Get that cane out Mistress Milton?
A Conservative borough councillor is offering to provide a rent-free HQ based at her home in Worplesdon for the Guildford Conservative Association (GCA), which covers east Waverley.
Wow! can we see a gong coming on!!
The Association includes the Waverley eastern villages branch of Cranleigh and Ewhurst where the internal flack has been flying for months and where wholesale resignations from members are expected!
The offer comes after GCA considered moving from its HQ in Loseley Park in Godalming which the association chairman Bob Hughes, states in a confidential memo is “relatively expensive”.
Which in other words means, they can’t afford it anymore because donations are dropping off!
Cllr Iseult Roche (Con, Worplesdon) made the offer following the grant of planning permission in November 2017 for a: “conversion of a detached redundant lambing shed to habitable accommodation” at her home, despite objections from local residents about the conversion within a conservation area, in green belt and in the setting of a listed building.
The application was referred to Guildford’s Planning Committee because the applicant, a Mr. Costeloe, believed to be Cllr Roche’s husband, was related to a councillor. Her postal address has been withheld from the GBC website because it was judged: “disclosure… could lead to her being subject to violence or intimidation.”
It is believed that candidate selection for the Worplesdon ward is currently part of the overall candidate selection process within the area covered by the GCA, which includes parts of Waverley. A leaked internal memo, from its chairman, has identified four possible options for the future location of its offices:
1. Remain at Loseley, possibly seeking a smaller, cheaper unit.
2. Share offices with another neighbouring Conservative association.
Whoops! Does that mean Mistress Milton intends joining forces with SW Surrey MP Jeremy Shunt?
3. Purchase a property.
4. Pursue the offer from Cllr Roche “rent free”.
Bob Hughes admitted in his memo that the last option: “…has the obvious downside risk of us becoming beholden to one association member and any factors could change the relationship.”
Sharing an office was discounted because: “…this was not handled well by Woking“ … “sharing with Mole Valley would be difficult…”, “…The Surrey Heath offices at Windlesham are a long way…and the area may move to the Windsor constituency…”.
Oh! dear – didn’t even consider moving in with Shunt then?
Cllr Melanie Whitehand, chairman of the Woking Conservative Association, said recently “There are no plans to establish a joint office, and if Guildford is claiming it’s due to Woking handling it badly, I refute that…”.
WW says: There you go then – like rats in a sack the whole bloody lot of them!
The leaked memo also revealed that Cllr Geoff Davis (Con, Holy Trinity), whose career has been in property surveying and development, had been trying to identify premises for the association to buy without revealing who the purchasers would be.
An office in the centre of the constituency is the preferred option of Guildford’s MP Anne Milton but, with what are believed to be low membership figures, the association does not have sufficient liquid assets at its disposal and would have to seek a loan.
“Here at the Waverley Web are all quite sure there will be someone in the Cranleigh/Ewhurst part of the constituency eager to house the offices! Why don’t they nip down to one of their Cranleigh donors – like the Lettuce/Concrete King and his developer friend Andy Leafy aka Vrijland a Leahy?
The memo concludes that while purchasing a property was the favoured option it risked tying up all the association’s funds, leaving no reserves. It recommended leaving the property purchase option on hold and the offer from Iseult Roche be explored. Legal advice to the association was that an agreement could be drawn up giving GCA the right to occupy in return for a peppercorn rent.
When Bob Hughes, was asked by The Guildford Dragon NEWS about the leaked memo, he said: “A confidential options paper was leaked – I don’t know who leaked it…
“We have a number of options, including continuing in our present offices. We are exploring how all options would work – all of them.”
The Guildford Conservative Association, which oversees the selection of parliamentary and council candidates, reveal very little of its inner workings. Even officer appointments are unpublished on its website. Unless of course when they are unselecting sitting councillors such as Surrey County Councillor Alan Young, by the way, has anyone spotted him recently, or the county councillor who replaced him? Have you seen this man?
It’s called openness and transparency!