that any protesters are ‘wasting their time’.

    They have already planned a railway station at Park Barn, the road network has been improved by the Hospital/Surrey Research Park. We’ve seen plans from the transport group showing roads coming through Wood Street Village to link up.

    And from the feedback I’ve heard from the campaigns that have had meetings with Mr Mansbridge, and sources within the council’s work force, it seems that they intend to build on the green belt first.

    Building on brownfield is more costly. Building on green fields is easy and very profitable both for the contractors and for GBC, in terms of the contribution to services that they will receive.

    We’re stuffed.

  5. Michael Bruton Reply

    November 29, 2013 at 9:25 am

    More waffle and obfuscation from Tory Guildford Borough Council which, I believe, is a dysfunctional organisation intent on wrecking the green belt.

    In starting its consultation at least 18 months late, to the delight of developers, the Tories have let down badly those who put them there.

    Here in the Horsleys our three borough councillors have done virtually nothing to protect us. Only one, Cllr Jenny Wicks, turned up at the mass meeting in East Horsley Village Hall on 7 November while our MP and county councillor did. So where were Cllrs Jen Powell and Andrew French? All I have received from Cllr Powell is a note that she does not like my ‘tone’. As for Cllr French, who is he?

    If there were elections any time soon the ‘Save the Green Belt Party’ would trounce ‘The Horsley Three’. All Tory Councillors on GBC voted in unison for the consultation process which, to me, presumes/assumes massive development in the green belt.

    But in their latest Tory Newsletter for Clandon and Horsley, Cllr Wicks writes only that the Tories will be “….attempting to preserve the majority of the green belt…”

    Such a counsel of despair is welcome to those with bulldozers and concrete mixers. Running up the white flag is not the best way to impress electors that you will fight and fight again to preserve the Metropolitan Green Belt for Londoners and Surrey residents/visitors alike.

  6. Gary Cooper Reply

    November 29, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    What a pathetic response from Cllr Mansbridge and his cronies in respect of this afternoon’s peaceful protest.

    A good number of seriously concerned residents of the local villages turned out to express their feelings but we were all let down very badly by the pathetic non appearance of the elected members of the council.

    This just about sums up how much the council actually care about the genuine concerns of their electorate and it further demonstrates the need for change.

  7. David Reynolds Reply

    November 29, 2013 at 6:45 pm

    How can Cllr Mansbridge say they have presented information as neutrally as possible when they allowed developers to lead workshop groups without declaring their interest. Their presence meant that residents were turned away.

    When I asked a councillor why she approved this flawed consultation, she said they had to. This is no way to represent her electorate.

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