Press Statement: Lib Dem councillors announce deferral of final decision on Blackwater Valley Hotspots project

June 22, 2020 3:38 PM

Statement from Guildford Borough Council Liberal Democrats:

"We're aware that there has been significant concern by Ash residents over the potential stopping of the Blackwater Valley hotspots project which was due to be discussed at the Guildford Borough Council Executive meeting on Tuesday 23rd June. We'd also like to thank the residents who have contacted us about this issue.

"Residents have also raised several key questions around the future of this project, particularly with regard to the involvement of Surrey County Council, what role could be played by Section 106 funding, and the importance of the climate emergency. We have therefore decided, in conjunction with our coalition partners, that it would be premature to make a final decision on the project until these issues have been investigated fully and until it is possible to give the public answers to these questions. The decision on the future of this, and the other projects, is being removed from the agenda for the Executive meeting and no decision will be made until there is clarity on the key questions raised by the public.

"We are also particularly encouraged to see that statements made on social media by the relevant Cabinet Member at Surrey County Council indicate that SCC might be willing to show more flexibility on this project than they have previously indicated to Guildford Borough Council and we look forward to discussing with them any possible ways to move the project forward.

"As Liberal Democrats we believe strongly that government, at all levels, should listen to the public and respond to their concerns. When our administration was formed in May 2019 we promised a new approach based on openness, accountability and listening to the public. We hope that we are practising what we preach in deciding to take the time to get the decision right on the Blackwater Valley hotspots project."

Note to editors: The original agenda for the Executive meeting included a Covid-19 review of major projects (https://www2.guildford.gov.uk/councilmeetings/documents/s17478/Item%2006%20-%20Major%20Projects%20Review.pdf) which recommended the stopping or deferring of work on the Public Realm Improvements, Blackwater Valley Hotspots, Guildford Museum Redevelopment and Community Bike Share Scheme major projects.