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Opinion: Be Brave, Vote for Change, Vote for R4GV

Published on: 17 Apr, 2019
Updated on: 22 Apr, 2019

This is the third of a final set of opinion pieces from the five political groups which currently form Guildford Borough Council (GBC) during the period running up to the borough council elections.

We are grateful to all the participants for taking part. Our aim is to allow our readers to hear from local politicians directly and become better informed of the political choice they have on May 2. Articles from the other political groups are being published, one each day, this week. All previous articles in the series can be found here.

Joss Bigmore

By Joss Bigmore

Residents for Guildford and Villages (encompassing the Independent Alliance) are a group of residents focussed on trying to make Guildford Borough the best it can be.  We are not bound by national party doctrine or led by people with higher political ambition – we will make decisions only for the good of Guildford and its Villages.

We really want openness, transparency and accountability, – we pledge to talk to everyone who has an idea to make our community better.  We aren’t traditional politicians, we will not be afraid to say “We don’t know” or “We’re sorry we made a mistake”.  And if we don’t know something our first port of call will be you.  Guildford is blessed with an extremely engaged and experienced population so why pay millions for expensive consultants when many residents will provide expertise for free.

The current version of the Local Plan although declared “sound” is not good enough. We will seek to amend, at every opportunity, to ensure the right numbers of homes are built in the right places and sold or rented at the right prices.

The borough’s need for affordable homes in sustainable locations is critical and the Local Plan in its current form will not deliver what we need. Further we will insist that no developments occur without infrastructure being in place.  Guildford has a severe infrastructure deficit already, and new development should improve, not worsen congestion, pollution and our environment.

We will seek to protect the unique nature of our suburbs, villages and hamlets. One size-fits-all national planning policy is threatening what makes our borough beautiful-there are places suitable for intensification of housing but not everywhere.

R4GV volunteer, Liz Hyland, canvassing.

We will ensure our community assets are safe guarded so that our facilities are not commercialised and our campsites privatised.  We will make sure that these properties are well managed and available to residents with any profits invested back into our community through Sports, Arts and Culture spending.

We will be more demanding with the University of Surrey to build more student housing on campus with homes off campus available to residents.  Currently too many key workers and young families are crowded out of affordable housing in our town centre.

We will be as careful with your money as if it were our own. £millions wasted on a Pop-up Village, a bridge to nowhere and numerous discarded consultant reports mean our services are threatened.  We will maintain and improve the council services, not reduce them by introducing 3-weekly schedule to bin collection which many of you see as the most obvious return for paying your council  tax.

We need voters to be brave on May 2, brave enough to try something new, brave enough to lend us your vote for the next four years and help change the future path of Guildford for the better.  We have 17 candidates -with your support we will be a loud voice in the next Council Chamber. A vote for Residents for Guildford and Villages is a vote for change.

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