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‘Residents Ready for Change’ Says New Council Leader

Published on: 16 May, 2019
Updated on: 17 May, 2019

The new council leader Caroline Reeves (left) and her deputy Fiona White at last night’s GBC selection meeting – photo local democracy reporter.

By Rebecca Curley

local democracy reporter

Guildford’s new council leader Caroline Reeves told her fellow councillors last night (May 15): “As the results of the election showed very clearly is that the residents are ready for change and wanting a different type of politics.”

She said the Lib Dems believed in openness and co-operation.

She added: “We must end the public perception of adversarial and competitive national and local politics. Our residents expect and need partnership working.”

Cllr Reeves said her administration would be inclusive and constructive.

“There’s much to be done to bring the sea change that residents voted for here in Guildford,” she said. “We are a tight-knit team with very diverse experiences.”

New councillors are “young and enthusiastic” and working with experienced councillors means the Lib Dems “have the best of both worlds”, she added.

The Local Plan featured heavily in campaigns for the local elections.

The Lib Dems have said they will support an independent review of the process so that all councillors get a chance to ask questions.

But Cllr Reeves said there was more that needed to be addressed than just the Local Plan.

She spoke about homelessness, food poverty and the climate change crisis which she said would be a “key priority”.

Cllr Reeves said: “We have a tremendous breadth of diverse communities across the borough and we will strive to be inclusive of everyone whatever their background.”

And she called for the council to “move away from governance by social media” and for more efficient communication within the council.

Cllr Reeves appointed Lib Dem Cllr Fiona White as deputy leader.

Councillors nominating and backing Cllr Bigmore for the leadership role said they wanted to see a fresh face heading the council and it was time for a change in single-party control.

The former city banker does not have any experience in local government, which supporters of Cllr Reeves said was needed in times of turmoil for councils.

See also: Lib Dems Secure Leadership Of Borough Council With Tory and Labour Votes

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test 8 Responses to ‘Residents Ready for Change’ Says New Council Leader

  1. Jules Cranwell Reply

    May 16, 2019 at 1:24 pm

    I find it encouraging that the new administration will focus on climate change.

    It is therefore imperative that the Local Plan is modified to remove sites where it will be necessary for car travel between new homes and work etc.

    Up to 50,000 new cars on our highly polluted roads is unacceptable.

    “Move away from governance by social media.” Who could she be referring to?

  2. Brenda Jones Reply

    May 16, 2019 at 2:09 pm

    Please declare a climate and ecological emergency, before it is too late.

    • George Potter Reply

      May 16, 2019 at 8:51 pm

      I’m hoping that we can do just that at the next full council meeting.

      George Potter is a Lib Dem borough councillor for Burpham.

      • Sean Jenkinson Reply

        May 19, 2019 at 9:32 am

        So other than declaring a climate and ecological emergency what is George Potter’s plan to tackle it?

        • George Potter Reply

          May 20, 2019 at 10:28 am

          I suggest Sean Jenkinson reads the 2019 Guildford Lib Dem Manifesto for an overview of some of the key policies to tackle the climate emergency.

          The actual motion I hope to put to next month’s council meeting will contain further detail.

          George Potter is a Lib Dem borough councillor for Burpham.

      • Jim Allen Reply

        May 19, 2019 at 10:09 pm

        Perhaps ward business should take precedence over national business in the council chamber.

        Noise, air pollution, traffic levels, inadequate plans for future infrastructure for Gosden Hill, collapsing manholes, high erosion on the Wey Navigation and Clay Lane ramp, removal of charging at Sutherland Park, these are but a few of the local items to be tackled.

  3. A Atkinson Reply

    May 16, 2019 at 8:56 pm

    I suspect that even on election night Cllr Reeves showed her true colours and reflective of exactly the sentiment that she displayed throughout the period she supported the Conservatives.

    On Wednesday night she was clear, stating: “…I just once and for all hope we can make progress, not constantly having arguments about what’s going where, projects being delayed because of lengthy consultations that don’t get anywhere in the end.”

    So much for the sentiment of inclusive politics, consultation with the public. They don’t work if the politicians do not listen or do not change their view.

  4. Paul Bishop Reply

    May 17, 2019 at 7:37 am

    Great result for Guildford. A genuinely dependable and balanced council leader and deputy. Great to see they will not be losing sight of the bigger issues despite the focus of the election, for many, to be centred solely around the Local Plan.

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