Fringe Box



Opinion: R4GV for a ‘Council Truly Run by Residents for Residents’

Published on: 19 Apr, 2023
Updated on: 21 Apr, 2023

Over this 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 ideas directly from the candidates and the parties.

Joss Bigmore, candidate for Merrow and leader of the R4GV group, writes:

This year’s election campaign will live long in infamy, an apparently well-resourced private individual who has had links with the Conservative Party is using social media to target R4GV with a smear campaign.

R4GV candidates meet up in February 2023.

It is not clear what motivates a man to circulate a misleading video telling people not to vote for us, when to my knowledge he has shown no previous interest in the town centre until these local elections.

This narrative has then been taken up by opposition councillors who see an opportunity to remove the hugely positive influence of Independents from the council, desperate to return to the cosy two-party system that delivered so little for Guildford over the past 30 years.

Joss Bigmore

Guildford faces a choice on May 4: a return to the politicians that gave you the Local Plan in 2019; national party politicians who would rather fight each other than deliver for us residents.

Politicians who enjoyed repeated hospitality from the development industry.

Politicians who wasted £1 million on a pop-up village and £6 million on an unnecessary bridge over the Wey!

Politicians that watched Guildford decline whilst they went on boondoggles to China, had no plans to alleviate flooding, no plans to tackle traffic and pollution, no plans to sympathetically regenerate our urban areas, just a plan to concrete over our countryside.

By contrast, R4GV is a breath of fresh air, ordinary residents wanting to represent their communities, not semi-professional politicians using the council as a stepping-stone as they attempt to climb the greasy pole to Westminster.

It has undoubtedly been a very difficult four years for everyone in the borough, a pandemic, a war in Ukraine, a cost-of-living crisis, and widespread industrial action across the economy.

However, I am extremely proud of the achievements of the council that R4GV ran over that period.

  • Residents told us that the council was inefficient, and wasteful. We hand-picked a new management team, published performance statistics on our services and are
    collaborating with Waverley BC to save cost and improve resilience to our services.
  • Residents told us the council didn’t consult properly: public consultation for our Town Masterplan was, I believe, the largest the council has ever done and we consulted residents
    about their priorities coming out of the pandemic.
  • Residents told us they wanted regeneration with homes and infrastructure on brownfield sites: we are delivering Weyside Urban Village, 1,550 homes, a brand-new sewage works, and opening up one mile of extra riverside.
  • Residents told us to protect community assets: we saved the Chantries Campsite; we have found funding to keep Spectrum open and we started a crowdfunding scheme that has helped communities fund and deliver their own projects.
  • Residents told us that our stock of council housing was neglected so we found £45 million to invest in improvements.
  • Residents said the Local Plan wasn’t fit for purpose: only R4GV and GGG have committed to a meaningful update and delivered new policies that lead the country in environmental protections.

R4GV has delivered a great deal over the last four years, despite being in coalition, and under a Conservative government that seems determined to starve local authorities of funding.

We are the only party that has delivered on our manifesto. The Lib Dems are failing to deliver on their promise to build 3,000 social homes. They are as trustworthy as the Conservatives who said they would protect the green belt.

The choice is clear on May 4, a retrograde step to national parties and tired party politicians, or a vote for R4GV, and a council truly run by residents for residents.

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Responses to Opinion: R4GV for a ‘Council Truly Run by Residents for Residents’

  1. Laura Brown Reply

    April 19, 2023 at 5:39 pm

    How did R4GV feel about the closure of Walnut Tree Close for Stoughton, Worplesdon, and Bellfields residents being able to access our train station?

    In peak hours we now have to sit in crawling traffic into town and round the gyratory by the Electric Theatre or have to sit in crawling traffic going up onto the A3 at the Dennis Roundabout then down The Chase. It creates longer queues on Ladymead preventing exit from Lidl even on Saturdays. Nuts.

  2. Daniel Hill Reply

    April 19, 2023 at 7:37 pm

    The local plan and the impact of development in the green belt is one of the biggest issues for residents. People will be asking themselves who do we trust to get this right.

    The fact R4GV and GGG are the only parties to promise a meaningful update to the Local Plan definitely puts them ahead of the other parties.

    But for residents to make a true comparison it would be really useful if R4GV and GGG could give us more details on their proposed update to the plan. And what sort of new planning policies this would include. For example, would they commit to a brownfield first policy?

  3. Arjun Lakhani Reply

    April 19, 2023 at 7:37 pm

    I am 30-year-old man who is stepping into local politics for the first time, looking to provide a fresh voice for the Residents of Guildford and Villages.

    Proudly born and raised in the Stoke ward in Guildford, I have had the privilege of growing up in a tight-knit community where my parents and family members were actively involved in local politics and community work.

    From a young age, I was impressed by the dedication and generosity of the people around me, who constantly gave back to the community in various ways. I have fond memories of attending local summer and Christmas fetes, where people of all backgrounds came together to raise money for numerous charities, through various games and activities.

    In April 2020, I was struck by the tremendous kindness and support of the Guildford community during a deeply challenging time. Tragically, I also lost my mother to Covid-19 and the local community came out of their houses to clap my mother down the road on her final journey.

    These experiences have motivated me to run in the local election for Stoke ward. My abiding appreciation for the people of Guildford, their values, and their enduring sense of community spirit compels me to seek this position with the goal of making a positive impact that will benefit all residents.

    During my campaign, I have had the pleasure of meeting with residents from different wards within Guildford and discussing their vision for the future of our town. While there may be differences of opinion on certain issues, I strongly believe that all voices should be heard and respected.

    Unfortunately, I have also witnessed some regrettable behaviour during the campaign, including violent threats, misinformation on social media, and personal attacks on individuals’ careers and beliefs. I urge all candidates and supporters to remember that we are representatives of Guildford, and our behaviour must reflect the outstanding community values that define our town.

    As a candidate for Stoke ward on Thursday 4th May, I am committed to prioritising the needs of the people over politics. My aim is to serve the Guildford community with integrity and dedication, and I look forward to working with all residents to build a better future for our town.

  4. Ricky Sonn Reply

    April 20, 2023 at 10:47 am

    More shameless nonsense from R4GV. Maddy Redpath did the maths on another thread to confirm that 98 per cent of candidates across all parties are residents – R4GV are no more local than the rest of the candidates.

    Nobody seriously could believe the national parties are interested in local politics in Guildford. And it’s laughable to claim that candidates standing for other parties are just doing it because of wider political aspirations. Can she come up with any examples of recent Guildford Borough Councillors who’ve gone on to become a national political figure?

    What the national party associations tell us are the values of these parties and the kind of policies they will look to pursue, whether we like them or not. Whereas for R4GV it’s all smoke and mirrors and meaningless platitudes

  5. Ramsey Nagaty Reply

    April 20, 2023 at 7:53 pm

    Daniel Hill asks if GGG would committ to a Brownfield first policy. Yes it is one of our core policies. I was only speaking to a planning officer today regarding a very interesting development and making that very point.

    The Guildford Greenbelt Group Party are very clear that this should be implemented. GGG seeks homes that are sustainable with infrastructure available already or as the scheme is developed and where possible not car dependent.

    The Local Plan should take on board the real housing need not the exaggerated figures that even include overseas students needing a home in five years’ time despite they returning overseas to their home.

    This would enable sites allocated to be re-assessed and where possible adjusted to a level appropriate for available infrastructure etc.

    The current Local Plan ignored large parts of the town and did not address flooding protection measures to enable more development in more sustainable locations less car dependent.

    Ramsey Nagaty is a GGG candidate for Shalford in the forthcoming GBC election.

    • Daniel Hill Reply

      April 21, 2023 at 7:17 pm

      I think many residents would welcome GBC implementing an infrastructure planning policy. Getting people out of their cars and on to public transport is the only way we’re going to hit our Net Zero target.

      Making it a planning requirement that new developments in the green belt should be served by an existing train station or bus route would instantly stop unpopular sites like Wisley.

  6. Tony Rooth Reply

    April 21, 2023 at 12:04 pm

    R4GV again makes no mention at all of North Street in their manifesto and should read:

    Also not easy to see how R4GV can really demand better bus services from SCC.

    Cllr John Rigg took little notice of the long-standing transport objections of bus operators, bus users and SCC about access, size, and configuration of the revised layout. The major focus was on the much-needed refurbishment of the bus station before any agreement on how such changes would affect operations at the station and services across Guildford.

    Such an approach is like putting a cart before a horse or repainting a shed before deciding to pull it down!

    Tony Rooth is retiring as an Independent borough councillor for Pilgrims.

  7. Paul Bishop Reply

    April 21, 2023 at 12:32 pm

    “This year’s election campaign will live long in infamy, an apparently well-resourced private individual who has had links with the Conservative Party is using social media to target R4GV with a smear campaign.” The private individual, whose father is a R4GV councillor?

    I’d say his links to the Conversatives are no stronger than his links to R4GV!

  8. David Roberts Reply

    April 21, 2023 at 3:04 pm

    In my view, it would not be unrealistic for R4GV and GGG to set as a firm policy objective a reduction in the Local Plan housing target from 14,000 to 9,000, cancelling the 3 unneeded strategic sites and freezing development in the ex-Green Belt villages while the town centre regeneration is prioritised.

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