Not everyone at ‘Your Waverley’ is backing Cranleigh’s proposed new Leisure Centre.

The estimated build of a new Leisure centre in 2019 was £10m – then £20m in 2022. Two weeks ago, it was £30m, and last week, the figure quoted by a Waverley officer was £31m.

To be more precise.  £31,137,252

Now, a question mark among some councillors hangs over the viability and desirability of providing a state-of-the-art, low-carbon Passivhaus building – one of the first in the country.

Q Will spiralling costs put paid to a long-held dream to replace the old and tired leisure centre?

At a meeting of the Executive tonight, Tuesday, Cranleigh  Cllr Liz Townsend, the Portfolio Holder for Planning and Economic Development, will recommend the following to the Council:

That a revised capital budget of £31,137,252, as shown in the financial viability assessment at Exempt Annexe 1, be allocated to deliver a new build Cranleigh Leisure Centre; II.

The leisure centre is built to Passivhaus certification standards, and the Joint Director for Transformation and Governance will be given authority to appoint all professional services, including, but not limited to, the Employers Agent, Design team and build contractor, and to complete and execute all required contractual documentation. Most details will be provided when the press and public are excluded.

Cranleigh Leisure Centre is going up 8211; the costs, that is!

Council officer Kelvin Mills explained that the Council had been working with the architects GT3 and quantity surveyors and that a full report would go to the Executive and Council shortly. 

Cllr George Hesse said:

“I know how much the people of Cranleigh really want and need a new sports and leisure centre, but I understand that the cost estimate what was to have cost £10m then £20m is now costing around the £30m mark.

With material costs generally going up, at what point do we decide that enough is enough that it has exceeded the point it can be afforded? At exactly what point can we pull back from it?  We all know that projects have a tendency to overspend with cost inflation. We are talking about many millions of pounds here. Will there be a pont where we should pull back and completely re-assess. Money is not unlimited.”

Officer Kelvin Mills said:


Chairman Cllr Carole Cockburn said the Council would need “a heck of a lot more information about the project.” before making a decision.

She said: “It would be lovely to have a state-of-the-art facility in Cranleigh, but we have to be aware of how much money we have.  We are talking about eye-watering sums of money here.”

Cllr Hesse asked if and when the build went out to tender, would it be for  a “fixed price contract?”

A Passivhaus-certified design for Cranleigh will guarantee the building’s energy and operational carbon performance. There is no other standard with proven evidence that can guarantee this.

  The initial Passivhaus design parameters included at this stage for Cranleigh are:

  •   Siting the building to maximise solar gain
  •   Solar orientation with the hot pool zones facing directly south and cool zone facing north
  •  Thermal zoning
  •   Optimising MEP plant strategies to reduce pipe and duct runs
  •  Reviewing structural strategies to limit thermal bridging

Gang warfare hits the streets of Cranleigh.

Social media is awash with tales of the unexpected – as vicious fights break out on Cranleigh’s high street.

At one point last Friday, people were warned to stay away from Cranleigh, and those with young families say they will avoid the annual bonfire celebrations this year!

Since the official opening of the Cranley Hotel, now called Cranley on The Common, major disturbances have occurred. Though some say townsfolk are overreacting. Others have contacted the WW, saying many of the troubles had nothing to do with patrons or customers of the pub, some of whom had been turned away.

Residents living around Crnleigh Cricket Common – many of whom occupy multi-million-pound homes are furious that their everyday peace and quiet has been interrupted. The High Street has, in recent years, become the least quiet part of the area that has sprung up from the village that gave birth to Cranleigh New Town. Now, ambulances, fire engines and two-tone police sirens are regular occurrences.

The Waverley Web understands from the locals that ‘The Cranley, ‘ as it is known, has had a chequered history in recent years. Now, under new ownership and refurbishment, it had been hoped that it would enter a new era. The new owners are believed to have done their utmost to deal with any problems. Most were entirely outside their control and occurred in various parts of the Town. 

They intend to completely renovate the shabby and worn interior and return the venue to its glory days during the 60s and ’70s. 

Sadly, it appears not to be the case.

Here’s a comment from Bunty on our comments page.

The private security firm debate on social media is an interesting one. It seems that those who produced a laughable ‘Cranleigh is Dying’ for lack of new residents promo video some years back to push their huge housing development through now want private security to deal with the impact of a large number of ‘outsiders’ coming to the village where there is nothing for young people to do.

Where are the local Councillors and MP to lobby the real police to get a police station re-established in Cranleigh? 100% sure the private-police promoters want public money to protect their newly established park from anti-social behaviour.

A Dunsfold resident who preferred to remain anonymous said: “What did everyone expect? Waverley Bough Council has been dropping licences into the hands of travellers from far and wide. Many of whom have no connection with the area of Dunsfold or Cranleigh. There are hundreds of families setting up homes here. “

Now Cranleigh’s Chat Controller, self-appointed Town Manager (pictured above), has stepped in to give a measured response to the rising number of anti-social incidents in CranleighNew Town, whose growth he has so vociferously supported over many years.

As Chairman of Cranleigh Chamber of Trade & Commerce and Trustee of Knowle Park, he has long called for more footfall in Cranleigh, supporting and campaigning for more major new housing developments that have brought in residents from all over the country and abroad.

Now, Cranleigh residents are calling for private security firms to be hired at the public expense.



Going up and out in ‘Your Waverley.’

Government to expand permitted development rights to make it…

“easier for homeowners to build upwards and outwards”


The government will expand permitted development (PD) rights to make it easier to create new housing and for “homeowners to build upwards and outwards” and is considering whether design codes should apply to some of the rights, the levelling down secretary and the prime minister have announced. 

According to a statement issued by the Department for Levelling-up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) on Sunday night, the government will introduce “new flexibilities” to allow “shops, takeaways, and betting shops” to be converted into homes to help “rejuvenate the high street”.

WW. How exactly does that help rejuvenate the high street when there are no shops, takeaways, betting shops etc, God only knows!

 It will also “cut red tape” to “enable barns conversions and the repurposing of agricultural buildings and disused warehouses”.

 Further “freedoms” to “extend homes, convert lofts and renovate new buildings will help to convert existing properties into new accommodation”. At the same time, a review into the extension of PD rights “will make it easier for homeowners to build upwards and outwards – with new extensions and loft conversions – whilst ensuring neighbours’ interests are protected”.

WW – “How exactly will the Government protect neighbours’ interests?:

The government will also “launch a consultation on new permitted development rights, to provide more certainty over some types of development, and how design codes might apply to certain rights to protect local character and give developers greater confidence. 

New and amended PD rights, it went on to say, “would make it easier to convert larger department stores, space above shops and office space” and would involve “changes to support farm diversification and development, to allow businesses to extend and more outdoor markets to be held”. 

The consultation sets out various changes to existing PD rights and proposes new ones.

Another consultation will take place in the autumn outlining measures on “how to support existing homeowners better to extend their homes.”

It claims: “Densification, done the right way, will transform the opportunities available to people across the country – our inner cities have much lower population densities than comparable Western countries, impacting our productivity.”

The government will “continue to ensure that local removal of permitted development rights through Article 4 Directions will only be agreed where there is evidence of wholly unacceptable impacts”, it said.

But Shaun Davies, chair of the Local Government Association, said in a statement:

“There is no doubt that we need more homes as well as to reinvigorate our high streets and town centres. However, premises such as offices, barns, and shops are not always suitable for housing.

“Further expanding permitted development rights risks creating poor quality residential environments that negatively impact people’s health and wellbeing, as well as a lack of affordable housing or suitable infrastructure. 

“It is disappointing that the government has ignored its own commissioned research that concluded that homes converted through a planning application process deliver higher quality homes than those converted via permitted development rights.

He maintains only homes delivered through the planning system 

“will ensure a mix of high-quality, affordable housing that meets the needs of local communities while also giving those communities the opportunity to shape and define the area they live in.”

Victoria Du Croz, head of planning and partner at law firm Forsters, said new PD rights are “unlikely to boost housing numbers to the levels that are needed”, and housing is needed “alongside job creation, space for warehousing and retail and leisure strategy.

DLUHC is already consulting on its plans to introduce two new PD rights to convert persistently vacant high street properties.

Meanwhile, the new’ class MA’ PD right, effective August 2021, allows the conversion of commercial, business, and service uses to residential without needing a full planning application. 


Surrey wants to know your priorities.

Surrey County Council asks its residents for their views on the authority’s priorities for the next five years.

Stave off bankruptcy, perhaps?

Provide a lower threshold for supporting older people to remain independent for longer in their own homes.

Decent pavements to prevent residents from falling over and ending up in A & E?

What do you want Surrey County Council to prioritise for the next five years? -Better health and ensuring the well-being of all Surrey residents -Reinvigorating town centres and your high streets.
Share your ideas and take the survey by clicking this link at  orlo.uk/33mrN

Knock, knock whose there. developers skulking around Cranleigh.

For months, wannabe developers have been knocking on residents’ doors in Cranleigh. 

As the great building bonanza continues and the once rural village has morphed into Cranleigh New Town, determined developer continue their search for sites.

The latest verdant countryside is the land behind Cranleigh Mead and Seltops Close in the Mead Road area of Cranleigh.

The owner of the 140 store has also appealed to the Government to build 160 homes in Knowle Lane.

Developers earmark Knowle Lane, Cranleigh, as THE growth area for new homes.

The residents are regularly approached with inflated offers to buy their properties. We understand from the locals living there that most have refused, but some living in Seltops Close are sorely tempted to sell up and run.

One resident told the Waverley Web recently that offers for modest homes are so inflated that they are becoming too good to refuse, and the deals on the table may soon be taken.

As concern grows that yet another new housing estate may be on the cards, so does the traffic. At certain times of the day, Cranleigh remains gridlocked. The narrow one-way bridges on the entrance roads into Cranleigh have made traffic congestion worse.

Antony Garstone has published his fears on the local community board, saying:

Our problem is that if this does go through and houses are built, it will completely change the character of not only Seltops Close but also New Park Road and the surrounding roads as feeders to this new estate.

Seltops Close will no longer be a quiet cul-de-sac, but become a thoroughfare feeding all the houses on the new estate allowing access to the village. I know that these things take time to happen, but once started I feel we will have little chance of stopping it. Seltops does not want this to happen. Cranleigh can’t cope with any more development. Just look at the state of everything. When Horsham Road was shut it became a nightmare with 8-wheelers and buses’ using New Park Road.

Another Cranleigh resident wrote:

I wonder how all those people who objected to Dunsfold Airfield being developed – and that includescour new MP Jeremy Hunt who has recenly jumped ship from over-developed Farnham. 

He and former MP Anne Milton and Protect Our Waveley delayed the development by years, which has now left Waverley without a five year housing land supply, and Cranleigh and the eastern villages losing their treasured countryside and their character.”


Cranleigh Leisure Centre going up – the costs that is!

Architects appointed for the new  Cranleigh Leisure Centre say it will cost £30m, not the £20m first mooted!

‘Your Waverley’  has moved closer to providing Cranleigh and the eastern villages with a state-of-the-art new centre by appointing GT3 Architects. 

It will be the lead contractor for a new low-carbon Passivhaus multi-million pound leisure centre on the Village Way Car Park in Cranleigh.

 Passivhaus-designed Leisure Centre earmarked for Cranleigh & the eastern villages of Waverley.

The architect’s brief: 

To deliver a ‘high-quality signature building’ intended to positively impact the local public realm and entice new visitors to the facility to support Waverley’s commitment to be net zero carbon by 2030.

According to the brief:

‘This is one of Cranleigh’s most significant new buildings.  As such, as well as meeting requirements as a leisure facility, it is also important to consider how to maximise the impact of this building on Cranleigh’s overall aesthetic and how it fits within its context to maximise the public realm.

‘This includes the look and feel of the high street and surrounds, enlivening the town, maximising opportunities for interaction between residents, maximising use of open space, allowing for pop-up events, etc. There is a clear aspiration that Cranleigh is looking to do more than reprovision a leisure centre.

‘The new facility should also be an integrated health and well-being centre, part of an emerging campus seeking to better connect community, health, and other provision in Cranleigh. The new building will thus form a vital hub for this wider aspiration.’

The team was selected for the estimated £2 million contract to design and deliver the long-awaited project to serve villages which have undergone and will continue to experience huge housing development projects and significant population increases.

One of the major funders was to have been Trinity College Cambridge, which has consent to build a new garden village on the airfield at Dunsfold. This project has now stalled, and there is no start date for the development of the first phase of 1,800 new homes.

The following steps will include a survey to gather feedback from key leisure centre users and initial informal discussions with key external stakeholders, including the Parish Council, Co-op, Health Centre and the Cranleigh Thursday Market operators and users. It is expected that the car park will be severely affected by the development.

Following that will be wider consultation and the formal planning pre-application process, which the Planning Consultants will lead.

 The council says key stakeholders will continue to be involved at all relevant project stages.

  A comprehensive Risk Log has been compiled. To be monitored by the CLC’s new build Project Working Group and Project Board.

Councillors heard that the architects and cost consultants indicate increased project capital costs. Further financial feasibility work will be undertaken once more detail is known on this. When the ongoing revenue impact is known, this detail will be returned to members for review alongside the project approval in the coming months.

Castons Chartered Quantity Surveyors provided the original project budget of £19.95 million in September 2021. This figure reflected the outcomes of the Feasibility Study, the live 2021 market position and an energy-efficient design.

However, GT3 and the project QS, Faithful & Gould (F&G), have been working with the design team to review build costs based on current fees, inflation, building material costs and Passivhaus certification.

The indicative high-level cost for the current design brief is now…

c. £30 million.

 During the next detailed design phase, the Design team will consult with stakeholders and explore other options to reduce the build cost.

However, this would require changes to the original facility mix scope and would impact the services/facilities currently provided.

 Due to the significant difference between the original approved budget and the revised current budget, F&G has reviewed the budget to highlight the key differences between the two cost plans in scope and scale. These include but are not limited to…

a) Rates – significantly increased and reflect live market-tested data, updated for inflation and location factors.

b) Area – The original concept did not allow operational allowances and gross internal wall area.

c) External works regarding incoming services, drainage, and surfacing.

d) Professional fees – fees in the original bid that are now unrealistic and do not reflect the current position.

e) Contingencies – the percentage is the same at 10%. However, the difference in the figures results in an additional cost.

f) Passivhaus – the build costs now reflect the inclusion of Passivhaus standard construction and certification to provide a guarantee for achieving low carbon principles. F&G will develop the costs.





The Surrey Hills are alive with the sound of… resignations!

Waverley & Guildford’s head honcho has resigned.

I flit, I float, I fleetly fly… I leave and heave a very heavy sigh. Goodbye…


There’s a sad sort of clanging from the clock in the hallAnd the bells in the steeple, tooAnd up in the nursery, an absurd little birdIs popping out to say “cuckoo”(Cuckoo)(Cuckoo)
So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, good nightI hate to go and leave this pretty sight
So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbyeI leave and, heave a sigh, and say goodbye.Goodbye
I’m glad to go; I cannot tell a lieI flit, I float, I fleetly flee, I fly
The sun has gone to bed, and so must ISo long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbyeGoodbyeGoodbye

But I will continue until January to allow a smooth handover.

So within months, Waverley has lost its Borough Solicitor Daniel Bainbridge, Its Chief Planning Officer Zac Ellwood, its Chief Finance Officer Peter Vickers, five planning officers on just one day last week, and has a 47% staff turnover.


Tom Horwood announced his resignation to councillors, his staff and confidantes yesterday.

He said in his message his decision had been delayed while the council “identified the financial and governance issues at GBC … and put in place plans to resolve them.” It was not prompted “by any single thing” but following a health scare.

In a joint statement from the leaders of Waverley & Guildford Borough Councils, Paul Follows and Julia McShane  said:

“The health and well-being of our staff are of paramount concern to us, and while we are both saddened by his departure, we fully support his decision.”

Here is Tom Horwood’s message to council staff and the joint message from the council leaders. Both are reproduced in full.

Dear Colleague

I would like to update you on my position and share with you a statement from the Leaders of Guildford and Waverley Councils at the end.

After six years at Waverley and 20 months at Guildford, I have decided to leave my role as joint Chief Executive in early 2024. I have agreed with the Leaders to work with colleagues and councillors on an orderly transition of responsibilities while the councils recruit my successor.

This job is a privilege and, at times, a great pressure. My decision has not been prompted by any single thing. Rather, I have been considering a change for several months while I reflected on my career and future plans and the impact on my well-being, having had a recent health scare. I delayed the decision while we identified the financial and governance issues at GBC, reported to the council in July and August and put in place plans to resolve them.

Over the next five months, I will continue to work hard for both boroughs and support the councils to take the right decisions on priorities, services and funding. I am grateful for the support of an excellent senior team and the political leaderships. I am continually inspired by the commitment and dedication of colleagues and councillors who work so hard for local residents at a time of exceptional challenge. I will always do what I can to champion local public services.

Tom Horwood, Joint Chief Executive

From the Leaders of Guildford BC and Waverley BC:

We want to extend our heartfelt thanks and support to Tom Horwood for all of his hard work for both Waverley Borough Council and Guildford Borough Council during the first phase of our collaboration and previously at Waverley.

Tom has brought professionalism, drive and hard work to a demanding role in difficult times for local government. He has helped build a capable and resilient organisation and both councils that will continue to thrive.

The health and well-being of our staff are of paramount concern to us, and while we are both saddened by his departure, we fully support his decision.

We are grateful that Tom has offered to stay in the post until the end of February, ensuring a smooth recruitment process for a successor and an orderly transition in 2024. We wish him all the best in his future career.

Cllr Paul Follows

Leader, Waverley Borough Council

Cllr Julia McShane

Joss Bigmore, former leader of GBC and leader of the Residents for Guildford & Villages group, said: “Tom Horwood is an exceptional Chief Executive and a very good man.

“I worked closely with him for two years. We spoke almost daily, and his work ethic and professionalism inspired everyone around him.

“The fact so many issues have been found at Guildford Borough Council is a testament to his tenacity and refusal to accept poor standards; the Borough should be grateful that we are rebuilding from such solid foundations.

“His resignation will be a shock to many, but one’s health is of paramount importance, and I hope people respect his privacy.”

But it gets worse! Follow the link below to get a full report on The Amazing Guildford Dragon, which has a finger firmly on the local pulse.

Allegations of Potential Fraud Involving’ £Millions’ at GBC – Officers Suspended, Employment Contracts Terminated

Published on: 20 Sep, 2023
Updated on: 20 Sep, 2023

By Martin Giles

Two Guildford Borough Council officers have been suspended, and five interim managers have had their contracts suddenly terminated following allegations of potential fraud and budget and contract overspends.


Waverley makes it more difficult to object to a planning application.

This is an interesting change that you may have missed.  


At a recent Waverley Borough Council Council meeting, amendments to the Constitution for the one and only Waverley Borough Council planning Committees were agreed upon.


 So now a minor application needs ten objections (previously, it was five objections before a planning application could be called in for scrutiny by the councillors you elected at the May polls.

For major planning applications, 20 objections are needed. Formerly, it was just ten.

Tory Councillor Jane Austin told her Bramley constituents that Councillors could call contentious applications to the committee without the requisite number of objections if sufficient planning grounds exist. So the message here is if you cannot drum up enough objections among your neighbours, then call on your local councillor and get them to call it in for further scrutiny before it receives the GRANTED stamp.

Plans to produce a new Local Plan Part 1  running from 2023-2043 were signed off by the  Council. This will take some considerable years, with an estimated minimum completion date of 2028.


Housebuilding falls – but not in ‘Your Waverley.’


New figures suggest that planning permission for new houses and conversions across England has fallen to a record low.

Rising costs threaten council housebuilding plans across the county, including Woking, Guildford and Spelthorne. But building affordable homes in Waverley remains a top priority.

Spelthorne Borough Council could suspend all residential developments to prevent an additional £350m cost. The same applies to other Surrey Councils facing bankruptcy. However, ‘Your Waverley’ is building 26 homes in Chiddingfold and more in Godalming and Ewhurst.
Builders taking measurements in a new house


The Home Builders Federation (HBF) said permissions continued to fall “sharply”, with home numbers approved in the first half of 2023 down 19%.

If the trend continues, the housing supply for England could fall to levels not seen for a decade, it added.

The Government said planning permission was granted for 264,000 homes in the past year.

The Conservative Government’s 2019 manifesto promised to build 300,000 homes annually in England by the mid-2020s.

But in December, the Government said councils would get more flexibility over meeting centrally-set housing targets.

The federation said the data confirmed industry warnings that amid an increasingly “anti-development” policy environment and a worsening economy, the number of homes built in the coming years could fall to record low levels.

About 2,456 housing projects were granted planning permission during the second quarter of 2023. According to the report, this number was down 10% on the previous quarter, 20% on the same time a year ago, and was the lowest level since similar records began in 2006.

The HBF said that if the trend continued, it would lead to a reduction in housing delivery of 44,000 homes a year, which would see the housing supply for England fall to levels not seen for a decade.

Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of the HBF, blamed the situation on an “increasingly anti-development and anti-business” policy environment, which he said has caused the “sharp fall in the number of homes being built”.

“The government’s capitulation to the Nimby lobby on planning, its mishandling of water legislation, and – amidst a lack of mortgage availability – the lack of support for first-time buyers could see housing supply drop markedly in the coming years,” he said.

“Fewer homes being built amidst an acute housing crisis has clear social implications, in particular for young people, and will reduce economic activity and cost jobs.”

The department acknowledged the Government needed to do more to speed up the planning system, “which is why our long-term housing plan will reduce unnecessary delays and speed up new developments”.

“This is backed by £24m to scale up planning capacity and a further £13.5m for a super-squad to support large-scale projects. At the same time, we’re scrapping defective EU laws that are blocking 100,000 homes from being built,” they said.

Last month, the Government announced that EU-era water pollution restrictions for housing developments will be scrapped to build up to 100,000 new homes by 2030.

Environmental groups have described the loosening of the restrictions as “disgraceful”.

The Government is busy releasing scare stories. Council planning departments and councillors are creating delays. Delays mean the Government’s friends don’t make money to pay for the Government to stay in power.

Michael Gove gives Waverley a resounding slap.

So how about asking your Whitehall mate to give them more money, Guvnor Gove?

Is ‘Our Waverley’ becoming a punching bag for  Secretary of State Michael Gove?

The Housing Secretary of State has written to Waverley Borough Council chastising it after the housing ombudsman decreed it had committed…

“a severe administration failing.”

It has now apologised for the “unreasonable delay” in responding to an application by the father of a disabled son to make adaptations to his council home. 

Despite Waverley receiving more calls for disabled facilities than it can fund!

At a June council meeting, councillors were told by officers they were receiving increasing referrals from private and hospital OTs trying to arrange work, including disabled adaptions to enable clients to get back home from hospital. You can read it in the link below.

Waverley receives more calls for disabled facilities than it can fund

The family was left waiting for 18 months for the necessary work, and in the end, the father did the work himself.

In a blistering letter to Tom Horwood, the  CEO of Waverley & Guildford Councils, Mr Gove said:

Grumpy Gove said

“You failed to take account of how important the work was to this family. This is deeply disappointing.”

I have been clear that social housing residents must be able to put their trust in their landlords to provide decent homes and deal with complaints effectively”

I expect the changes you are implementing to make a significant difference in the service you deliver to your residents. I will be taking a personal interest in how your organisation continues to deliver its responsibilities.

Waverley has said it is taking steps to improve the application process and accepted that its communication could have been improved.

It said it had learned valuable lessons from this case and, as requested by the ombudsman, was in the process of carrying out a comprehensive review of its policies and procedures.

As part of this review, the council is conducting interviews with residents to gather feedback on its policy.

Here is a post we made In June year.

Waverley receives more calls for disabled facilities than it can fund


Where have all ‘Your Waverley’s the planning officers gone?

We have it on excellent authority that five, yes folks, five planning officers left Waverley Towers on just one day!


Here’s a comment we received from Alfold resident Denise Wordsworth.

It simply beggars belief that we now have only One Planning committee, and they are all schlepping to Godalming to discuss ONE small Application, which may be of significance in Witley – But REALLY??

We have many large outstanding applications that have not come to the committee. We have developers here in Alfold who are not even starting the ones that have been approved as they are waiting for their additional houses to be approved.

As of this morning – I haven’t even been able to look at applications on the Planning Portal as it simply says, “An error occurred getting the documents for this item”, regardless of which application you look at!

Planning officers seem to be departing from Waverley at breakneck speed at the moment… Somebody needs to get a grip on this and fast.


Will ‘Your Waverley’s planning committee rock up for just one planning application

 Touch wood that the ‘one  and only’ objector finds –  it was worth it.


Erection Of Fence And Gate Together With Alterations To Driveway

Membership of the Planning Committee – All are paid an Attendance Allowance for being there plus their travelling expenses. Then, the planning officers attend for just ONE planning application.

Cllr David Beaman (Chair) Cllr Penny Rivers (Vice Chair) Cllr Jane Austin Cllr Carole Cockburn Cllr Janet Crowe Cllr Jacquie Keen Cllr Andrew Laughton Cllr Alan Morrison Cllr John Robini Cllr Julian Spence Cllr Richard Steijger Cllr Phoebe Sullivan Cllr John Ward Cllr Terry Weldon Cllr Graham White

The application has been brought to the Planning Committee at the request of the local Ward Member (Councillor Maxine Gale) on behalf of Witley Parish Council to allow the committee to debate the impact on visual amenities and common land.

No letters of objection were received except one from the parish council.

 The application proposes the erection of a front boundary post, rail fence, and gate, together with alterations to the driveway.

Officers consider the proposal acceptable about design. Furthermore, the impact on common land would be dealt with separately under an application to the Secretary of State under the Commons Act 2006.

So, we aren’t usually the ones that handle it, guv. Here’s what the planning officers say:

Any decision to grant planning permission would not predetermine a decision under that Act. Therefore, the planning balance assessment concludes that the proposal is in accordance with the Development Plan. As such, planning permission is recommended for approval.

The application site is located to the east of Petworth Road in Witley. A two-storey dwelling with a half-hipped roof and inset-pitched dormers. Ribbon development in a semi-rural location along the east of Petworth Road with a mix of single-storey and two-storey house types of differing design.

Here’s what the parish council has to say:

The Parish Council asked for the application to be called into committee rather than agreed upon by delegated authority because it strongly objects and wants the fence and gate enclosing common land removed.

It objects to the accuracy of the red line (on the drawings) as it includes common land not owned by the applicant. An application to the Secretary of State (Planning Inspectorate) should be required to enclose common land. It also contravenes the Witley Neighbourhood Plan.

The parish believes the proposals or design should reinforce or enhance the established village character of streets, greens and other spaces. Asking: Does the proposed car parking compromise the amenity of adjoining properties? Local Green Spaces, Views and Character Development adjoining public open spaces and important gaps should enhance these spaces’ character by providing a positive interface.

In addition, the Parish Council had previously been advised by SCC Highways regarding the inclusion of the land in the Witley Neighbourhood Plan as Local Green Space, that it needed to be left for possible improvements such as pavements and cycleways for integrated transport links.

The development does not comply with policy DM4 (Quality Places through Design) of LPP2. By proposing to enclose an area of common land, the proposal does not respond to this location’s local context and historic character, contrary to DM4 (b). ii.

Furthermore, the boundary intrudes onto the public realm. As well as being in the wrong position, the proposed boundary treatment does not respond positively to the local context around and within the site, i.e. it ‘sticks out like a sore thumb’.


WW has a little sniff of the coffee at Brightwells.

The Waverley Web team recently went incognito on its staff outing around the Blightwells complex in Farnham. Sadly, we couldn’t actually smell the coffee.

BTW – When is the place going to open officially? This year, next year, sometime never?

Farnham Brightwells Marks & Spencer announced plans to open eight “full-line” stores across the country and 12 food halls recently – with the hope locally, the retail giant may reverse its decision to pull out of Brightwells Yard. However,  a Crest Nicholson spokesman poured cold water on the suggestion, saying they were “unaware of any talks reopening with M&S”. So, sorry folks, it’s back to Waitrose.


As we say farewell to the silly season,  where better to spend a few hours in Farnham than in the great white hope of Blightwells? Or, is it perhaps the great white elephant of Blightwells? It will finally boast 238 residential flats, eight restaurants and 25 retail units, with the help of £57.5000 of  Surrey County Council’s pension fund.
While the world drags itself from the beach and back to the office? Or maybe, back from the office to work from the beach, we wandered around the place that gives the developer and its backers a terrible headache.
Enough for CNS to issue a profit warning and another to start checking the current status of its commercial property portfolio, as its value is sinking fast!   
The mutter in the gutter in Farnham reckons the company has made an £18m loss on the scheme; so far, good, then? It wants out of Farnham as quickly as possible, as the project has done nothing for its bank balance or reputation! But the latest estimate for a grand opening is sometime in 2024. 
We admit we know very little about building buildings. However, perhaps a subtle hint to the  Farnham Society might be appropriate.
Allowing for it not being finished and water pouring into some of the structures, the finish of what is actually finished is poor, bordering on shoddy and could be costly to repair in future years. Several examples of shoddy workmanship in the controversial Brightwells House are currently being renovated to make way for the Coppa Club.
The walkways have not been appropriately compacted and are already sinking.
The snagging list in our short reccy was long, very long.
Perhaps a gentle suggestion that the Farnham Society need to collaborate with Surrey constabulary.
There are so many dark corners, blind turns and possible assault spots.
Lighting needs to be appropriate for a public area that will be used by young and old at night.
However, it is not all bad. The central square is the most pleasing part of the scheme (perhaps due to the lack of huge buildings).  Wasn’t the beautiful copper beach tree that takes centre stage, the one that Farnham residents campaigned to step getting the Crest Nicholson chop?
The ludicrous statues depicting Farnham as a craft town? Is it …really? We know it has an art school and pottery somewhere, but it is hardly a craft town!
We could go on, but after six long years since consent was granted and over 20 years in the making, we won’t because it is just too depressing.

Save the date.

It may not be Bonfire Night for the court challenge against Waverley’s Masterplan… but it could be fireworks.


Portfolio holder for Planning Cllr Liz Townsend announced that the date for the high court legal challenge against Waverley Borough Council’s 11,000 home masterplan has been set for November 7 and 8.

Will’ Your Waverley’s Local Plan Part 2 go up in smoke at the Royal Courts of Justice in London when it is challenged by Mlford Barrister Tim House and his wife, Isobel?

Not if Waverley’s and the Government’s barristers and planning experts have anything to do with it!

The housing blueprint had previously been described as…

“a step in the right direction” by planning inspectors but was still criticised for the “geographically contained” spread of development sites.

The legal challenge is based on the relationship between the two parts of the local plan, specifically 180 homes earmarked for land in Milford, where Mr & Mrs House come into the picture.

The couple live close to the proposed development at Milford Golf Course. Mr House fought when planning consent was given, and he is not giving up.

 Mr House claims the council’s approach is an “affront to common sense”. But here’s the twist: his challenge isn’t just about the golf course that his home overlooks, which is covered by a legal covenant, but the legality of the entire Local Plan—a challenge which sent shock waves through Waverley Towers.  

Mr House says he’s been raising the alarm about Waverley’s Local Plan since 2017, particularly its reliance on Milford golf course as a strategic housing site to meet the council’s spiralling government target. A recent row in nearby Oxshott landed a couple there with a £400,000+ legal bull after the courts upheld a bid by neighbours to enforce a 1938 covenant preventing more than one home on a controversial site.

A historic covenant from 1929, when a larger piece of land was split up, states Mr. and Mrs. House cannot build a greater housing density on their pocket of land than at the golf course, and vice versa.

The council has repeatedly claimed this covenant can be overcome as it seeks to deliver on the Government’s diktat to build 590 homes per year up to 2032 in the borough – but according to Mr House, has never shared any sound legal opinion confirming this to be the case.

If the challenge is successful, the council’s housing bible would need to be redrawn, a process that could take years.

Hear from the Milford man challenging Waverley &’s LP2 in the High Court.





The Waverley Web hits the beach.

Well, everyone else is doing it – why not us?

The Waverley Web team has no conscience about hitting the beach. According to the taxpayer’s watchdog – everyone’s doing it.


WW on holiday

This is ‘Your Waverley’s spin on WFH in our borough; it is called…

The ‘Where Work Happens’ project

The council says it continues to provide a more flexible way of office working, taking advantage of the technology that we have used throughout the pandemic but providing a better balance for customers and our workforce,

The latest Tax Payers Alliance investigation revealed the shocking numbers of council staff not simply working from home but actually working from abroad. Sifting through hundreds of freedom of information responses, we uncovered more than 1,350 cases of council employees being permitted to work from overseas, with 708 in 2022 / 23 alone. Staff expected to deal with local issues have been allowed to work from places such as Spain, Portugal, India, Brazil, and Australia.
Our findings splashed the front page of the Daily Mail, and TPA chief executive, John O’Connell, blasted: “Residents forking out record rates expect officials to be using the office space taxpayers are footing the bill for. Council staff should get off the sun loungers and get back to town halls.” The story hit a nerve as editors from the Times, Independent, and many others gave the revelations prominent write-ups.

Inevitably, it wasn’t long before the broadcasters wanted a slice of the action. Our head of campaigns, Elliot Keck, kicked things off by speaking to Times Radio listeners. As Elliot explained:

“We need to look at some of these examples; we need to look at this massive shift in working practices and really interrogate whether or not they are providing the best deal for taxpayers.”

In the evening, TPA media campaign manager Conor Holohan, joined Nigel Farage live in the GB News studio. Highlighting the disconnect between staff abroad and local communities, Conor told viewers across the country:

“If you’re not feeling the potholes under your car and you’re not in the local area feeling the issues that matter there, how are you going to do the job properly?”

Are your planning applications being processed rapidly?


ouncil staff are there to deliver local services to local taxpayers. It’s hard to imagine that laying on a sun lounger with a laptop helps them do a better job. With council tax on the rise and budgets being squeezed, ratepayers expect these costa-del council officials to get back behind their desks and start delivering for residents.


Surrey pupils missing school because of cancelled buses…again.

School children in Surrey are being forced to miss school when their buses don’t arrive, parents say.

Stagecoach has blamed the pandemic for a lack of drivers.

For some, the bus arrives but is too full to let them on, forcing pupils to walk back home and either get lifts or miss school completely.

One parent said the problem has been affecting Chiddingfold students for several weeks, but other villages in Waverley are also affected.

Stagecoach, which runs the bus services, said there continued to be a shortage of drivers following the Covid pandemic.

Last Thursday, the company posted on its Twitter feed that Stagecoach did not run 70 bus services due to driver shortages.

Ann Hughes’ son catches a bus from their home in Chiddingfold to his school in Haslemere.

She told BBC Radio Surrey: “It’s been going on for weeks and weeks and it’s escalating. Now it’s daily.”

‘Children left standing’

Ms Hughes said: “Sometimes you tell your children the bus has been cancelled, and then a bus arrives.

“At other times, they don’t tell you it’s cancelled; the children are left standing there.

“Sometimes there are 10 or 12 children walking home.”

Kirstin McDonald’s daughter catches a bus from Chiddingfold to Guildford so she can get to college.

She said because she works from 09:00 to 18:00, she can’t get her into college or bring her home.”She doesn’t go to college when the bus doesn’t arrive.”

The usual two-buses that ferried pupils to St Peters School in Guildford from Cranleigh and beyond has been reduced to one.

A spokesperson from Stagecoach said:

“We are continuing to face a short-term staffing situation that is out of our control due to the ongoing effects of the pandemic. As a result, this is having an impact on our bus services in Guildford.

“We are also taking proactive steps to alleviate the situation by recruiting new drivers.”


Will luck be a lady for Jeremy Hunt?

The chancellor wants to roll the dice using council pension funds’ assets.

 Has anyone told him about  Surrey County Council’s pension fund used to build Blightwells in Farnham?

Paul Follows
Now our Jeremy wants to use ‘Your Waverley’s pension fund.

If you were a casting director searching for the perfect actor to fill the role of a gambler, Jeremy Hunt would probably not be the first person who comes to mind.

A straight-laced bank manager by all means, but hardly the sharp-suited, trilby-donning Marlon Brando character in Guys and Dolls, singing Luck be a Lady Tonight as he rolls the dice. Indeed, the whole point of Jeremy Hunt’s chancellorship is that he can be trusted with the public finances, or can he?

 While Brando’s character stands only to lose $1,000 a piece to his fellow gamblers in the classic Hollywood musical, in real life, our Jeremy is potentially asking council pension funds to place a multi-billion pound bet using money designed to help pay the pensions of some of the lowest paid workers in the public sectors.

Some councils, including ‘Your Surrey’, have already used the staff pension fund. Think back to the 57m it invested in the Blightwells scheme in Farnham. Twenty-three years after it was mooted, it still hasn’t opened, and the developerCrest Nicholson is reaching out across the country, appealing for businesses to set up shop there.

Let us explain.

 Mr Hunt has unveiled what the Treasury is calling his Mansion House reforms. It is a package of pension changes he said could unlock an extra £75bn for high-growth businesses.

As part of this, the government wants to see the Local Government Pension Scheme “funds and pools doubling their current allocation into private equity, with a total ambition of 10% investment allocation, as part of a diversified but ambitious portfolio”.

The idea is that the LGPS will invest more of its money in “high-growth, innovative technology companies,” whose success will boost the UK economy and increase returns for the pension funds. Such investments offer high potential returns but also high risks.

The Treasury press release about the Mansion House reforms included 17 supportive quotes. None came from LGPS practitioners.

The reason may be that council pension funds exist for one reason: to pay the pensions of their 6.4 million members. Their investment decisions should be guided by their judgement about the best way to achieve this, rather than diktats from the central government, whatever their motives.

Indeed, the recent triennial valuation showed that many council pension funds are well funded, and some now want to reduce the amount of risk in their portfolio rather than increase it. For example, East Sussex Pension Fund is considering reducing its private equity exposure, the opposite of what Jeremy Hunt is urging.

It was an issue that came up frequently at last week’s LGC Pension Insight Symposium in Stratford upon Avon.

One poll asked delegates about the government’s aim for investing 10% of LGPS assets in private equity. A complete 85% agreed,

“this is money to pay small amounts of pension to six million beneficiaries.BACK OFF, GOVERNMENT”.

In contrast, only 15% believed “the government sees the LGPS as a ready cash pile, and it is reasonable to want to make best use of it for the UK”.

Phil Triggs, tri-borough director of Treasury and pensions at Westminster City Council, drew an analogy with the start of austerity in 2010 when councils were encouraged to be more commercial as their government funding was slashed and borrowed to invest in solar farms and town centre regeneration, among other things.

Fast-forward 13 years, and it has not always worked out for the best, as the residents of  Woking could attest. As Mr Triggs said, the government

“doesn’t have a good track record on this, encouraging either local authorities or their pension funds down a particular route”.

And some in the LGPS certainly see a contradiction in the government’s approach to increasing LGPS investment in private equity.

For the past eight years, the government’s flagship reform of the LGPS has been pooling, which sees the 86 pension funds transfer assets to eight pooling organisations to invest on their behalf. A central justification has been that economies of scale would reduce fees paid by pension funds.

And not long ago, there were suggestions the Treasury wanted funds to ditch expensive active management of their assets for passive management because it would reduce their fees.

 Matt Dawson, strategic investment manager at Westminster City Council, says the government is asking pension funds to invest in

“The most expensive, most exotic asset class imaginable”. The proposal to invest 10% of LGPS assets in private equity is, he said, “the exact opposite of the prudential code that you have to adhere to with all of your council investments”.

The government is consulting on this proposal over the summer and other significant proposals to reform the LGPS. It is doubtful to force pension funds to invest 10% in private equity, but strongly encourage them to do so instead.

It should be very wary about doing even this. While the LGPS’s £369bn can be used to do a lot of good – whether it be funding social housing and green infrastructure or influencing the behaviour of banks and fossil fuel companies – its first and foremost priority must be investing to achieve the returns needed to pay pensions. Central government demands about how it allocates its assets run counter to this.

In Guys and Dolls, Marlon Brando was lucky: by the film’s end, he had won his bet and got the girl. In contrast, it will be many years before council pension funds know how the script the chancellor attempts to write will end.

For their sake, we must hope that, in the song’s words, Luck really was a lady for Jeremy Hunt.


Is this a bad joke for a Waverley’s eastern village?

Surrey County Council launched an on-demand minibus scheme with much fanfare: any day but Sunday – when most buses don’t run. 

But not in Alfold!

Because developer Thakeham Homes wanted to dump the legal (106 agreement ), it signed with Surrey and Waverley Councils to give villagers a demand-led service when it received consent to build 99 homes there.

So, a developer can promise an Inspector and sign a legal agreement during an appeal for £400,000 towards a “super uber,” as the Inspector described it, or a new hospital or school, a donkey sanctuary and then shred it!

Has Waverley Council conspired with developers to throw Alfold to the wolves?

Tom Horwood shredding

Waverley & Guildford CEO Tom Horwood shreds Waverley’s legal agreement with Thakeham Homes and Surrey County Council to provide Alfold with a demand-led bus service. 

Wow! Good news or what for Trinity College Cambridge? Is that the sound of the zillion-pound legal agreement it signed getting ready for take-off from Dunsfold airfield’s runway and heading for planet Zonk?!?

Despite SCC signing a legal agreement with devious developer Thakeham Homes and Waverley, following appeal consent for 99 homes in Loxwood Road, Alfold, with the caveat that the developer provides a £400,000 contribution towards this service, the developer now wants it shredded.

Why? Because having trousered consent, it is now doing a deal to flog it all off to a housing association called Abri Homes for, yep, you guessed, homes for rent and shared ownership to reduce ‘Your Waverley’s housing list.

Surrey County Council said the new service will improve access to travel in areas with fewer traditional bus services. 

But not in Alfold!!!

Since last Monday, the service has expanded into five Surrey towns as part of a sustainable travel push.

Surrey Connect uses accessible minibuses, which can be booked anytime, rather than operating on a traditional timetable.

Buses will run in Tandridge, Cranleigh, Farnham, West Guildford and Longcross.   

But not in Alfold

Surrey County Council (SCC) said it was funding the scheme following the success of a service launched in Mole Valley in 2022.

The authority said the scheme would “improve access to sustainable transport in areas of the county where there are fewer bus services.”

But not in Alfold!

Journeys can be booked online with 30 minutes’ notice or up to seven days ahead. Fares are charged based on how many miles are travelled, starting from £2 for adults.

WW noticed the Farnham area map that extends towards Elstead, but no settlement East of the river Wey is mentioned because it’s too far out to make the timetable viable.


Farnham councillor strikes again.

Does anyone question the decisions of ‘Your Waverley’s Executive other than Farnham Residents councillor Jerry Hyman?

As Guildford Borough Council freezes recruitment…

As Waverley’s Executive prepared to vote unanimously for the council to share staff with cash-strapped Guildford on the brink of bankruptcy, the only councillor who ever seems to rock up and question its wisdom haunted them again.


The Waverley Web asks why everyone leaves it to the man; everyone spends their time trying to gag, and who has the guts to ask the questions we, the taxpayer, want answers to?

He asked.

Are we just helping Guildford out? What’s the rush for this temporary arrangement? Is it Guildford’s pressing need? Are we here at Waverley helping to get GBC out of a tight corner? If so, is this an ethical move and what cost to ourselves. To what extent does it benefit us, do you have a plan. Why are we doing this so urgently.

We have a duty of candour and need to satisfy our residents the case for doing this. will expertisebe available to where we need it most.

Shouldn’t we scrutinise this? Where is the detailed report?

Could we have some straigh answers to some straight questions?

A niggley Leader, Paul Follows, who has a propensity these days to want to lead and never follow, said the difference between a dishonest man and an honest man was that they would both tell you they are honest. He said he liked to believe everyone was honest until proved otherwise.

He said the move was simply a “constitutional mechanic” to share staff between the two authorities and that Guildford had already passed the “constitutional instrument.” After the councilspeak, he said both councils had been sharing staff for months, and it was all about using staff efficiently. 

 “We have been using their staff where we have gaps; this isn’t a one-way street. There are gaps in each council. For example, we have been using their resources here on private sector housing.”

He confirmed that GBC was operating a recruitment freeze but was “hiring  by exception.”

The initial vision for collaboration was set out in 2021. This is just the first step. The larger, more serious element is where people are working and who they are working for, and that will be the subject of a report to both councils in the future.

This is just tidying up about the efficient sharing of resources; we have been doing it for over a month.

An Officer said, This is a technical paper and a report to share staff on an interim basis when it is in the best interests of both councils, and both councils make the decision.

Councillor Liz Townsend supported the move saying: 

We have been working together for the past few months, and there are opportunities to use the knowledge and  expertise of the staff of both councils if and when they arise. I certainly look forward to working with the officers of both councils in the coming months.





As Guildford Borough Council freezes recruitment…


‘Your Waverley’ agrees to share staff temporarily to support its ‘collaboration’ with its cash-strapped partner.

Guildford Borough Council, which was facing bankruptcy, has put a freeze on recruitment as part of its financial recovery plan.

Is ‘Your Waverley’ coming to its rescue?

This is Tuesday’s recommendation from the Executive, which shares a Chief Executive with Guildford. 

Tonight, the Executive resolves to:

Approve the principle of sharing staff between Guildford Borough Council and Waverley Borough Council temporarily, where appropriate, to support the collaboration programme; 

Tom Horwood Joint Chief Executive of both Guildford and Waverley Councils.  

Councillors slam “ eye watering” new interim finance director cost.

Delegate authority to the Joint Chief Executive to approve, subject to a business case, future temporary staff-sharing arrangements between Guildford Borough Council and Waverley Borough Council to support the collaboration and transformation programme;

 Delegate authority to the Joint Executive Head of Legal and Democratic Services to enter into an agreement between Guildford Borough Council and Waverley Borough Council for temporarily sharing their staff.

Guildford Borough Council will review all existing agency, interim staff, and consultants.

In July, GBC said it would impose strict financial controls before considering a Section 114 notice prohibiting spending.

The authority said challenges were due to a

“legacy of ambitious decisions”.

It is facing a £300m debt, which it expects to rise.

The recently-elected Lib Dem council said a finance review had unearthed accounting issues.

Following a recent extraordinary full council meeting, the Guildford authority said budgets would be reduced in areas where allocated money had not been spent.

Waverley’s Executive gives these reasons for sharing resources.

  •  To ensure that officers have sufficient agility in operational decision-making to embrace opportunities that may arise regarding temporary staffing arrangements that are likely to benefit both councils in terms of cost, efficiency and skills whilst retaining flexibility for any future longer-term arrangements brought about through the Transformation and Collaboration Programme.


  • Where the Joint Chief Executive agrees on a temporary staffing arrangement, consultation will take place with any staff affected and Unison where appropriate. Temporary changes will be made to their employment contracts as required.


  • To ensure a robust governance process around staff sharing on an interim basis, including arrangements for sharing costs, terminating any such agreements and resolving any disputes fairly and transparently.

On 6 July 2021, Guildford Borough Council and Waverley Borough Council each agreed to create a single management team and bring forward business cases for future collaboration. An inter-authority agreement was entered into in April 2022 to govern such jointly appointed staff arrangements.

Whilst the Joint Management Team is exploring longer-term possibilities for providing services differently, some opportunities to share staff through informal and interim collaboration have arisen.


Coming Soon.

For the third time in just a few days, ‘Your Waverley’ slams the door on the press and public.

But not on all matters concerning The Broadwater Golf Course site just now, but according to Leader Cllr Paul Follows – coming soon.


Is it now the role of social media to shine a light into the darkest corners of Waverley Towers?

So what is it this time?

Tomorrow Tuesday, September 5, will ‘Your Waverley’ proceed with a settlement agreement to buy back the lease of the Broadwater Golf Course site for circa £150,000?

If so, why isn’t this mentioned on the agenda?

At a meeting of the EXECUTIVE on September 5, yet again, we are informed that…

Are our elected representatives comfortable slamming the doors in the faces of the residents who put them in charge of our finances?
This is our taxpayers’ money; if it’s worth doing the deal, they should have no problem explaining why it’s a good deal.

Councillors slam “eye watering” cost of new interim finance director.

Guildford and Waverley Councils have appointed an Interim Chief Finance Officer.

Last night, Waverley councillors were asked to ratify a recommendation to appoint 55-year-old Richard Bates as a Section 151 Interim Executive Head of Finance, which an Interviewing Panel of both the Guildford  & Waverley authorities had unanimously supported. The Group also included leaders of all opposition parties.


It follows the resignation of former Finance Officer Peter Vickers.

Waverley’s leader, Paul Follows,  addressed an Extraordinary Council meeting on Tuesday seeking to confirm the appointment. The exact details of which would be considered in private.


However, much of the confidential information had already been revealed on social media. Not everyone was jubilant, including members of the ruling Liberal Democrat Group. Many councillors were sceptical that they were being asked to support the temporary post for a man who lives in Dorchester at a cost of £927.68p per day or £241,196.80 per year – plus expenses.

According to Leader Follows, who introduced the officer after the webcast was taken offline, Mr Bate was chosen for the critical post due to his level of experience and handling of financial matters of more than one authority.

Cllr Michael Goodridge said this was the third Sec 151 financial officer we have had since the senior management hurriedly merged the management team with Guildford Borough Council just over two years ago. As this was an interim appointment, he suspected there would undoubtedly be a fourth, which shows some staff instability. 

We have only a summary of his CV. I would be interested to know why the candidate left his previous permanent position and was surprised to see where he lived! 

He said: 

I was amazed when at a recent licensing panel meeting I was advised that the lawyer was an interim officer living in Chester, which seems a bit of a distance.

I note the financial implications. The daily rate being paid comes to an eye-watering sum when multiplied by the days in the week plus some 6 weeks’ holidays. I can’t mention any more unti we are in Exempt. (confidential session when the press & public are excluded.)

I am also concerned that due to Guildrord BC’s current financial problems, we will not have or fair share of this officer’s time.  As the merger of Guildford was to save money I don’t believe this is going the right way. We need to have a finance officer, so will of course vote for it. But it is at a cost!

Cllr Jerry Hyman. said he echoed the sentiments of concern that others also shared. Asking how long it is going to take to find a permanent officer. 

It appears that the agency has found a permanent cadidate/s. We are told a permanent officer will be found in September. If that is the case, the longer we have the interim rates split between two councils, the costs are a lot. Guildford will require more of his time. We are throwing away money on Agency staff when we had initially hoped to save through the collaboration with Guildford Borough Council.

Cllr Ken Reed. The most important point was how long the interim appointment would continue, warning…

otherwise the costs would become eye-watering.

The Borough Solicitor confirmed there would be a similar process by Guildford yesterday, Wednesday, to confirm  Mr Bates’ appointment. 

Leader Follows assured the officer’s time would be split equally between the authorities. Saying,

It is more  important that we get the right person than any person and can handle the job in question.

We are not merging with Guildford – we are sharing resources and some staff.

He said he expected the new officer to put 50% of his time at Waverley, though there would be times when this might be different.   

You will see for yourselves the amount of time and effort our officers regularly put in.

The Recommendation was carried by 39 votes with six abstentions. 













More-Molyneux family hitch a ride on the developer train heading for Binscombe.



New homes on their way to Binscombe?

As all the wannabe developers gather in their droves to pour over every vacant green field in the borough, the Loseley Manor-based More-Molyneux family is the latest to jump on the bandwagon…again.


A new planning application to build 27 dwellings, including houses, flats and maisonettes, by Opus Works has recently been received by Waverley Borough Council. (WA/2023/01714) Residents are urging everyone to object NOW! The window for objections is tight – 2nd September.


Landowners, the More-Molyneux family of the Loseley Estate, are trying again on the same site, having failed on a previous occasion to get lift-off by a Government Inspector at an appeal in 2019.  

In 2018, an application for 21 houses was refused. Despite an appeal, which the appointed Government Inspector dismissed in the strongest terms, the residents of Binscombe and Farncombe are once again fighting inappropriate development.

The field is on the edge of Binscombe, a medieval hamlet first recorded in 1227. The heart of the village comprises a mere 25 dwellings, nine of which are listed and many of which are 16th century in date.  

If allowed, residents say this development would double the size of the village at a stroke. A bit like Alfold, then?

This is depressing and deeply worrying when landowners and their agents keep trying to build on completely inappropriate parcels of land for financial gain.

Try, try and if not successful – try again.

In a press release to the Waverley Web, objectors outline their concerns.

The field was removed from the Green Belt to make the land available for housing. The Council refused the 2019 application, but an appeal swiftly followed. The Government Inspector nominated to examine the appeal came down firmly on the side of those who objected and were passionate about preserving the adjoining Heritage Assets, including the Binscombe Conservation area. These assets are protected in law, a fact the applicants seem to have forgotten or at least feel of no great importance. The Inspector also clearly stated in his dismissal that the rural character of the setting of Binscombe was without doubt worth preserving. 

According to Local Plan Part 2 (LPP2), the second stage of Waverley’s new Local Plan, Godalming has exceeded new homes targets, while other parts of the borough have not.  

CPRE Surrey ( Campaign for Preservation of Rural England)  has objected that any development on the field would not be reconcilable with the Green Belt principles in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and would be a…

“material encroachment into the Countryside and sprawl from Farncombe”.

As 219 dwellings have exceeded Local Plan Part 1, it has been decided that housing allocations for Godalming are no longer required in LPP2.

Selling off small parcels of land, such as the field in question for development, enables landowners and developers to avoid the cumulative impacts of developments within areas, often on the Green Belt. In recent years, other land near Binscombe, owned by the More-Molyneux family, has been subject to pre-development applications. There is concern that the latest planning application  (WA/2023/01714) will set a precedent for more if it goes through.  

This latest application is deeply concerning and shows a high level of arrogance bearing in mind the Inspector’s condemnatory conclusion in 2019.


Additional problems with the site include the access road being a dangerous, narrow lane, only 4.3 metres wide. The only way to widen and make it safer is to destroy ancient hedgerows. The scheme suggests 57 car parking spaces, without doubt, disproportionate to the number of dwellings.


The More-Molyneux family and the developer have dismissed suggestions to make the development accessible from the adjacent Copse Side because it is not as aesthetically attractive as the proposed entrance from the narrow and dangerous lane in Binscombe.


The revised NPPF strengthens the protection of Heritage assets, and even the Council acknowledge an obligation to preserve and enhance Conservation areas that may be affected by a planning proposal. The application admits there would be harm to the local rural environment and the adjacent Conservation area. 


Not all residents near the site received notification from Waverley Borough Council. In contrast, others received letters with less than three weeks to submit comments/objections by the deadline, and the public notice was placed 200 metres from the entrance.


A resident in Farncombe who lives on the other side of the potential development has initiated a petition that has attracted 100 signatories objecting to the planning application within 48 hours, confirming the huge amount of local opposition.

Residents ask?

Waverley now has a Brownfield site register showing the potential for hundreds of new homes. When our elected politicians tell us that new homes should be built on these sites rather than greenfield ones, why should this field even be in the planning mix?  


The Inspector clearly stated in 2019 that

‘the proposal would have a harmful effect on the Binscombe Conservation Area’ …‘the proposal would cause significant harm to the heritage assets’, and ‘it would be harmful to an important part of the rural significance of the Conservation Area’. 

Objectors say:

This is about 30 metres from the site, and we feel passionate about protecting our green countryside and our heritage.

The site would be accessed by a narrow country lane, lacking footpaths, and highway safety would be compromised. Pedestrians, in particular, would be severely at risk. A high level of extra traffic through both Binscombe and Farncombe would be sadly inevitable.



Waverley closed its doors to decide the future of High Street venture.

Did they or didn’t ‘Your Waverley approve a budget of £1,96m to convert a Godalming High Street Store it bought earlier this year for £2,634?

That is the question.

 The Council met at an Extraordinary meeting to take the next step in deciding the future of the former M & Co high street store to boost its finances and help boost the high street.

Led by Cllr Jerry Hyman last night, councillors only avoided going behind closed doors by two votes, 18 to 16, with four abstentions to decide the next step. He claimed it was in the public interest that the debate and decision should be in open session. The Council was embarking on a commercial venture with the ratepayer’s money, in total over £4m.

However, the doors were closed to the press and public.

Cllr Hyman said:  I opposed the purchase 18 months ago – I was the only member of this council to do so.    I am very worried. I cannot support this when all the risk is being dumped on the Housing Revenue account. We do not have the skill set. Look what has happened elsewhere like Woking. We should be discussing this in public.

The following steps for a Godalming High Street store.

Here’s the voting doughnut to determine whether the decision should be in an open session.
The Executive claims that making small but serious acquisitions like this and actively supporting the high streets while Government cash dwindles year after year is the only way the Council can increase its revenue to support local services. The scheme aligns with its objective to build more homes and support Waverley’s High Streets.
The 68 High St site has a lapsed planning consent for eight homes and commercial units.
Cllr Peter Martin said he was dead against a flawed scheme from the outset. It had already lost £1m on the property. He called for an external appraisal to place the loss on the public record.
until a deal is demonstrated, I won’t be supporting this and I dont want to move into Exempt. 
Cllr Follows said the Council had lost nothing as it had no intention of selling the site, now or in the future – it was a good deal for Godalming & Waverley. He said members should look at the recent profit warning from Crest Nicholson – the developer of the Brightwells Site in Farnham.
As Clifford Jones said recently about a decision made by the former Tory-controlled council on the WW comments page.
Of course, the enormous retail elephant in the room is not in Godalming but in Farnham. Brightwells Yard. We are supposed to ignore its vast emptiness and its long-term costs—the noose around the borough and county council’s necks.
Cllr Michael Goodridge argued the Council should not be making speculative commercial developments. When the purchase was completed in May 2022, the Council must have been aware of the problems prompted by the  Ukranian War and COVID, but it just carried on. He claimed the objective of building affordable homes had been delayed and kicked into the long grass and how it could contribute to the high street when it had not signed up a prospective tenant. He wanted the deal with a tenant tied up before going any further.
This was rebuffed by Cllr Liz Townsend, who asked: How can we sign up a tenant when we don’t have the decision we have come here for tonight? 
When this was done, a lease with a chosen tenant would be signed before Christmas.
Cllr Victoria Kiehl welcomed support for the local economy. There were vast gaps in our High St with other shops needing attention. A few more businesses had recently opened, prompting an increase in footfall. We must set the right conditions for high streets to succeed, and sustainable housing for local people is vital.
Cllr Janet Crowe. Said the scheme addressed both issues. Housing and regeneration of Godalming High St. There are 1,180 people on our housing lists. These proposals underpin those objectives.

Cllr Christopher Murray said his concern was the tenant had been given such advantageous terms below the commercial rate as an anchor tenant.

 He said he didn’t have such power with his landlord, which was the same with most commercial tenants.

This is a dangerous strategy to regenerate High Streets.   The terms we are proposing may force other struggling businesses out of business. or it could, If anyone finds out how advantageous this is, other new businesses coming in will want the same advantageous terms.

Has anyone considered this? Once this state intervention happens, it skews the market. This tenant may be a winner, but others may be the losers.

Cllr Peter Clarke accepted that some members are opposed to high street intervention. Nobody else is going to help the high St. If we don’t. Local members would jump at this opportunity if it arose in Farnham, Cranleigh or Haslemere. All it has to do is pay for itself. The balance is to be struck here. Deliver this on time and on budget.

Cllr Nick Williams made an impassioned plea to support the scheme.

Our existing Corp Strategy commits this Council to build genuinely affordable housing and reinvigorate High Streets across the borough. What we are considering is following through what we have begun.   A  conversation with one of the former tenants of a hugely successful outlet in Godalming that was squeezed by the pandemic and ever-increasing rents to landlords motivated by profit and profit alone underlined this. We have an opportunity to change this.

High Streets are dying because of high rents and unsympathetic landlords. I wouldn’t want to be part of a council to let these things happen. I want to do my best in my local community, however constrained we might be by ongoing cuts in central Government funding. I would be negligent in my duties to my community if I didn’t support it. 

The Recommendations

The Executive recommends to Council the approval of a budget of £230,000 (Exempt Annexe 2), to be met from the Asset Investment Reserve, to progress phase 1 of the revised project.

This will deliver the project’s commercial element to RIBA Stage 4 (the detailed design stage) and enable the submission of a planning application for the retail unit. Page 5 4 2.2 the approval of an overall capital budget of £1.96 million (including the £230,000 referred to above), as per the breakdown in Exempt Appendix 4, to cover the anticipated cost of the capital works to the commercial unit, with delegation to Executive to approve the final budget once tender returns for the construction contract have been received.







The next steps for a Godalming High Street store.

Has the former M & Co store in Godalming become a saga for ‘Your Waverley?’

 Today, Tuesday, the council will meet to take the next step in deciding the future of the former high street store to boost its finances and help the high street.

 69 High Street, Godalming.

The Executive claims that making small but serious acquisitions like this and actively supporting the high streets while  Government cash reduces year after year is the only way the council can increase its revenue to support local services. **
Was paying £2,634  to make money sensible use of taxpayers’ money?
In early August, the Executive approved a budget of £230,000 to redesign the shop and £1,730,000 to cover the cost of the work to the commercial unit.
According to Council Leader Paul Follows, a prospective commercial tenant IS lined up for the site. He said:
We are undertaking the next stage of the project to split the site into the commercial front and the residential back as per our original intent when the building was acquired.
We have of course been working in the background on the design, build and planning etc as well as firming up the terms with the commercial partner taking on the front of the building.
As the council cannot control who goes on a site on the high street unless we own it, and we do not get to set rent rates unless we own it (alas, we still don’t control business rates or get to keep more than 5p in the £ of them) – this is part of our plan to intervene positively on the high street where good opportunities present themselves.
Councillors will be asked to review and give approval to the business plan and the next stages of the works.
 In making small but serious acquisitions like this, we can actively support our high streets, be a good and sustainable landlord with a long-term view of the towns in Waverley and also use the revenue to support local services.
 The meeting tomorrow, assuming the council approves, will advance the project and will allow us and the new tenant to get cracking on the physical work on site. 

One local asked:

Are you leading us in the same direction as Woking Borough Council? Where is this money coming from?
Said Cllr Follows: 
 It’s essentially our own money, with some borrowing from the Public Works Loan Board (PWLB) for small investments and regeneration projects such as this.
The scale of what Woking did is hundreds and hundreds of times beyond any of this. This is a shop on the high street, not vast shopping complexes, residential tower blocks and hotels.
We also intend to retain ownership of the commercial site and the residential component.
I entirely understand the concerns with the news is full of places like woking, but small, serious and well-managed things like this are not remotely in the same league. We also have good governance and financial control in place, unlike Woking at that time.

Meanwhile, in Cranleigh. A Call from Andy Webb on the Cranleigh Community Board. Shop Closing.

With the sad news that Cockerills Shoe Shop is closing, there will be yet another empty shop on Cranleigh High Street.
It’s okay for the Chamber of Commerce to publish the increasing weekly footfall on the high street, which is hardly surprising with all the new housing developments. The fact is, this does not reflect how many people are supporting local independent shops.
More needs to be done to promote local independent retailers; landlords and local authorities should do more to help. As this will probably not happen, this group will advertise our independent retailers weekly to help promote them.
If you are a local shop or retailer or would like to recommend any of them, please do so on this post. Every few days, we change the cover photo to promote local retailers.
** A survey of 47 local authorities has revealed many may face bankruptcy next year. Twelve councils are currently debating whether to issue 114 notices for 23/24
The Government refuses to recognise the significant inflationary pressures that local authorities have dealt with during the last 12 months.
However, a Government spokesman said councils are responsible for their own finances.

More on Secretts development in Milford.

Our readers have been confused about the location of the development that was unanimously consented to by Waverley Planners at Hurst Farm, Milford, earlier this week. Our grateful thanks go to Kathy Smyth and Christine for identifying several much clearer site maps.

Big green spaces in the middle, existing ponds kept, and two vehicle entrances so residents of this development can avoid the mini-roundabout in Milford altogether.

Large space made available for 19,500 square foot doctors surgery and 40 car parking spaces.

A better view of the layout of the development at Secretts in Milford.
Here’s a better view of the exact location. This is the right red line location plan, in case it helps…. The top left, designated for sports pitches, is in the Guildford Borough Council area.
Hi William.
I couldn’t figure out exactly where the houses are going at Secretts, so I found this map showing the lakes. Everyone knows where the lakes are, so a good landmark? 
Click on the link below, and we hope all will become clear. 



Secretts development in Milford gets go ahead.



A whopping great development on Godalming’s ‘ Secretts site could get the go-ahead this week.

Councillors agreed unanimously to grant a scheme from developerPtarmigan Land, Bewley Homes & FA Secretts Ltd to build 216 homes, change the use of an existing farm shop building to a rural business hub, provide a new farm shop, public open space, sports pitches and associated infrastructure, landscaping, drainage, parking and new access points following the demolition of existing buildings.

Also agreed: outline application (with all matters reserved except access) for the erection of a new health hub following the demolition of the existing black barn.

From this:

To this.


John Secrett. Co-owner of the 4th generation family business. He told the committee the business founded by his grandfather moved to Milford in 1937. Changes in horticulture prompted diversification over the years, and the company opened one of the first Farm Shops in the country supported by Waverley Council. 

He said: The scheme before you carries the traditions of the past into the future—a more modern Farm Shop with Secretts continuing to grow crops and selling to the best restaurants in the city. It would reflect the company’s vision, retaining the ponds and green spaces. The land had been offered to the Milford & Witley GP Practice. which would have a positive impact on the local community. We have the support of both parish councils. I am asking you to support this scheme.

 Officers said the land had been removed from the Green Belt, and the site was included for developing mixed-use housing and relocating businesses in the Neighbourhood Plan.

The scheme would conserve and enhance the heritage assets and provide a landscape buffer to the north of the site. A new farm shop would be provided in the southern part of the site. Existing ponds were retained and utilised to provide the Sustainable Urban Drainage Schemes and would now be open to the public. West of Meadow Close, retained as open space and tree planting.

There would be changes to the junction at Chapel Lane where the new business centre would be sited. Most residential buildings are single-storey, with some two and a half. Pedestrian walkways are provided to the public open spaces. Two junior playing pitches and a toilet block with access from Eashing Lane within the GBC area. Cycle and pedestrian links would join up with Franklin Way, and the Godalming Greenway beyond, and a key route for pedestrian traffic would link to the new healthcare hub and business centre.


Cllr Maxine Gale said a development of this size can cause concerns for local people, but new homes can settle in if done with care and understanding. Some are concerned about the loss of the Green Belt. But the In Witley Neighbourhood Plan had identified it as the preferred site.

Many changes had taken place. And a new access to the B3100  reduces the impact on the roundabout. The new health centre was needed, and all homes have personal outside space, with the affordable homes well mixed into market homes.

However, she said there would be an impact on Milford traffic, and she would like highway improvements made sooner rather than later in the life of the scheme |

She wanted a timetable for the health hub  coming forward. ,

We don’t want to see an empty building site.

Concerns about the ponds could become two big holes in the ground if not topped up. Officers assured that they would be part of the SUDS and would have water draining into them from the development.

Cllr Carole Cockburn was concerned about BIO Diversity net gain. How are we ever going to know if it works? How will it be monitored to reveal success or failure?

Waverley’s Chief Planning Officer said it would be met with  Conditions,  Baseline data points, and ongoing management plans and secured through 106 monitoring plans in perpetuity.

Cllr Carole Cockburn  said she was baffled.

We are taking over a green space to build on. I don’t understand how the base data can be monitored accurately. Is it worth it? I hope it works. I am delighted that this has arrived eventually, a change in numbers is not material. I hope we have more aplications where we sit down and listen to each other. This is a considered application, and the developer has talked to the community. This could turn into a lovely place to live. The public green space will be of enormous benefit, and there are benefits to more housing. I am delighted to support it.


Cllr Graham White asked how Waverley would ensure the planting plan had been completed and correctly carried out.

Officers said that we need to monitor these big sites to ensure conditions are being complied with; we have found landscape architects put in trees and don’t water them, and in year 2/3, planting fails. We have to ensure it succeeds in the first year and the following years.

Before all ten members of the planning committee voted for the scheme, Cllr  Gale said:

There has been a lot of work ut it to ensure this is a development, unlike a lot of sticky boxes. The problem will be traffic. We may even get the Milford Golf Course development, so we need those highway conditions coming in sooner rather than later.


A point of clarification on Waverley’ planning headache

The WW receives numerous comments from the public on our boards. But, now and again, they deserve a wider airing.

Was Waverley Planning Sabotaged By Tory Councillors?

Point of Clarification from Waverley resident Kathy Smythe.

I’ve always been fairly sceptical that the Inspectorate would want to take over Waverley’s planning department and administer the 2,000-3,000 applications that it receives most years – and btw this sheer weight of numbers is right at the top end of the numbers of applications received by the ten or so authorities being considered for designation for their failure to deal promptly with the more minor applications. So a while back, I looked this regulation up and came to the conclusion that the summaries I’ve been reading in the press and media of what will happen in the event of designation have become fairly inaccurate.

This quote is from the explanatory note attached to the end of the order, which actually introduced this provision. So here goes…

“Section 62A of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (“the 1990 Act”) provides that a local planning authority may be designated by the Secretary of State. Where an authority is designated, a person applying for planning permission for major development may choose to submit their application to the Secretary of State for determination.”

A few things to note.

This only applies to ‘major applications’, of which perhaps the most important category is applications for 10+ houses. Also, it is down to the developer to opt to apply to the Planning Inspectorate. It is not automatic. So you may say that they will opt for this, but the downside for the developer is that there is no appeal against the decision, including the conditions. Then as far as I can work out, it only seems to apply to outline applications. And finally, but importantly, it says explicitly that it DOESN’T apply to what they call householder applications.

So my interpretation is that comments that WBC will be ‘stripped’ of all powers are quite misleading. More accurately, at least as far as I can make out, developers with major applications will be offered an alternative route to planning but one that carries certain risks.


A whopping great development on Godalming’s ‘Secretts site could get the go ahead this week.


Ptarmigan Land, Bewley Homes & FA Secretts Ltd want to build 216 homes   change of use of an existing farm shop building to a rural business hub, provide a new farm shop, public open space, sports pitches and associated infrastructure, landscaping, drainage, parking and new access points following the demolition of existing buildings.

Also: To be considered by the planning committee at 6 pm tomorrow, Wednesday, outline application (with all matters reserved except access) for the erection of a new health hub following the demolition of the existing black barn. 


The 15.3-hectare site is currently accessed from Chapel Lane, near the junction with Farm Lane.  It includes the existing Secretts farm shop and tea rooms. It extends to the north behind the existing industrial and residential premises and east behind Meadow Close and Turnpike Cottage to the northern side of Portsmouth Road.

To the north, the site goes beyond the Borough boundary into the Guildford Borough Council area, where it fronts onto the southeastern side of Eashing Lane.  In addition to the farm shop and tea rooms, the site is currently occupied by the wider Secretts Farm, which extends beyond the application boundary to the east.

There are a number of large greenhouses which are proposed for demolition, as well as paved yards and storage areas and ancillary office/workspace accommodation.

A series of ponds to the southern part of the site, which the public is permitted to walk around for recreational purposes, albeit without a formal public right of way. The western part of the site, in the vicinity of the existing farm shop, is within the Milford Conservation Area.Turnpike Cottage to the south is a Grade II Listed building.

There are some retail and industrial uses on the (southern) side of Portsmouth Road and adjacent to Chapel Lane. The majority of the surrounding area, however, is occupied by medium-density terraced and semi-detached homes.

An area of improved public space would be provided at the main site entrance off Chapel Lane near the junction with Portsmouth Road. Beyond this would be sited the proposed rural business hub. This would utilise the retained buildings of the main existing farm shop courtyard and adjacent buildings to provide accommodation within use class E.

New healthcare hub for new larger GP surgery

Beyond this would be the new healthcare hub with 1,626m2 of floor space and 49 parking spaces within this area. Ten parking spaces to serve local shops are proposed to the north of the site. The Milford GP practice and its Patient Partivpation Group welcomes the chance to move and expand.


The 216 properties of various types and tenures, including some three-storey blocks, would be set around a central green space as well as a play space and an area of green space adjacent to the ponds.

The residential buildings would have two or three storeys. There would be three three-storey blocks, each containing nine flats. Sixty-five affordable dwellings in total represent 30% of the overall scheme. Of these, 33 would have a social rented tenure which is the tenure that best meets the housing need within the Borough (with the lowest rents of any affordable housing tenure at 55% of market rent).

Sports pitches

To the north of the site, two junior playing pitches are proposed with vehicular access onto Eashing Lane. This land is within the Guildford Borough Council(GBC) area and is subject to a separate application for determination by GBC. There would be no vehicular through route onto Eashing Lane into the residential element, but there would be a footpath linking the two areas. 

New farm shop including cafe.

 The proposed replacement farm shop would be sited to the southeastern part of the site and would be served by access off Portsmouth Road. The access would continue to the side of the farm shop to allow access to the proposed residential area. The two-storey building would have a total floor area of 3217m2.

A café would be provided on the first floor, which would have an outdoor seating terrace of 139m2. A rooftop terrace (effectively at the second-floor level) of 129m2 is also proposed. One hundred thirty parking spaces would be provided to the south of the building, alongside a delivery area to the east. A new pedestrian route from the farm shop area in an arc linking into the health hub/business centre area would be provided alongside extensive landscaping. The existing ponds would be retained adjacent to the new path.

Not everyone welcomes the scheme.

To date, 69 letters have been received raising objections, one letter in support and six letters recorded as neutral.

The list of objections is as long as your arm, including…

  • Significantly more than the 177 dwellings in the site allocation and damage to the separation  of Milford and Godalming
  • The AONB is proposed to be extended to cover Milford. – Overlooking from outdoor high-level terraces from the Farm shop to Meadow Close
  • Increased traffic congestion and cause the new development to be used as a cut-through.
  • Station Lane is unsafe for access to the station as described in the Travel Plan. 
  • Noise disturbance to residents of Meadow Close from the farm shop and access road.
  • Encourage anti-social behaviour in the area around the ponds. –
  • Smells from the farm shop bins will be noticeable within the gardens of Meadow Close.
  • Loss of green space around the ponds will impact protected species.
  • Light pollution –
  • Disproportionate scale to the village and an overdevelopment
  • Impact on the rural character and will destroy the existing centre of the village.  
  • Existing roads not adequate for the traffic
  • Detailed concerns raised in the Transport Assessment – Schools, public transport, nurseries, GPs and dentists will all struggle with increased demand for services.
  • The healthcare hub is only proposed in outline and no guarantee that it will be delivered.
  • Unacceptable demand on sewerage.
  • Building in green belt land is not warranted as there are no exceptional circumstances.
  • Loss of agricultural land
  • The density is too high, and there should be an Environmental Impact assessment.

And more… much more, including an objection From Friends of The Earth.


– Does not comply with LPP2 Policy DM2. No target emission rate has been supplied, and no details of compliance with building regs part L for individual buildings. There is, therefore, insufficient information regarding how the proposal will maximise energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions.

There is no information regarding how heating demands will be met. This is not suitable for a detailed application, and permission should be refused in the absence of such information.

– Photovoltaics will be necessary to meet part L, but their locations haven’t been considered, and the roof design of many proposed dwellings is unsuitable.

Air source heat pumps would be necessary for the flat blocks, but these require fans which may result in noise disturbance to residents and adjoining occupiers.

Does not comply with Policy DM1 as would not avoid exacerbating climate change and emission of greenhouse gases. – The amended documents do not address concerns – The proposal isn’t viable – Will lead to dust and damaged air quality, which will compromise the health of existing residents.

There are sufficient grounds for an appeal should planning permission be granted. –

Officers are recommending the scheme be granted as the public benefits of the scheme are considered to be significant. Because it includes the provision of 216 dwellings, improved shopping and ancillary dining facility for the village, and 65  affordable tenure homes, many of which would be social rented housing which is the preferred affordable rental tenure. The proposal would also provide significant new green space and public realm, playing pitches and a healthcare hub. Whilst the heritage harm is afforded great weight, it is considered in this instance that the public benefits of the scheme do outweigh this harm.




Was Waverley Planning Sabotaged By Tory Councillors?


Waverley residents are at the cusp of having all their local planning decisions made by the Planning Inspectorate based in Bristol.

If this occurs, your local elected councillors will no longer have any power to vote for or against applications, as has always been the way in Waverley and virtually every other borough in the country. Both your and your neighbours’ applications will be decided by someone who lives hundreds of miles away.


An appalling performance in planning applications over several years and lost appeals has prompted the government to announce that Waverley is on the edge of being stripped of all its planning powers and being placed under ‘special measures’.


A look into the performance of the Western Planning Committee covering the Farnham area will reveal why. In the two years following its first meeting on 23/06/20, the committee voted to overturn Planning Officers’ (PO) decisions in 46% of all applications.


When a planning application is submitted for a simple extension or a new housing estate, it goes before a Planning Officer (PO), someone employed by Waverley, usually with a degree in Town Planning. Even a new officer will have recently completed years of full-time training in planning rules and regulations. A PO will review the application, conduct a site visit and check if it complies with local and national planning policies before issuing their recommendation to either approve or refuse.


At the committee, councillors can support the officers’ recommendation or say that the PO has erred and incorrectly made its recommendation. The committee has to be sure that the PO has wrongly applied planning laws when recommending, clearly state why, and give strong reasons for refusal. The risk of incorrectly overturning a  recommendation gives the applicant strong grounds to appeal to the Planning Inspectorate. If it finds that the PO’s original recommendation was correct, the borough moves a step closer to losing its planning powers. It can also be forced to pay the applicant’s costs, which can run into many thousands and is paid for by local residents.


The Western Planning Committees’ record of overturning 46% of POs’ recommendations is unheard of and means either Waverley POs are consistently getting it wrong, or something else is happening. I don’t think these are all applications for big housing estates on the Greenbelt either – seemingly uncontroversial householder applications are just as likely to fall foul of them.


Looking at the results of the subsequent appeals suggests the blame is not with the POs – nationally, 26% of appeals are allowed. Still, success in appeals against decisions by the WPC is more than double this, with the vast majority being allowed.


Q The question should then be asked, why were so many applications which should be approved being refused by WBC?


Farnham Tory Cllr Carole Cockburn

To overturn a POs recommendation, a councillor has to propose that the committee should do so and give a reason why. A review of WBC meetings found that 72% of decisions to overturn a POs recommendation were proposed by either Farnham’s Cllrs, Carole Cockburn and Simon Dear or both of them together.

Former Waverley Borough Cllr Simon Dear

The two were the only Conservative councillors on an 11-member committee, yet this duo was the driving force behind the WBC’s unprecedented refusal rates. Of the appeals that were allowed, 75% had been proposed to be refused by these two councillors.


A committee decision wins by a simple majority; if more people vote for a decision than against it, then it wins. However, councillors can also vote to abstain, which means decisions can be made with only a minority voting for them. The majority of WBC were members of the new Farnham Residents Group, who were much more likely to abstain from votes on applications where they were uncertain of the correct decision – given the widespread area they were covering, the intricacies of planning laws and lack of background in planning, it could be seen as an honest approach to say ‘I’m not sure’ in these types of votes. But doing so allowed the two conservative councillors to dominate the WBC decisions and bring the entire planning department to its knees.


Turnover rates of disillusioned POs are now so high in the planning department that applicants will often go through 3 or 4 officers before one stays in the borough long enough to issue a decision, with the rest following the former head of planning, Zac Ellwood, in quitting Waverley entirely. The WW has watched a PO breakdown and cry at a committee meeting after Cllr Cockburn described her knowledge as ‘disappointing’ and added that ‘this planning application must be refused!’ – WBC refused it and then predictably allowed an appeal a few months later.


Pre-2015, the Conservative councillors had a stronghold in the area, but the disdain for their handling of the Farnham East regeneration led to the creation of the Farnham Residents Group. The new party quickly gained power and popularity while unhappy residents voted Conservative councillors out en masse. The most recent council elections cemented this new power balance. Still, the efforts of two remaining Conservative councillors have meant that Waverley could lose the right to make its own decisions and be ruled over by the central Conservative government, removing power from FRG and handing it back to Cllr Cockburn’s party.


While the implications seem Machiavellian, Cllr Cockburn is an exceptionally experienced councillor with a 22-year term under her belt. Waverley has never faced losing its decision-making power to central government before. Still, within a few years of her party losing control in the area, this has all changed, and the results of the WBC decisions show that she and her fellow conservative councillor drove us to this point.


We can only speculate about this, but there is perhaps at least a lesson to be learned for new councillors on the importance of ensuring they’re prepared to vote and avoid abstaining. Otherwise, they are deferring the control back to a minority and allowing the power to be taken out of their hands.


Developers earmark Knowle Lane, Cranleigh as THE growth area for new homes.

The Cranleigh store owner of 140 joins all those other Cranleigh landowners eager to make a few bucks and bring more footfall into the new town.

As Cranes tower over the village High Street and droves of developers descend on the former rural village – yet another chunk of the countryside is up for grabs. 
Despite Waverley planners throwing out the scheme, another government Inspector will decide its fate at an Appeal Inquiry.

In the past, Richard Graham, a former President of Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce, has called for more footfall to keep its shops and businesses thriving.

Mr Graham and his family want to build 162 homes through Gleeson Land Ltd on a site they own in Knowle Lane. The lane is already home to the Knowle Park Initiative, which prepared the way for over 300 homes in Knowle Park and Alfold Road, the Berkeley Home estate of over 430 homes. The highly congested lane uses services roads to supermarkets and shops, including Sainsbury’s & Marks & Spencer.

Knowle Lane joins Cranleigh High Street at its junction with Fountain Square.

Cranleigh’s Mr Fix It; Chat Controller; Chamber of Trade; KPI Trustee, and general factotum has already backed the scheme saying:

“If I owned land in Cranleigh, I too would want to build on it.”


Dwellings include 5% self-build or custom build and 30% affordable housing;  density of 32 dwellings per hectare; and heights up to 2.5 storeys. Or three storeys in layman’s language.


New homes on their way to Binscombe?

The Opus Group wants to develop arable land opposite Copse Side and Squirrells Close in Binscomb for a 100% social housing estate of 27 homes.

The developer claims social housing in the Godalming area is desperately needed as there are currently 572 households that specify Godalming as their preferred choice.

Since 2014 only 119 affordable homes have been built in Godalming and 828 in the rest of the borough – leaving a vast shortfall borough-wide.

There are 1,068 households on the Waverley Housing Register, but most want to live in Godalming.

Application no. WA/2023/01714 includes a proposal for 27 affordable homes with new vehicular access, associated landscaping, parking, open space, green and blue infrastructure, and all other associated development works.

Agents Tetlow King say the proposed tenure split would be 37% affordable rent (10 units) and 63% shared ownership (17 units), broadly reflecting the most up-to-date evidence of housing needs.

Affordable rents will be capped at 70% of open market rents on one- and two-bedroom dwellings and at 65% of open market rents on three-bedroom dwellings. A Section 106 planning obligation agreement would secure the proposed affordable housing.

The Agent has considered the need for affordable housing and the contribution the proposed development would make towards meeting the affordable housing needs of the Waverley Borough Council administrative area and the Godalming local area.

It concludes that there is a genuine and acute need for the proposed affordable homes now and that planning permission should be granted promptly.


Landscape Plan – OPUS1239-09 – Landscape Management Plan.pdf (3)


Royal Surrey to share £259m NHS fund

Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford is among 30 Trusts to receive extra money to fight winter pressures.

Same-day emergency care services at the Royal Surrey County Hospital will receive an investment of £2.818,000. The urgent treatment centre there will be either developed or expanded.

Elsewhere, the South East had six bids for a total of £30.2m accepted;

The emergency care fund will pay for extra beds and improvements for UTCs and same-day emergency care facilities in 20 Trusts nationwide. Funding will also go towards creating 900 ‘new’ hospital beds ahead of winter.

However, some trust bosses have raised concerns over timelines and staffing issues. The Royal Surrey, part of  Surrey Heartlands ICB, has operated the major hospital with 25% less staff than it needs. Based in one of the country’s top areas for house prices, and with rents rising rapidly, finding staff is becoming increasingly difficult.

Its share of the £250m pot is part of commitments made earlier this year in the NHS urgent and emergency care recovery plan, which pledged £1bn for 2023-24 to increase capacity (see the complete list of schemes in the table below)

The funding will go towards creating 900 “new” hospital beds ahead of winter, which includes more than 60 intermediate care beds, improving assessment spaces and cubicles in accident and emergency departments, and developing or expanding urgent treatment centres and same-day emergency care services.

Trust leaders welcomed the funding but raised concerns about the announcement, stating that much of the extra capacity would not be in place until January and also raised questions about how extra beds would be staffed.

NHS England expects the “majority” of these schemes will be completed by January.

This included an additional 5,000 “permanent, fully staffed” beds. – 4,000 will be formerly “temporary” beds made permanent – ahead of this winter.

There were seven schemes given the green light in London, more than any other part of the country, for a total of £47.8m. However, while only five bids were accepted in the Midlands, these received more investment than in London, at £59.8m.

 Figures reveal that 74 per cent of patients nationally were seen within the four-hour target in July – a slight improvement on the 71.1 per cent figure recorded in the same month last year. Average category two ambulance response times were also down by 27 minutes in July of the previous year. However, around 100,000 people are still waiting 12 hours or more in A&E to be admitted.

NHS Providers director of Policy and Strategy Miriam Deakin said:

 “Trust leaders will be very concerned that this extra capacity is only expected to be in place by January. For the best results, trusts would need these new beds before winter begins.”

Rory Deighton, director of NHS Confederation’s Acute Network, said:

“NHS leaders may also have questions on how these beds will be safely staffed given that vacancy numbers remain high, the long-term workforce plan is in its infancy, and industrial action is ongoing.”

NHSE chief executive Amanda Pritchard said:

“Our winter plans, which build on the progress already made on our urgent and emergency care recovery plan, aim to reduce waiting times for patients and to transform services with an expansion of same-day care and virtual wards, helping patients to be cared for in their own home where possible.”

Full list of schemes

Region ICB Trust Value
East of England Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Milton Keynes University Hospital FT £3m
East of England Cambridgeshire & Peterborough North West Anglia FT £12.5m
East of England Norfolk and Waveney Norfolk Community Health & Care Trust £19.3m
London North East London Barts Health Trust £2.7m
London North East London Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust £3m
London North West London London North West University Healthcare Trust £22.6m
London North West London Chelsea and Westminster Hospital FT £2.9m
London South East London King’s College Hospital FT £3.9m
London South East London Lewisham & Greenwich Trust £10.6m
London South West London Croydon Health Services Trust £2.1m
Midlands Coventry & Warwickshire George Eliot Hospital Trust £15.1m
Midlands Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland University Hospitals of Leicester Trust £24m
Midlands Nottingham & Nottinghamshire Nottingham University Hospital Trust £9.9m
Midlands Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust £21.4m
Midlands Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent University Hospitals of North Midlands Trust £13.4m
North East and Yorkshire Humber & North Yorkshire Hull University Teaching Hospitals Trust £2.8m
North East and Yorkshire North East and North Cumbria South Tees FT £10m
North East and Yorkshire South Yorkshire Barnsley Hospital FT £2.4m
North East and Yorkshire West Yorkshire Airedale FT £4.1m
North West Lancashire and South Cumbria Lancashire Teaching Hospitals FT £15m
North West Lancashire and South Cumbria East Lancashire Hospitals Trust £4.9m
South East Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West Buckingham Healthcare Trust £10.6m
South East Kent and Medway Dartford and Gravesham Trust £2.5m
South East Kent and Medway Medway FT £3.9m
South East Surrey Heartlands Surrey and Sussex Hospitals Trust £6m
South East Surrey Heartlands Royal Surrey FT £2.8m
South East Sussex University Hospitals Sussex FT £4.5m
South West Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Sirona Care and Health CIC £4.9m
South West Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Cornwall Partnership FT £3m
South West Devon University Hospitals Plymouth Trust £5m

The battle of Waverley Lane.

The year is 2023, and the location is the choked decaying town of Farnham’s outer reaches.

Farnham an Aerial View
Most polluted town in Surrey
After years of seemingly futile engagement, the developers finally get permission for  14o homes on land known as “Compton Fields’ in Waverley Lane.
It was the sixth time lucky for builders Wates Developments Ltd.
However. No opportunity for celebration … yet?
Farnham Town Council, and ‘Your Waverley’ once again beaten into submission by Michael Gove’s posse at the Dept of Levelling Up, has unashamedly said “no”.

The decision made by the Planning Inspectorate was “wrong.” Inspector Coffey dismissed Farnham’s Neighbourhood Plan, the local blueprint for future development, and claimed it was  ” for guidance” only.

The three combatants are thus poised to line up for a final decisive engagement. The sound of heavy artillery being dragged back into position echoes through the chambers of Lincoln’s Inn Fields once again.
Farnham town councillors were recently asked whether they wanted to challenge the Planning Inspectorate independently or join WBC in a cross-council alliance.
The Battlefield
Let’s take a moment to look at the wider battlefield, which is somewhat complicated.
WBC, already suffering financial constraints, is now faced with taking on yet another legal case. It has a record for coming second.
WW asks. How can it continue to do this? Surely a council on the slippery slope to administration does not want to take on another costly battle, especially against the Dept of Levelling Up. But it does, and no doubt it will. Frankly, it is suicidal.
Milford Golf Course
The situation is further blurred when it transpires. WBC and Gove’s Dept are forced to be on the same side in a separate engagement over Milford Golf Course and a fight to defend Local Plan Part 2. shortly to be fought in the High Court.
Awkward is hardly adequate for WBC as the Dept is being exposed to the claimant’s charges courtesy of WBC.
WBC is becoming an annoying pain in the butt to the Dept. And it is in sheer boggle-eyed amazement that Waverley continues as if nothing is wrong. It is punching above its weight, jabbing away, and being generally annoying, which is fine if you have both the skills and ample reserves. Waverley Borough Council has neither.
The plucky shambolic amateur against the might of the Department. Making for the ever-so-British way of winning against the odds. All well and good eighty years ago, but celluloid thin against the intended desire of a Government and its special planning force determined to build, build, build on Waverley’s green and pleasant land.
Planning Appeals Mounting
Meanwhile, whilst Waverley prepares to fight the battle of Compton Fields, it is being attacked from the rear as further planning appeals are piling up as the new free-for-all-new one-and-only Planning Committee continues to confuse viewer and participant councillors alike.
Anyone would think we don’t know what we’re doing.”  muttered  an informant in the last few days.
The developer can stand back, knowing whatever the outcome, Waverley will ultimately lose. For deep in Whitehall, the documents are prepared. The signature awaited. The clock ticks down as Waverley’s money drains away. Spent on good causes on principles on the desires of the electorate. Blatantly honest and exposed to the reality of the system as it is. Every time the ammunition gets thinner until the stores are empty.
What better way to pull the rug than to let WBC do it themselves?

The BBC has turned its spotlight on the village councillors dubbed “poor old Alfold.”


The shenanigans going on in Alfold are beginning to enter the national arena.

The BBC highlights the village’s plight as developers swamp the small village with homes on the Surrey/Sussex border doubling its size. Alfold will soon be part of  Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s electoral home.

Thakeham Homes told the Inspector that Alfold had good transport links and was close to five railway stations. Here are the two alternative routes to the nearest Milford and Witley Stations from the eastern villages. The others were Horsham and Billingshurst in West Sussex and Guildford in Surrey!

Hi WW BBC Radio Surrey came to look at the developments in the village last week and released this small section on BBC Radio on Monday.


 The clip features the developer Thakeham Homes, Care Ashore ( the land owner of the Springbok Estate and the Charity The Merchant Seaman’s War Memorial Society) and the Secretary of State for Levelling Up Housing and Communities. Mr Michael Gove. Last but certainly not least is villager Denise Wordsworth.

As you heard, the latest development for 99 homes by Thakeham is 100% affordable homes and not the 70% private and 30% affordable homes allowed by the Inspector at Appeal. Thakeham is currently attempting to change a legal agreement it signed with Surrey and Waverley to remove funds it promised  which would have provided  a ‘demand-led bus service.’ Or, as the Inspector described it, a “super Uber.”


Will Waverley Planners and Surrey County Council allow a change to a legal agreement for a 100% rent and shared ownership group of homes to be built in this small village and let the developer get away with not providing a demand-led bus service?

Watch this space.






Hear from the Milford man challenging Waverley’s LP2 in the High Court.


In the clip below, Tim House, the property owner overlooking the covenanted land where Cala Homes want to build 180 properties, tells Waverley’s Planners in 2021 why it should refuse the scheme in Station Lane.

Would ‘ Your Waverley’s’ Leader have voted against development at Milford Golf Course?

Cala Homes told us to “ think again” if it wants to build at Milford Golf Course.

A judge has now given leave to Mr & Mrs House to challenge the decisions of the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and ‘Your Waverley’ in the High Court. This move could threaten Waverley’s Local Plan Part 2.

It’s the council’s blueprint for future development in the borough.

Here’s our earlier post:  You couldn’t ’t make it up. Waverley’s Local Plan Part 2 is now threatened.

Mr House – a top London lawyer – warned the council and the developer that he would seek to exercise a covenant on the land, which precluded it from such a large-scale and dense development. Now he intends to go much further and attempt to prove the crucial planning document is not legally sound. This move could cost Waverley ratepayers tens of thousands of pounds in legal fees.

His grounds for the challenge related to how the Government Planning Inspector who examined the Plan considered its relationship with Local Plan Part One and the conclusions he came to for development at Milford golf course regarding the covenant. So Waverley is in the hot seat, and so is the Secretary of State for levelling up housing and communities—Micheal Gove, who will be a co-defendant with Waverley.


How Waverley Planners view a ‘non-material’ amendment to a development.


So how can this happen?

Has Waverley Council conspired with developers to throw Alfold to the wolves?

“Following a grant of planning permission, it may be necessary to make amendments to the originally approved proposals. A non-material amendment may be applied to approve a minor change to the planning permission and does not breach any conditions initially placed on the consent.

If the amendment is not considered minor by the Local Planning Authority, a new planning application will be required.”


Waverley Borough Council have advice consistent with non-material. Changes to existing planning permission If you already have planning permission, you may be able to make small changes to it. This could be moving a door or window or changing a finish. These changes are classed as ‘non-material’.

What is a non-material change?

Whether the change is non-material or not will depend on the circumstances of the case – for example, moving a window could be material if it results in overlooking a neighbour but could be non-material if it does not.

We will not consider the following to be non-material:
increase/decrease in the size of the building/extension
significant increase in the height of an eaves or roof
move of a building or extension, even if it is within the same site area
change of site area (red line) changes that conflict with a specific condition, a significant change in elevation (where the proposal would appear materially different to that permitted), inserting a new feature (such as dormer windows that could create an overlooking problem)
changes which alter the nature or description of the development, multiple minor changes, new works or elements not part of the original scheme
new works or elements not considered by any environmental statement submitted with the application.”


You couldn’t make it up. Waverley’s Local Plan Part 2 is now threatened.

The Milford NIMFY – (Not in my front yard) has issued a legal challenge against Waverley’s controversial blueprint for future development in the borough.

A High Court judge has now ruled that a legal challenge to the adoption of LP 2 by Tim & Isobel House can be heard in the High Court.

If the High Court scuppered the Plan – it could open the floodgates to development across the borough, leaving Waverley naked and vulnerable.

The top London lawyer and his wife opposed 180 homes being built in their backyard on part of the Milford Golf Course. A scheme consented by Waverley Planners in 2021 and supported by a Government Inspector.


Mr House – a top London lawyer – warned the council and developer Cala Homes that he would seek to exercise a covenant on the land, which precluded it from such large-scale development. Now he intends to go much further and attempt to prove the crucial planning document is not legally sound. This move could cost Waverley ratepayers tens of thousands of pounds in legal fees.

His grounds for the challenge related to how the Government Planning Inspector who examined the Plan considered its relationship with Local Plan Part One and the conclusions he came to for development at Milford golf course regarding the covenant. So Waverley is in the hot seat, and so is the Secretary of State for levelling up housing and communities—Micheal Gove, who will co-defendant with Your Waverley.

Whilst developers are gouging out the earth in rural villages like Alfold – building swathes of homes – the partner in lawyers Allen & Overy is determined nothing is not going to spoil his surroundings yards from a railway station. He said at the time:

Tim House, speaking on behalf of objectors lambasted the scheme calling it an “affront to common sense which flew in the face of public opinion.” He warned the land was covered by a restrictive Covenant that could prevent it ever being developed.”

Waverley’s Portfolio for Planming Cranleigh Cllr Liz Townsend has said publicly she is “extremely disappointed.” You can bet your bottom dollar that she had stronger words than that to say about the Milford NiMFY/MIMBY. A move threatens the work currently being undertaken to update Local Plan Part 1, which is now five years old.

She said all the planning arguments over the Milford scheme were fully scrutinised at the public examination of LP2. Waverley and the Secretary of State have responded robustly to the challenge by Mr and Mrs House and will defend LP2’s adoption at the High Court hearing. 

She stressed the council would continue to give the Plan its total weight while making current planning decisions until the High Court decides otherwise.


Last night Waverley Planners gave developers the go-ahead to build homes on Milford Golf Course.




How childish can politicians get.

Is there some ban through the Conservative Central office on our MP’s meeting with their borough and district council colleagues?

Waverley Borough Council leader Paul Follows has called for a face-to-face meeting with MP Jeremy Hunt – or, he says,   just a response to an email would suffice,  about the funding cuts affecting local government.

He says they’ve met in an official capacity once since the Pandemic.

In nearby Horsham, which shares border villages with Waverley, Cabinet Minister Jeremy Quin, the MP there, also refuses to meet with the newly elected Liberal Democrat District Council.

Chancellor Jeremy regularly met with the previous WBC Tory administration. Jeremy Quin met periodically with his Horsham colleagues when they held power.

Guildford & Cranleigh MP Angela Richardson snipes from the sidelines, blaming Guildford’s woes on the Lib Dem administration that has been in power for a few short months. However, you may note that she has at least met with officers of Guildford Borough Council, not the leader!

She is working with the sadly diminished Conservative Group to understand why the reserves have been so severely run down after the Conservatives left office. They will undoubtedly have told her about all those unwise investments they made during their long tenure.

Guildford suffered a catalogue of financial accounting failures following project mismanagement by council officers, which R4GV identified shortly after they were elected in 2019. Sadly, the consequences of both have hurt the town.

 Increased demand for services, the state of the UK economy, high inflation and interest rates and a succession of government funding reductions over many years added to the same problems facing district, borough and county councils across the country.

Just over two years ago, R4GV brought councillors with professional and financial backgrounds into the council Executive. They revealed enormous waste in projects. R4GV cancelled many projects and put in place improvements.

What a disgrace; if our politicians refuse to cooperate with those of a different colour, what chance of solving their severe financial problems that will impact us all? And, what chance for world peace.



Haslemere developer runs into trouble.

When does a ‘ so-called ‘ non-material amendment to a controversial housing scheme become a material amendment?

When a developer wants to create a large body of water, slap  next to the boundary of nearby properties.

Amendment to WA/2020/1213 to amend the drainage design and layout. LAND COORDINATES 490217 132204 SCOTLAND LANE, HASLEMERE

‘Your Waverley’ planners certainly viewed the proposal by Elivia Homes Limited as unacceptable, but Haslemere Town Council didn’t object.  

The developer received consent following a controversial planning appeal for 50 homes on a site now called Scotland Park in February 2022. (WA/2020/1213 / APP/R3650/W/21/3280136).

However, Elivia Homes have now discovered the drainage design and layout require “minor amendments” to ensure that the proposed scheme is consistent with the level’s work.

What it claims:

Minor amendments to the approved drawing pack are to regularise the changes caused by the detailed drainage scheme. This includes, change in SuDs pond shape, deletion of the swale and minor realignment of the paths surrounding the ponds. 

The scheme remains for 50 dwellings, the mix is unchanged and the layout/open spaces unchanged. The original consent proposed a drainage basin in the same location. The pathways also remain broadline in the same location.

However, David  Coleman of Treetops 3 Scotlands Close was deeply concerned about surface water drainage schemes.

He said  Several issues need to be urgently addressed:

This is a fundamental change, not a “Minor non material amendment”

  • The most critical concern lies in the fact that the amended plan places residential properties in such close proximity to a large volume of water. This situation raises alarm bells for multiple reasons.


  • There are potential environmental problems due to inadequate drainage systems or mismanagement of surface water runoff, as there is no indication of an amendment to the plans to manage the surface water and or runoff.


  • This could lead to waterlogging, increased risk of flooding, and damage to both the new development and existing properties nearby.


An additional critical concern is the safety of our community, especially young children. As parents of a five-year-old son, my family and I are deeply worried about the potential risks associated with having such a substantial body of water in such close proximity to our homes. The plan change now shows the body of water almost on our boundary and in an elevated position.

 Ensuring the well-being and security of our children should be of paramount importance.

It is crucial to ensure the safety, security, and environmental sustainability of the area. Adequate measures must be implemented to mitigate the risks associated with the proximity of residential properties to the large body of water; it must be relocated away from existing property


SECOND SCHEDULE Paragraph 002 (reference ID: 17a-002-20140306 of the National Planning Practice Guidance states that there is no statutory definition of ‘non-material’. This is because it will be dependent on the context of the overall scheme; an amendment that is non-material in one context may be material in another. In determining a non-material minor amendment, the Local Planning Authority must be satisfied that the amendment sought is non-material in order to grant an application under Section 96A of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. The Local Planning Authority has to be satisfied it is not material; they must have regard to the effect of the change, together with any previous changes made under this section, on the planning permission as granted initially. The proposal involves major layout changes, which are considered to be material.

It is considered that this alteration is a material amendment which is considered to have a material effect on the layout and appearance of the development, and it is considered to have a material effect on the amenities of neighbours. DECISION: REFUSE NMA/2023/1165


The end of an era.

The House of Fraser, formerly ‘Army & Navy’ and `Harveys of Guildford’, will close in September.

A shocked staff member told the Waverley Web she received her redundancy notice two days ago, though many had been waiting for something to happen.

The signs were going up as shoppers shopped in what some describe now as “a dying High Street.’ 

Said our informant:

Seeing so many familiar faces leaving Guildford is so sad. To let and closing down signs are now a regular occurrence. Some have been trading in the High Street for more than a hundred years.

It’s been difficult for High Street stores in Guildford in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, which even before 2020 was struggling. Several major brands and chains that were the town centre’s mainstay are no longer there. Whether their company has suffered financial issues or opportunities, have arisen elsewhere.

Many chains that have left have been part of the high street for a long time, while some only lasted for months. While the future of some sites looks clear, many remain vacant to customers.

The House of Fraser website makes no mention of the closure. However,  signs that the store was in trouble for some years as retail patterns have changed with the continuing challenge of online selling.

The household name shopping chain entered administration in August 2018. Mike Ashley, who owned Sports Direct, agreed to buy all House of Fraser’s UK stores, the House of Fraser brand, and all of the stock in the business for just £90 million in cash. House of Fraser has almost halved in size from 59 stores to 31 since.

The Guardian reported last week that the owner of House of Fraser had said it could close more stores after shutting eight in the past year, saying…

“the department store globally is broken”.


 The store includes the Jellicoe Heritage Roof Garden, a water garden designed and installed by the late Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe in 1958. It has a grade II listing from English Heritage. It hasn’t been open to the public for many years due to health and safety issues; however, in its heyday, it was THE place to eat, drink and be merry.



Is ‘Your Waverley’s’ getting sicker?


Along with the rest of the country, Is Waverley staff  joining ‘Sick Note Britain’?

Here’s a note from the Human Resources Manager Jon Formby.

The Overview & Scrutiny Committee members heard that many staff members now suffer from stress-related illnesses. However, only half responded to the Health & Wellbeing Survey. So, perhaps half of Waverley’s staff are either too busy to respond or are bouncing with health.

The Officers Report.

Mental health remains the highest reason for sickness absence from work, with just over 50% of these absences relating to a small number of long-term absences. The category’ Mental Health’ includes the following absence reasons: anxiety; stress; depression; bipolar; panic attacks, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

A large number of gastrointestinal absences and those caused by cough/cold/flu in 22/23 could be explained by increased contact between people after returning to the office and increased social interactions. COVID continues to constitute the majority of absences from work due to Medical Infection, with just under 322 working days lost in 22/23.

Nationally, surveys report that there has been an increase in sickness absence in 2022 which could indicate an increase in general illnesses (potentially due to lower immunity), stress, exhaustion or other problems within the workplace, or it could also reflect the fact that there is less stigma about taking a day off sick since the pandemic. 

According to a survey by Xperthr, 50% of organisations reported an increase in sickness absence rates in 2022, describing both an increase in short-term absences and long and short-term absences due to mental health. Of the 172 organisations surveyed, 19 were in the public sector and had a median number of days of sickness absence per employee of 8.7 days.

The ONS Labour Force survey reported increased days lost per worker from 4.2 in 2019 to 5.7 in 2022 across all organisations and 5.7 in 2019 to 7.1 in 2022 in local government. According to Infinistats, in 2021/22, the average days lost per employee across local authorities within the South East (though only 7 LA’s responded, including Waverley) was 8.19.



Car parking levels on the up, in ‘Your Waverley.”

In the past quarter, the growth of ‘Your Waverley’s’ car parking services has shown a healthy increase across the borough.

Waverley’s car park usage is now operating at close to pre-covid levels, which it says is an indicator of the strength and resilience of the borough’s high streets, say officers. 

From April 1st, on-street parking enforcement passed to Surrey County Council, which appointed NSL as its contractor. The transfer included the management of parking permits in the borough; Surrey will now carry this out. 

The Overview & Scrutiny Committee for Services members heard that the transfer had gone smoothly. Waverley officers were now working with their county colleagues to assist them whenever needed.

Proposals are now being considered for the future structure of the car parking services, which includes looking at the potential to work closely with Guildford Borough Council, which has a more extensive car parking portfolio.




Is ‘Your Waverley’ becoming increasingly nervous?

If it isn’t – perhaps it should be. As its partner, Guildford Borough Council is in heavy-duty dog doo!

Guildford’s officers and bean counters have been burning the midnight oil to find ways to avoid bankruptcy.  They said:

“If we do nothing, Section 114 comes into play which would pretty much make this council useless.”

This means that Waverley’s head honcho Tom Horwood who now also manages Guildford,  has a big job on his hands. Indeed a bigger job than he may have once thought.

No wonder Guildford’s previous chief didn’t apply for the role and took redundancy. No one else applied either!

The Chief Finance Officer is also former Waverley Finance Chief  Peter Vickers, who is now up to his neck in the sticky brown stuff to sort out someone else’s mess. Oops! Jut heard Mr Vickers has resigned!

Oh dear, what can the matter be?

Services will be cut to the bone as G B C looks to carve out more than £18 million from its annual budget to avoid effective bankruptcy. The cuts were agreed at the full council meeting to address the authority’s £300m debt on Thursday, July 25.

Councillor Richard Lucas, the lead member for finance and property, said the borough would have to make “structural changes” and dispose of its assets if it wanted to get its house in order ahead of a revised November budget. He told the meeting:

“Our officers are trying to deal with the reality of the situation.We won’t deal with this by pretending there is no problem. This is going to result in difficult decisions for operational spending and capital disposal. This is not Section 114. We are taking action to avoid this. However, if we do nothing, Section 114 comes into play, which would pretty much make this council useless.”

Cllr Bob Hughes (Con, Shere) said it “was doubtless services would go” and that people “would get hurt”.

Is that the same Bob Hughes that has been living in a holiday park at Edgley in Albury 24/7 for years, breaking all the occupancy rules?

You can read the report here:

Public reports pack 18072023 1900 Corporate Governance and Standards Committee

In a nutshell:  The council can no longer afford to deliver its current range of services or maintain some services at existing levels, and significant rationalisation of the current service offer will be required to live within a reduced financial envelope.

” Services that protect the most vulnerable residents would be prioritised for protection, with the remaining services transformed “to ensure they are as efficient and cost-effective as possible”.

It will impose strict cuts to its budgets to cover an £18m deficit by the end of the financial year to avoid declaring itself bankrupt this autumn.

The deficit equates to 145 per cent of its net budget and

“will fundamentally change the services the council delivers and will require political will and a step change in activity to reconfigure services accordingly”.

What happens when you cut your services? The public suffers.
And how long before ‘Your Waverley; is thrown into the maelstrom?


Guildford residents have been told to “expect painful cuts to services”. 

So what has brought one of England’s most affluent boroughs, in terms of personal wealth, to such a pass?


The Tory Government told local councils nationwide to compete with the big boys and speculate to accumulate. They were all encouraged to be “entrepreneurial”. The Government came up with the wizard wheeze that it could stop handing out grants by encouraging local authorities to create other income streams.

With cheap government loans available, some councils predictably decided to make property investments to create new revenue.

Of course, the problem is any investment has risk attached. Property prices, rental income and, most importantly, interest rates can go up and down. 

As Guildford grasps for the drifting wreckage to stay afloat, will it kick Waverley away to save itself?
Here’s what Guildford’s MP has to say: Blame the new administration in control of the council since May! Really – My lady doth protest too much!!!   
Perhaps when meeting with her Conservative colleagues, they will tell her all those rash and unwise investment decisions they made under their leadership to shore up their finances.
The Government has the power to formally intervene and effectively take over the running of local authority functions. The powers to intervene are usually reserved for crises that fundamentally threaten the ability of a given local authority to function.
As indicated, that might be a request for exceptional financial support or where a council has issued an S114 Notice. This formal notice prevents any further expenditure unless approved according to strict criteria. It signals that an authority is in acute financial distress and unable to meet its spending from its existing resources. Such notices have been recently issued by CroydonSloughWoking, and Thurrock Councils.


As former Waverley Cllr Brian Edmonds told the Waverley Web:

A very sad tale of operating outside the zone of competence, the Government must better monitor the transparency and auditing prudence within local authorities. Perhaps there are insufficient councillors with the project and financial management experience required to scrutinise and audit local government management systems and processes with the necessary precision?





Cranleigh developer lights the candles.

It was better late than never for a developer that has been holding its breath for two years awaiting a decision to build 12 homes off Amlets Lane Cranleigh.

Despite objections from nearby residents,  Land & Partners secured 100% backing from the Planning Committee for its latest outline scheme. Cranleigh Parish Council also supported the development close to the now-established Cala Homes development.

The Eastern Planning Committee deferred the scheme in April on Biodiversity concerns. However, officers assured councillors they were satisfied that the 10% biodiversity net gain had been met. The eastern and western planning committees have now been dumped for one central planning committee.

Some members were amazed that the promoter had included four “affordable” homes for those on Waverley’s long housing register!

Farnham’s Carole Cockburn said she could barely believe the developer’s generous offer and asked officers why they insisted on a LEAP & LAP (Children’s Play area) when there was ample room for children to play in the extensive gardens. Why not let the homes have even larger gardens? She argued that the provision was not sensible for such small developments.

Don’t children play in their gardens anymore?”

Will a Waverley developer soon be holding an anniversary party?

Although some members were concerned about the lack of water suffered by Cranleigh and its ongoing sewage problems, Thames Water assured everyone in a long and wordy explanation – that all would be well in the area, as it addressed the town’s problems.

In an email dated 8th June 2023, Thames Water advised the following:

In terms of this particular development, Thames Water does not anticipate there being local network capacity issues preventing its connection to the supply system; however, as for all potential development, local network flow and pressure tests will be undertaken to ensure suitability and identify, if required, any additional network upgrades to accommodate.

The Cranleigh area has historically been vulnerable to supply interruptions due to it being supplied solely by Netley Mill Water Treatment Works and existing within an ‘island zone’ (i.e. with no current means of alternative water supply resilience in the event of an unplanned, prolonged water treatment works outage)

There are plans to address this resilience concern going forward. The most notable planned investment is for a new transfer main from the western part of Thames Water’s water supply area. This is expected to provide sufficient volumes of additional water supply into the Netley Supply Zone to mitigate outage events and support longer-term growth in demand. This new main is Page 12, being delivered as part of Thames Water’s AMP7 Investment Period, covering 2020 to 2025. The proposal is currently in the detailed design phase.

This investment will reduce the risk of supply interruptions to customers within the Cranleigh area (and all areas supplied by Netley Water Treatment Works)



Will a Waverley developer soon be holding an anniversary party?

In a week, it will be precisely two long years since Land & Partners outline planning application slipped through ‘Your Waverley’s letterbox!

Waverley Officer laden down with applications or objections

During this, we have had a pandemic,  had three Prime Ministers and lost our dear Queen Elizabeth. 

So will Nelson get his eye back before the scheme to build 12 homes on land south of Amlets Lane is either refused or receives consent? Or will the Government soon be in charge of Waverley’s planning function?

Or could tonight be the night? When the only planning committee that Waverley now boasts lights the candles on the cake?


Days before Waverley’s former administration packed up to fight the May Polls, and in the dying hours of the eastern planning committee, it deferred, yes, seriously folks, deferred an application which had languished in the bowels of Waverley Towers for almost three years, for “more information.”

Four months later, is the decision on that application getting any closer? WW wonders. How many more are there in the system like this?

How long does it take Waverley Planners to hear a planning application?

Perhaps this latest document from the developer will help?



Here they go again… let the developers roll again?


The rum bunch that is Cranleigh Village ??? Trust that was the Cranleigh Village Hospital Trust which morphed into Cranleigh Village Health Trust had gone quiet for a few years.

But get ready, folks – it’s back! With a cunning plan.


Cynical souls that we are, we never doubted they would come back with yet another cunning plan for Cranleigh’s paddock field, once owned by “the village” and sold for £1.

Why? We hear you cry? Because duped village leaders were told they would get a shiny new hospital to replace the old cottage hospital – now a healthcare hub.

For those who recently arrived in town, the charitable body lost the support of the NHS for said new hospital, so it decided to build a private nursing home on behalf of a suspect outfit called HC-One. Its ownership would spread from Cranleigh Common to the Cayman Islands and back! Refused unanimously by Waverley Planners, the Trust, which collected millions of pounds of public money, has now reared its ugly head again.

Now every Doug and Doris – residents of the villages that dug deep to fund the 22-year fiasco, is asked to complete a survey of possible uses for the former playing field. No prizes for guessing who is controlling the survey. 

Cranleigh Health Trust Secret Meeting with village leaders


Tonight Cranleigh Parish Council will consider the plan “in private’ due to the commercial sensitivity” of these suggestions. Obviously, village leaders and the Trust have been putting their little heads together behind closed doors long before now.
The Paddock field. The site which is currently proposed for a care home in the latest planning application

The Paddock Field is the triangular piece of land in Knowle Lane between the entrance to M & S and Snoxhall Fields. 

Said: Andy Webb of the Cranleigh Community Board, who campaigned against the private nursing home:
We need this field to be kept as green space for the community and not sold off to a developer for more non-affordable housing.

This survey only includes questions relating to building on the land. The covenant on the land, which we understand has already been changed once,  states that it should benefit the health of the community. 

What could be more beneficial to the community and the environment than leaving it as much-needed green space in the village? Some people will say that we have a new park, but if it wasn’t for that park being built, the new housing development from Knowle Lane through to Alfold Road would not have been given the go-ahead. 

There is nothing in the survey to say what the CVHT would do with the money if they sold the land or what will happen with the £2.2m they say they already have in their account? 

The CVHT’s main objective was to build a new hospital on the land but over the years this morphed into a mainly private care home with a small percentage of community beds that were not actually for the local community but for anyone within the Waverley area. Planning permission for the private care home was applied for twice and was refused on both occasions. 

The CVHT funds came mainly from public donations and fundraising in the belief we were raising money for a new hospital. Because the charity used the word hospital in their title, long after they knew there was no hope of a new hospital ever being built,  the community were still donating money in the belief this was still going to happen. 

Apart from one public exhibition of the plans for a new care home they have never been very open or communicative with the community and have always sought private meetings with the Parish Council about their plans for the land. 

When the campaign was set up against the plans for a new care home, I met with the CVHT about it and voiced our concerns and lack of communication from them. 

They have since employed Martin Bamford to run their website, Facebook and twitter accounts and true to form, he has blocked anyone who dares to speak out against them. 

You are welcome to join our campaign group https://www.facebook.com/groups/590560504690466/?ref=share_group_linkimage0.jpeg


Will Alfold villagers rock up to an extraordinary meeting tonight?

Possibly not, as the crucial meeting to discuss two controversial developments that could change the face of Alfold has not been well-publicised!

However, you can rely on us here at the Waverley Web to let you know that tonight, Monday, there will be an Extraordinary Parish Council Meeting at 7.30 pm at Alfold Village Hall in the Green Room.

The little village of Alfold has been deluged with developers.   Cala Homes, Bewley Homes, Thakeham Homes, Abri Homes, and we expect it will soon get Eamonn Homes – to build over its countryside. The latest is Vistry Homes.

Here’s the meeting notice on the Alfold Parish Council Facebook Page.

Meeting to discuss Alfold Parish Council’s response to planning applications S52/2023/01486 & WA/2023/01468.  3. WA/2023/01468 – Land and Coordinates 504360 134890, Horsham Road, Alfold. Approval of reserved matters (appearance, landscaping, layout and scale) following outline permission granted under appeal reference APP/R3650/W/20/3265361 (WA/2020/0260) for the erection of 86 dwellings (including 26 affordable), 100sqm of workspace hub, landscaping and associated works.

4. S52/2023/01486 – Hollyoak and Land to Rear Coords 503762 135006 Loxwood Road, Alfold. Request to modify a Section 106 legal agreement (WA/2020/1684) for removal of reference to shared ownership units; amendments to mortgagee exclusion clause; removal of the definition of bus service contribution; management company amendments. 


Whilst local landowners trouser squillions and the A281 has started to resemble a car park, villagers are putting up the For Sale signs and heading for the hills.

Perhaps Waverley’s Leader or even Waverley’s Portfolio Holder for Planning should rock up and hear what villagers have to say.



Cranleigh Health Trust Secret Meeting with village leaders

So what is Cranleigh Parish Council and that rum bunch Cranleigh Village Health Trust up to now?

In secret for “commercial confidence”, what rot!

The Paddock field. The site which is currently proposed for a care home in the latest planning application

Is it any wonder that those thousands of residents in the eastern village don’t trust the outfit that was once called Cranleigh Village Hospital Trust that morphed into Cranleigh Village Health Trust? What next, Cranleigh Village Mystery Trust?

They hold public meetings in private, their members aren’t invited, and their secret dealings with public money, including legacies, are kept under wraps. After trousering, millions of pounds of donated money.

Here’s the latest taken from Cranleigh Parish Council Agenda for a meeting at the council offices on 25 July 2023.

So what has the outfit got up its sleeve this time? Is that another change in the covenant that covers the land behind M & S, no doubt? Particularly as with a sleight of hand, the Chamber of Trade led by non-other than Cranleigh’s bete noir Batty Bamford, who has fingers in every single Cranleigh pie, has included the land within the Cranleigh Business Improvement District (BID.) 

7.00 pm on Wednesday, 26 July

To review a draft survey and accompanying letter to be issued by CVHT
(This item may be held in a private and confidential session – reason: commercial in confidence)
• To discuss the CVHT survey and accompanying letter.

All the warning signs went up when Waverley’s Local Plan Part 2 Inspector was asked to remove the ASVI designation on the site by CVHT. ‘Your Waverley’ gave the controversial site the critical designation as an

Area of Strategic Visual Importance.

Legal challenge fails to block Dunsfold gas drilling

Despite ‘Your Waverley’ efforts, the county council and protestors, including Chancellor Jeremy Hunt.

Drilling for gas near  Dunsfold village was given the all-clear by the  High Court judge yesterday. 

How much more can these small rural villages take?  A bad week for Dunsfold – this week, it lost its local post office.

Mrs Justice Steyn refused to allow legal challenges by Waverley Borough Council and the community group, Protect Dunsfold, backed by Good Law Project. (Full ruling at the end of this article)Below, SW Surrey MP Jeremy Hunts joins campaigners. Will this be another nail in Jeremy’s election hopes?

But the locals may not be giving up – Protect Dunsfold said this morning it was considering an appeal.

The judge dismissed the claims that government approval of plans by UK Oil & Gas to explore for gas at its Loxley well site was unlawful.

Surrey County Council had twice refused the company’s planning application, but the housing minister, Stuart Andrew, overturned this on appeal.

At a court hearing in June, Protect Dunsfold argued that Mr Andrew’s decision was inconsistent with a similar one announced on the same day. The group said it also failed to properly account for the impact on the nearby Surrey Hills area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB).

The minister had refused permission for well testing at Ellesmere Port in Cheshire because the unmitigated greenhouse gas emissions on climate change conflicted with national planning policy.

Estelle Dehon KC, for Protect Dunsfold, said the Dunsfold and Ellesmere Port decisions were made concurrently, the level of emissions were in a similar range, and the climate impact was discussed in both cases.

For Waverley Borough Council, Jenny Wigley KC said the housing minister had agreed the harm to the AONB from the drilling site represented a “significant adverse impact”. But in his decision, the weight given to landscape harm was considered moderate. This was “in stark contrast”, she said, to the weight given in the decision to the benefits of gas exploration.


Mrs Justice Steyn said she was “not persuaded” that the inspector had failed to reflect policy on protecting the AONB. She said he “expressly recorded” Surrey County Council’s submissions that great weight should be accorded to harm to the AONB.

The judge rejected the argument by Protect Dunsfold and Waverley Borough Council that there was a contrast in the way the inspector and minister considered the benefits of the development versus the harm. She said:

“The fact that harm is to the AONB increases the weight to be attributed to it. But the harm to the AONB from a temporary development such as this clearly can, in principle attract moderate weight in the overall planning balance.”

On the inconsistency between the Dunsfold and Ellesmere Port decisions, the judge said there were similarities in the cases. But she said:

“In my judgment, the decisions are not sufficiently similar to trigger application of the consistency principle, and it is clear that in the circumstances the Ellesmere Port decision is not one which no reasonable decision-maker would have failed to take into account.”

The judge said the Ellesmere Port decision “concerned a local community in Cheshire that was vulnerable in terms of health and deprivation”. She noted that the proposed Ellesmere Port well test emissions would represent a once-only use of 29-79% of aspirational carbon savings by Cheshire West and Chester Council within about 100 days.

In Surrey, the climate change strategy was “not predicated upon restricting hydrocarbon exploration”, Mrs Justice Steyn noted.


Sarah Godwin, director of Protect Dunsfold, said:

“Protect Dunsfold Ltd is deeply disappointed that the Judicial Review judgement handed down today has gone against us.

“It seems incredible that within the current context of extreme weather conditions throughout the Northern Hemisphere, planning policy still supports such speculative and unnecessary onshore oil and gas exploration.

“The Court’s decision shows that the Government needs to radically overhaul national planning policy to redress the balance so that the planning authorities always have to take the full climate and environmental impact of such proposals fully into account. 

“We will continue to work to change Government policies, and fight for recognition of the very real and imminent threat to our environment, businesses and everyday life related to the continued search for fossil fuels.”

Stephen Sanderson, chief executive of UK Oil & Gas plc, said:

“We are pleased that Mrs Justice Steyn has dismissed the legal challenge to our Loxley project and has confirmed that its planning consent is entirely lawful, as the Company and its counsel has maintained.

“We believe that a successful project will be beneficial to local and national level energy and economic interests and is fully in keeping with the government’s Hydrogen and Energy Security strategies.”

Kathy Smyth, co-ordinator of Waverley Friends of the Earth and a director of Protect Dunsfold, said:

“This is a deeply frustrating and worrying result particularly in relation to the inconsistency and illogicality of the Government’s treatment of the emissions at Ellesmere Port and at Loxley in Surrey.  The planet can’t distinguish between greenhouse gases emitted in Ellesmere Port and greenhouse gases emitted in Surrey. They are equally damaging.

“In rejecting our legal arguments on the similarity of the two cases the Judge makes the point that the calculated emissions were not evaluated in the context of Surrey Minerals Plan and the level of emissions in Surrey. I just want to make the point that at the start of this matter in 2019 many different people and organisations registered objections on the grounds of emissions and climate impact, including Waverley Friends of the Earth.  However, in the Loxley case sustaining these objections was made virtually impossible because the relevant Surrey Mineral Plan policies relating to onshore oil and gas were adopted at least 13 years ago in 2010 when Surrey County Council barely acknowledged the climate debate.  These policies prioritise oil and gas extraction and are an exemplar of institutional climate denial.  Consequently our hands were tied as all objections relating to greenhouse gas emissions were comprehensively dismissed by Surrey planning officers in 2019 who repeatedly said the Loxley application was just about “land use”.   

“Professor Sir Bob Watson has pointed out today in a BBC interview that the planet has already reached 1.2 degrees of warming, greenhouse gas emissions are still rising and that current global government pledges are so inadequate that we will miss the Paris target and that the planet is on track for 2.5 degrees or more. 

“This judgment demonstrates yet again that the current planning, political and legal systems are incapable of addressing the climate crisis.” 

Solicitor Ricard Gama, at Leigh Day, who represented Protect Dunsfold, said:

“Our clients are disappointed that the court has dismissed their claim for judicial review. They feel that there is an important legal principle at stake, which is whether local authorities and the Secretary of State can ignore greenhouse gas emissions when weighing up the public benefits of an exploratory drilling proposal such as this, in a context where greenhouse gas emissions were a reason for refusing a very similar development at Ellesmere Port. Our clients are considering an appeal.”


Full ruling  protect-dunsfold-v-sluhc-1


Another shedload of housing on its way to Alfold.


The little village of Alfold has been deluged with developers.   Cala Homes, Bewley Homes, Thakeham Homes, Abri Homes, and we expect it will soon get Eamonn Homes – to build over its countryside. The latest is Vistry Homes.

It gained consent at appeal for 86 homes, 26 “affordable ” for rent and shared ownership and 93 sqm of commercial buildings.


Whilst local landowners trouser squillions and the A281 has started to resemble a car park, villagers are putting up the For Sale signs and heading for the hills.

One villager who has enjoyed life in Alfold for more than 40 years told the Waverley Web –

“some of us just cannot take any more; the character of Alfold is changing overnight. As far as the eye can see,  trucks and diggers are ploughing through open countryside, where wildlife once thrived. The weight of traffic on Loxwood Road B2128 and the A281 Horsham/Guildford Roads is heaving. Our village shop has gone, pubs closed, doctors appointments are as rare as  hen’s teeth and no schools for all these families that are encouraged to come here. This week we lost our tresured Barn Pub & Restaurant, visited by people from far and wide and we heard that Dunsfold Post Office has closed. 

If this is planning, God Help us.”

Here’s the latest Detailed scheme for developing 86 homes adjacent to the petrol station on the A28 adjacent to Alfold’s former Wyevale Garden Centre. And below one of the three-storey blocks of flats behind the petrol station and car wash.

Or maybe Vistry Homes will flog off the site to another developer and change them all to rent and part-buy, just as Thakeham Homes did on Loxwood Road? You can read it here:

Has Waverley Council conspired with developers to throw Alfold to the wolves?


Oh dear what can the matter be?

Will Guildford Borough Council,  ‘Your Waverley’s partner, go belly-up?

Whatever the future holds – the present isn’t pretty.

Like most local authorities, Guildford Borough Council (GBC) has been significantly affected by inflation, interest rates and the general state of the economy at a time when the demand for its services is increasing.

This should be of huge concern to Waverley residents as GBC  strives to avoid becoming the subject of a government control order. A massive concern too for Waverley/Guildford chief executive Tom Horwood, head honcho of both councils.

The Waverley Web wants to be positive. However, even a cursory look at income and declining real-term Government cash plus inflation on debt payments against general outgoings and long-term commitments, the holes in the finances are untenable without massive cuts.
Going bankrupt may be an easier option. Some believe it is better to do it now at the start of an administration than later.
WW predicts the public will suffer with the closure of borough facilities and services in both Waverley & Guildford.
Guildford councillors heard their Council has been hit harder than many because of overambitious actions by others in the past.
Overall debt stands at £300m, whereas the deficit in other Surrey councils ranges from nil in Reigate to £1.9bn in Woking, with Surrey as a whole showing debt as £5.5bn. ( in some quarters, it is thought the debt level is even higher.) The cost of servicing this debt is growing as interest rates increase.
Tomorrow GBC councillors will meet to discuss how to retain control. A detailed report has been prepared for them, making it grim reading. This article attempts to summarise the key elements of the report and the problems that have contributed to this situation.
As recently as February this year, the Council approved a budget for 23/24 showing a deficit of £18.3m to be underwritten by nearly £36m of reserves. However, a much delayed-reasons not explained-external audit of the 20/21 accounts in April 2023 revealed accounting errors which reduced the £36m to £12m-a massive reduction due mainly to the incorrect treatment of Covid related grants-meaning that without urgent action, Government intervention was inevitable.
With external assistance, the Council immediately appointed a task force to identify the reasons for this situation and recommend ways forward to avoid, or at least delay, external intervention.
The task force revealed a whole catalogue of errors-payroll errors cost £1.9m. In addition, the following contributed to a greater or lesser degree-lack of financial oversight; poor accounting checks; IT project failures; capital over commitment; poor project management; reduced investment returns; inexperienced finance staff; lack of external financial oversight; staff savings not met;  failed reorganisation initiatives.
WW wonders how the former incumbent Chief Executive and Chief Financial Officer, together with the Council leadership, could ever have allowed this situation to develop. So serious management failure needs to be added to the list.
However, one bright spot was identified: the merger at the senior management level with Waverley, which is achieving the savings envisaged probably because of changes at the top.
Having recognised past problems, how can this help to resolve the problems of today and the immediate future remains to be seen.
Tight financial controls on all potential expenditure-capital, revenue, and staff will be introduced immediately, and reviews of all budgets and the outcome of these initiatives will be reviewed in October. It is believed these should produce revised budgets for 23/24 and potentially for 24/25, which, supported by reserve balances and interest savings from asset sales, will buy the Council time to get its finances in better order for the longer term.
Recently, the Council has concentrated on achieving results from longer-term investments whilst ignoring the need for short-term financial stability. Consideration will also be given to areas, particularly in finance, where the Council lacks the relevant skills to achieve all required.

Many business outsiders find it difficult to understand why much of what is now proposed was not in place already. Councils are businesses that need to be properly managed.

The October review will then formally consider the way forward. If the essential finance base cannot be established, the case for Government intervention will be difficult to avoid. GBC obviously hopes this will not be the case and will use its best endeavours to achieve the desired outcome.

Many will be asking whether collaboration with Guildford was necessary. Waverley Tories will, no doubt, be chortling with glee. But Waverley was never capable in this modern climate of holding its own. It had to make savings; if it hadn’t, Guildford would be in an even worse position.

What about Surrey County Council?

Meanwhile, Surrey County Councils’ black hole gets deeper. It, too, needs investment to pay its debt interest. Oddly nobody wants to offer that when the reality of Blightwells in Farnham is fully realised!
If Surrey County Council goes belly up, most bus services will too. Most are subsidised. Many in the rural villages consider their futures as anyone reliant on public transport will have no choice but to do.
Political gerrymandering and amateur empire-building at Tory-controlled Surrey have led to this mess.
So who really pays?
That will be Surrey’s elderly, disabled, young and old clobbered with no transport, closure of services and physical infrastructure collapse.
It is no surprise to us here at the WW that Surrey residents have endured crippling administrative mismanagement on a monumental scale and paid millions to consultants who, seeing the opportunity, have emptied the money pot. However, it was a bit of a surprise that the malaise was closer to home. First, it was  Woking, now Guildford; who next?
Many will be asking if a collaboration with Guildford was necessary. Waverley Tories will, no doubt, be chortling with glee. But Waverley was never capable in this modern climate of holding its own. It had to make savings; if it hadn’t, Guildford and Waverley would be in an even worse position.



Bramley Whiff mystery solved.


Wannabe Bramley MP Jeremy Hunt brought in the Head of The Environment Agency, and weeks later, the recently departed Head Honcho of Thames Water Sarah Bentley and no doubt a bloodhound from Battersea to investigate a whiff in Bramley.

What will he do next to impress the residents and bag their votes in his new constituency?

 Never mind that 300,000 tons of sewage poured into our rivers and onto our beaches, there’s a bit of a stink from petrol fumes in Bramley.

No expense was spared for these high-powered, highly paid individuals to schlep down the A281 to investigate what has turned out to be – and what villagers always knew was: Wait for it, wait for it!

Run-off from the Esso Petrol Station following a bout of heavy rain.

Thames Water’s head honcho’s get to sniff the Bramley whiff.

Here’s what he says in a message to the constituents of South West Surrey, around Farnham, which he is dumping for the greener grass of Waverley’s Eastern Villages, Godalming & Ash.  

No doubt, once he’s in his new const