Council Leader Should Resign – Says Effingham Residents Association
A residents association in Effingham has called on the Guildford Borough Council (GBC) leader Stephen Mansbridge (Con, Ash South & Tongham) to resign.
The call comes in a press release from Effingham Residents Association (EFFRA) issued in the wake of a survey conducted among Effingham residents on the Local Plan.
In the release it is stated: “The planning department has now lost Carol Humphrey, head of planning services, Cllr Juneja lead councillor for planning and the deputy leader James Palmer. Cllr Mansbridge must take responsibility for this and his inappropriate press release [a reference to a statement issued by Cllr Mansbridge – see Council Leader Asks Cllr Monika Juneja To Step Down].
“We were particularly concerned about his ethical position regarding his comment: “why complain if you are not a victim?” And his comment that: “The complainants hide behind a charge for better public probity; whilst they mask behind computers with insults, rhetoric, disdain and disorder. They have spent a year hounding this councillor.”
“These are insulting comments and denigrate the efforts of residents who are concerned about the future of the Borough.
“We consider that Cllr Mansbridge is the wrong person to be leading the council and should now resign for the sake of the whole borough.”
A later press release from Effingham Parish Council claimed that letters to Cllr Mansbridge from its chairman, Arnold Pindar, remained unanswered and quoted the chairman saying he had lost trust in the council leader .
In the EFFRA survey, conducted in July this year, the association says that it circulated a questionnaire to all households in Effingham to discover their views on the draft Guildford Local Plan and the Berkeley Homes joint venture with the Howard of Effingham School to build a new, larger school and 310 homes on green belt land.
According to EFFRA the Draft Local Plan proposes to approximately double the size of the “Settlement Area” in Effingham and take it out of the green belt.
The association reports that the 350 questionnaires showed:
- 97 per cent want Effingham to remain in the green belt
- 89 per cent want the Settlement Area to remain unchanged
- 97 per cent are against GBC building a car park on Effingham Common which would make it a larger SANG (Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace) and therefore enable high levels of development around it including Wisley
And regarding the school/Berkeley Homes Joint Venture:
- 93 per cent are against the proposals to build a replacement school on Effingham Lodge Farm with enabling development of 310 new houses
- 71 per cent would prefer the school to be rebuilt/refurbished on its existing site
- 67 per cent are against the size of the school being increased
Cllr Liz Hogger (Lib Dem, Effingham) said: “EFFRA have done us a service by circulating this questionnaire and giving residents the chance to make their views known.
“It’s clear that Effingham residents value our green belt and want to protect our village from over-development. While many support the principle of improvements to the Howard of Effingham School, the idea of a 31 per cent increase in the size of the village to pay for the whole cost of a rebuilt school is unacceptable to a majority .
“In my view the Howard proposal should be considered through the normal planning application procedure, which would test whether there are sufficient special educational circumstances to justify the loss of green belt land. It should not be set in stone by being included in the Local Plan.”
Cllr Mansbridge and the leader of the Labour group at Millmead were also invited to comment.