By-election Called In Lovelace Ward – Debates on Green Belt Issue Expected – Guildford Dragon News reports

Ballot Box Vote Election

A Guildford Borough Council (GBC) by-election is to be called in Lovelace ward following the death of Cllr John Garrett on July 26th.

In a press release a GBC spokesperson wrote: “We have now received two letters from Lovelace ward electors requesting an election.

“We will publish the Notice of Election on 20 August and the election will take place on Thursday 25 September.”

The by-election is likely to be contentious. Strong feelings exist within the ward, that includes Wisley, Ockham and Ripley, over proposals included in the Draft Local Plan to allow the development of certain areas of green belt and removing green belt classification from some villages. And there is also a proposal for a whole new settlement, up to 2100 homes, at the former Wisley airfield.

Map showing the three parishes of Wisley, Ockham and Ripley, in the north east of Guildford Borough, that make up Lovelace Ward.

There is uncertainty about which groups will be represented by range of candidates to be nominated. A candidate from each of the three main political parties is expected and Ukip may wish to stand in the wake of the European election success.

But the big question for local political observers and local electors alike is whether the Guildford Greenbelt Group will field their own candidate or throw their support behind one particular candidate – perhaps an independent.

The council statement concluded: “For more information about standing as a candidate or voting in Lovelace – please contact our Electoral Services team on 01483 444115.”

Political reactions to the announcement have been sought and will be published as they are obtained.

 2 Responses to By-election Called In Lovelace Ward – Debates on Green Belt Issue Expected

  1. Jules CranwellReply

    August 11, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    Whoever stands and wins this election, of whatever political stripe, let’s hope they they work in the interests of their constituents, as did John Garrett. He was one of very few Tory councillors who voted with his conscience, and personal conviction. He was so passionate about protecting the green belt, that he struggled from his sick-bed to vote in a recent council debate.

    He will be sorely missed.

  2. Michael BrutonReply

    August 11, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    May I echo Mr Cranwell’s comments about John Garrett.

    Unlike the majority of Tories on Guildford Borough Council (GBC) he did not renege on the Tory party election manifesto of 2011, namely a cast iron promise to protect the metropolitan green belt. He was its doughty supporter and despite being very ill attended council meetings to speak up in its favour.

    So why should we now believe any Tory promises from Cllr Mansbridge during the 2015 borough elections? Broken promises lose elections. And along with the shenanigans that have been going on within Millmead over the past three years who can blame electors should they vote to eject many of the Tories?

    Guildford used to be a well run council with a council chief executive in David Watts who protected the Borough fearlessly and a council leader in Cllr Hodges who consulted and responded to the electorate. But now?

    There is some light on the horizon. Electors are becoming organised as they realise the threat posed to the borough by massive and excessive housing numbers. Most of us are receptive to moderate housing numbers of 300-350 per annum but not the 652 per annum that Cllr Mansbridge wants.

    The Liberal Democrats have split away from the Tories on the Local Plan and the Tory party itself in Guildford is now divided. Either Tory councillors now realise the monster they have spawned in the form of the Local Plan or they are fearful of being given the ‘heave ho’ by the electorate.

    The one thing that councillors fear is being rejected at election time. But serve the Tories right if they stick with the current leadership. Perhaps some have reached their sell-by date anyway?

    The Local Plan will not have been approved by the time of the 2015 borough elections. GBC Tories have steadfastly ignored the views of the electorate – initially via the Issues and Options consultation and now, almost certainly, with the current consultation.

    But if thousands write in with their views by the end of the consultation period – it would be an independent planning inspector who reads these letters/submissions. The inspector has the powers to accept, reject or call for modifications to GBC’s Plan. It is almost certain that various groups will be legally represented so that any flaws and errors in GBC’s proposals, and currently, I believe, it has more holes in it than a colander will be exposed to public gaze.

    A good Local Plan with moderate housing numbers and protection of the green belt/AONB is very achievable and would be a fitting tribute to the work of Cllr Garrett.