Conservatives not truthful about us and the Green Belt

Elmbridge Council leader sets record straight on Conservative untruths about Green Belt

Elmbridge Borough Council’s Stuart Selleck, who leads the Administration, a coalition of Residents’ Associations and Liberal Democrats, says the Conservatives have constantly accused the group of supporting the development of significant areas of the Green Belt during the preparations for the new Local Plan. 


“It is totally untrue” says Councillor Selleck.


“Some Conservative local councillors have fed the press and social media with these falsehoods. They have been written into official Conservative literature and even their own MPs are spouting them.


The Conservatives have made these wholly inaccurate claims before, but the Electoral Commission has made it clear that it will not police the political content of their statements and literature. More is the pity.


The Residents’ Association Group does not support any national political party: we are only concerned with defending local residents’ interests on local issues. We do not seek to influence our supporters’ voting preferences in the General Election. Furthermore, we take the view that it is NEVER appropriate for any national political party candidate or MP to deliberately distort the facts relating to local issues for political gain.  


The Conservatives are making these accusations for political purposes. Previously they have featured at the time of the Local Elections but with a General Election on the horizon, they are being resurrected. I reiterate: these accusations are totally untrue and have no basis in fact whatsoever.  


To put the record straight:

  • In 2016, the Conservatives, along with the Lib Dems and the Residents Group councillors unanimously agreed to a Strategic Options consultation, as required by the Conservative government, which included 3 options: one of which included changes to 3% of the Green Belt spread over 3 areas. 
  • Elmbridge Borough Council has now put out two consultations (2016/17 and 2019), each time with the full agreement of all parties on the Council, on the options being put forward. The Council has yet to produce a draft Local Plan with specific proposals about where development can take place. 
  • There has been NO vote in the Council on changing the Green Belt boundaries to allow building on the Green Belt for the Conservatives (or anyone else) to have opposed.


The Government requires Elmbridge Borough Council to follow a consultation process, which has to include all reasonable options, whether we like them or not. 


This process was unanimously agreed by all parties in the full Council at the end of 2016: all the Conservative councillors, all the Liberal Democrat councillors and all the independent Residents’ Group councillors agreed.


Under that administration, led by the Residents’ Group/Lib Dems, all councillors agreed that only by acting together can we defend the people of Elmbridge against this onslaught from the Conservative national government. 


Initiated by the Residents’ Group/Lib Dem coalition, the leaders of all three parties on the Council (Residents Group, Lib Dems and Conservatives) signed a letter to the Secretary of State for what is now the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government with a common position protesting against the national government’s proposals. 


This same department for which our Conservative MP, Dominic Raab was Housing Minister for a short time, failed to provide Elmbridge Council with the additional assurances about the Green Belt that it was seeking”.


Contact: Cllr Karen Randolph Portfolio Holder for Planning. 

Tel: 020 8398 5005 Mob: 07947 571019 email:krandolph@elmbridge.gov.uk

 

Cllr Stuart Selleck, Elmbridge Council Leader
Cllr Stuart Selleck, Elmbridge Council Leader