You may be aware that the first major responsibility of WBC’s new Head of Planning (Elizabeth Sims) and the new Council-Leader-Elect-In Waiting (Julia Potts) was their delegated decision to issue a negative EIA Screening Opinion to Crest last Tuesday. This enables CNS/WBC to circumvent the requirement to first provide a workable dedicated Construction Access for Brightwells so they can ‘bring forward’ the extensive Sewer Diversion, drainage and archaeological investigation works. CNS estimate 1,200 HGV movements.
In response to the elevated ladies’ misbehaviour, a Screening Direction Request was submitted to the Secretary of State on Thursday by Farnham resident Jerry Hyman.
Hence there are some exciting new acronyms for WW followers to live with : SO (Screening Opinion), SD (Screening Direction), SOR (SO Request) SDR (SD Request), NPCU (National Planning Casework Unit) and SofS (Secretary of State).
Don’t be put off by the complexity of this issue – this has serious consequences for Farnham’s future! In fact, if the council can cheat in Farnham – it can cheat in any of the other towns and villages!
- A Screening Request must answer the question, “Is the Project EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) development ?”.
- A Council must issue a SO within 21 days (unless otherwise agreed).
- A Negative Opinion means ‘it’s not EIA development’, an Positive Opinion means it is.
- If a developer disagrees with a Council’s positive SO then it can request a SD from the SofS, who must give his Direction within 21 days (unless otherwise agreed).
- A third party can submit a SDR to the SofS, but the SofS is not legally bound to issue a Direction.
- The SofS is the ‘National Authority’, and so a SD from the SofS is determinative, i.e. it trumps a Council’s Opinion.
The Royal Deer Charade – a U-Turn for Farnham’s Traffic ?
At the end of last Thursday’s Town Council Annual Electors’ Meeting at the Bush Hotel, the Mayor Cllr Pat Frost kindly ended eight years of WBC denials about Crest’s impractical new road system.
In response to a question from Mr Hyman’s father who pressed for a demonstration of the Crest Nicholson /Surrey County Council’s fantasy ‘Paramics’ computer modelling of the Royal Deer junction, Mrs Frost surprised us by admitting that “There has been Paramics modelling done, but not of that junction”.
Well there you are then – eight years to finally tell the truth, better late than never we suppose!
As long-time Chairman of both the SCC/WBC Local (Transportation) Committee and the Farnham Traffic Task Group, Cllr Frost’s belated admission stands as firm confirmation that Crest’s 2008 Transport Assessment (TA) and Environmental Statement (ES) do not assess the likely consequences of CNS’ changes to the road network As the 2nd East Street Portfolio Holder Cllr Chris Mansell told us eleven years ago, it’s “hopeless” – they can’t model it because the system gridlocks.
The Mayor’s admission also confirms that every East Street consent has been granted unlawfully, i.e. without a complete ES.
CNS’ fraudulent assessments allowed WBC to grant consents by falsely concluding that their plans to deliberately gridlock the town would have a “negligible impact”. The S106 Agreement calls it “traffic reduction measures”. The plan is to force shoppers to either ‘Park & Stride’ or go elsewhere.
We must not allow WBC/CNS to commence any more works without having ever assessed the impacts on traffic, air quality and the local economy. We can expect WBC to try to again revert to lies and denial to sweep this under the carpet, so please be prepared to help make a sustained fuss about it.
The Waverley Leadership’s tangled web has created a situation where not only the East Street Scheme, but also the Woolmead redevelopment, the Hopfields scheme, the Air Quality Action Plan, the draft Neighbourhood Plan and WBC’s draft Local Plan are all based upon a shameful pretence which Waverley, Surrey Highways and Crest have conspired to maintain since 2005.