Fringe Box



Worplesdon By Election – Candidates’ Reactions

Published on: 7 May, 2012
Updated on: 9 May, 2012

Winning Candidate Keith Witham (left) being congratulated by the Vice Chairman of the the Guildford Conservative Association, GBC Cllr Christian Holliday

Obtaining over 50% of the votes cast in last Thursday’s by election at Worplesdon was “marvellous” said the winning Conservative candidate, Keith Witham: “I was truly humbled by the level of support I received from so many people.”

“The concerns that I voiced on behalf of local people, the problems with illegal gypsy encampments, action that is needed for improvements to road safety and road maintenance and support for recycling – Surrey now recycles over 50% of all household waste.”

He felt that the main challenges Surrey County Council now faced were: “To provide an extra 8,000 school places; more care for vulnerable people and an ageing population,  and we need to get a fairer grant for Surrey from the Government. Currently, Surrey County Council gets the lowest government grant of any county council in the UK, just 20% of its costs.

In response to the question, ‘What were the main issues in Worplesdon that came under county council control?’ he said: “There are waste transfer and waste management facilities, near residential areas in Worplesdon and Normandy, that need to give more consideration to those residents who live nearby. I am campaigning for better protection for residents from the effects of noise and dust. We also need to ensure that illegal gypsy/traveller sites are not allowed by ensuring there are adequate official sites, for genuine travellers. Normandy and Worplesdon in particular have been disproportionately affected from this issue.”

And as for the state of the roads?: “More needs to be done to improve the condition of our local roads, and road safety. Surrey County Council has delegated funds to its local area committees and these need to be allocated to get more road improvement work done locally for our local communities.”

Paul Cragg, the LibDem runner up said that he was disappointed with the result as he would not have: “The opportunity to fight on behalf of local people and their everyday issues; to get better value for money for their Council Tax ans to ensure better representation of Worplesdon residents.

He felt that disillusionment with politics had led to a low turnout and many voices being left unheard.

The main issues facing Surrey County Council he thought were: “The refocussing of finances to ensure that the needs of the most vulnerable are addressed; learning from Errors of the past; not embarking on flawed consultations; and not fighting hopeless legal cases.

As to the main issues worrying Worplesdon residents he said: “Traffic management, local road conditions – they are worsening, especially after the recent rain, financial management at Surrey County Council and traveller site allocations.

The Labour Party Candidate was not available for comment but his agent, Oliver Deed, said that he was disappointed with the result.

“Voters would have been influenced in their voting by a combination of local and national issues. People are concerned with the roads and our local schools but they are also worried about the cuts the Tory lead government are planning.”

See also: Conservatives Hold Worplesdon in County Council By-Election  and By Election Ballot Count

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