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Those of you whose households are paid-up members of the Ashtead Residents Association will by now have seen the 24-page The Ashtead Resident (incorporating Ashtead Village News). The first half of this is devoted to the 2023 Annual General Meeting (AGM) of 26 April 2023 and the deferred AGM of 25 October 2023. The ARA Standing Committee is evidently set on changing the Association’s Constitution so that it no longer supports residents who stand for election as Councillors who are independent of national political parties – and opens the way for Committee Members to also belong to national political parties.

The report gives great weight to the results of a paper ballot conducted before the October meeting, yet the implications of the motions put forward were not properly explained to Members, who were instructed as to how the Committee wished them to vote. The report also does not mention that the overwhelming opinion of those who attended special meetings to discuss the proposals was that no change to the existing rules should be made.

It was not made clear to Members that the reason for the ARA’s traditional support for independent Councillors since its foundation, was to ensure Ashtead had a voice in Council Committees where they could each vote as they saw fit in the interests of Ashtead and not be obliged to follow any party-political lines. Conservative and Liberal Democrat Councillors are whipped as to how to vote. With six Ashtead seats, this also means that Ashtead independents are assured of being represented on all key Committees. If this were not the case, Ashtead could end up with no vote even on the so-important Development Management Committee.

It was normal practice until relatively recently for any who wished to join the ARA Committee to be asked whether they belonged to a national political party, in which case they would not be accepted. Further, the independent Councillors were frequently drawn from Members of the Committee.

We note that several ARA officers or Committee members have resigned as they were opposed to the direction of travel being thrust upon them by others.

The Ashtead Resident reports that only one resolution is coming to the upcoming AGM on Wednesday 17 April which is designed to cut any link with independent Councillors.  It did not include or even mention that there was a second motion, submitted on 25 February 2024, without any explanation or discussion with the proposer:

Xa. Current Constitution: Insert in Clause 6 at the end of the first sentence after “Association” the words: “none of whom shall be members of any national political party”.

That sentence would then read:” The general management of the affairs of the Association shall be vested in the Committee, which shall consist of a Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Honorary Treasurer and Honorary Secretary, together with not more than twelve other members of the Association none of whom shall be members of any national political party”.


Xb. Or, if the proposed New Constitution is accepted earlier in the AGM: Insert in the appropriate place after the text dealing with Members of the Standing Committee: "and cannot be members of any national political party".

This is not the same as a motion made in 2023. This one would permit members of the Committee to belong to the Ashtead Independents or other local group, but not to be Members of any national political party.

Do try and attend to AGM on 17 April 2024 so that you can make your views known – and vote to prevent Committee Members being members of national political parties to ensure Ashtead can continue to have an independent voice in Council.


David L Hawksworth, Mary Cooper, Chris Hunt, Gerry Sevenoaks,

Andy Smith, Garry Stansfield, Chris Townsend, and Patricia Wiltshire


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