Prominent local Tory Liz Townsend resigns from the Conservative Party.

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Cllr Townsend – Waverley Borough Councillor for Cranleigh and  Chairman of its  Parish Council has today announced her resignation from the Conservative Party.

Waverley Borough and Cranleigh Parish Cllr Liz Townsend is now hand-in-hand with former MP Anne Milton in their efforts to put ~an Independent MP for the Guildford & Villages into the seat at the General Election. 

It has been obvious to anyone who watches the Waverley Borough Council meetings on its webcast – sad souls that a handful of us residents are! That Cllr Elizabeth Townsend has become an increasingly independent thinker – and doer. 

Like many councillors before her – her politics came with a small p – but her Dogged Determination to serve Waverley, and in particular Cranleigh residents,  – came with a BIG D. Which sometimes took her out-of-step with Tory colleagues. Particularly with her concerns for the environment.

 Although seemingly overlooked and undervalued by some of her own Waverley Conservative colleagues, she is highly regarded by the public and her colleagues in all the other parties. Cast your minds back to a time when Tory-controlled Waverley refused to allow her to join the influential Joint Planning Committee.  A committee faced with major applications – including Dunsfold Park Garden Village a 2,600 home – development that would have a major impact on Cranleigh and its services.

So it came as no surprise to us, here at the Waverley Web that Cllr Liz Townsend has resigned to-day from the Guildford & Villages Con Assoc – to become, what perhaps she always has been – an INDEPENDENT. 

As Chairman of the parish council,  she single-handedly masterminded Cranleigh’s Neighbourhood Plan – a feat of enormous and time-consuming proportions, as it maps out Cranleigh’s future and underpins Waverley’s Local Plan.

She has fought tirelessly for the people of Cranleigh and beyond, cares passionately about the environment, and the effect development is having on the character of the countryside both on her own patch and on the areas of Godalming, Haslemere and ours here in Farnham. nobody shows more frustration at the loss of habitat, loss of ancient woodland, hedgerows, and TPO covered trees than Cllr Townsend. She has shown herself to represent our beleaguered town of Farnham with exactly the same fervour as her own area. There is nothing parochial in her fight for what is right for the people of Waverley. But faced with a choice of what is right for the country has prompted a once committed Tory to hand in her card.

So let’s all hope that the new Coalition Alliance that is now running ‘Your Waverley’ will recognise her immense skills, and reward her courageous stand – with more responsibility for shaping our borough over the next four years. Because there is little doubt, Waverley’s Tory Group has lost one of its best assets. We wonder what Cllr Potts will have to say now her ranks are being depleted further? Watch this space.

Paul Follows - Lib Dem Godalming

Councillor Paul Follows, Deputy Leader of Your Waverley said:

The cross-party administration of Waverley Borough Council is very pleased to welcome Cllr Towsend to join the governing group of (now) 35 councillors.

Cllr Townsend is known for being a hardworking, principled local councillor and will be, I am sure, an asset to the group in our ongoing work for the residents of Waverley.

It is clear that the Conservative party has in recent months shifted to the right and to a place where moderate, centrist, pro-remain and pro-environment Conservative councillors and supporters feel uncomfortable and ultimately that they have no home. Leaving a party of your own choice takes great courage and many of the group understand that position. There will always be a place for such people in the cross-party alliance whether they sit as a member of a party or as an Independent.

Welcome, Cllr Townsend. Paul Follows


15 thoughts on “Prominent local Tory Liz Townsend resigns from the Conservative Party.”

  1. A very warm welcome from me too. I’ve already had some contact with Liz and her total commitment to Cranleigh and to sensible cooperation across party was obvious from the start. More of local politics than people sometimes like to suggest is cross-party, and it’s a feature of Waverley politics that the dominant atmosphere is cooperation. I look forward to working with Liz in her new capacity as well.

    Nick Palmer (chair, Labour group)

  2. Oh Liz Well Done – You are a HUGE example of what a Councillor should be.. I know I am just a resident – But you have always given me hope that there was someone who understood the environment and the Local issues we face here as well as the bigger issues in the Borough. I wish you all the very best as an Indy

  3. Isn’t it great to see these endorsements. However, where is the Tory Group Leader’s comment?

    We are waiting Cllr Potts – we know you are a regular reader of our blog.

  4. Her statement refers to her pro-remain position as the reason so I don’t know how Paul Fellows conflates her reasons as more than this. Bit desperate on his part.

    Incidentally what has the leadership at WAVERLEY actually achieved during their first 6 months??? Answers on a postcard or perhaps a postage stamp…..

    1. I know this may come across as petty, but it Follows, not Fellows. Lawyers that are sketchy on the detail really bug me.

      And I have been discussing this with Cllr Townsend for some time, so I am fully aware of her reasons. I’m also fully aware how many people who previously aligned to the Conservative party are put off by the near right-wing rhetoric and locally – the incredibly petty attitude being displayed by a number of individuals.

      But anyway let’s see on your last question:

      1. Cross party strategy
      2. Revised subsidiary strategy docs, first of which is Comms and Engagement but large revisions to housing and planning too coming down the line.
      3. Electronic voting and governance review
      4. Formal review of the Brightwells project (WW May wish to tune into the VFM O&S in 18th!)
      5. Full Budget online engagement
      6. Towns and parishes visits, ongoing. General towns and parish forum on dec 2nd
      7. Listening panel and action on Dunsfold drilling (and coordination of opposition to it).
      8. Devolving of WBC local assets to towns and parishes where they want it
      9. LPP2 revisions and dialogue (now we have concluded the LPP1 case)

      I could go on but it’s 3am..


      Cllr Townsend is very welcome. I’m pleased to be able to officially say she will be staying on the JPC despite her independent status too.

      1. And – everything concerning the climate emergency motion. Which most of the Conservatives cynically voted for the motion but then not to take any actual action (all except…Cllr Townsend, who did vote for both halves).

    2. Perhaps Mr Smith, Cllr Townsend may have more than one reason for leaving the party? Reasons she may not wish to share globally? Reasons she may not een wish to share with you?

      Want to see for yourself what the leadership has achieved – may we suggest you start watching the webcast? Because for the voting fodder, just being able to watch a complete meeting uninterupted has been a huge achievement for democracy. The ability to ask questions – and yes, get answers – truthful, honest answers. Certainly not the Waverley the new administration inherited.

  5. Wonder why you have chosen to choose this particular post to comment. As a Lawyer surely you must be interested in the post of your fellow Tory PPP – Angela Richardson. Funny really how quiet everything went when we dropped that little plum into the Guildford Conservative Assoc pie! The silence was deafening.

    It must be exceedingly worrying for Waverley’s Tory Group to be reducing so soon after its decimation at the May Polls, and, we understand, from the mutter in the Tory gutter, that there are a few other disenchanted Tories who are considering jumping ship!

  6. Liz is to be applauded for admitting she’s not a Tory. But her reason for quitting is a bit odd because I thought the Conservatives have always been a party of Brexit in some form or the other. She must have understood that when she joined or she could have joined the Lib Dem’s to get to Waverley. Is it that she is ok with Brexit but not a no- deal Brexit? If so she will not go on to join the Lib Dems as they will be at odds with her personal view on Brexit..and she’s a woman of great principle. Apparently. But I’m old and confused so happy to be educated on this by Mr Fellows. It could be that really she didn’t want to play second fiddle to Mrs Richardson and support her former deputy at the Parish Council. If so being an Independent is the right place for someone who struggles to play for a team. So more power to you Liz as an Independent.. if that’s what you truly are…

    1. I am sure many of you will ask Liz to elaborate but as far as I can see she is in favour of remain.

      Leaving a party is a big step, immediately joining another is a bigger one.

      I have certainly left the door open should she wish to join the Waverley BC Lib Dem group though.

  7. While I agree the Conservative Party appears to be all about Brexit now, it used to be about running the country more generally – i didn’t agree with it as a rule, but the current monomania is new.

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