Anne Milton The former MP for Guildford, Cranleigh and eastern villages, who is now standing as an Independent was almost swallowed up by the Speakers’ chair in her efforts to avoid making even eye contact with Boris Johnson – during one of the last session of Parliament.
Yes, here at the Waverley Web we watched the parliamentary broadcast as Burly Boris on his way back from the voting lobby almost elbowed her out of the way, and she was forced to sit down, perhaps lie down, we know not. All we know is that for 5 mins she completely disappeared from view, and then appeared with a face like a slapped arse!
Her outburst over recent days underlines her true feelings for the man who may have ended her 15-year career in politics. Unless of course, the people she has tirelessly served decide that her dedication as a constituency MP, and experience of holding top ministerial jobs, and her professional achievements within the health service, can put her back in parliament. We ask, why aren’t there more Independent voices in Parliament – working for US and not “THEM”unfettered by party whips?
Certainly, there is no contest between Anne Milton and “the chosen one” Tory PPP Angela Richardson. A Cranleigh parish councillor, who failed to be elected to Waverley Borough Council and with less experience of local Government than the village delivery man. A woman who even those canvassing for her in Guildford and the villages say they would have much preferred to be shlepping around the streets for a woman they trust – Anne Milton.
A poll of 100 people undertaken by the Guildford Dragon revealed the state of play.
Cllr Townsend – Waverley Borough Councillor for Cranleigh and Chairman of its Parish Council has today announced her resignation from the Conservative Party.
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.
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.
Anne Milton is now – whipless, party-less, and with former Tory Waverley Councillors like these, who needs enemies?!
Since 2005-Anne Milton has represented the people of Guildford, Cranleigh & Ewhurst as their MP. But as the local branch memberships prepare to cast their votes tonight Thursday, it is in the knowledge that the Tory vote has been split asunder by a woman, who herself, held the Deputy Chief Whip’s position in Parliament.
Although a highly respected, hardworking, and in the most part successful MP, she may find some opposition to her decision, having made one crucial mistake in the eastern villages.
It was Ms Milton, along with SW Surrey MP Jeremy Hunt – who together urged Secretary of State Sajid Javid, to call in the Dunsfold Aerodromeplanning application. A delay, which having been approved by ‘Your Waverley’ and the S of S, then prompted a Judicial Review, bythe objectors she backed.Although also agreed by the High Court last year, it robbed Waverley of more than 500 homes, a pivotal component of its Local Plan and precipitated the loss of even more of the borough’s countryside to other eager developers.
However, she did redeem herself in part, by her efforts to turn the spotlight on flooding problems in both Alfold and in Cranleigh. She chairing regular Flood Forums, regularly taking on the Environment Agency and Thames Water and holding all the statutory agencies to account. Sources close to Ms Milton say she has become increasingly frustrated by party politics in recent years but is eager to continue to represent the people on whose behalf she has worked tirelessly for 24 years.
So let the battle begin? All that remains is filling in the black holes?
Guildford Conservative Association and all the branch’s of the Tory tree will be gearing up over the coming weekend to choose the candidate for the ‘once-safe’ Guildford and eastern villages seat.
While some wannabe Tory candidates are getting up close to Boris, MP Anne Milton is fighting in Parliament to ensure all those extant planning permissions for housing on her patch are built-out.
She asked Secretary of State for Housing Minister Esther McVay to “do something” to force developers to build much-needed homes, instead of surrounding sites with hoardings. She says while there is a requirement on developers to begin building within a set period from the granting of planning permission, there is no equivalent requirement to finish what they start, let alone a deadline to do so. This leads to building land left abandoned and unused, housing completions lagging behind housing need, and leaving people without homes.
It was business as usual for one of the finest, hardworking and most respected constituency MP’s Guildford, Ewhurst and Cranleigh have ever had. She told a Westminster Hall debate this week that:
“Local authorities simply do not possess enough tools to force the hand of [property] developers,” Ms Milton had requested the debate on Building Out Extant Planning Permissions to express her frustration that slow progress by developers meant many sites with planning permission were left undeveloped while people suffered from housing shortages”.
“We need houses that people can afford in areas such as Guildford and Cranleigh, where prices are eye-wateringly high (the average house price in Guildford is more than £550,000), and get the socially rented homes we also need.
“But it sometimes feels as if successive governments are simply unwilling to do anything that will upset the developers’ apple cart.”
Ms McVey said:“When we talk about the number of homes coming forward, we all agree there have been many decades of not building enough. Demand has outstripped supply for many years. In the past year, more than 220,000 homes have been built, more than in all but one of the past 31 years.
“We need to do more, and more is being done, but a significant amount has been done already. We are going in the right direction. The government are putting another £44 billion into home-building.
“What we are doing is bringing forward an accelerated planning Green Paper. There will be not just a single solution that ensures that developers build-out there will be an array of solutions, using both carrot and stick approaches. Those methods will be set out in our new Green Paper, which is coming