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.
Welcome, Cllr Townsend. Paul Follows