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Opinion: R4GV Leader Thanks Lib Dems and Pledges New Skills to Kickstart Future For Guildford

Published on: 11 May, 2020
Updated on: 14 May, 2020

Cllr Joss Bigmore

by Joss Bigmore

leader of the Residents for Guildford & Villages group at GBC

I’d like to thank Cllr Caroline Reeves and the Lib Dem group for honouring commitments made a year ago regarding the senior positions at Guildford Borough Council.

In May 2019, the election produced a hung chamber with no party anywhere near a majority, my own group winning just one seat fewer than the Liberal Democrats, with both of us commanding about a third of the chamber.

Cllr Reeves won a vote of the full council to be the leader and appointed a mixed Executive, albeit one that was heavily weighted towards her own group. R4GV attracted criticism at the time for accepting a single Executive seat, but Cllr Reeves assured us the arrangement would be reviewed after a period.

To be fair to her and her group, we were a completely unknown quantity, and I’d like to think that over the past year we have proven ourselves equals, up to the task of leading this borough through the worst crisis in my lifetime.

A hung council is inherently unstable…

A hung council is inherently unstable, with very often a minority group holding a great deal of power. This new deeper arrangement with the Liberal Democrats is the only viable combination of parties that can provide the stability on which we can plan our recovery.

This is not political contrivance. This is what the borough voted for a year ago, a fresher version of politics, not parties arguing over past slights and ingrained dogma. It’s brave, but it’s also necessary. R4GV has learnt a lot over this past year and I would like to personally thank those members that have recently left the Executive for what they have taught me.

Now R4GV brings new, complementary, and necessary skills to the leadership team, skills that will be needed as we try to kickstart this economy from its enforced hibernation.

R4GV also brings ideas. The overwhelming focus of the Liberal Democrat administration over the past year has been the environment and the community, which some would argue was necessary after years of relative neglect.

But we need equal focus on a longer-term vision for the borough that provides the homes, transport, leisure opportunities and economic growth that will make Guildford the most desirable place to live and work in the county.

…one thing is clear, the post-Covid world will be a very different place

Obviously, in such an uncertain world, it is incredibly difficult to make detailed plans, but one thing is clear, the post-Covid world will be a very different place.

How will we work? How will we shop? How, and how much, will we travel? Where will we take our holidays? The answers today will be very different than if asked a year ago. We are committed to working with you, all the residents of the borough, to take advantage of any opportunities that arise, while quickly dealing with the threats to our lives and our incomes.

Our priority must be to return this borough to good physical, mental, and economic health as quickly as possible. That will need combined effort from the public and private sectors, combined with harnessing the amazing sense of community that has grown out of this crisis.

The recovery will involve effort from everyone, just as the success of the lockdown required sacrifice from all of us. The country feels more together than it has done in years. Let’s keep communicating and working together to come up with the ideas that will deliver a prosperous future.

See also: Lib Dem Leader Reeves Reveals How and Why Council Powers Are Being Shared

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test 2 Responses to Opinion: R4GV Leader Thanks Lib Dems and Pledges New Skills to Kickstart Future For Guildford

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    May 11, 2020 at 1:41 pm

    I would like to see 30% of ’emergency’ funding, currently sitting in the bank gaining no interest, used for the maintenance of both the borough’s hard and green infrastructure.

    This could have prevented the Millmead Bridge problem, the flooding in the Wey valley and blocking of foot and cycle paths with brambles and weeds discouraging cyclists from using cycle paths and forcing pedestrians into the road.

  2. Alan Davies Reply

    May 12, 2020 at 2:32 pm

    Good to see some interesting comments from new boys [and girls – Ed] of R4GV who were “completely unknown quantity” at last year’s elections.

    But who are Messrs: Anderson, Bigmore, Redpath and Rigg and what “new skills” do they bring to running Guildford?

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