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Opinion: I Was Not ‘Clumsy’ Over The Museum

Published on: 4 May, 2016
Updated on: 5 May, 2016

Museum signBy Geoff Davis

Conservative ward councillor for Holy Trinity and lead member for economic development, tourism and heritage.

I thoroughly object to Martin Giles’ description of my work, as chairman of the cross-party working group on Guildford Museum as “clumsy”.

When first appointed, we met some committee members of SAS [Surrey Archaeological Society], seeking to open up negotiations regarding their occupation of part of the museum and the considerable storage space at the council’s Woking Road depot.

Opinion Logo 2For all of that (including heat, light, significant staffing, etc) SAS had been paying £400 per annum only, fixed since their lease started in 1953.

Something needed to be done, in the proper interests of our ratepayers.

We were told that: “They should be able to put matters before their Committee – in three months time. Even then, as there were 27 members, there would be 27 opinions.”

It was not possible to negotiate on such a basis, so we needed to refresh the Landlord and Tenant Act notice, served seven years before. That was a proper and normal thing to do.

SAS continued to be intractable, until recently, when negotiations got under way with their solicitors.

SAS, to this day, have a gate and sign in the museum, seeking to bar visitors from their area of occupation. Hardly all inclusive!

Here is a link to my recent presentation to the Executive [select item 5], confirming that much progress has been made on the future of the museum, in a positive and optimistic manner?


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Responses to Opinion: I Was Not ‘Clumsy’ Over The Museum

  1. Russell Morris Reply

    May 5, 2016 at 9:26 am

    I had always thought it was the Surrey Archaeological Society that was providing an immensely valuable service to the locality and its heritage.

    Thank you Cllr Davis for informing me that I had that wrong.

  2. Jules Cranwell Reply

    May 5, 2016 at 1:35 pm

    Clumsy is as clumsy does.

    Despite the spin, we see another GBC councillor concentrating on the figures, not the wishes of the people of Guildford.

    We love our museum, and it the council’s job to maintain, and support the things we love.

    The unwarranted removal of Susan Parker from the committee reviewing the future of the museum, because she simply dared to encourage public participation in the debate, showed cynical and reprehensible contempt for the freedom of speech.

    And well done The Dragon for its uncowed reporting.

  3. John Perkins Reply

    May 27, 2016 at 12:02 pm

    There is an article in the current version of Private Eye (1419) stating that councillor Davis did not merely “thoroughly object” to the suggestion that he was “clumsy”, but actually threatened legal action for libel against The Dragon.

  4. C Stevens Reply

    May 27, 2016 at 3:52 pm

    I seem to remember that former councillor Mansbridge recently described the editor of The Guildford Dragon as “tin-eared”.

    Can I ask, since it doesn’t sound like it was intended as a compliment to a man who’s a journalist, if the editor sought an apology or consulted m’learned friends?

    Can I also ask if anyone else knows of other threats of legal action by any councillor past or present?

    No apology or legal advice sought. I believe we are all entitled to our opinions of others, so long as they are expressed within the law. Ed.

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