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News Bulletin – 25th September 2013

Well first let me say how wonderful it was to see such support at the Full Council Meeting last night. Some were saying that there was apathy among the residents and the turnout would be low. For those who didn’t attend, you missed an interesting, but very long evening. Guildford Borough Council had prepared well, and organised closed circuit television to large screens in additional seating areas in their staff restaurant and the foyer of Millmead. This meant that over 400 people could be seated, and on the night every seat was occupied and people were standing. THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR SUPPORT.

On the down side, after all of the speeches and the discussion, it went to a vote, which we unfortunately lost 16 to 14. Although it was a disappointment,  we knew that there would be party political voting , rather than vote on the Planning Applications merits, and there was always the risk that this could swing the result away from us. In addition, GBC Planning & Legal Services frightened the more timid Councillors with dire predictions of what would happen if the Application was refused, i.e. Bewley Homes may appeal, and GBC would incur legal costs.

However, we may have lost the battle, but we certainly haven’t lost the war, and if Bewley Homes, a2dominion and Guildford Borough Council think we are going to quietly go away now, then they don’t know me, and they don’t know the rest of the Ash Residents Association Committee.

The ASHRA Committee would like to thank our local Ward Councillors, Stephen Mansbridge, Paul Spooner and Nick Sutcliffe. Both Stephen and Paul spoke extremely well and passionately at the meeting  and Nick, although he wasn’t permitted to speak or vote last night, has worked tirelessly behind the scenes with us.  Also our lawyer, Ashley Bowes, who spoke on our behalf last night.

Other than the result of the vote, the most depressing sight last night was that of Cllr David Goodwin, Leader of the Liberal Democrats at GBC, standing in the Council Chamber and hurling the most sickening personal insults at Cllr. Stephen Mansbridge in front of the full Council and the public. I think every member of the public was totally disgusted with his performance and many voiced the opinion that he should be thrown out of the Chamber. However, in typical Guildford Borough Council style, he was timidly asked to apologise, he refused, and was allowed to stay. His were the actions of “the school bully” and have no place in democratic society. However, when it came to the vote, the rest of the Lib Dems, bar 2, voted with him like lemmings.

Thank you once again for your continued support.
Graham Eyre
Chairman, Ash Residents Association

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