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As reported to the Dec 2016 WBDRA AGM this was a particularly difficult issue resulting in the expulsion of the WBDRA Chair & the WASHA Chair from the Guildford Allotment Society (GAS) Committee.

The expulsion came about following the discovery that GBC & GAS had been drawing up plans to remove the main access gate to the Allotment Site about which very few GAS Committee members were aware of.

Initially the GAS Chair had given his consent to both the 2 expelled members consulting with tenants over the issue then changed his mind when one consulted tenant wrote to GBC expressing concern abut the possible closure of the main gate.

A very unpleasant episode indeed with ongoing ramifications for WASHA and the site wardens.

Below are extracts of e-mails involving GBC, WBDRA and one of our Borough Councillors where eventually GBC in the person of their Deputy Lead (Cllr Matt Furniss) gave a reassurance that the main gate access would remain.

“Date: Monday, 18 July, 2016, 15:17
Bev, Keith

 I spoke to MF earlier.
He confirmed what Bob says in his e-mail below and has given me his assurance that there are no plans to change the access arrangements for the main gate and it will stay as it is.

If we want to quote him on this to anyone, he is happy for any of us to do so.

He stands by his original e-mail to me which I sent you both - let me know if you can't find it.

I'm happy that the sum total of all these e-mails amount to a statement of intent from GBC.

He also said that should there be any suggested change to Access & Parking arrangements, we would all be consulted………………………..”


--- On Fri, 15/7/16, Bob McShee

From: Bob McShee
Subject: RE: Aldershot Road Allotment Site
To: "'David Bird'" , "Liz Hooper"
Date: Friday, 15 July, 2016, 8:56
Aldershot Road Allotment Site

Dear David,

I spoke to Matt Furniss last Tuesday and he again assured me that pedestrian and vehicular access will be maintained to the allotments from the Aldershot Road gate.

He said that he has tried to phone you to arrange a meeting but has been unable to contact you.

He also said he is still willing to meet with you.

Kind regards,




Dear Mr Bird,

I left you a message yesterday to discuss this.

Can you give me a ring sometime please?


Matt Furniss
Deputy Leader of Guildford Borough Council Lead Member for Infrastructure & Governance Councillor Christchurch Ward

-----Original Message-----
From: David Bird []
Sent: 04 July 2016 19:56
To: Matt Furniss
Cc: Bob McShee; Liz Hooper
Subject: RE:Aldershot Road Allotments - main gate access [UNC]

Dear Matt

Thank you for your kind reply - its appreciated as I know how busy you must be at present.

What you have said is helpful to a point but what the Allotment tenants have yet to see is a clear and categoric statement that the main access gate (or "lower gate") will be retained for both vehicular and pedestrian access. Can GBC give this assurance please as both GAS and Parks Dept have failed to so to date.

Additionally, isn't it about time that the tenants of Aldershot Road site were consulted on their views about the car parking issue and access gate? These are the people affected who are regular users of that access and have many years know-how about the site and local area - not members of GAS Committee who know very little about the site and rarely if ever go there?

I still voice a protest over the way discussions have taken place about the Access and Parking issue - why the secrecy and the behind closed doors approach? I thought it only right to start asking tenants opinion on these issues which the GAS Chair initially gave his OK for us to do so then changed his mind when it was obvious that tenants would not be happy with loss of that main access gate.

Additionally it is surely not for GAS or GBC Parks to worry about policing of Car Park spaces - currently this is well catered for by the local police and if issues arise at school run times, then the staff @ St Josephs School play a big part in keeping incursions down as regards the Allotment Site parking spaces.

I hope you can give the reassurance above about the main gate which many local people are anxious to have.

Thank you


David Bird Chairman - WBDRA Westborough, Broadacres & District Residents Association tel: 0799 994 4601 (24 hrs) web:

On Mon, 27/6/16, Matt Furniss wrote:

Subject: RE:Aldershot Road Allotments - main gate access [UNC]
To: "'David Bird'"
Date: Monday, 27 June, 2016, 15:36

Dear David,

No we aren’t giving the access up at this end of the  site.

Yes we may consider amending it to enable development which  provides suitable access and parking to protect the  allotment holders interests, this may be in the allotment  holders interests also and not just the developers. 

If the status quo remains, it is likely that residents of the potential development will use the parking bays or block 

access so we must be open to considering alternative options  within the development, any adjustment will be for  betterment and not detriment.

Hope this helps.


Matt Furniss
Deputy Leader of Guildford Borough Council Lead Member for  Infrastructure & Governance Councillor Christchurch  Ward

-----Original Message-----
From: David Bird []
Sent: 14 June 2016 14:13
To: Matt Furniss
Subject: Aldershot Road Allotments - main gate access

Dear Matt

Again, thanks for your response on this issue to Bob McShee  on this issue last month.

I am sorry to tackle you again on this point but we have  since received conflicting and concerning information from  both Parks & Countryside and Guildford Allotment Society

Thanks to Anne Milton, we have been able to obtain details  of meetings between GAS & Parks where removing this  access seemed to be a serious consideration. Much to the surprise of Allotment tenants & myself (as a GAS committee member when these talks were taking place), we  were somewhat alarmed that meetings covering this issue seem  to have been ongoing for some time.

Surely such meetings are covered by GBC's Core Values and Governance codes of Openness, Transparency and Inclusiveness?

There was a very stormy session during the recent GAS AGM where GAS just refused to answer direct questions from the floor of whether the main access gate stays or goes and just  read out an e-mail which had been circulated by them  previously which does nothing to dispel any concerns we have  all have about losing this vital access point.

It is a fact that over 80% of the site tenants plus their families/friends and also classes from St Joseph's School rely on this access gate. It is also the main vehicular access gate for tenants and indeed the Emergency Services.

Hence it is an important issue for many people and not to have been consulted or even in the know about behind-closed-doors meetings is equally troubling.

So we ask for your help in getting a definitive answer from either Parks & Countryside and/or Planning that the main gate will remain in its present location and will also be retained for both pedestrian and vehicular access?

Many thanks for your interest and attention

Kind regards


David Bird Chairman - WBDRA Westborough, Broadacres &  District Residents Association tel: 0799 994 4601 (24 hrs)

--- On Wed, 4/5/16, Bob McShee

From: Bob McShee   > Subject: Aldershot Road allotments  > To: "David Bird"   > Cc:  >

Date: Wednesday, 4 May, 2016, 10:06 

Hi David,

I spoke to Matt yesterday and he informed me that the  main  vehicular gate, adjoining the ‘Puttocks’
site, will be retained in its present location.
Best wishes

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