Fringe Box



Opinion: Vote GGG to Kick National Politics Out of Local Government

Published on: 29 Apr, 2021
Updated on: 2 May, 2021

The second of the Opinion pieces from the parties standing in the Surrey County Council election on May 6…… You can see all of the political opinion articles here.

By Ramsey Nagaty

GBC councillor for Shalford and leader of the Guildford Greenbelt Group

There is only one party that has led the way in gaining action on climate change and air pollution in Guildford Borough Council (GBC), the Guildford Greenbelt Group (GGG).

GGG councillors have helped achieve AQMA status on two roads and challenged unsustainable developments on our open spaces.

Guida Esteves, GGG candidate for the Guildford Borough Council by-election in Send.

This was despite the former Conservative council undermining our efforts by removing so much our green belt, displaying disdain for areas designated as SNCI (Site of Nature Conservation Interest), the AONB and even the international SPA (Special Protection Area).

Growing traffic congestion is a major contributor to climate change and air pollution. The Local Plan transport evidence was basically unsound, demonstrated by the detailed objections, many raised in discussions between GBC and Highways England (responsible only for the strategic roads in the borough (the A3 and part of the M25).

But the Conservatives pressed ahead with their Local Plan to generate unnecessary growth and build, unsustainably, on open areas in the countryside and villages, areas that will generate the most traffic.

That traffic will not remain in the countryside. Those vehicles will head for the town centre, the gyratory, and around the edges, adding to the congestion and air-quality issues in Chilworth, Shalford, Compton and others.

Julia Osborn, GGG candidate for the Shere ward in the Surrey County Council election.

At the Local Plan examination, the Inspector, residents and Highways England were promised an improved model (SINTRAM 7) that would inform planning applications going forward. That was in mid-2018. So where is it?

We were also promised there was no guarantee planning applications for Local Plan sites would gain permission and traffic would be looked at in detail at that stage. But that too is not happening.

Applications already made prove SCC are ignoring key junctions and going out of their way to enable development rather than apply infrastructure constraints.

Sufficient resources should have been put into an improved model in time for essential constraints to be identified before the planning applications came through but SCC have been complacent and preferred not to identify the problems.

A much more robust line should have been taken with advice to traffic consultants acting for developers.

Under the Conservatives, we do not a have a “responsible authority” for the local road network. SCC is being wholly irresponsible on this. We must stop SCC (Surrey Chaos Coming) by reminding them of their duties before they do any more damage to our environment.

On May 6, residents have the opportunity to help GGG continue their excellent record by voting for Guida Esteves in Send, and extend their influence on Surrey County Council by voting for Julia Osborn in the Shere division.

GGG is a local party attuned to the concerns of residents. Kick national politics out of local government, and vote GGG

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Responses to Opinion: Vote GGG to Kick National Politics Out of Local Government

  1. David Roberts Reply

    May 4, 2021 at 12:36 pm

    The main thing is that people get out and vote. Apathy is the enemy of good government. Unfortunately, the Conservatives seem to be relying on it, along with inertia among their increasingly elderly voter base, to preserve their stale monopoly of power on Surrey County Council.

    I was disturbed on social media to see one Tory candidate, for instance, give a thumbs-up to a contributor who said that all politicians were rotten and that he wasn’t going to vote. Another Tory candidate has this week tried to shut down a social-media debate of over a hundred comments saying that it is inappropriate to use a neighbourhood forum to discuss local politics. This is authoritarian and anti-democratic.

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