From Liz Hogger
Lib Dem councillor for the Effingham ward
As said in the opinion piece: Why Has Lovelace Fallen Out Of Love With The Tories?, the Lovelace result was remarkable indeed, but not that unexpected. After 15 years as a Lib Dem councillor for a green belt village, formerly considered a safe Tory seat, I can testify to the fact that village communities tend to judge candidates as individuals, with their political allegiance just one of the factors to be considered.
In this case, Colin Cross was an excellent candidate with an existing strong record of public service as a parish councillor and school governor. Add that to the Local Plan issues and the Tory disarray, and I would agree with much of The Dragon’s analysis.
However suggesting a ‘rose garden’ coalition of Lib Dem councillors with the current Tory leadership of Guildford Borough Council (GBC) is definitely a fantasy too far.
The Lib Dem demand for a fair Local Plan includes our clear statement of principle, as published by the Lib Dem Group on 12 December 2013, that: “Any expansion of village boundaries should be small-scale and proportionate to the size of the existing community with minimal encroachment into the countryside … Development on brownfield sites should be considered first. Only when every other option has been considered and discounted (in a valid way that will stand the test when the Local Plan is submitted) should Green Belt land be considered for development.”
Add that to the Lib Dem challenge via the Joint Scrutiny Committee for the GBC Leadership to review the housing target, taking into account infrastructure concerns, and I suggest the Lib Dems have rather more in common with GGG than with the Guildford Conservative council group.
I have no doubt that Colin’s membership of the Council’s Lib Dem team will strengthen our efforts to correct this flawed Local Plan. I can assure him from my own experience that he will have the full support of all his Lib Dem colleagues in standing up for his residents, on this and all other issues.