So it’s all done and dusted.

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Opinion: What Does The General Election Result Mean for Guildford

RosettesBy Martin Giles

Martin Giles

Against all expectations the Tory’s have won an outright majority, Dave has been to see the Queen and given his victory speech, saying: “We are on the brink of something special.” Hmm.

Meanwhile the leaders of Labour, UKIP and The Liberal Democrats have all fallen on their swords.

From the result it seems that it reallyis the economy stupid. Our financial well being is most likely to be the main thing on our minds when we mark our crosses and choose our MP. Local issues, in particular, don’t seem to get a look in, just take a look at GGG’s total of just 538 votes.

Perhaps it is even worse than not getting a look in – perhaps most of us living in Guildford Borough have little idea of what is at stake locally and who stands for what. The results later today (May 8) of the local election might reveal more on that score.

Anyway, what does the result of the general election mean for Guildford? Here are my predictions for life under the next government:

  • The pressure on Guildford to grow significantly in size will be maintained. A Local Plan without a high new housing number is unlikely to be approved by the Planning Inspectorate.

  • Population in the borough will continue to grow, putting more pressure on our roads, health services, schools, and environment.

  • The proposals for Wisley and Blackwell Farm will both be given approval in the face of all opposition.

  • A scaled down version of Solum’s unpopular station development proposal will be approved. It will still increase the height of the station significantly.

  • The government will fund some significant infrastructure projects to answer some of the criticism that growth without improved infrastructure equals disaster.

  • Further council economies will be required as the squeeze continues on their funding.

  • Guildford’s food banks will remain to fill the gaps in the welfare process – a process that could be under even greater pressure.

One thing I cannot predict is what will happen to Anne Milton. Will she be offered a more senior ministerial post, stay as a government whip or return to the back benches?

She should have a good chance of, at least, maintaining her position, especially as without the Lib Dems in government there will be more posts to go round.

Here in Guildford we can have absolutely no complaints about the parliamentary constituency result. Anne Milton secured 57% of the votes, partly, no doubt, because she has earned wide respect as a good constituency MP.

But nationally there remains a significant disconnect between the views of most people and the 36.9% who voted Conservative. In particular the discrepancy between the popular vote for UKIP and the Green Party, and the amount of seats they won especially when compared with the disproportionate, over representation of the SNP.

This might worry or irk many of us but history says that a government that has done well under first past the post will continue to resist any calls for change.

We can’t really complain. We were given the chance to change things and vote for the “Alternative Vote” system but we rejected it. In the end we do get the governance we deserve.

But life in our town and borough will not become terrible overnight. In fact, Guildford will remain a really good place to live, even if we do start, what could be an inexorable trend, to nibble at the margins of the green belt and be careless about the quality of the architectural legacy are we leaving.

We live in a consumer age: we are the consumer generation. “Let tomorrow look after itself.”

Maybe, but what if one of the things we are all too quickly consuming is the very quality of our environment, of our town, of our borough. We can’t just go and buy some more.

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