Waverley Liberal Democrats achieved major breakthroughs in the 2019 local elections, both for Waverley Borough Council, and in our towns. At the previous local elections in 2015, we took no seats in any of our councils. This year in contrast, we took 14 of the 57 wards, moving Waverley from near total Conservative dominance, to No Overall Control.
At town council level, the Conservative collapse continued.
At the 2018 Waverley Liberal Democrats AGM last month, local chair Paul Farthing celebrated the progress the Party had made locally over the past year.
It started with the Central and Ockford by-election last December, where we won both seats available, for first Waverley borough councillor and a second on Godalming Town. We then ran a very strong campaign last May, just missing out in Farnham Castle, and then a great effort in Hindhead in October, where we have done less well in recent years.
A vigorous campaign by Farnham Liberal Democrats has achieve a notable road safety success for the Potters Gate Primary, with the declaration of a reduced 20 mph speed limit. This will notably improve road safety for the children of the school.
So near - and yet so far! In the Farnham Castle by-election, our candidate Jo Aylwin came within just 16 votes of the winning Farnham residents' candidate - a strong improvement on our previous result. In the process, the Conservative Party, which was previously strong in the ward, was but a poor third.
In response to the raising of Council Tax to pay for the toilets in Godalming, Ollie Purkiss, the Godalming Lib Dem Councillor, wrote a letter describing the worrying trend of cuts by government being felt at the local level. The full text of the letter is here:
Godalming Town Council voted to increase Council Tax for 2018 / 2019 mainly because of the continued need to pick up the cost for services cut by other Councils. The most recent example was the public toilets in Godalming and Farncombe which were shut by Waverley Borough Council and then reopened by the Town Council. Toilets in the town are a vital service for residents and visitors alike, and whilst I support the increase to pay for them, the background to this situation and the wider forces at work are deeply concerning.
The reopening of the Godalming and Farncombe toilets was trumpeted as a success for the Conservative majority at the Town Council with Councillors gleefully cutting a ribbon and the Conservative Facebook page trumpetting about the “hard work” of their Councillors in resolving the situation. All this with no mention that the Conservative-run Waverley Council closed them in the first place, or that ten of the twenty Godalming Councillors also sit on the Borough Council, including members of the most senior executive committee one of which is the deputy leader.
We are very pleased to announce that Lib Dem Paul Follows was elected to both Godalming Town Council and Waverley Borough Council for the Central and Ockford ward.
The results were as follows:
Waverley Borough Council
Liberal Democrats - 37.8%
Conservatives - 35%
Labour - 21.5%
Green - 5.7%
Godalming Town Council
Liberal Democrats - 41.5%
Conservatives - 35.6%
Labour - 22.9%
For almost 10 years, Conservative controlled Waverley Council have failed to get an approved Local Plan in place. As a result Farnham has been battling against unplanned greenfield developments in the wrong locations: but Waverley's latest plan proposals – on which a consultation (closed on Oct 20th) was held – have failed Farnham.
Polling day is approaching, and the intense campaign is coming to an end. The Liberal Democrat candidate for South West Surrey, Ollie Purkiss, is asking for your vote saying:
"I believe myself, and the Liberal Democrats can make real change in South West Surrey and nationally. We are the only opposition to a dangerous Brexit and damaging cuts. So if you care about our place in the world, about school cuts, about the NHS, air quality, security or any of the other areas addressed by the Lib Dem manifesto then please vote for me on Thursday 8th June."
Our key priorities here are:
- Fighting the Conservative's hard Brexit.
- Protecting school budgets from savage cuts.
- Investing in the NHS.
- Fixing dangerous levels of pollution locally and nationally.
You can find the full Lib Dem manifesto here: http://www.libdems.org.uk/manifesto
The Liberal Democrats today announced the candidacy of Ollie Purkiss for MP for South West Surrey.