Collaboration is about survival and doing things better together.

That was the message when ‘Your Waverley’s’ Executive considered the way forward for greater collaboration with Guildford Borough Council.

As councils across the country grapple with falling Government funding and, in some cases, bankruptcy, Waverley & Guildford want to take a giant step to move closer together.

Will Waverley leaders take the next step to join forces with Guildford?

The two authorities – Guildford cash-strapped – and Waverley not complacent about future financial pressures – want councillors’ backing to move closer to their Guildford colleagues by sharing staff and a headquarters.

They already share a Chief Executive Officer and collaborate on most council business – saving money and overheads. Although losing CEO Tom Horwood for health reasons, Waverley’s Leader was buoyant when he said there had been a more than healthy response from applicants for the job. A shortlist was compiled, and interviews would begin on Wednesday.

However, many councillors have concerns, mainly in the Tory ranks, but others too. Unfortunately, the WW could not understand the question posed by Cllr Beaman due to a webcast glitch.

Retiring Deputy Leader Peter Clark said it was exciting doing things better, and savings of a million pounds was only part of the benefit of working with their Guildford colleagues.

He warned:

It is going to get tougher year on year without support coming from elsewhere.

Cllr Liz Townsend. Referred everyone to the council’s original objectives, saying

We are a progressive council, and we are not frightened of collaboration; we don’t want to be isolated. We are proud to be able to provide better services to our residents. If we can do more together it is something we have a responsibility to do.

Mark Merryweather, the portfolio holder for finance, said the financials are not just about value; it is about price and productivity and how to improve them. 

Earlier, he told his colleagues that the finance team had been scouring the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement for any basic information we would expect local authorities, like Waverley, to be given in order to plan ahead. 

Sadly, scouring in vain as usual, however, underpinning what the Chancellor did announce was a 19.1 billion pound real terms cut in public spending as unfunded cost inflation decelerates but still persists. But there was a deafening silence on so much else. Including the funding settlement controlled by the centre, which enables local authorities like us need to plan our budgets for next year and beyond.

A clip of the debate and the unanimous decision to move forward with the collaboration will follow.   The full council must ratify the decision, which meets on 12 December.


Jubilation as Waverley’s LPP2 challenge is defeated in the High Court


With a face wreathed in smiles, Cllr Liz Townsend, Waverley’s Portfolio for Planning, announced the good news to her executive colleagues.

” I am very pleased to announce that the High Court has upheld our decision to adopt Local Plan Part 2, and the claim for a statutory review has been dismissed and the claimants have not sought permission to appeal.”


She thanked all those involved in the lengthy hearing, which had taken up “an awful lot of officer’s time.” Including Cornerstone Barristers.

Earlier, another judge gave leave to Barrister Mr  Tim House and his wife Isobel to challenge the decisions of the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and ‘Your Waverley’ in the High Court. Had the move been successful, it could have threatened Waverley’s Local Plan Part 2. It is a blueprint for future development in the borough.

Here’s the decision.


And here are the guys who clinched it. Barristers Wayne Baglan and Jack Barber.

From left Cornerstone Barristers Wayne Baglan and Jack Barber. 

There will shortly be presentations to both Parish and District councillors about the Local Plan Part 1 review, and there will soon be a new “call for sites” starting in December.

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

Would &#8216 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.

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. He has now failed to prove the crucial planning document is not legally sound. The move cost Waverley ratepayers and Government taxpayers large sums in legal fees.

WW believes Mr and Mrs House can still challenge the validity of the covenant.

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



Will Waverley leaders take the next step to join forces with Guildford?


Tonight, Waverley’s Executive will consider whether to take a giant leap towards its ‘collaboration’ with Guildford Borough Council.

Surely, co-locating Waverley and Guildford’s staff on shared premises and holding joint executive meetings is a significant step towards changing the present ‘collaboration’ arrangements to a full merger of the two authorities. Isn’t it?


.A vision for the partnership was reported to both Guildford Borough Council and Waverley Borough Council Full Council meetings in July.

If the project to explore closer ties is approved by the Executive tonight and considered and agreed upon by the full council in February, Waverley and Guildford’s Tory Groups are expected to oppose the move.

Both Tory groups have vociferously opposed any collaboration between the two councils. 

Before it takes a huge step, both councils will receive a report with an options appraisal to explore the possibilities of a single-shared office structure in an HQ and the costs involved. In doing so.

Tonight, the Executive could agree to spend  (£100,000 of revenue and £100,000 of capital. For Guildford Borough Council, this will be funded by the flexible use of capital receipts and its Finance Recovery Reserve.

For Waverley, this will be funded from the ( invest to save reserve) to support the initial start-up of the programme and note how the money will be spent to secure officer support.

All 11 Surrey Borough and District Councils were opposed to the bid in 2020 by Surrey County Council to broker a Unitary Authority.

Bye Bye ‘ Your Waverley’ Hello ‘Surrey?’

Is Surrey’s Leaders bid for a Unitary Authority crashing and burning.

The Hon. Angie helping Boris prepare the ground for a behemoth unitary authority.

Here’s the full report for tonight’s meeting

Public reports pack 28112023 1800 Executive


No water and now sewage threatens Godawfulming’s Christmas

Sewage seeping into Godalming High Street threatened to ruin Christmas for some businesses.


Last weekend-end business owners put up the CLOSED signs because their basements flooded with sewage.

It appears there was a blockage near the Red Lion Pub.

Thames Water was seen working in the car park behind a row of shops throughout the week, but no one had warned business owners of any potential problems.

The Works (in the old Halfords shop )  – at the opposite end of the High Street to The Pepperpot –  flooded, and it believed it would have to stay closed till after Christmas. They had just received all their deliveries – and the shop was crammed with Christmas wares.

Samantha Black, general manager for DK Guitars, said: “Thames Water did send a clean-up team quickly, but I wish they could have just said something before so that we could have put some sandbags down.”

Paul Foster arrived to work at DK Guitars on the high street to find the basement flooded with an inch of sewage.

Thames Water left a note at shops telling owners about the work at 11 pm on November 14. The affected businesses say they could not contact Thames Water until late on Saturday evening.

The flooding happened on the same day assurances had been given to residents by Waverley Borough Council, Surrey County Council and Thames Water that flooding on the same scale as last winter would not happen again.

Representatives from Thames Water said improvements had been made in three areas: upply maintenance and improvements of the waste network.

A Thames Water spokesperson said:

“This incident was due to the sewer being blocked by a build-up of fat, oil and grease, which we cleared on Friday night. We also cleaned and disinfected the flooded properties inside and out. We’re planning to use CCTV to check for any underlying defects in the sewer and will also give the pipes a thorough clean to reduce the risk of further incidents.”

John Young, a volunteer at the Godalming Museum, who died about five years ago, predicted that when the reservoir was filled in to build houses above the high street on the hill, they would collapse with the amount of water that came off that hill every day.
However, they are still standing. 

Brownfield Sites in Waverley

Here at the Waverley Web, we thought you might be interested in the amount of brownfield land available in Waverley, excluding Dunsfold Park, the largest brownfield site in the Borough.

 It isn’t a considerable amount but look for yourself on Waverley’s Brownfield Reister in the link below.

Maybe some parts of the Borough are not quite pulling their weight for housing development.

Cranleigh residents are quaking in their boots. In anticipation of having thousands more homes and thousands more cars converging on the new town. The streets there are gridlocked most of the time.  

However, Martin Bamford, the President of The Chamber of Commerce, is jubilant at the increase in footfall on the High Street. He has recently published figures showing how popular the town has become due to its street markets.


Copy of Waverley Brownfield Register 2022


Anything Paul can do, Jeremy says he can do better.

You couldn’t make it up – really, you couldn’t. Not one – but now two public meetings.

Waverley Council intends to hold a public meeting on December 8, at which Thames Water officials and others will be held accountable for a major incident of water outages.

Within days of the announcement, MP Jeremy Hunt called another public meeting! But No date.

In November, homes in Waverley and Guildford were left without water again, and thousands of residents, including us here at the WW,  were left hapless, hopeless and waterless as we struggled to flush our loos and fill our kettles. We contributed to the traffic chaos that gridlocked our towns and villages in a bid to obtain bottled water supplies.

Waverley Council will host a public meeting on water outages on December 8.

As Chancellor Jeremy is on first-name terms with the head honcho of Thames Water and has her on speed dial, no doubt his public meeting will be a high-powered affair. So that he can boast,  my public meeting was better than your public meeting.

Ah, well – boys will be boys!



Waverley Council hosts public meeting on water outage on December 8.

Will Thames Water stand up and be counted for Waverley’s November week of misery?

There was a previous incident when water was lost in Cranleigh. Recently, Godalming High Street was almost at a standstill as cars travelled into the town to find water stations – one of which had been closed by Thames Water.

Cllr Paul Follows – Godalming Central and Ockford


Waverley Leader Paul Follows

A message from Paul Follows, Leader of Waverley Borough Council.

 It has been a few days since the last of the main outages in Waverley (though there are still some knock-on effects for some individual residents even now).
This note is to give advance warning of a public meeting WBC will host on **Friday, December 8th 2023** in the early evening. Details are just being formalised now.

We will also:

1️⃣ We will invite representatives from Thames Water, Surrey County Council, and other relevant bodies. I will also invite our MP. We will also ask local schools, doctors’ surgeries, and other institutions if they would like to send anyone. The Mayor of Waverley will chair the meeting, and I will also be on the panel as the leader of the borough.
2️⃣ Once we hit the maximum in the chamber in person, provide the ability for anyone to attend on Zoom (we will essentially free-ticket the event to manage this).
Residents can register to speak and ask the panel questions.
3️⃣ We will provide a webpage and link for anyone to provide any written testimony / their views on what happened.
4️⃣ The session will also discuss further potential actions and how we can hold those responsible for managing water infrastructure and water incidents accountable and ensure that lessons are learned for future outages.
I’ll post more on this once the details are confirmed (they are subject to change), but I think it’s best to give residents as much notice as possible.
Please do let me know if you have any questions.
Cllr Paul Follows
Leader, Waverley BC and Godalming TC

Solar panels to go onto roofs of two Waverley Leisure Centres.

‘Your Waverley’s has agreed to award a contract for rooftop solar PV panels on the Haslemere and Godalming Leisure Centres.

A tender process was carried out within the Fusion 21 Framework, and Joju Solar was successful in that process.

The council has also agreed to embark on a pilot scheme to provide solar energy in a Farnham car park; if successful, other schemes will be rolled out across the borough’s council-owned car parks.


Three cheers for the village dubbed by Waverley as “Poor old Awfold.”

Its village leaders have been given the all-clear to hold a referendum on its Neighbourhood Plan. 

Time and time again, we notice that nobody can spell the name of ALFOLD! Sometimes Arfold, even Alford.

Alfold sign – even Surrey County Council couldn’t get it right on its new signpost. Which has now been corrected.
However, Andrew Ashcroft, independent examiner BA (Hons) M.A. DMS M.R.T.P.I., recently examined and passed the ALFOLD Neighbourhood Plan. He not only spelt the name correctly, but he also passed the development plan with flying colours.  

He has told Waverley Borough Council:

I have concluded that the Alfold Neighbourhood Development Plan meets all the necessary legal requirements and should proceed to a referendum.  I recommend that the referendum area should coincide with the neighbourhood area.

This is a considerable achievement for the parish council, led by Chairman Mary Brown and her colleagues, including Cllr Cris Britton, chairman of the Alfold Planning Committee.

Cllr Britton was a leader of the now-defunct organisation POW (Protect Our Waverley), which was established to stop the development of Dunsfold Airfield, which he overlooks from his nearby home. While development of the Dunsfold Garden Village has stalled, development in Alfold has continued at an alarming pace. It has more than doubled in size, with yet more planning applications in the pipeline.

The Foreward states that:

Alfold Parish Council commends this Neighbourhood Development Plan to all who live, work and visit our rural Parish situated on the southern border of the County of Surrey and under the planning jurisdiction of Waverley Borough Council.

This is an integral part of the statutory planning framework that will shape the future development of this community in the years ahead, specifically until 2032. 1.2 Every Neighbourhood Plan is unique and responds to the particular needs of the local community.

In the case of Alfold, at the time of preparation of the Plan, the situation with respect to planning and development in the Parish has been subject to recent and very radical change, which has been outside the control of the Parish. Therefore, this Plan has been prepared using the latest data to respond to the significant challenges the local community faces in trying to achieve what national policy requires – Sustainable development.

The impact of building 447 new houses in an existing small and scattered rural community, previously numbering some 449 households, cannot be overstated. This was the reality facing Alfold as the Plan was being prepared.

Evidence in the Plan demonstrates that this community has the highest level of deprivation of rural parishes in Waverley, is remote from most essential community services such as schools and health facilities, and is extremely poorly served by public transport. It is forced to be a car-dependant community, which flies in the face of all government and local authority initiatives towards creating a carbon-neutral and sustainable society.

The level of development now underway has been permitted with no material improvement in physical infrastructure (roads, schools, health centres, etc.) to date to mitigate this situation. This Plan, therefore, aims to redress the imbalance this has created. 

The challenge addressed in this Neighbourhood Plan is how to manage such change in sustainable ways and provide for positive long-term outcomes for local residents of all ages and in a wide spectrum of social and economic circumstances. Our priorities are summed up in the Vision.

Here’s the Neighbourhood Plan.ANP-Final-Version_published



Is our Jeremy looking a little flushed?

After huffing & puffing over the water crisis in Waverley, perhaps Chancellor Jeremy would like to hear this  Ofwat decision.

Ofwat has been accused of a ‘meaningless gesture’ after reducing Thames Water penalty.

So how will Waverley TW customers fare after losing water – some for a week? This regulator decision doesn’t bode well  – does it?

Floods and water everywhere, and not a drop to drink in Waverley!

Water outages continue in Waverley & Guildford continues.

He was flushed with embarrassment after a week of hell for his constituents in Godalming, Milford, Bramley and parts of Cranleigh and Guildford when the taps dried up.

The regulator has cut the amount  Thames Water will pay for underperformance by almost £5 for each customer!

The Government’s water industry regulator has been accused of making a “meaningless gesture” after it reduced the amount Thames Water has been asked to return to customers over poor performance by more than a quarter.

Ofwat has published its final determinations on how much each of England and Wales’s water companies should give customers after underperformance on targets tackling leakage and sewage spills.

In September, the regulator said that Thames, Britain’s biggest water company, would have to hand £101m to customers, the most of any company.

On Tuesday, it said the penalty had been reduced to £73.8m in its final determinations – roughly £4.92 for each customer. Ofwat said the decision came after Thames Water had submitted “substantive detail” on its tax losses for 2020 to 2025. Ofwat said that if it had not decided, it would have “weakened” the financial incentives for companies to carry out much-needed upgrades on Britain’s water infrastructure.


Councillor calls for housing ban – but only in Farnham

What about the rest of the borough?

Cllr David Beaman, chairman of Waverley’s one and only remaining planning committee – has called for a blanket ban on housing development in Farnham!


This is a slap in the face for a council that a developer has recently claimed has only a 3.4-year housing land supply, leaving it wide open for a succession of consented planning appeals.

It has also upset families who need homes. One Farnham resident claiming Cllr Beaman may as well put up the ‘You’re not welcome’ sign.’

In a recent Waverley Report, The Housing Options and Home Choice Teams continued to prevent homelessness during the summer. There were three households in temporary accommodation at the end of September 2023 compared with 8 in March 2023, which was welcomed by all; however,  homeless demand continues to be high.

There were 198 new homeless approaches this quarter compared to 214 last quarter. The team continue to see an increase in caseload year on year. Currently, two vacancies within the team impact the caseload and staff well-being.

The Homechoice Team has continued advertising and letting social housing tenancies and manages the Council’s Housing Register along with the Options Team. There is now a waiting list of 1,180 applicants, which may be even higher, as this was the June 2023 figure. Last year, there were 1,066.

Homelessness is rising in &#8216 Your Waverley.’

Who is entitled to be included in &#8216 Your Waverley’s housing register?

Mr Nick Williams of Stoke Hills told the Farnham Herald that Cllr Beman had put a stain on the Farnham Residents’ Group at Waverley. He claimed Farnham was an affluent area with few infrastructure concerns, far less than elsewhere in the country. 

He says Farnham has a part to play in addressing the shortage of affordable homes.



Has ‘Your Waverley’ gone into its bunker?


When a  Waverley Scrutiny Committee met last night, did the Secret Squirrels decide that councillors should bury themselves in their bunker?

 The Waverley Web has noticed that more than ever before, numerous vital subjects and decisions are held behind closed doors. The bunker mentality is becoming a concern for many, including the press and the public. 

Thankfully, the chairman, Cllr Peter Martin & Farnham Cllr Jerry Hyman, insisted that some items were not considered in private.

However, the doors were slammed on items, including Cranleigh’s proposed new recreation centre.

Here are just a few.


Bramley councillor puts the boot in on ‘Your Waverley.’


There were no holds barred when Cllr Michael Goodridge gave an update on his view of Waverley Borough Council, which he serves on behalf of the residents of Wonersh & Blackheath.


The oh-so-loyal member of the Tory Group of councillors, who occasionally has a nap during meetings, waded in to point out, sometimes inaccurately, the failings of the Council he was elected to serve. All is revealed in the parish newsletter.


  • Waverley Borough Councillor Michael Goodridge advised that The Department for Housing and Levelling Up has confirmed Waverley is no longer under threat of being placed in Special Measures (removal of powers) as its planning performance for applications has improved just above the threshold. 

WW. Not quite accurate. The Council’s planning department has improved way beyond the threshold. 

Councillor Goodridge highlighted that problems at Waverley Borough Council continue – the planning department is the UK’s 3rd highest Council for planning staff turnover at 47% this year, with Guildford not far behind in 5th place at 40%. Issues with staff morale stemming from the ongoing merger/collaboration with Guildford BC continue – as the joint governance risk register demonstrates. Councillor Goodridge also highlighted concerns that senior staff are spending more time with GBC than WBC.

WW. Not quite accurate.

Waverley is not alone, together with many councils in affluent areas of the country experiencing difficulties retaining and recruiting staff due to higher-than-average house prices. Since collaborating with Guildford, Waverley has shared officers and resources to save money and fend off the threat of 11 borough councils in Surrey becoming a Unitary Authority. 

  • The ongoing issues at Guildford Borough Council were discussed. Guildford, BC, is the subject of an investigation following revelations of £ millions lost/overspent in the housing department, allegations of fraud and Officers being suspended. Separately, Guildford had a £10m accounting error. Together, these issues combined meant that Guildford, BC, is currently trying to avert the threat of bankruptcy.  

Partially true.

Guildford Borough Council did have an accounting error. An error which was discovered by: Yes, you guessed! Revealed by one of Waverley Borough Council’s highly experienced finance officers and Waverley’s Chief Executive Officer.


An Open letter to The Chancellor from Waverley’s Leader.

Or – How Jeremy attempted to throw Waverley Borough Council under a bus – and failed!

Waverley’s leader Paul Follows’s flabber is ghasted.

The Chancellor Growing the Waverley economy as schools and businesses shut down and residents stay away from work for a week.
Is time running out for Jeremy Hunt in ‘Your Waverley’?
In response to a letter Jeremy Hunt sent to Thames Water, Paul Follows responds by saying:
I am frankly astounded I have to write this.
Dear Jeremy,
Good morning to you and your team.
I write this in regard to your letter to Thames Water today in response to the latest water outages that have impacted a large proportion of the borough over the last weeks.
In most respects, I share your outrage at the situation and will join you in calling for action.
However, I must take issue with a number of things you have said and a number of serious omissions.
1️⃣ As you know full well, Waverley Borough Council is NOT the lead in this sort of emergency; Surrey CC is.
2️⃣ You did not mention Surrey or the serious concern about why Surrey CC did not declare this a major incident earlier. Is this because they are Conservative council and Waverley is not?
3️⃣ In terms of getting water out to vulnerable people and the priority list in particular. That responsibility sits with Thames Water (again as you know). Waverley BC and Godalming TC – staff and its councillors addressed the vast gaps (both for individuals and care homes) that became evident quickly.
4️⃣ As to the Crown Court car park, Waverley BC did not lock it and issued no restrictions. Indeed, and as I know you also know, TW refused to go on longer out of safety concerns for their staff.
5️⃣ Waverley also asked for more bottled water stations earlier, as we correctly foresaw the traffic issues. It took three days for TW to set up the one we asked for in Milford. WBC staff and councillors identified sites that were also totally ignored.
6️⃣ Zero thanks to all of the people that did help over the week of this outage.
Finally, I turn to comms.
I completely agree with you regarding the severe lack of information coming out of Thames Water. But, I find it quite troubling and desperately disappointing that you take this opportunity to attack WBC – whose staff and councillors were some of the only people providing anyone with any information at all.
I find it incredible that you chose to attack those who tried to help during this crisis and have chosen to exempt those with your own political affiliation from responsibility.
You yourself have a responsibility, as an MP, to properly regulate the utilities sector and provide a robust legislative framework to ensure issues like this are rare and are managed better.
Residents expect you to be present in parliament and voting on matters like this and especially in regard to sewage.
Respectfully, I ask you to please do your job.
Cllr Paul Follows
Leader, Waverley Borough Council
Here’s JH’s Letter. Which is, quite simply, shocking!  He even has to have his face imprinted on the letter.
  • 👏 without your posts, I’d have no idea what was happening. Your team worked hard to fill the gaps which should have been sorted by others. Was shocked to see JH’s attack.
  • Michelle Bolden

    Thank you for raising these points and for your continued efforts, Paul.
  • Mike Wheeler

    Very well said; I don’t blame you for responding to that ridiculous letter in the way you have. Thank you to you and your team, who did everything you could to help, and shame on those who try to use this to score pathetic political points. Perhaps they…

    See more
  • Ian Blakeley

    I wish I were surprised about Tories being economical with the truth
  • Amy Dunkley

    Due to people being neighbourly, caring and supportive of those that need it, and the councillors, everyone got by
    Jeremy’s updates were useless, as were Thames water.
    The Thames water staff at the stations were lovely and helpful, but higher up Th…

Water outages continue in Waverley & Guildford continue.

Cllr Paul Follows keeps residents in the loop over water outages whilst the Chancellor pulls rank!

 Waverley’s leader has been working tirelessly to keep bottled water supplies available and keep residents & businesses with up-to-date information.

The Chancellor has kept the plumply salaried head honchos of the Environment Agency and Thames Water on speed dial. He also took time off from bean counting to appear on every TV and Radio station possible to register. His concern for the area he intends to represent at the forthcoming General Election. 

MP Jeremy Hunt has found time between “growing the economy” to register his disgust at the nightmare week endured by thousands of residents in Guildford & Waverley forced to use bottled water. He described the impact on residents’ businesses and schools as “horrendous.”

According to Mr Hunt, Al Cochran, CEO of Thames Water, worked through the weekend “night and day” on the issue.

 Jeremy Hunt floats his boat on raw sewage with former Thames Water Boss Sarah Bentley. 

Perhaps Mr Hunt told him the issue affecting various parts of the borough for many years. On every borough-wide major planning application, Thames Water claim they can maintain the water supply and deal with surface water and sewage!

Cllr Paul Follows – Godalming Central and Ockford

Paul Follow. Leader of ‘Your Waverley.’

 Issues remain in GU5 here in Waverley (specifically Bramley) and GU1 and GU2 in Guildford due to a new issue at Ladymead that started yesterday evening.

TW has taken the sections re: GU5 off of their website, but rest assured; we are still chasing them to get things sorted.
A few areas in Charterhouse ward over here had some impact overnight. I gather this is fine now, and the collective wisdom was the impacted houses were on roads connected to the water tower.
➡️ Please see updates from GBC councillors on the sections in Guildford. Officers are sending me all updates on this development and I will report here accordingly.
⛔️ Could you respond to this post with a location/road if you are still without water in Waverley?
➡️ Bottled water stations Crown Court, Artington, and the Burton Pavilion (Milford) have now ALL CLOSED AND WILL NOT BE REOPENING, we are told, and a site is being set up at the SPECTRUM LEISURE CENTRE to support the new issues in Guildford.
💧 Please let me know if you are in Waverley and need bottled water.
➡️ I have raised several issues flagged to me by a number of residents that TW are not being particularly helpful regarding individual issues (some parts of house working, some not, etc.). You need to contact TW and get an individual service ticket.
✳️ I put up a fairly lengthy post a couple of nights ago on some of the issues around the outside of this (covering things like recycling, compensation, etc.) and rather than repost that; I will just share the link below:
Cllr Paul Follows
Leader, Waverley Borough and Godalming Town Councils

So how does this little CIL scandal work?

There were we dumb souls here at the Waverley Web believing that CIL payments made by developers towards community projects were sacrosanct.  

Monies ring-fenced for community projects and infrastructure improvements in the towns and villages where development occurred.

The clouds gather over Woking.

We now know that more than £1million in payments made by developers has been wiped out by Woking Borough Council’s bankruptcy!

There were we simple souls who believed that when developers were obliged to dig deep into their deep pockets to provide (CIL) Community Infrastructure Levies, the money held by councils belonged to the communities where development had taken place. Well, so far, so good; it may be so in Waverley, but not in Woking.

So, will ‘Your Waverley’ officers please tell us – How much CIL money you hold? And where is it held?

When the bean counters searched the council’s accounts, all was revealed. The cupboard was bare of CIL when the horrifying deficit of £ 1.2 billion and £11m annual budget shortfall was revealed.

So has the interim chief finance officer’s response to questions about where the money had gone opened up an actual can of worms. Just as a matter of interest, he, too, has now left the authority. 

Brendan Arnold said: “The practice nationally, as far as I’m aware, in all councils that I have been associated with is to keep the sums, as with many others, which are part of reserves and other balances held on the council;’s balance sheet, on a separate ledger account.

In short, to Mind The Gap – the massive gap in Woking’s finances, the distribution of CIL has been paused.

So all those areas of Woking that endured huge developments and who had hoped they might see infrastructure improvements now have to wait for the council’s finances to improve.

He said the £1.2m deficit was the largest charge of any revenue account of its kind in UK Local Government – and had effectively wiped out the value of any cash the council may have had.”

He stressed that the council would honour its commitments through CIL but had to deal with its crushing debt before it could do so.”




Woking’s CEO resigns

Another local council’s Chief Executive Officer resigns and leaves in February.

The head honchos of our local councils are going down like Skittles. Waverley & Guildford CEO Tom Horwood resigned in October and also leaves his post in February.

Julie Fisher, the chief executive of Woking Borough Council,  joined the organisation in April 2021.

Ms Fisher leaves as the Woking council, which is in heavy-duty dog doo due to its financial management, faces bankruptcy. She will agree its 2023/2024 budget before she goes.

She described her job leading the organisation as “unique” in respect of the challenges the council faced, requiring significant time, energy and commitment over the past two and a half years.

She believed Woking Council was now firmly on the road to recovery, and the time was right to hand over to somebody with fresh energy to drive Woking’s recovery.

The council faces huge cuts to services and massive staff redundancies.


A Cranleigh developer’s battle to build 160 new homes has begun.


Richard Graham, owner of the Cranleigh store and restaurant 140, has joined the merry band of villagers 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 have descended on the former rural village – yet another chunk of the countryside is up for grabs. This time, land adjacent to the Snoxhall Playing Fields and the Greenway.
Despite Waverley planners throwing out the scheme, another government Inspector is sifting through thousands of pages of evidence at an Appeal Inquiry that will end in December.

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. Now, he wants to help the cause of “homelessness” by building a swathe of homes across the countryside.

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 and 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.

Waverley’s lack of a five-year housing land supply could hold the key to the Government Inspector ruling that development on the controversial site can happen.

Gleeson Land is hanging its hopes on persuading the Inspector that there is little likelihood of the Dunsfold Garden Village going ahead despite the completion of multi-million new roads and landscaping now linking the site into the A281 Horsham/Guildford Road.

Jeff Richards told the Inspector that information provided by Bidwells (Agents acting for Trinity College Cambridge)  demonstrated the total failure to grasp the complexity of the Dunsfold site and the challenges that it poses. Indeed, only on 26 August 2022 (i.e. just over six months ago), Bidwells confidently considered that 605 new homes would be delivered by 31 March 2027. In just six months, their view had dramatically changed to only 170 homes, a loss of 435 homes in six months. This demonstrates the complete lack of reliance that anyone can afford on this ‘evidence’.

Regarding any housebuilder interest, the Inspector will note that the exact phrasing is used in both documents regarding interest and discussions. However, no update is provided on the names of housebuilders, which could provide evidence that housing will come forward.

“As such, I am of the firm opinion that there is no evidence to demonstrate that Dunsfold Park will deliver any houses within the next five years, and the latest information from the Council fully supports my view.”

“On the basis of the evidence submitted to the Inquiry, including the evidence in relation to Dunsfold Park, I consider that the figure is likely to be closer to the appellant figure of 3.34 years”.


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

Landscape Expert David Hugh Williams said he had considered the landscape character and visual appearance of the Appeal Site and its role in the local and broader landscape to the southwest of Cranleigh. The proposed change from agricultural land to residential uses will inevitably alter the character of the Appeal Site and result in a change at a local level, which is unavoidable. This is the case for all green field development sites and is an inevitable consequence of providing new housing beyond settlement boundaries.

However, Waverley Officers had only designated the area as having “medium” landscape value. So, based on my assessment of the Appeal Site and the development proposals, I conclude that the Appeal Site can accommodate residential development as proposed and, whilst the proposed development will have some local impacts/harm, the effects of the development on the character and visual appearance of the wider countryside will not be significant. 


To be continued…


Floods and water everywhere and not a drop to drink in Waverley!

Thousands of people have had their water supply cut off due to technical issues at a Thames Water treatment works.

The regular updates from Waverley Leader Paul Follows have been described by residents as “simply amazing.” The latest is at the bottom of this post.

Just days after it announced :

**Thames Water plans to cut 300 jobs after ‘challenging year’

Waverley Leader {aul Follows said up to 10,000 homes were affected, but  Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, who always gets his sums right, says 13,500 have lost water supply and more are expected to be cut off shortly.

Although Thames Water notified customers in GU3, GU5, GU6, GU7 and GU8 that they had no water, some did, and some didn’t lose supply. Se taps dribbled water, and some residents called out plumbers due to rattling pipes.

Thames Water apologised to those around Godalming, Surrey, who were affected and said Shalford treatment works had been affected following issues “caused by Storm Ciarán”.

The problem is the swollen river water That hit the Shalford Water Works following the recent heavy rainfall. This resulted in it being completely shut down. According to experts, it could take some time to get the works up and running again as water treatment works are very sensitive biological processes. Workers must build enough capacity into the three reservoirs that feed the areas mentioned to get the pressure up again.

Long queues built up for a bottled water station, set up in Godalming Crown Court car park after people lost supply on Saturday afternoon.

The site controls at Shalford Water Treatment Works have been reset, and they’re testing turbidity at low water production volumes,”

If this is successful, they can increase production to a level that will restore supply.”

Waverley Borough Council leader Paul Follows said he believed between 5,000 and 10,000 homes were affected, while Mr Hunt said 13,500 homes were off supply, with a further 6,500 expected to be cut off shortly.

The major incident has had a significant effect on local businesses, including pubs and restaurants forced to close.

People queuing in the Crown Court carpark

As well as Godalming, residents in the nearby villages of Milford, Witley and Bramley reported outages.

A second bottled water station has also been set up at Artington Park and Ride on Old Portsmouth Road, Guildford.

Both water stations were open until late on Sunday

Supermarkets said people were panic buying bottled water, and Waitrose in Godalming said it was sold out.

As traffic in the town built up, Mr Follows urged people who did not need to go out and get bottled water to avoid doing so.

“Try and carpool so there is not excessive traffic,” he said.

Thames Water said it was doing everything possible to get things back to normal quickly.

It said it was “continuing to work hard to restore supplies as soon as possible”.

“In the meantime, we have a fleet of tankers pumping water into the local pipe system,” the supplier said in a statement.

Thames Water is set to axe 300 roles after an “extremely challenging year”.

The GMB union said it had been told 140 people were at risk of redundancy, including 89 retail roles and 39 digital jobs. The other positions are currently vacant, the water firm said.

The union blamed the company, saying public money had been “drained from the system”.

But Thames Water said the plan was necessary, adding it would seek to minimise compulsory redundancies.

Thames Water, the leading supplier across Surrey, Berkshire and Oxfordshire, employs about 8,200 people across its business.

It has come under heavy criticism over sewage discharges and supply disruption.

Latest update Link.



‘Special Measures’ threat to Waverley lifted by the Government.

Want to know the names of Waverley’s planning gurus? And, hear about the huge success they are NOW making of the council’s planning function…


That load is getting lighter by the day. 

And, according to the Planning Portfolio Holder, Cllr Liz Townsend, they are doing a damn fine job.

She told a meeting of Waverley Council that threats of Waverley’s planning function being taken by the government into ‘special measures’ had been lifted.

She said this was entirely due to Waverley’s planning team’s hard work and dedication, which she said after “a Herculean effort” had achieved and dealt with 97%, which was well above the 70% threshold for dealing with minor planning applications.

She said the government had confirmed this on the 4th of October.



All hands on deck to save a Badshot Lea orchard.

A petition launched by a town councillor to stop an orchard in Badshot Lea from being bulldozed for housing has been signed by more than 1,000 people. 

Residents of Farnham are taking matters into their own hands to prevent the bulldozers from moving into another treasured local asset to provide yet more new homes.

Farnham Cllr Chris Jackman (Badshot Lea and Moor Park) launched his petition, which you can sign by clicking on the link here:Help us to save the Badshot Lea Ancient Orchard from being torn down!on October 8 online at change.org

Said Cllr Jackman Elivia Homes wants to take out an ancient orchard and build 10 homes in its place despite a previous commitment to retain and enhance it. We need your help to SAVE OUR ORCHARD.

I’ve lived in Badshot Lea for several years and have witnessed the changes to the green fields, hedgerows and overall landscape in North Farnham. I’ve heard it from neighbours who have lived in the area all their lives. The last decade has seen an immense transformation that has greatly affected our local biodiversity. One of the few remaining bastions of nature is the ancient orchard at Barley Meadows, also known as Waverley’s Folly.

As part of their original planning application, Vanderbilt Homes (now Elivia Homes) committed to retaining and enhancing this precious precious orchard. However, now that they are nearing completion on 22 homes at Barley Meadows, they want to rip out this historic orchard to build an additional 10 homes. This should not be allowed to happen, said Cllr Jackman. 

Earlier this year, Elivia Homes submitted a planning application to flatten the orchard and replace it with ten homes as part of a ‘phase two’ – claiming it is in decline.

Well, they would, wouldn’t they?

Cllr Jackman says this is “completely at odds” with the original application, which did not mention a ‘phase two’. 

He said:

“It is clear the orchard needs work to bring it to its best and to safeguard it for the future, and that is exactly what Elivia Homes should now be doing, rather than flattening it.”

This is not just about preserving a piece of history; it’s about safeguarding a crucial habitat that supports bees, birds, bats and everything in between. It’s also about maintaining outdoor green spaces for people to enjoy – something increasingly important amidst the rapid urbanisation seen in Badshot Lea, Weybourne and North Farnham as a whole.

We must hold Elivia Homes accountable for Vanderbilt Homes’ original commitment. We cannot allow them to destroy what remains of our village’s natural heritage for short-term profit.

Fundamentally, the proposed development is not in line with the policies included in the Farnham Neighbourhood Plan approved in 2020 and covering the period up to 2032, which addresses the allocated identified housing required in line with Waverley’s Local Plan Part 1. The orchard was specifically mentioned as protected in that first application. 


Farnham Town Council has also objected, saying the development would “erode the countryside and character of the area by extending built form into the patchwork of small green fields”, in conflict with the Farnham Neighbourhood Plan.



Guess who is objecting to development next to the Alfold Petrol Station?

Yes, you guessed, the developer that is building million-pound homes on the other side of the Alfold Petrol Station!

Planning Application WA/2021/0462 – Valid From 17/02/2021

Talk about biter, bit. Michael Dakin, The Head of Acquisitions for Q Developments Limited based in Wimbledon, has had the utter gall to object to the development next door to the former Alfold Garden Centre. On his site, he is currently building 78 homes. For interest. the first application was for 10, then 27, then 56, then 73, and now it is 78,  No development creep here, then?

Guess what Mr Dakin is objecting to? Yes, right again. He doesn’t like the distance proposed by Vistry, formerly Bovis Homes, between his piles of bricks and mortar and his fellow developer’s even bigger pile of bricks and mortar of 99 homes.

 His NIMBY moan is that his company has tried to “reach out to Vistry” to discuss boundary treatments `and adjust the distance between his piles and Vistry’s piles. and is upset there will be “no boundary treatment to the north of the Vistry site.”  

Oh dear! Why isn’t he also having a go at the BP Petrol Station that spoils the setting of a couple of his million-pound homes? After all, it has only been there for 50 years!  Surely, it’s a great USP – for the sale of his homes. Car washing facilities and petrol sales just spitting distance away on the busy A281 Horsdham/Guildford Road.

He told Waverley Planners.

“There are a number of units that sit too close to the boundary; in particular, Plot 30 sits within 10 metres of one of our houses; we have large windows on the flank wall of this house and privacy and light will be severely compromised with a house this close.”

Oh, Boo bloody Hoo! Is that the eerie silence of the cash register not ringing that we hear?

Mr Dakin is waking up to the fact that his neighbouring developer, who has 99 homes consented by yet another Government Inspector, has resisted his attempt to “negotiate for a buffer zone. ”  

He registers concern for the “ecological value of the proposed hedgerow, to preserve the amenity of his piles on Plots 16,17,18,19, 20 and 21. So they can enjoy views of the open countryside. What hypocrisy. 

Did Mr Dakin attempt to create a decent buffer zone between the properties along his boundary?  Properties that have sat alongside the former Wyevale Garden Centre for centuries? No, of course not – because the reduced value of those homes and their views of the open countryside isn’t his concern, is it?

One objector told the Government Inspector:

“There have been complaints about the felling of what the developer states are unimportant trees and land clearance trees on the site.” I also think the inspector should see the proximity of the application to the Petrol station and the fact that almost all the Affordable Housing is situated next to it.”

WW wonders if these homes will obtain insurance cover slap bang next to a petrol station. Does anyone out there possess any pictures? 






Parliament will have my presence for many years to come promises Surrey MP Jeremy Hunt.

Chancellor Hunt has told his supporters that rumours he intends to quit before the general election are “nonsense and wildly exaggerated.”

Rumours of his departure before the next General Election are “exaggerated”, say his supporters in the SW Surrey constituency. The constituency he leaves behind to fight his old adversary, Lib Dem Paul Follows for the new constituency of Godalming & Ash, which includes Cranleigh & the eastern villages of Waverley.

South West Surrey MP and ‘Mary Poppins” Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has emphatically denied reports suggesting he intends to stand down and avoid going head-to-head with Lib Dem hopeful Paul Follows.

Rumours have been swirling among Surrey Conservatives and at Westminster amid cataclysmic predictions of a wipeout for several serving cabinet ministers after more than 13 years in power. It was believed that Mr Hunt wanted to avoid the ignominy of returning the Ministerial car for the back benches, preferring to pick up a bit of ermine and become Lord Hunt of Mares Pond.

One former minister said that with a Labour government in prospect, the options for Hunt of fighting the new seat were not attractive, whether he won or lost: “Barring a miracle [of the Tories winning and forming another government], I can’t see Jeremy wanting to be in opposition under a new leader. And if he loses, he will be the biggest scalp on election night. That is not a departure anyone would want. People in Surrey are saying he will not stand.”

Who Follows Jeremy Hunt?

The Guardian’s claim of a potential ‘Michael Portillo’ moment, referencing the former MP’s unexpected defeat in the 1997 election, has been labelled as “nonsense” by Mr Hunt himself. Had he remained in his old  SW Surrey seat, he would be defending a majority of 8,817.

 Mr Hunt confirmed his commitment to the new constituency despite the challenges posed by boundary changes, saying: 

“It is my hope that Parliament will have the misfortune of my presence for many years to come”.

The chancellor will be pitched against his old adversary, Waverley’s Lib Dem leader Paul Follows, if he does stand – with Cllr Follows pledging to…

“ensure the Portillo moment in the public mindset will become the Hunt moment.” Whether it’s Hunt or someone else, #GodalmingandAsh is crying out for change.

What I can say for sure tonight is this – I will definitely be on the ballot. What about you?



Cranley Hotel bites back.

Recently, there has been much mutter in the Cranleigh area about the new ownership of its most iconic hotel. The Cranley, which overlooks the famous cricket common.


Gang warfare hits the streets of Cranleigh.

In days gone by, it was visited by famous English and Australian cricketers – including the Bedser twins. The former home of the late England captain Peter May (who captained England in 41 tests)  stands proudly overlooking the cricket square on the opposite side of the common.

We will not repeat some of the claims about the hotel’s new owners and some of the shenanigans that followed the re-opening under new management. Suffice to say, the hotel was unfairly blamed for some unruly behaviour in the village.

Now, a villager has responded to claims made on our WW comments page. And in our post

Said John Dennison.

I have to say what a load of rubbish you have written about the Cranley Hotel and its effect on Cranley (sic).

I can only think you have not lived in Cranleigh for decades like myself and many others. If you had, you would know how Cranleigh is an amazing place full of amazing, good people from all walks of life!

As the licensee for the property, I’m able to correct you on your inaccuracies.

 Firstly, the new owner is a very successful and respected businessman who has lived his entire life in the Cranleigh area.

Since the Cranley has been bought and reopened, there has not been any trouble at the premises, and both the police and licencing authority will back this up.

 The trouble in the high street had nothing to do with anyone who drank at the Cranley hotel premises, and only those ignorant of the truth would report such rubbish. To suggest anything different is to suggest that people may have their own agendas.
Indeed, those involved had been drinking in The Onslow.
The Onslow is another wonderful establishment in our village.

 The local people close to the Cranley Hotel have been coming in daily and enjoying the facilities.

The rooms at The Cranley have been renovated to a high standard and are now open for bed and breakfast.
The pub is currently closed whilst options on decor are being decided.

 The parish council do not have authority on licencing. This is a Waverley Borough Council function.

The Waverley Web has removed an unsubstantiated claim against a former chairman and the clerk of Cranleigh Parish Council.

Mr Dennison continued: 

I myself am moving to another licensed venue locally and leaving two amazing ladies in charge of the Cranley Hotel who have helped make it the great new venue it is. I hope that the local community give them the support that they and the new owner deserve to have as good local people.
Very good people who’ve made massive improvements to a pub and hotel that has been run down and mismanaged for many previous years in the area. It now has a successful future to look forward to.




Concern mounts over the huge influx of gipsies and travellers moving into Waverley.

Several hundred gipsy and traveller families are accommodated in various sites across the borough of Waverley, many of whom have integrated into local communities, including Dunsfold.

Many have made their homes there, educated their children in local schools and run successful businesses for 40 years.

However, some residents believe there is now too large a concentration in just one place, and the fragile balance is being affected, particularly in Stovolds Hill, Dunsfold, which is in the parish of Bramley & Wonersh.

Following a call for sites by Waverley Planners two years ago, dozens more travelling families are setting up homes on sites adjacent to the proposed UKOG – UK Oil & Gas Exploration site near the Hascombe Hills.

Bramley Parish Council OBJECTS to this latest application. for a change of use as a residential caravan site for seven families at no. 12 Lydia Park in Stovolds Hill—an approach road to Dunsfold Airfield.


Bramley Parish Council strongly object to this application, which both encroaches into valuable agricultural land and detracts from the visual amenity.

History has shown that applications for the erection of stable buildings are almost inevitably followed by applications for hardstands for caravans. In Local Plan Part 2, it has been established that Waverley Borough Council is meeting its current obligations for Gypsy, Romany and Traveller sites and that no further sites at Stovolds Hill are being allocated.

Planning History


Change of use of land to use as a residential caravan site for five gipsy/traveller families, each with two caravans, together with laying of hardstanding and erection of 5 amenity buildings. Decision: GRANTED Decision Date: 13/07/2022
Appeal Decision: Appeal Decision Date:

WA/2020/1866 – LAND NORTH OF 12A LYDIA PARK STOVOLDS HILL CRANLEIGH Change of use of land to residential use to provide nine gipsy pitches comprising of 9 static caravans and nine touring caravans together with nine utility buildings, associated hardstanding and parking.

Decision: GRANTED Decision Date: 29/11/2021
Appeal Decision: Appeal Decision Date:
WA/2018/1364 – LAND NORTH OF 11A LYDIA PARK, STOVOLDS HILL, CRANLEIGH Change of use of land to residential use with stationing of 2 caravans, erection of 1 amenity building, hardstanding and an ancillary storage yard.
Decision: GRANT Decision Date: 18/01/2019
Appeal Decision: Appeal Decision Date:
WA/2017/0176 – LAND TO THE WEST OF LYDIA PARK, STOVOLDS HILL, CRANLEIGH Change of use of land to a mixed-use site for the stabling and keeping of horses and residential use for three Gypsy families. The site will contain three static caravans, three touring caravans, associated parking, hardstanding and water treatment plants. Decision: REFUSE Decision Date: 26/04/2017
Change agricultural land use to children’s play/garden land ancillary to plot 12a Lydia Park Residential Gypsy Caravan Site; Retention of storage shed and footpath.
Decision: REFUSE Decision Date: 21/09/2001
Change of use of agricultural land to children’s play/garden land ancillary to Lydia Park Residential Gypsy Caravan Site, together with the erection of boundary fencing.
Decision: REFUSE Decision Date: 21/09/2001
Appeal Decision: APPEAL DISMISSED Appeal Decision Date: 21/09/2001



2023-10-02 P: Bramley

W: Bramley & Wonersh

Change of land use to use as a residential caravan site for seven gipsy families together with laying of hardstanding.


Officer: Tracy Farthing 30/10/2023



Waverley speaks out on Israel & Gaza conflict.

Israel and Gaza – statement by the Mayor of Waverley, Councillor Penny Rivers


Mayor of Waverley Penny Rivers.

Waverley Borough Council condemns the appalling attacks on Israel by Hamas. Residents across our borough have been shocked and upset by the senseless loss of life. Our thoughts are with the innocent and vulnerable people caught up in these tragic events.

We stand against all aggression and acts of terror, and we ask for calm and understanding at this time. We respect everyone – those of faith and those of none. Local government is based on the fundamental principle that communities are stronger when they support each other. 

We stand for justice and peace, shalom, salaam.


Who Follows Jeremy Hunt?

The mutter in the Tory gutter has it that ‘Our Jeremy’ Hunt – our lily-livered MP cannot face the possibility of a ‘Portillo’ moment, so he may not be going head-to-head with Paul Follows in a General Election.

The PM intruded on the freeze on personal income tax allowances and did not raise them in line with inflation when he was chancellor, extended by Jeremy Hunt until 027/28. Today, the Landlord Bashing Renters Reform Bill!

Jeremy Hunt – bounda
ry changes are ‘terrible for me personally’

We here at the WW always knew the MP who ditched SW Surrey for Godalming, and Ash feared Waverley’s leader in a straight fight for the constituency.  Fear of fearless Follows has often prevented Jeremy from meeting with his bete noire Waverley’s Lim Dem Leader despite his constituents’ local council needs and pressing \Waverley issues.

People before politics? Not for Our Jeremy.

So as defeat looms, rather than face Follows and risk the ignominy of returning to the back benches or, worse, facing redundancy, he will swap his ministerial trappings for some moth-eaten ermine in the Lords. Oops! Didn’t we hear that should a Labour Government be elected, it wants to dump the plumply salaried 900-plus members of the second chamber?  After all, where will that lot go when the multi-billion pound de-camp for the refurbishment of Westminster begins?

Lord & Lady Hunt will no doubt spend more time with their families in China and beyond, boosting their buy-to-let income and moving on to the public speaker circuit with the phalanx of all those other has-been politicians.

Tensions mount as Tories are being trounced in their safest citadels. Fear permeates the local Tory HQs in Guildford and Farnham.  Party workers for both MP Angela Richardson and Jeremy Hunt willing to go out onto the doorsteps are diminishing. One told the Waverley Web,

“It was no fun on the doorsteps in the May local elections. Some of us heard language from voters only fit for the docks. I don’t blame Jeremy if he jacks it in; he’s had a good innings; the writing is on the wall.”

Hunts advisor has told constituents he will stand. WW believes he will go, but if he knows he is off, should he be delivering the Autumn Budget Statement? In the wake of the recent seismic by-election results, he is expected to announce he is stepping down; the question is, when? The storm clouds have been gathering over his Hascombe home at Mares Pond for months; he can see defeat for himself and the Party on all sides and has no intact constituency. We are not even sure he knows where Ash is.  He has bombarded the areas he had hoped to represent with leaflets in his new patch around the towns and villages, but the response was less than enthusiastic.

A couple of days ago, the Lib Dems announced that Paul Follows had been selected to stand for the Godalming & Ash seat.
Two men who couldn’t be more different.  No doubt Paul Follows will deliver his election leaflets and visit voters on his bike. 

Tory bid to scupper ‘collaboration’ with Guildford fails.

While cash-strapped councils across the country forge closer links to stave off bankruptcy, Waverley Tories want to jettison Guildford.

The tension in the atmosphere at Waverley Towers at Tuesday’s Full Council meeting was palpable as Tory leader Peter Martin proposed a motion to end Waverley’s links with its Guildford partner.


 Waverley’s Tory Group – led by Peter Martin, Michael Goodridge and Carole Cockburn – which has opposed the three-year council collaboration of Waverley & Guildford from the outset, now wants to end the partnership.

Light the blue touch paper and stand back! Because a fight is about to ensue!

Notice of Motion (Procedure Rule 12.1) – Council 17 October 2023

Cllrs Martin, Goodridge and Cockburn

This Council resolves to review the collaboration arrangements with Guildford Borough Council with an intention of seeking an orderly termination of those arrangements. Council requests that within 90 days, a full review of the costs, benefits and disadvantages of these arrangements to date be undertaken by Officers, together with a full review of the costs, advantages and disadvantages of a reasonable timetable for that termination.

 Tory Leader Cllr Martin claimed the original decision opposed by his group was conceived in haste, the governance structure was flawed, and the ruling administration had ignored its warnings. No private business would have embarked on such a foolhardy “Merger”, which had resulted in colossal disruption of staff and wholesale resignations, culminating in the resignation of Chief Executive Tom Horwood. The impact on staff morale and service levels in planning and elsewhere was evident in the impact on council services. He stressed the failure of the “merger” was not the fault of Waverley or Guildford’s staff. It was what was asked of them.

He accused the administration of presiding over the worst staff turnover in the country. This was categorically denied by Cllr Liz Townsend, who had earlier given statistics on staff recruitment difficulties faced by councils and other organisations across the country. The spectre of Waverley’s planning function being taken over by the Government had also been lifted. Waverley’s planning performance had dramatically improved.

Cllr Martin said: A strong Guildford is good for Waverley, and a weak Guildford is bad for Waverley – when the going gets tough for one council, it impacts the other. Guildford is a failing council.

He claimed all the signs were on the recent  Risk Assessment, which revealed flags of  RED, RED AND MORE RED!

It is time to call a halt; we must stop this and organise an orderly halt. I supported a Unitary Authority as the best option, he admitted later.

Surrey County Council’s bid for Unitary Status catalysed collaboration with Guildford.  Surrey applied three years ago to take over 20 borough councils in the county. Waverley and others strongly opposed this.

Cllr Micheal Goodridge, seconding the motion, claimed “high-risk financial decisions” had been made by the council in recent months.

Others claimed this, including the evening decision to forge ahead with a £31m scheme for a new leisure centre in Cranleigh. Which they opposed.

Cllr Jane Austen (Con ) claimed the chaotic exercise was not a collaboration but a merger, conducted in haste over 20 days.  Waverley had tied itself to Guildford Borough Council, now in “deep trouble.”  There had been no “initial proper financial analysis,”  and having a schedule of risk was not the same as having a full Risk Assessment.

I want a council where staff  are 100% employed by this council and not firefighting for another down the road,”

Cllr Victoria Keil described the Tory group’s motion as ‘hysterical, illogical scaremongering, irresponsible, which would damage staff morale, recruitment and retention. Working together was the only game in town. Waverley had made efficiencies and economies of scale and did not have a monopoly on good ideas for making savings. The motion had been put forward with – no answers or suggestions for alternatives.

The opposition is using wrecking tactics to get a divorce from Guildford.

Farnham Cllr Jerry Hyman said voting for the motion would be a “big mistake.”Others accused the Tories of putting politics before people,

Cllr Cockburn said the present state was not a collaboration or merger, saying she would prefer a Merger, but this hybrid helps no one. Her references to private talks held with senior officers and emotive talk of “working with the enemy”,  together with claims that Waverley officers were working for Guildford, was roundly attacked by a fuming Cllr Liz Townsend. 

Cllr Kika Mirylees said the motion could result in members of both authorities facing redundancy notices, causing a catastrophic loss of confidence.

I’ve had enough of these political shenanigans against a background of chaos in this country and beyond.

The motion was defeated by 35 votes to 9.

It wasn’t easy for the WW to choose one particular clip. But a newcomer to the council, Cllr. Michael Higgins (Lib Dem Ewhurst) summed it up here.  Other clips will be posted later.


Good news Fenwicks on its way to Guildford.


How about some good news for Guildford – other than the other good news that Waverley Tories failed to file for divorce from ‘collaborating’ with the borough council?

Waverley’s partnership with Guildford is staying strong.

We have a contact who has the inside track on all things retail. In particular, the future of the iconic House of Fraser Building in Guildford High Street.

Ladies and gentlemen, dust off your credit cards and prepare for lift-off. 


According to our mole, Fenwicks is taking the first three floors of the iconic William Harvey building. Two floors will then be turned into luxury apartments. Yipee – WW wants one, two, three, maybe four!

A contractor has been appointed to remove all the fittings to provide a blank canvas for the popular retailer. It is even believed it might just open in time for Christmas.

So cheer up, folks; all is not lost. All those rumours about it coming 100% residential or becoming a hotel have been scuppered. Guildford High Street is back in business.

The end of an era.




Cranleigh’s ‘Gold Standard’ new leisure centre moves a step closer.


But the council’s Tory Group has opposed the £31m project, calling it Waverley’s HS2.

There was overwhelming support from every council member for replacing Cranleigh’s existing centre, whose very existence was now in doubt. Built in the 1960s with a 50-year lifespan, it is well past its sell-by date. Over the next five years, it could cost £7 million to keep it operating safely as it pumps out 11% of Waverley’s carbon emissions.


But the ‘state of the art’ energy-efficient Passivhaus replacement, heralded by the administration as the gold standard of leisure centres, in line with Waverley’s Climate Change Agenda, was opposed by the Tory Group led by Cllr Jane Austin (Con, Bramley, Wonersh), who had a different tale to tell.

Blazing a trail
 the St. Sidwell’s Point Leisure Centre in Exeter opened on 29 April 2022. The £42 million project aims to be the UK’s first Passivhaus Leisure Centre and public pool. It is also only one of a handful of such projects worldwide. There are currently two Passivhaus swimming pool buildings in Germany. The St. Sidwell’s Point project has the additional complexity of including a 150-station gym, studios, spin studio, creche, and health suite with spa facilities.

Cllr Austin believed there were cheaper energy-efficient options, for which she held details, As a regular centre user, she believed these should be investigated. She claimed that the financial information provided (in an Exempt part of the meeting closed to the press and public) didn’t stack up. She accused the administration of not providing enough information to members and insufficient consultation with centre users and the public.

This was scotched by Portfolio Holder and Cranleigh Cllr Liz Townsend, who has worked tirelessly for years to get the project underway. The Health Centre, The Co-op, the Cranleigh Market traders, and users had all been consulted. During the May elections, every councillor now representing Cranleigh had received support on residents’ doorsteps. 

Cllr Michael Goodridge (Con accused the administration of providing insufficient details on the ‘facility mix’ in the new centre. (eg. How many lanes are in the pool?)

We want to know what we are getting for our money, and so do the taxpayers.

He was slapped down by Officer Kelvin Mills, who revealed everyone had been provided with this information at the outset. Nothing had changed from the original specification. Cllr Townsend responded there would not be eight lanes, and the taxpayers would not be funding it. It would pay for itself with up to 70% energy savings from (CIL) Community Infrastructure levies imposed on developers and borrowings.

Calling for delay was unnecessary, said leader Cllr Paul Follows; every councillor had received and been provided with adequate information and could have asked for more if required. Why didn’t you, he asked?

Cllr Carole Cockburn (Con Farnham) said:

We are not coming here to nod something through, costing millions of pounds without having some certainty about the budget. 

Cllr Townsend said the recommendation before the council was based on ‘evidence’ and sound financial prudence. We can only provide you with the exact costs once we have reached the design stage, and any increase would have to be agreed upon by the council.  We cannot put the cart before the horse. Once we have something to show people, we will consult everyone in the community to delay the project, would put us, the existing centre and the council at risk. She and others warned  Cranleigh and the eastern villages could be left with nothing. No centre, no income.

Cranleigh Leisure Centre is hanging by its fingernails!

This recommendation was passed by 33 votes for and 12 Against. 

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

  1. The leisure centre is built to Passivhaus certification standards;

   III.          That authority be delegated to the Joint Director for Place, in consultation with the relevant portfolio holder, to submit a planning application in respect of the proposed new build;

  1. That authority be delegated to the Joint Director for Transformation and Governance, in consultation with the relevant portfolio holder, to conduct the procurement of a contractor for the build and all related professional services, including, but not limited to, the Employers Agent and Design team;
  2. That authority be delegated to the Joint Executive Head of Legal and Democratic Services to complete and execute all necessary contractual documents.


Will village leaders ever get a response to this letter?

Following months of asking, pleading, and finally demanding answers – Alfold’s village leaders met with leaders of Waverley Borough Council yesterday.

Frustrated villagers wrote to Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Levelling Down, AWOL MP Angela Richardson, and various heads of planning and officials of Waverley Borough Council. This included the CEO of Waverley and Guildford, Tom Horwood.  What did they get for their trouble? Zilch!

Here’s just one of the letters that have been ignored.

Land to the rear of Hollyoak S52-2023-01486 Springbok-Thakeham Letter July 2023 (3)

And here’s why.

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

An application by Oriel Housing Association S52-2321486 to change a legal agreement between developers Care Ashore/Thakeham Homes, Waverley and Surrey County Council. An agreement that currently provides for a mixed development of  99 homes, of which 30% are “affordable” off Loxwood Road,   

 Not a material amendment that would require planning consent or a new planning application requiring approval, which would make it subject to public scrutiny. Residents were given seven short days to comment at the start of the Summer holidays! And Wham, bang – no doubt officer’s approval?

Here’s Oriel HA’s request in full below.

Oriel July 2023

After months of villagers writing to Waverley and the MP, telephone calls, and desperate appeals for information from the council’s head honcho down the long pecking order of senior planners, all is now revealed. The developers have conspired with ‘Your Waverley’ ‘in a let’s stuff Alfold ploy’ by changing the 106 legal agreement to provide 99 market and 30% affordable homes to…  

99 – 100% rented and shared ownership homes. Off Loxwood Road.

Together,  with a scheme for another 66 in the pipeline, the developers publicly voiced ambition for 425. Landowner  Seaman’s Union Charity  ‘Care Ashore’ once told villagers 

“We are the friends of Alfold.”

Who Dares Wins

The winner? Why ‘Your Waverley’, of course, because with one swipe of the pen, its planning officers, who now have a stranglehold on Waverley’s  Planning system, can slash the long waiting list for its mates in the housing dept.

So, has a council that has consistently refused to allow affordable homes to be grouped and wanted them distributed to prevent discrimination between private and social housing occupiers now changed course? 

A road that one former Tory councillor said Waverley would never travel:

  Waverley Council will never build ghettoes, he said.

The Waverley Web may not be Mystic Meg. However, we predicted that when the developers lied in shovel loads to a Government Planning Inspector, he would swallow them  – hook, line and sinker.

With this space


Waverley/Guildford Council’s Partnership under more stress.

Guildford council leader has faced and survived a no-confidence vote.


Guildford Borough Council offices



Leader Julia McShane

Guildford Borough Council’s leader faced a no-confidence vote recently when Conservative members called for her “immediate resignation”.

Waverley & Guildford Councils work collaboratively, and Waverley’s Chief Executive, Tom Horwood, is currently the CEO of both authorities. He recently resigned and leaves in February. 

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

As Guildford Borough Council freezes recruitment…

Was it the same Conservative members that created the fine mess that the authority found itself in when the Lib Dems took over?

The motion claimed Liberal Democrat Julia McShane was “deeply associated” with the “debacles” in the authority’s housing department.

The council narrowly avoided issuing a section 114 notice recently, declaring itself bankrupt, although a review of its finances uncovered more issues.

Guildford’s council leader has survived the no-confidence vote brought by councillors who claimed she was also “deeply associated” with “almost certainly the worst [financial scandals in the history of Guildford Borough Council”.

Other councillors defended the leader, claiming there was “an underlying tone of arrogance” to the motion to oust her.

Cllr Julia McShane, who was re-elected as the council’s leader following the Lib Dems election victory in May, first became leader in October 2022 under the previous coalition administration.

The Westborough councillor’s leadership was called into question by Conservative councillors, who claimed she had “presided over two major financial scandals”.

Cllr Philip Brooker (Conservative, Worplesdon) pointed to accounting errors at the council and an overspend in the housing department.

He told the meeting: “These are almost certainly the worst financial scandals in the history of Guildford Borough Council. It has been reported that since 2021, millions have been spent over budget. Neither the contract management, financial officers, nor the portfolio holder in charge, who was, and still is, the current leader even noticed. Absolutely staggering.

“But not only has the leader been practically silent about these major scandals, she has been virtually silent about almost everything.

“I was elected to this chamber five months ago, and I’ve yet to hear her make a major statement or even outline her vision and priorities.”

But other councillors defended the leader from her party and others.

Labour’s group leader,  James Walsh (Bellfields & Slyfield), said he did not like the “tone and tenor” of comments in the motion.

His group voted against the no-confidence motion, and Cllr Walsh said: “Our priority beyond individual party affiliations should be to use our collective skills, knowledge and experience to help get this council back on track.

“If we fail, and we fail because we’re too busy playing politics, then our residents will not forgive us, and rightfully so.”

The Guildford Greenbelt Group abstained, with 24 councillors voting against it and 15 voting in favour.

The council’s deputy leader, Cllr Tom Hunt (Lib Dem, St Nicolas), defended the leader. He also said there was “an underlying tone of arrogance” to the motion, reminding the meeting only five months previously that Cllr McShane had been re-elected as leader.

He said: “Since then, as we all know, the council has had to deal with several challenges.

“Cllr McShane is not the architect of these challenges but instead is leading the council in dealing with them.

“Hold her to account on how she, and by extension this administration, deals with the challenges, not on the fact that issues have arisen.”

She was described by Lib Dem colleagues as “honest, real and true”, as someone who “doesn’t throw her toys out the pram” and “their best asset”.

But councillors from the Residents for Guildford and Villages Party (R4GV), who shared the council’s leadership with the Lib Dems between 2019 and May’s local elections, supported the motion.

The former leader, Cllr Joss Bigmore (R4GV, Merrow), said the Executive needed “to do something radical to reset this administration”.

He called for councillors from other parties to be invited to join the council’s Executive Committee, saying councillors would “re-engage with any administration if they were convinced it would be an honest, two-way relationship”.

Although he said it was a “stretch” to blame Cllr McShane or any individual or administration for the issues the council was facing, he highlighted “worrying trends” in the administration of “insecurity, paranoia, and secrecy”.

Cllr Bigmore said: “No confidence votes are invariably seen as personal.

“Whilst the leader bears ultimate accountability, leadership is a team effort.

“Rather than singling out Cllr McShane, this vote should be seen in that context.”

He and other members of the R4GV group supported the motion.

 Cllr McShane thanked councillors and those who had contacted her to offer support.

She added that the Lib Dem councillors had been given a “clear mandate” in May’s elections to get the council’s finances in order and make the borough “a fairer, greener and thriving place to live and work for all our communities”.

Cllr McShane added: “We are delivering on that mandate and, although we will always listen to constructive criticism, we will not allow ourselves to be distracted from our determined focus on prioritising what is right for the residents whom the council exists to serve.”


Has one wannabe Waverley developer given up?

After years of behind-the-scenes talks with Waverley Planners, Alfold’s Wildwood Golf Course owners have cut and run.

After years of trashing the golf course, its environment and the wildlife, flora and fauna that once flourished on the Surrey/Sussex border in Alfold, the owners – Pekers – have put the place up for sale. Presumably, its plans for an Eco-Retirement Village went into a bunker.

This is what it looked like when Phill & Louise Harrison ran the club for the previous owner,  Edmund O’Reilly Hyland. When the Wildwood Golf & Country Club was something of which Alfold was proud. It held golf tournaments, attracting top professional golfers, had fundraising events, and its Christmas and New Year events were legendary. 

A new era for Wildwood.

The latest twist in the fate of the beleaguered club is a far cry from this headline… on the WW.

Wildwood Golf Club is set to become one of the principal golfing destinations in England.

A group of  “high net worth individuals” is putting its weight behind the club to build a multi-million-pound Hotel, improved golf course, 39 golf lodges and more.

The development plans for Wildwood Golf & Country Club came only days after plans for 1,800 homes in nearby Dunsfold Airfield were announced.

Now, Dunsfold and Wildwood have yet to be developed! 

What’s going on in Alfold’s Wild ‘West’ wood?

Could a new village be coming to Alfold sooner than villagers think?

Things have gone very quiet in recent months except for a variety of security people, but now the golf course, with consent for a hotel and Spa, is being visited by prospective purchasers.  

The former prestigious clubhouse that staged numerous golf tournaments and a healthy membership is now a shadow of its former self. Former members told the Waverley Web they doubt the course designed by Ronan Rafferty could ever be played on again – without massive investment. The scene below has been repeated across the site. The present owners planned to create a new village within a good drive from two nearby developments, at Alfold Garden Centre and land adjacent to the Alfold Petrol Station.

Wildlife? What wildlife? 

Now, the clubhouse is being smartened up, presumably to attract buyers. 

Here’s the advert in a recent edition of Golf News.





Controversy over Haslemere’s Edge Leisure Centre rumbles on.


‘ Your Waverley’ is doing everything in its power to work with the owners of the Haslemere sports venue to ensure it continues.

Following the delivery of a petition of 2,600 signatures to a recent council meeting to “Protect Th Edge Leisure Centre in Haslemere’ its Overview & Scrutiny committee had the opportunity to hear a plea to keep it open.

Residents, clubs and disabled users have bombarded Waverley councillors with letters, telephone calls and e-mails objecting to its sudden closure.

 Waverley Council has terminated the leisure centre lease and passed it to the owners of the building, Surrey Council. Surrey has confirmed the building will continue to be used by the Woolmer Hill School school but will be unavailable for community use after the end of June.

Whilst discussions about re-opening for community use at a later stage are ongoing between the two authorities, there is no certainty that these will come to a positive conclusion.

Officers told the committee that local news has revealed the strength of concerns about the future, and residents believe if enough people sign this petition, the council will have to act to protect this vital service. 

The Overview and Scrutiny Committee considered the representation in the video below from the petitioner. 


Resident Mr Grimes is speaking on behalf of Sports Haslemere and other users of The Edge.

Here’s a clip of how hard officers are working to ensure The Edge has a future.


Based on the evidence given, it made a recommendation to the Executive, who will then decide on the petition.



Has Red Court’s developer devised yet another cunning plan?


Will Haslemere’s Red Court developers attempt to dupe ‘Your Waverley’ Planners in a few weeks? A plan so cunning Baldrick would be proud of them.

Change of land use for community allotments and orchards, with access off Scotland Lane, car and cycle parking spaces and associated landscaping. LAND BETWEEN THE LODGE AND 15 SCOTLAND LANE SCOTLAND LANE HASLEMERE

Red Court developers raise their ugly heads… again!

Is this another little wheeze? The same developer of Red Court is trying to get a change of use (doc attached) on another bit of the Red Court estate-
Because enough is never enough.
With planning consent for 50 homes in the bag and an appeal pending for another 111 – it makes sense to develop another piece of the Red Court Estate estate so that, in time, that too can become part of the development.
Redwood Limited is now applying for allotments with a new access road, associated parking, services, etc. No doubt, if they can get others to dig for a few years, it will help break the ground in readiness for when the developer sends in its JCBs.  Kerching!
All allotments in Haslemere are owned and run by the town council. Still, these allotments will be owned by the developer… It seems to us cynical souls here at the Waverley Web that this could be a trojan horse for a few more executive homes on what should be protected land once a change of use for allotments is granted.
The land lies on the driveway down to the Grade 2 listed Red Court House and opposite the Grade 2 listed Red Court Lodge, which is totally unsuitable for allotments. From what we can tell on Waverley’s Planning Portal, the immediate neighbours haven’t objected. Have they signed away their right to object?’ if so, they must be shocked to see what’s happening on their doorstep.
Another cunning plan in the making? 

Red Court developers raise their ugly heads… again!

If you live in Waverley and care about Haslemere, then now is the time to stand up and be counted on to stop its further destruction.

Come on, Waverley residents – get behind the people of Haslemere. Tell the Government to keep its hands off our precious protected countryside. Tell it to force the owners of the largest brownfield site in the borough with consent to build thousands of homes on Dunsfold Airfield to get on with the job or hand it over to someone who can.

Here’s what one Haslemere  resident said:
As residents face yet another battle to protect Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty land from development at a time of a climate change crisis and biodiversity collapse, it seems almost dystopian that just over the hills, the vast brownfield site of Dunsfold Aerodrome still sits vacant, as it has for over 20 years.   
Plans for a new garden town development of over 2500 homes at Dunsfold were blocked repeatedly by our MPs Jeremy Hunt and former MP Anne Milton, leaving Waverley’s towns, villages and countryside exposed to any developer with the funds to buy up countryside and ‘have a go’ at getting planning permission through repeated appeals. 
The Waverley Web believe that preserving our countryside is in the public interest. Therefore, another Planning Inspector must hear the public’s voice loud and clear! It’s time to shout from the Surrey Hilltops that enough is enough!  Tell the Government servant at the forthcoming appeal that he must keep his sticky mitts off our precious countryside.


Property developer Redwood SW Ltd has under its belt a successful appeal to build 50 homes on the site. But like so many other developers, e.g. Thakeham Homes, has cashed in and flogged off the site.   Elivia Homes rocks up to build Phase 2, 111 or more new homes with a bung to the locals for a new Scouts HQ.  

Waverley’s planners rejected this under their delegated powers as a definite NO! But since when has a Government Inspector listened to where our planning experts believe is the right place to build?

The unique setting in the spectacular Surrey Hills attracted many to live there. One resident was so passionate about the countryside he co-founded the National Trust in 1895. Robert Hunter’s mission was to protect the special landscape for future generations.

WW wonders if the sound we can hear is Robert spinning in his grave.

For forty years, the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty has shared Hunter’s vision; Haslemere’s AONB is a legally designated exceptional landscape. Its distinctive character and natural beauty are precious enough to be safeguarded in the national interest against large-scale development.

So isn’t it shocking that the AONB land at the Red Court estate between Scotland Lane and Midhurst Road is now under threat of complete destruction by developers who want to build over 111 new homes, claiming this major building project is in the ‘public interest’ (and so should be permitted despite AONB status)? 

A bid that would irreversibly damage the character of what should be a protected landscape.  As part of the proposal, much of the avenue of mature trees on the Midhurst Road approach to Haslemere, pictured below, will be felled to create a new junction and access to the housing estate, forever changing the character of southern Haslemere.  

Most readers could be excused for being unaware of the imminent threat because Waverley’s eastern villages are fighting battles for their backyards. 

The developer has appealed against Waverley’s rejection of “outline” planning permission that was submitted alongside actual planning permission for an initial two buildings and a new access road (also rejected).  Even though no plans or details for the “outline” plan for 111 dwellings were available or open to proper public scrutiny at the first stage, if the developer is successful in appealing to the Planning Inspector and “outline” planning permission is granted, it signals the destruction of AONB is guaranteed, and the principle of development there granted.

If the residents of Haslemere and beyond don’t want to see the character of the protected landscape and biodiverse of their treasured countryside destroyed. they must make their views known URGENTLY!  The window for sending comments to the Planning Inspector closes This Friday, 13th October, at https://acp.planninginspectorate.gov.uk, case reference number 3327643. More information at Haslemere South Residents Association www.haslemeresouth.com

Preservation of our countryside is in the public interest – and therefore, all the more critical that the public’s voice be heard loud and clear by the Planning Inspector!


Redwood shows Haslemere residents how to destroy an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in three easy lessons.

Here are some photos- the site/Midhurst Road tree-lined avenue on sunken lane approach into Haslemere, which will be largely felled for new road junction and access/ aerial shot of site- taken before developer successfully appealed WBC rejection and is currently building 50 homes- mass tree removal has already occurred at the site. 


Oh dear! What can the matter be in Cranleigh Part 2?

Here at the Waverley Web, we feel compelled to let our readers expose their true feelings about the towns and villages where they live.

Here’s another comment.

Here’s what Bunty said

Sometime yesterday, social media reported an elderly lady being punched in Sainsbury’s whilst trying to stop a shoplifter, a 4×4 speeding onto the High Street and nearly causing a collision, graffiti appearing on the Village Hall and a police officer walking down the High Street. The latter is the only event that caused surprise to villagers as it is a ‘one in a blue moon’ occurrence.

This is how some want to see the High Street in the future.

Recently, we wrote a post on the gang warfare occurring in the town that was once so proud of being England’s largest village.  Our stat counter went off the scale as readers from all over the borough read it and commented.

Gang warfare hits the streets of Cranleigh.

Here’s one resident’s jaded view of the once lovely village of Cranleigh which has grown into Cranleigh New Town. A place that Chamber of Trade honcho Martin ‘The Cranleigh Chat Controller’ Bamford wants to see more and more housing development and more footfall hitting its streets.

Here’s what long-time resident and businessman Noel Boyd thinks about the state of Cranleigh today.

“Despite the ferocious rate of housing development, Cranleigh High Street is a sad and forlorn site. Yes, the Medical Centre is under immense pressure as the new residents sign up.

In contrast, the High Street is tired, tatty and shop owners are not maintaining their shop fronts with rotten wood fascias. Retail theft is at a record high, now deemed normal and factored into the retail prices in the Supermarkets. Manns is an eyesore, and many shops on the same side have closed.

How many Nail shops and Turkish Barbers can one village support? It looked and felt like a village in 1990, and the High Street is now a highway from hell for construction vehicles and earth-moving trucks.

After 32 years, maybe it is indeed time to move before Dunsfold Housing completely ruins Cranleigh.

The Cranleigh Hotel can remain just that, and the Village can be renamed Cranley.”



Waverley officer defends our existing Local Plan.

Recently, Farnham Councillor Carole Cockburn waded in during a Waverley meeting to make claims about the updating of the Local Plan. Claims that have been disputed repeatedly by others.

But this time, she was slapped down by a council planning officer, determined to set the record straight. The eagle eye of Clr Liz Townsend, the council’s Portfolio Holder for Planning, was watching the proceedings.

Chairing the meeting of the Overview & Scrutiny Committee, Cllr Cockburn repeated claims she had made many times that others believe do damage to Waverley’s existing crucial Local Plan Part 1 and are music to the ears of wannabe developers.

She has been arguing for months that Waverley’s blueprint for planning, which is now five years old and has to be updated, only needs a light touch and shouldn’t be re-written. This is despite advice from Government agencies and Barristers to the contrary.

Waverley Planning Officer Andrew Longley was updating members when he outlined progress on the scope of the Plan, consultations that would and are being held with stakeholders – and the “ambitious timescale” for producing the new document. The Full Council received the report yesterday October 3rd.

There would also be a full members’ briefing when key decisions must be made. Once a Draft LP1 was produced, scrutiny by members would follow, and parish and town councils consulted, followed by public consultation. 

However, Cllr Cockburn was “not happy!” There would be huge consequences for the borough’s Neighbourhood Planning Groups, effectively forcing them to throw out existing Neighbourhood Plans and find new sites.

She told the meeting she was attending yet another Farnham Planning Appeal on October 12th, following two recent successful appeals. The council would have to defend the same old arguments.

“We have no five-year housing supply. We have no up-to-date housing figures no up-to-date documents, and everything will go forward on the tilted balance very difficult to defend. We have the rug completely pulled from under us.”

She said she objected to adding another 11  years to the existing Plan.

This takes the Local Plan to 2043; at that rate, Neighbourhood planning groups like Farnham’s will have to find sites for thousands, and I mean absolutely thousands of homes if they don’t, then Waverley Council will have to find them.

How quickly can you complete this and inform the neighbourhood plan teams what they need?

Here’s the response from Planning Officer Andrew Longley, which puts the record straight when he tells the chairman.

“You are completely wrong.”

The government’s new National Planning Policy Framework, which provides councils with the information on which to base their Local Plans, was due to have been published in April 2023. Authorities all over the country are still waiting!

The new Local Plan will:

  1. Be a borough-wide Local for the period 2023-43 (15 years from adoption).
  2. Incorporate strategic and non-strategic matters (combining elements of LPP1 & LPP2).
  3. Build on existing plans and evidence (keep new evidence focused and proportionate.)
  4. Start with a refreshed vision & objectives and test reasonable alternatives to deliver this (focus on the spatial strategy and, where possible, leave recently adopted Development Management policies alone if they are robust).
  5. Exclude Design Codes, which will be prepared in parallel as a Supplementary Plan or Supplementary Planning Document (depending on whether the planning reforms are implemented.  Make the necessary strategic and non-strategic site allocations (unless the former can be adequately dealt with in Neighbourhood Plans and/or Supplementary Plans)
  6. Be succinct and visual in line with the Government’s proposed reforms, including greater use of digital technology & engagement.


  1. Consult on scope, vision & objectives – autumn 2023.
  2. Identification & assessment of spatial options – summer 2024.
  3. Consult on preferred options plan – summer 2025.
  4. Publish submission plan for consultation – spring 2026.
  5. Submit Plan for examination – Autumn 2026
  6. Adopt plan with main modifications – winter 2027.



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 Cranleigh 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)