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Green Belt Pressure Group To Field Candidate for Guildford In General Election

The Guildford Greenbelt Group’s chairman Susan Parker will stand as its prospective parliamentary candidate in May’s general election.

Susan Parker

Susan Parker

She has led the Guildford Greenbelt Group (GGG) since its formation in 2013. The group has raised issues and objections to the proposed Local Plan in Guildford, seeking to get a better and more workable local plan, for more than a year.

GGG says it stands for “protection of our green belt and the countryside, for respect for our environment, and for working in harmony with nature on a sustainable basis, while also being financially and economically realistic, socially responsible and fiscally conservative”.

In its statement in announcing that Susan Parker will be fighting for a seat in Parliament representing Guildford, it adds: “Despite apparent consultation, and supposed reconsideration, in practice the plans for large-scale development are rolling on regardless.

“Developers have put forward proposals for Cranleigh, for Effingham, for Wisley and for the Hog’s Back. Brownfield areas have not been properly considered for development but are being allocated for commercial development instead, pushing housing into green fields.

“This will result in drastic or catastrophic change, and a huge increase in urban sprawl, which is hugely unsustainable. This is why GGG candidates will be standing for local councils.

“GGG is seeking to participate in local decision-making to reflect the views of local people. We represent genuine localism.

“However, it is also clear that the problems within the planning system are not just local. Part of the problem lies within the current coalition government, which is seeking to build its way out of recession on the countryside that we all value. There is no other genuine strategy for economic growth. What is disconcerting is that this view of the “need” to build on the countryside seems to be shared by most of the larger parties, without much foundation.

“GGG feels that no other political party is prepared to stand up for the countryside and the environment, certainly no party with a fiscally conservative, economically responsible slant. It is interesting that candidates for most other political parties are now asserting their interest in protecting the green belt – but all other political parties have been remarkably silent about this over the last 18 months through the Local Plan process.”

Jules Cranwell, committee member of Guildford Greenbelt Group, said: “This strategy has been determined following a detailed analysis of the track record of incumbents with regard to the green belt. The policy of the incumbent of the national Guildford seat, Anne Milton, has been one of sitting firmly on the fence, with regard to green belt matters, apart from very recent pronouncements, in the build-up to the May election.”

Susan Parker said: “The planning system is broken. We need real localism, for local people, so that communities can choose the development that really meets their needs, and not suffer plans imposed centrally or by inspectors on behalf of government. Localism as it is offered at present is just so much spin.

“We have repeatedly challenged the Government to change its policy and to respect our concerns, but we have not been heard. We feel it is time that the Government – and the next Government, whoever that may be – start to listen. That is why I am standing as a parliamentary candidate.

“Until parliamentary seats are threatened, government policy (or that of the opposition) will not change. We are challenging an entrenched system that discriminates against local people. ”

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29 Responses to Green Belt Pressure Group To Field Candidate for Guildford In General Election

  1. Sam Jenkins Reply

    January 23, 2015 at 9:37 am

    It makes me laugh when I read Susan Parker stating: “We need real localism, for local people, so that communities can choose development that really meets their needs”

    We all know there is a housing shortage, the population has grown and pressure for more housing has never been so acute yet “when did you last hear of a local community actively getting together to support a housing development?”

    You didn’t, because local communities and parish councils are presided over by NIMBYS who cannot stand the thought of new housing or any type of change for that matter.

    These people, mainly well educated, relatively wealthy, with far too much time on their hands, spend hours rousing local opposition, holding group letter writing sessions, complaining about this or that development.

    Is it any wonder the Local Plan is not going anywhere especially around election time.

    We all know that whoever wins the next election is going to continue trying to push the country to build the housing it so needs, and so they should.

    Are they going to go easy on Guildford Borough Council because of the GGG threat? I don’t think so.

    I blame the GGG for the fact that we are now seeing developers submitting planning applications such as at Wisley and Effingham because the developers have run out of patience.

    They realise their chances are much better at appeal as was warned to us so often by Councillor Mansbridge throughout the last year and so laughed off by the GGG.

    It is the chickens coming home to roost. No, localism doesn’t work nor will a reversion to a committee-run council rather than an Executive won’t work either because tough unpopular decisions won’t be agreed due to the pressure from the overwhelming number of NIMBYS living amongst us.

    • Adrian Atkinson Reply

      January 23, 2015 at 2:33 pm

      Delay in the Local Plan was because of a delay in the SHMA until mid December, inadequate transport assessment requiring another study and an “misinterpretation” of the NPPF by Guildford Borough Council, the planners, their consultants and councillors just to name a few.

      That is not mentioning the upcoming election and the overwhelming opposition to the draft Local Plan as presented.

      The blame is fairly and squarely at the doors of Millmead and nowhere else.

    • David Smith Reply

      January 25, 2015 at 5:12 pm

      In reply to Sam Jenkins’ comment.

      How refreshing your comment is, there are so many of us who feel exactly the same but don’t have the time to reply.

  2. Amanda Bishop Reply

    January 23, 2015 at 10:05 am

    Best news of the year!

    At last an alternative to the others.

    A woman with a conscience!

  3. Ben Paton Reply

    January 23, 2015 at 10:49 am

    Mrs Parker is to be congratulated for her commitment and courage and for expressing a reasoned and evidenced point of view.

    The other side of the coin is that none of the existing parties are recognising or respecting ordinary people’s valid concerns about the regulatory failures inside the planning system.

    The bubble in house prices created by QE has put enormous temptations before developers and local politicians.

    The current system is simply no match for the asymmetric incentives created by the colossal gains to be had by achieving a change of use of land.

    On the one hand local government is supposed to regulate building processes, arbitrate and assess evidence of the suitability of property for development and to enforce the law. On the other hand it is not supposed to ‘prejudge’ which sites are suitable and is supposed to offer pre planning assistance to would-be developers.

    It works for the poachers and as the gamekeeper at different times and sometimes at the same time. In the confusion it sometimes acts as if it is working for the property development industry. Existing regulations are completely inadequate to address the profound conflicts of interest.

    The situation in Guildford is acute because the leader of the council set out to promote development and used the local plan process to promote particular sites and to present highly partial evidence in favour of his policies.

    Extraordinarily the leader of the council is now simultaneously the lead councillor for planning. Reasoned and evidenced objections from wide sections of the community have been studiously ignored.

    All the main political parties have turned a blind eye to the systemic weaknesses in the planning process in their eagerness to stimulate house building.

    The Conservative Party in particular has ignored the shortcomings of the conservative leadership in Guildford Borough Council. Instead of demanding the resignation of Mr Mansbridge and Ms Juneja it has continued to support them despite the lack of transparency and accountability and objective evidence to support their policies.

    The unchecked actions of Mr Mansbridge, the silence of the local MP and the indifference of the Conservative leadership to the injustice felt by the public have created a need for a new party.

    GGG offers an alternative which the public wants.

  4. Lisa Wright Reply

    January 23, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    Perhaps GGG will be able to stop GBC ploughing £3m of taxpayers money into refurbishing the Millmead offices too?

  5. Phil Coleman Reply

    January 23, 2015 at 4:55 pm

    I hope that she would be willing to represent her constituents on other matters.

    Quite a lot can happen in the life of a parliament.

    Single issue parties make me nervous!

    • Susan Parker Reply

      January 24, 2015 at 12:13 am

      Just to reassure Mr Coleman, of course if elected I would represent constituents on all issues – and I do have views on many topics.

      Clearly if elected I won’t be forming a government. But any MP has the opportunity to vote on all issues.

      In this coming parliament there is likely to be considerable fragmentation – most commentators don’t know what is going to happen, hence the rather curious current TV Newsnight scenario modelling which seems to be an exercise in fantasy rather than serious political debate.

      I think any independent MP, non-aligned with an existing large party, is going to have much more significance in the next parliament than might have been the case in the past.

      And of course anyone who votes for me won’t have to deal with the issues of an MP constrained by a party whip – you would get me, not the party line (I’d do what I say on the tin, as it were).

      If I were to be elected, there would be an unaligned vote in parliament – and that means that there would be the possibility to haggle on behalf of constituents in a way that would not be possible for any other candidate.

      GGG has discussed many of these issues in drafting our manifesto especially where they have a bearing on local government; but for some areas these are a personal view.

      My stance in terms of economics is generally tending towards fiscal conservatism, and I hope that I am numerate (my clients probably hope that too – I am an accountant!). I am socially liberal.

      It might be easier to use a convenient political label as a hook – so historically I am happy to say that I have been, at times, a member of the Conservative party, but have not been a member for some years.

      I have become disillusioned with the Conservatives for a number of reasons; partly because of its environmental track record and because of its enthusiasm for building its way out of recession. A policy of building growth by building seems to me fundamentally ill judged, both in terms of the impact on our countryside and in terms of its impact on our economy.

      I am not convinced that the Chancellor’s economic strategy is as well judged as he thinks. Unrestricted building seemed – for a while – to trigger a mini boom in Ireland, in Cyprus and in Spain, but the consequences in all cases have been severe, leaving a swathe of empty half-built homes and serious economic recession.

      George Osborne’s other stated desire to trigger a “mini boom” in house prices with Help To Buy was effective but the consequences are in fact hugely undesirable for most new home owners, and it is partly that policy, rather than the constraints of the green belt, that have pushed up house prices, and rendered them less affordable.

      I would probably be most closely aligned with the Conservatives in relation to taxation. I would not support a mansion tax bill, unlike either the Labour party or the Liberal Democrats (if that is still their policy this week, I’m not clear).

      I would support taxation of genuinely empty homes owned by overseas non-residents using the taxation system to prevent “buy to leave”.

      In terms of the environment, I don’t like fracking. I do like clean energy, but I don’t like solar farms dumped on the countryside and think that there are opportunities to use solar power without destructive impacts on commercial and educational buildings, and even on car parks or paving (this is a technology being trialled in Holland among other places).

      I would not – as the Government is at present – be relaxing the protections for SSSIs and for other natural sites. I don’t want building on flood plains, especially not agricultural land which absorbs water, for environmental reasons.

      In terms of healthcare, I think everyone recognises the importance of the National Health Service and our local hospitals and I would be prepared to fight hard to ensure that we keep the Royal Surrey, including keeping A&E services in Guildford. It’s a long way to any other A&E if you or an elderly relative has a heart attack or stroke, especially in the rush hour.

      This reply is already getting quite long, but I am happy to discuss my views on a huge range of other issues – if there is anything you want to know about just ask!

      [Direct questions to Susan Parker can be emailed to her at: susan_parker@btinternet.com]

  6. Kelly-Marie Blundell Reply

    January 23, 2015 at 5:38 pm

    I’m very pleased to see people engaging in local politics – it further strengthens local democracy. We have seen some radical proposals from Susan Parker’s group.

    When it comes to the general election, residents in Guildford know it’s a straight fight between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats. Any votes at a national level for GGG and other parties will secure a Conservative victory in Guildford.

    [Kelly-Marie Blundell is the Liberal Democrat parliamentary prospective candidate for Guildford]

    • Lisa Wright Reply

      January 23, 2015 at 8:44 pm

      In reply to Kelly-Marie Blundell’s comment, like many others, I’ll be voting GGG in the general election.

      Whether that takes a vote from the Lib Dems or the Conservatives, who knows?

  7. George Potter Reply

    January 23, 2015 at 6:36 pm

    Just looking at one particular claim made by Ms Parker: “All other political parties have been remarkably silent about this over the last 18 months through the Local Plan process.”

    What a lot of complete and utter tosh.

    I can only speak as a Liberal Democrat, but ever since the draft Local Plan was announced we’ve been doing our best to inform people about it, encourage them to respond to the consultations and making clear our principles as a local party on the Local Plan (such as that there should be no development where there is not going to be the infrastructure to support it).

    And of course you only need to look at the Lovelace by-election result to see how Liberal Democrat Colin Cross, a campaigner to protect the green belt, was elected in a landslide on our party platform over the Local Plan.

    I can’t speak for Labour or the Conservatives, but to pretend that GGG have been the only political group talking about the local plan is complete rubbish.

    • Lisa Wright Reply

      January 23, 2015 at 8:36 pm

      In reply to George Potter’s comment, whilst Lib Dems may have been actively engaging people to respond to the draft Local Plan in terms of infrastructure, I note you have omitted to include “Lib Dems protect the green belt” in your statement.

      • George Potter Reply

        January 25, 2015 at 1:01 am

        The reason I don’t say “Lib Dems protect the green belt” is because the green belt isn’t a black and white issue.

        For example, there are several villages which want to expand. They don’t want to expand by huge amounts but enough so that it’s possible for people who grew up in the villages to be able to live there. Should that be forbidden? Should living communities be completely stifled with their young people unable to live there? Or should we say that it might be a good idea to relax the green belt slightly to allow those villages to expand by a few houses.

        That’s one part of the nuance here which saying you “protect the green belt” doesn’t cover. When you say it do you mean that you’ll fight to protect every single inch of it or do you mean that you’ll protect most of it but allow minor relaxations around villages?

        Or let’s take where I live. I live in Onslow ward which I hope to get elected to represent.

        Obviously I’m not keen on the idea of a massive Blackwell Farm development obliterating the green belt and putting more homes and cars where there’s no infrastructure to support them.

        On the other hand, if the university wanted to take a small bite out of the green belt to expand the research park slightly, or to build a couple of new halls of residences, then I’d probably be in favour since the former would help create jobs and the second would help relieve the pressure on private housing in the ward.

        And, of course, Susan Parker has said that all development should be in the town. But with the level of housing need we’ve got, even if you believe, as I do, that the evidence base is flawed, the only way to fit all the houses into the town boundaries would be to build tower blocks and build on lots of our urban green spaces. Just like is currently being proposed at the cathedral where they want to put 175 homes in.

        Should those of us in the town have to suffer overcrowding for the sake of dogmatically saying that every inch of greenbelt is sacrosanct? Or should we have the flexibility and nuance to accept that limited development on small parts of the greenbelt might be a good idea in some circumstances as opposed to automatically being a bad thing?

        That’s my personal view on the matter anyway. Other Lib Dems have different opinions. When we our local manifesto is published we’ll have an official policy position which I’ll support but I’m not going to put words into the mouths of others when I can only speak for myself.

        [George Potter is a member of the Guildford Lib Dems]

        • Mark Pocknall Reply

          January 28, 2015 at 8:48 am

          In reply to Georeg Potter’s comment: I completely agree with you and it is nice to see a politician with some backbone telling it how it is.

          You are right in saying that the protecting the green belt is not a black and white issue.

          The GGG and most of the posts coming from them see it very much as a black and white issue with no building on green belt full stop.

          Well, this approach is not going to give Guildford any security when it comes to presenting a Local Plan in front of the government inspector, but like sheep they are blind to this fact.

          The whole thing has to be a compromise, but they just don’t get it.

      • George Potter Reply

        January 25, 2015 at 1:13 am

        And, just to prevent any possible misinterpretation of my above comment, I oppose the Local Plan and I will always oppose building on vast swathes of the green belt in places like Blackwell Farm and Wisley.

        I just don’t think that every single square inch of the green belt should necessarily be immune to any consideration of even the smallest level of development.

        [George Potter is a member of the Guildford Lib Dems]

        • Jim Allen Reply

          January 26, 2015 at 5:58 pm

          So the Lib Dems support a single-sided approach to the Gosden Hill Farm Proposal. Note: it was forgotton in Mr Potter’s response.

          All too often we hear of ‘protection’ Wisley and Blackwell Farm, but never a mention of protecting Gosden Hill – Why would that be?

          Why are people not complaining of the proposal to use a single-sided junction at Burpham, meaning that all northbound traffic from the site will have to travel south then on to Clay lane, and then right across traffic exiting Slyfield from a road junction (that was one metre deep in flood water in 2013/14) going south.

          In 1984 the council demanded a four-way at this location (near Potters Lane) which apparently is no longer a requirement even after 30 years of increased traffic further on.

          Any work that does take place must be done properly with full infrastructure.

          • George Potter

            January 27, 2015 at 10:46 am

            I didn’t mention Gosden Hill Farm, just like I didn’t mention many other proposed developments, because it wasn’t the one either already brought up or the example just a stone’s throw from where I live.

            And, to be honest, I don’t know enough about the details of the Gosden Hill Farm proposals to have an opinion on them either way.

            However, with all proposed developments, we Lib Dems have committed to opposing anything which wouldn’t have adequate infrastructure to support it (and we don’t naively take pie in the sky developer promises at face value either).

            So, assuming your description of Gosden Hill is accurate, I imagine it’s something we oppose. But you’d have to speak to our candidate for Burpham, Ted Mayne, to find out our official position on it since I personally don’t know enough about it.

          • Jim Allen

            February 5, 2015 at 12:19 pm

            In response to Mr Potter’s comments – claiming not knowing enough (about Gosdon Hill) is simply not good enough.

            It is ‘one of the three’, thus it must be included in all comments about building on the green belt.

            Attempting to down grading it to an also ran when 2,000 homes 5,000 vehicles, inadequate access are involved is simply not a good enough response.

            This site has been endangered since 1984 when a four-way approach on to the A3 was deemed minimum requirement. Now it is proposed with a pathetic southbound entry / exit only.

            We must keep on top of all our endangered Green belt sites and not only those who are held in the spot light because of ‘Wallet and Knowledge’ of their residents..

    • Ben Paton Reply

      January 23, 2015 at 9:01 pm

      Facts are facts. When the Issues and Options paper was published only one group spoke out consistently against it: GGG.

      For the record, all the Lib Dems voted for it in council and continued to vote with the Conservatives until the debate to send the draft Local Plan out to consultation.

      They were not standing alone at that point as a number of Conservatives broke rank too.

      The Lib Dems may have come out in favour of the green belt, but they have only recently converted. Just like the Conservatives they ‘pledge’ to defend the green belt, but have done next to nothing in practice.

  8. Mary Bedforth Reply

    January 24, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    Good to hear this. I hope that nearer the time, some public meetings are arranged when we can hear what the candidates have to say and answer our questions.

    I remember going to the old civic hall to hear Roy Jenkins when he and the other three were breaking away from the Liberal Party. Packed out and lively.

    My main concern, apart from the green belt issues, is the continuance of a state funded, free at the point of need, NHS and an end to its privatisation enabled by the Tory/Lib Dem promoted Health and Social Care Act, 2012.

    The present plan is to destabilise, demoralise and thus destroy it.

    • George Potter Reply

      January 25, 2015 at 1:17 am

      I’m glad to say that the Health and Social Care Act does not privatise the NHS or come anywhere near to it.

      If anything, it actually reverses privatisation carried out under the last government which went so far as allowing an entire hospital in Cambridgeshire to be taken over by the private sector.

      I don’t agree with the NHS reforms myself and I campaigned against them but there is nothing in them to change the basic principle of a National Health Service which is free at the point of use for everyone and funded by the government.

      [George Potter is a member of the Guildford Liberal Democrats]

      • Mary Bedforth Reply

        January 26, 2015 at 7:11 am

        That response from a member of the Lib Dems (part of the coalition) was predictable.

        I refer to page 4 of the winter edition of the Keep Our NHS Public newsletter.

        An unprecedented process of privatisation is under way in the NHS. Vital services and precious NHS resources are being handed over to the private healthcare industry: companies run for shareholder profits here and overseas, many of them registered in tax havens so paying no tax on their profits.

        The Health & Social Care Act 2012 is fragmenting the NHS and will take us closer to the US-style system where you only get proper treatment if you have the ability to pay.

        Government cuts are pushing us towards a two-tier system, where those who can pay will do so to avoid long waiting times and the rest of us will just have to live with it.

        Now is the time to fight back to Keep Our NHS Public as a comprehensive, publicly funded, publicly provided and publicly accountable service!

        http://www.keepournhspublic.com/pdf/konp_issue10.pdf

        PS: I am not a member of any political party.

        • George Potter Reply

          January 27, 2015 at 10:37 am

          Believe it or not, Keep Our NHS Public is not exactly a reliable source. Anyone can set up a website campaigning for something and making claims in it, but that doesn’t mean that they’re correct in what they say.

          • Stephen Allbright

            January 28, 2015 at 8:53 am

            Just like the GGG have done!

    • Susan Parker Reply

      January 28, 2015 at 10:38 am

      GGG are holding a public meeting at Fairlands Community Hall tonight (Wednesday, January 28) at 7.30pm, and there will be an opportunity to put any questions to me then if you wish.

      Our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/Guildfordgreenbelt) will have details of future meetings.

  9. Kelly-Marie Blundell Reply

    January 27, 2015 at 10:02 pm

    A slight side issue – I was a major campaigner in securing changes to the NHS Health and Social Care Bill and continue to oppose privatisation – the current bill does nothing more than allow tendering of services, which has been in place since 2001.

    • Adam Knight Reply

      January 29, 2015 at 11:39 am

      In reply to Kelly-Marie Blundell’s comment, I would like to ask her: where do you and the Lib Dems stand on the local development issue?

      Which in particular (if any) of the proposed housing developments are you in favour of?

      What is your view on the proposed Guildford station skyscraper development?

      You say that “residents in Guildford know it’s a straight fight between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats”, and though this has been traditionally true, I think this is now rather questionable in light of recent events.

      I think it is fair to say that a lot of traditionally blue and yellow voters have lost confidence in their parties (on a local and a national level) hence the rise of local-issue parties such as the GGG, and good independent candidates like Susan Parker.

      As a lifetime Guildfordian, I deny the charge levied by some that we are all wealthy NIMBYs who don’t understand the need for more housing… in reality those who are struggling to get on the local property ladder are not going to be assisted by the filling of green fields with more million-pound houses and executive apartments.

      In my opinion what we do have a need for is affordable and social housing, but wherever possible this should be about converting existing commercial buildings, and redeveloping existing brown field sites, not just a few ‘concession’ studio flats stuck in the basement of a 10-story executive apartment building, and certainly no more overblown retail space in the town centre when over 20% of the existing space is currently unoccupied.

      I think we can all agree that internet shopping is here to stay, so a return to the halcyon days of ‘Ma and Pa’ retailing is pretty unlikely.

      What I do see is a town now crippled by traffic (thousands more cars trying to use the already paralysed east-bound A31 in the morning will render the route completely unusable – and that’s just one example of many).

      I see a borough council Executive who have very little respect for local people (“why complain if you are not a victim…?” etc) and are desperate to ‘over build’ in the area for commercial growth (anyone who doubts this needs to have a good look at the published aims of the Tory backed public/private LEP ‘Enterprise M3’).

      But I digress.

      Please let us know your policies on the local plan/housing developments/station developments/etc.

      I notice that you tweeted “BANANA – Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anybody #Guildford” the other day, which I can only assume was a sarcastic dig at the Susan Parker’s of this town? I thought it was a pretty offensive and short-sighted comment to be honest, can you please clarify?

      I fear your confidence that the local vote is only ever going to be blue or yellow may be gravely misplaced.

      Please do not take this as a personal attack, I am traditionally a yellow voter myself and I am actually very keen to hear what your views are on these issues. But right now I am seriously considering my position, and I believe a lot of people are in the same boat.

      One thing I do know is that the ‘whipless-freedom’ of Susan Parker’s GGG is looking pretty enticing to me (and many others) right now.

  10. Kelly-Marie Blundell Reply

    February 4, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    In reply to Adam Knight, thank you for your comment.

    Guildford Lib Dem councillors have been unequivocal in their approach to the Local Plan – Guildford is growing, and we cannot deny the need for housing.

    However, any proposed development must be brownfield first, in proportion to the area it is being proposed in, and infrastructure must be key. This is why we rejected the Draft Local Plan and have been calling for significant infrastructure changes across the borough.

    We are also committed to delivering more affordable housing. to help people like yourself get on the ladder. We must not price the young and families out of Guildford, neither by house prices nor by high rent. The only way to address this is to increase supply of housing.

    I attended the Guildford Vision Group station meeting and asked specifically about the low levels of affordable housing – which is set within this development at 13%. The Local Plan in 2003 stated 30% minimum, and personally I would like to see it as high as 50%.

    Interestingly at that meeting, Julian referred to 50% of people in Guildford living in rented accommodation, as opposed to the national average of 20%. We would be blind to deny a need for housing.

    If development is proportionate to the area – and the burden is shared – this prevents the NIMBY argument from gaining traction.

    I believe in putting local business first and would like to see more done to protect those in our town from being wiped out by larger companies. One of the assets of Guildford in my opinion is our thriving town centre which has managed to starve off the threat of becoming another commuter-belt, and our surrounding borough should reflect this.

    My tweet on #Banana was, rather than being an attack directed towards someone specifically, a representation of some of the views I find on the doorstep from right-wing Conservatives who reject all proposed change and any need for development.

    It is a term I have used a number of times in press and speeches as there is a narrow portion of people who take this stance. I have always worked with local activist groups, GGG included, and have offered to meet with all of them to discuss their concerns. I believe in co-operative working, not oppotunistic opposition, and in Guildford we need a solution to help the most people, not the largest pressure groups.

    The station development is interesting. I have been impressed by the extent the company have tried to consult with the public. However, the scale of the buildings, proposals for shopping arcade and no support for the traffic infrastructure around the town is of great concern, alongside the very low level of affordable housing.

    With the Local Plan delayed, we now run the risk of piecemeal development with no infrastructure. I would support getting a local plan in place sooner rather than later before we are exposed to appeals from developers as we have seen in Waverley recently.

    I hope that answers your questions, and please feel free to contact me by email – Kelly-Marie@GuildfordLD.org.uk

  11. Bernard Parke Reply

    February 4, 2015 at 9:47 pm

    We will never have “affordable ” housing in this area all the time that we have speculators, many of whom are living overseas.

    This problem can only be solved by central government, possibly by a new Rent Act which worked extremely well in past decades in keeping family homes “affordable”.

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