Guildford Greenbelt Group to challenge Anne Milton for seat

January 27, 2015
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Countryside campaigners have selected their challenger to fight for the Guildford seat in the upcoming general election.

Susan Parker, leader of the Guildford Greenbelt Group (GGG) – formed in 2013 – has been selected as a prospective parliamentary candidate for Guildford.

As well as taking on Conservative MP Anne Milton, Mrs Parker will be up against Richard Wilson, from Labour; Kelly-Marie Blundell, from the Liberal Democrats; Harry Aldridge, from UKIP; John Pletts, from the new Surrey branch of the Green Party; and the Peace Party’s John Morris.

GGG will also field candidates in wards for Guildford Borough Council’s elections.

A decision on who, from GGG, will stand against Sir Paul Beresford in the Mole Valley parliamentary constituency, is yet to be finalised.

The main parties have yet to announce their full lists of candidates for the council elections.

However it is understood Burpham representative, Councillor Monika Juneja, who is due at the Old Bailey to face fraud and forgery charges five days after the election, will not stand.

GGG was formed to resist the development and changes to the green belt boundaries outlined in Guildford Borough Council’s controversial draft local plan.

In the autumn, leader of the council, Stephen Mansbridge, took the decision to delay the plan, with a further consultation due after the election.

“The planning system is broken,” Mrs Parker said. “We need real localism, for local people, so communities can choose the development that 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 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.”

Earlier this month, the borough council asked the government for an extension to meet its five-year housing need.

Cllr Mansbridge claimed this would enable the local authority to phase its development more appropriately, using brownfield sites.

Major concerns for GGG include recently-submitted proposals for 2,000 homes on the former Wisley airfield and plans for more than 3,000 homes on University of Surrey-owned land at Blackwell Farm.

Mrs Milton said: “It is good to see democracy alive and well in Guildford. We know elections are opportunities not only for people to cast their vote, but for candidates to stand. I look forward to seeing the manifestos of all political candidates.

“The countryside has always been a big issue for me. I have been a long-standing member of a number of countryside groups.

“We have had a draft local plan with a huge response back from the public and I think the message is pretty clear that Guildford and Cranleigh are great places to live and work, and great places to live and work because we are fantastically vibrant, not only towns and villages, but the communities around them, and the beautiful countryside is very important to local people.”

Article source: http://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/surrey-news/guildford-greenbelt-group-challenge-anne-8527894


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