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Opinion: Labour Says Guildford Deserves ‘a Greener, Fairer, More Vibrant Town for Everyone’

Published on: 18 Apr, 2023
Updated on: 19 Apr, 2023

Over the next week, The Dragon will be publishing an opinion piece from each of the parties running in the GBC elections on May 4. As always, our intention is to give our readers the best opportunity to hear the views and the ideas from the candidates and the parties.

Howard Smith from the Guildford Labour Party writes:

At Guildford Labour, we are very much looking forward to these elections. The party is riding high in the national opinion polls and locally we are standing a record number of candidates with at least one in every ward.

We’ve just published a 12 page manifesto which we are dropping through the doors of over 25,000 homes, full of ideas on how we can make Guildford a better, greener, fairer, more vibrant town for everyone.

And boy, does the town need a new vision after four years of mismanagement by the Liberal Democrat and the Residents Party coalition.

Because what have they done for Guildford in four years?

Nothing. We’ve had four years of nothing. The town centre looks exactly the same. The roads are terrible. The congestion is terrible. The air quality has not improved, if anything it seems to have deteriorated.

Guildford Labour Party out canvassing for the local elections on May 4 2023.

The council couldn’t get a planning application through on North Street, so that’s just the same, Spectrum sports centre is still falling apart and we’re spending £1 million a year just to keep patching it up.

Howard Smith, vice chair of Guildford Labour Party.

The council passed a climate emergency motion in 2019 but didn’t come up with a plan until last month. Yes, they’ve sold off some assets and closed some public toilets to save a bit of money, but don’t forget there’s a forecast £3 million budget deficit this year, £8 million next year and £6 million the year after that.

This is how they’ve left the council’s finances after four years.

Our planning system in Guildford used to be one of the best in the country. Now it’s bottom of the league table, 350th. Customer Services are so bad you can’t get anybody to answer the phone and deal with your enquiry.

Faced with a problem like the tumbling weir, they just don’t have any solutions and so sorry folks, it’s just going to stay the same.

We can’t afford another four years of nothing except mishaps and mis-steps. What is that expression about continuing to do the same thing and expecting a different result? We need a newer, fresher administration to take the town forward.

Take a look at our manifesto and see for yourself.

Guildford deserves so much better. A greener, fairer, more vibrant town for everyone. Vote for a change and vote Labour in May.

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Responses to Opinion: Labour Says Guildford Deserves ‘a Greener, Fairer, More Vibrant Town for Everyone’

  1. Phil Conran Reply

    April 19, 2023 at 1:43 pm

    I think it would be good to have a bigger Labour voice on the council and I am inclined to give them a chance this election. We have numerous parties who all seem to be trying to be more NIMBY than each other but the result is paralysis and someone needs to speak up for those who want a chance to get on the housing ladder and are not terrified of change.

    It must be possible to have some new development and progress without trashing the historic character of the town. Despite having voted for the Lib Dems in the past I have lost confidence in them because of their inability to deliver.

    I may still vote tactically for them at the general election but am unwilling to do so locally anymore.

  2. Peter Mills Reply

    April 20, 2023 at 1:12 pm

    Love the manifesto, but absolutely zero mention of how it will be funded. If a profit & loss forecast was included they might get some supporters.

    And if their competition parties are reading, that goes for all of them. All I’ve seen are leaflets, primarily slagging off the other parties, with a secondary message of how Labour will do better – but with zero info about how you will achieve it.

    Whoever is the first to provide some quantifiable evidence that demonstrates that they can achieve their plans gets my vote. Otherwise, I’m not going to turn out to support a bunch of words.

    • Howard Smith Reply

      April 20, 2023 at 1:33 pm

      I thank Peter Mills for his kind comment on our manifesto.

      Can I point him in the direction of my interview with The Dragon. I make mention of the fact that firstly the council should stop wasting money on expensive masterplans (£5 million) and make a decision on Spectrum which is currently costing us around £1 million annually in repairs.

      Second, GBC should look to making more of its assets, as has been done in the past with Slyfield, which produces a good income for the council.

      Not all the answers for sure, but I’d like to think it is a good start.

      Howard Smith is the Labour candidate for Westborough in the forthcoming GBC election.

  3. Peter Mills Reply

    April 20, 2023 at 2:14 pm

    I didn’t realise that The Dragon reserved the right to edit comments, even if it just changes the tone/voice and corrects a bit of grammar. The above is my last contribution.

    Editor’s response: Yes, this is not social media. We moderate comments to comply with the law, to remove vitriol, to clarify and, where identified, to correct errors of grammar and spelling. Other newspapers edit readers’ correspondence similarly. Please see our policy here. We feel the policy has worked well for our readers, in the 11 years we have been operating, and prevents the style of “debate” one can see on social media.

    • Jim Allen Reply

      April 20, 2023 at 9:33 pm

      My unedited “smelling and worms” are the worst on The Dragon! The editor’s translation to “spelling and words” has never lost the point I am trying to make.

      I hope Peter Mills reconsiders. His comments are valued by all.

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