Why won’t anyone listen to this brilliant man?

Whilst controversy rages in our  historic town of Farnham one man’s words ring out above  the cacophony of views of how Farnham’s Brightwells/East Street redevelopment should be conducted. That of the world renowned architect and Farnham resident Michael Blower.

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Recently former Waverley Chief Planning Officer Matthew Evans threw in his two pennyworth of advice, well he would wouldn’t he. Before clearing off over the border into Hampshire, he presided over much of the mess “Your Waverley” is now in.

With the prospect of a Judicial Review hanging over the heads of those arrogant Waverley councillors who have even ignored the views of their legal experts as to how risky this venture actually is,  with clashes between the borough and town council,   residents’ shouting at each other every week in the letters pages of the Farnham Herald?  Perhaps now it is time to sit back, make a cup of tea and listen to a man who has the expertise and the very real interests of Farnham and its character buried deep in his very soul.

Michael Blower the famous architect, former Waverley borough councillor and former Waverley Mayor, and an architect and public servant who is one of the most respected citizens Farnham  has ever had, has said the following:

 There is a Plan B – and its not too late to listen to his message Waverley Borough Council before it is too damned late and you wreck the historic character of Farnham and make it look like every other town in the country – forever.

Read Michael Blower’s complete letter from the Farnham Herald here: At least the Farnham Herald is listening to the man – and devoting the whole of this week’s front page. 

16.07.28 – There was an alternative plan copy

This is just a few paragraphs at the bottom of his letterScreen Shot 2016-07-29 at 21.56.08

 13668684_10154373850176613_854806818021085800_oRead tis article from the good old Farnham Herald which stands by what is right for the town of Farnham by clicking here:  13668684_10154373850176613_854806818021085800_o.jpeg

Now the gag is really on?

WAKE UP  TO THE TANGLED WEB THAT IS ‘YOUR WAVERLEY’ EVERYONE OR OUR BOROUGH IS LOST!

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This is the response WW received to our recent blog on “Your Waverley”s decision to stop informal questions at its meetings.

“Your Waverley” never lets us down … does it? It is just experiencing technical difficulties!

“I’m afraid this may be partly my fault.” Says Jerry Hyman (Farnham Residents Candidate, Farnham By-Elections – SCC South Farnham Division and WBC Castle Ward)

“But please also note that the changes to the WBC Constitution didn’t just remove the Informal Questions sessions, they also gave Officers greater powers to refuse Formal (written) Public Questions.

Oh – so it is even worse that we thought? WW

As you rightly point out, ‘Our Waverley’ could not control Informal Questions, and it proved quite embarrassing when they wouldn’t answer even the simplest of questions, so the webcast recordings of Exec & Council meetings weren’t commenced until after the Informal Session had ended.

Hence from early last year, Farnham stalwart David Wylde and I have been recording our Informal Questions using my old camcorder, by asking questions in pairs and videoing each other & the Leader’s evasive responses.
We’ve a bagful of footage to upload to YouTube ‘one day’, and some is quite funny. It seems the Leadership are somewhat averse to us zooming in on them when at their most vulnerable. Such intrusion simply can’t be allowed.

It should be borne in mind that most of the Public Questions we ask are the ones they can’t answer, because to do so (truthfully) would incite calls for resignations and P45s. So the real purpose of the ‘new improved system’ is to give the Council total control over what the public can ask.

Many of our Informal Questions were ones that Officers had refused to allow me to ask as Formal Questions. (NB- Formal Public Questions are printed in the Agenda papers, and the responses are Minuted in Full Council papers).
A few years ago they had reduced the time allowed for Questions from 4 minutes to 2 minutes, and also added a requirement that they be ‘substantially in the form of a question’.
That wasn’t just because I was using Questions to inform backbenchers of what was really going on. I rarely used the 4 minutes, it’s too tedious – apparently it was really done to spare them from Betty Ames’ lengthy statements !

Given Waverley’s penchant for evading and/or ‘accidentally misinterpreting’ questions, it’s rarely possible to compose one that makes sense and seeks a definite answer unless you start with a paragraph or two of background. Two minutes equates to roughly half a side of paper, and is usually enough for the background plus a relevant quotation and the ensuing question.
However, that still allows us to tell backbenchers ‘too much’, so we’ve had numerous questions arbitrarily refused due the pre-amble, even when they’re well within the 2 minutes allowed.
We learned to get past such censorship by occasionally composing them as one long sentence, using lots of punctuation and conjunctions (which got a bit silly, but made the point). Or if we didn’t need the answer in writing, we’d ask it Informally.
But no more.

The changes made to the Constitution give Officers even greater power to refuse questions. They now have total control over what questions can and cannot be asked by the public they supposedly serve.
(Silly me – we all know that ultimately they serve the Party Line).

Of course a good Council with honest Leadership (i.e with policies and projects which withstand scrutiny) would allow the public to ask whatever question we want – and moreover, they’d answer the question !

The “good news” is that Waverley say they will now give proper answers. Great ! They can start by answering the vital questions about Crest’s falsification of the East Street Transport Assessment and EIA, and about the legal and practical constraints which protect our borough – including the recently unveiled joke which they call the ‘Infrastructure Delivery Plan’ .
The ‘Third Local Plan’ now being consulted upon depends entirely upon those issues, and merely repeats the mistakes of the 2006 and 2013 failures.

If we wait until the EiP Hearings for answers, it would almost certainly delay the implementation of a proper Local Plan (and the much-needed protection that would afford to the whole of the borough).

The Leadership’s pretence that there are no constraints to development is not just disgraceful, it’s treachery.We need answers now?

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Thank you for your comments Mr Hyman and you have confirmed everything we have been saying since the Waverley Web was launched. Oh! what a tangled web they continue to weave, but the actions of this disgraceful, disreputable bunch are now out in the open – let the people of Waverley be the judge, speak now or democracy in this borough of Waverley is lost. WW

 

“Your Waverley” never lets us down … does it? It is just experiencing technical difficulties!

HEAR NO EVIL, SPEAK NO EVIL, VIDEO NO EVIL?

Your open, transparent, democratic Waverley Borough Council is at it again… are we surprised? No way !

When are the good residents of Waverley going to wake up to the antics of this arrogant, power drunk council?  Ah! it would seem they are! Read here: 16.07.29 – Complaints to council rise copy Complains up in the last quarter by 39%. Go on followers if you haven’t complained before – start complaining now!

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This is the message that  greets webcast watchers with monotonous regularity when they log onto the webcast to watch and listen to various council committee meetings. You can watch U Tube live webcasts of meetings all around the country and right around the world except in Syria, Zimbabwe, Russia; Brazil and of course North Korea.

Well, now much of the time we have something in common with these highly democratic countries, some of whom are now regular followers of the Waverley Web. No doubt they will laugh at this post! However, it makes us want to cry!

Now “Your Waverley” has upped the anti and is bringing in new rules to prevent Waverley residents from asking informal questions. Previously there was nothing to stop a resident turning up on the night to ask a question. In fact it provided  an element of surprise in the normal stage managed proceedings!

 Of course you were  often asked to give the content before you posed  your question,   if it was likely to be “controversial.” Perish the thought that anyone would want ask anything “controversial.” God forbid that anyone in Waverley would want to do “controversial”!

Well… now you cannot even do that, even though your informal question was never  webcast, just in case it happened to be “controversial” and it went viral.

Now “Your transparent, open government that is “Your  Waverley has decided you cannot ask an informal question at all, only a formal question giving them ample notice … guess why … so you can receive an answer. Well that’s a culture change if ever we heard one. Because most people’s questions are never answered, at least not to their satisfaction. As for complaints try making one of those and see how you get on – we dare you!

In fact most questioners are treated with an underlying grudging tolerance, and are then referred to as in the case of legitimate Farnham questioners as  “people with nothing better to do with their time.”  Well there’s a lot of us about!

However you can always ask them here because we have heard from several Waverley councillors and officers that the Waverley Web is their “guilty secret” and  essential reading. Though we are told they never use the council computer system is this site is blocked so they go home and do it!

As for you Councillor Jack Frost who, with just a stare  can  ice over the Wey, is surprised people want to come along and ask questions to which they do not receive a reply… don’t worry your little frizzy little grey head  Jack because nobody  expects you to give them a straight  answer you wouldn’t recognise a straight answer if it hit  you between the eyes! But perhaps you should take on board some of the comments your colleagues made about your council processes and image – read here:  https://waverleyweb.org/2016/04/29/times-they-are-a-changing-2

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Our little Cow post didn’t come off pat!

Mad cows and Englishmen…

One of our followers was not entirely happy with our post above and we can see her point of view, really we can. Honest.

It’s just that everyone seems to be missing our point. You see Waverley Borough Council has been instructed by the Government to build more homes – nobody actually knows whether almost 10,000 will even be enough – only an Inspector will determine  that?

It is our  view  that brown field sites should be developed first, before the countryside is sacrificed. If Dunsfold Park is not included in the Daft Local Plan – then all those fields around the villages may  soon be covered in concrete. Let’s do a “what if” scenario? If Dunsfold Park is ruled out, and all the other plans in the pipeline are agreed by the planners, and then the Government decides Dunsfold should go ahead what then?

We, and Bramley village gets the worst of both worlds. Even worse Horsham continues piling houses in there – and which roads will they use? Yes… you got it,  the A281, the A24 etc.

We are not blaming our follower  for caring about what you describe as, “your little patch.” Of course you should, we admire you for it, and the Waverley Web cares too – that is why be keep on blogging on. We too want to save the countryside not watch it systematically destroyed.

P.S Has anyone mentioned that in 16 months time Dunsfold airfield becomes one of the few unrestricted airfields in the country – and you have heard of London Gatwick; London Heathrow; there are councillors in Guildford who want it to become London Guildford!

 

This is what she said:

Oooooh Rather mean methinks!!

Rural Idyl??? Come and sit outside our gate on the A281 during the PM rush hour and see the flippin’ chaos at Alfold Crossways…

Be fair – You know that Alfold already has 55 New homes approved at Sweeters Copse, plus 10 on Dunsfold Road towards The Compasses and potentially another 10 at the Garden Centre to my Pea-brain that makes 75 New homes which according to the 2011 Census (horribly out of date – I know) is an increase of 16.7% and that is before the next batch come in at Wildwood (I don’t mean the New Golf Club and Hotel) and in the fields by Brockhurst Farm

I feel for Cranleigh and Farnham and as I have said, I have objected on numerous occasions – But please stop saying that all we care about here is our “Little Patch”

P.S. We didn’t know about any development at Brookhurst Farm, or at Wildwood Golf Club tell us more? WW

Is this THE REAL- Matthew Evans speaking?

You couldn’t not make it up … could you.  Surely not, it couldn’t possibly be … could it?

This recent letter in the Farnham Herald hasn’t been penned by the former Chief Planning Officer of Waverley Borough Councillor THE Matthew Evans? Surely not, after all he couldn’t wait to get out of Waverley Towers, could he? He bogged off down the road to Basingstoke and Deane council didn’t he? Washed his hands of the whole East Street Farnham redevelopment debacle didn’t he and resigned at a crucial stage of “Your Waverley’s”  Daft Local Plan?

Well in the first instance, if the letter below is from the former CPO – you were not in post when “Your Waverley” received its legal advice,i n secret, were you? So you don’t actually know that it was as robust as you claim. In fact the Waverley Web has extracts  of that legal advice and just might put them  into the public domain – where it should be!  

Though we are all delighted you are confident that the advice was  “robust” and “Our Waverley” would not be taking unnecessary risks with “Our money.”

So Mr Evans, you wouldn’t be  standing up for the council you could to wait to get out of  would you? Because it was YOU who was  instrumental in pushing through a host of  planning applications with recommendations to grant consent unlawfully. About 25 at the last count! No, of course not.

No you must be another Mr Evans who is just concerned about the town, and who was not hand-in-glove with developers, including all those with whom you personally held “secret meetings” and who have now  obtained planning permission for almost 1,000 houses in the East of the borough? No it could not possibly be you… could it?  And yes, you say another green field in Farnham could go if East Street doesn’t go ahead … so, why are YOU so worried? You have sat back and watched green fields go under concrete, for which you paved the way,  week in and week out in the East of Waverley!  

 In this letter in the Farnham Herald you criticise Farnham people for standing up for the law and for what they believe is the council’s systematic sell off of town assets. But, since when have YOU been concerned about wasting the public’s money? Under your leadership, The failure of the second  Daft Local Plan – defending a public inquiry on the largest brown field site in the borough? Waste, waste,  you are a past master at presiding over the waste of public money. Bet your new masters in Hampshire are delighted to see you waxing lyrical in an attempt to defend the indefensible.

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Town Mayor shock resignation as a Tory defects to Farnham Residents.

Farnham’s First Citizen, and Mayor of Farnham – John Ward – has thrown his hat into the ring for the Shortheath and Boundstone By-election and aims to return – “power to the people” by standing for the Farnham Residents Group. 

At the Town Council on Thursday Councillor Ward announced that he had resigned from the Conservative Party  and threw his lot in with the Residents Group.

The by-election was prompted by the resignation of Conservative Councillor David Munro, recently  appointed as Surrey’s Police and Crime Commissioner.

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Farnham Mayor John Ward and his Consort Gillian Ward

The former Waverley Borough Councillor was also  Surrey County Councillor for the South Farnham  Division  and his county seat is being contested by another Farnham Residents’ member, and constant thorn in the side of Waverley Council – Jerry Hyman and Mark Westcott (Independent). Mr Hyman is also standing for the Waverley seat. Needless to say the Tories will throw everything they have to keep him out!

Conservatives, fearful of losing the seats have brought in the troops from all over the borough leafleting homes three or four times! They have to stop one of their own defecting councillors from winning a seat that would strengthen the Opposition.

Could this perhaps be a sign that the wealth of adverse publicity that has surrounded the £100m redevelopment of the East Street/Brightwells area of the town, and the subsequent decision by local groups to seek a Judicial Review, might be concerning the Tory dominated Borough and County Councils. After all they are all in it together right up to their necks!

Is there any possible chance that times – they are a changing in our town – let’s hope so.

If The Mayor of Farnham wins the Waverley seat he would be  joining the following:  And the group could become a force to be reckoned. .Screen Shot 2016-07-26 at 19.44.50.png

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The Town Mayor chairs the Town’s Council meetings and represents the town at civic and ceremonial functions. During the mayoral year, the Mayor  attends around 300 engagements.He acts as an ambassador for Farnham, promoting and upholding the character of the town, supporting community groups and projects.The Town Mayor chooses a charity for which he/she wishes to raise funds during the mayoral year.  

Here’s the line up: for Shortheath and Boundstone.

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And here’s Farnham Castle Ward following the resignation of long standing Councillor Paddy Blagden.Screen Shot 2016-07-26 at 21.47.46.png

 

Ghost Busters?

JOB VACANCY: Ghost Buster wanted in Cranleigh

Be afraid! Be very afraid! According to the Surrey Advertiser the Elderly Crusader (AKA Kay Newham) has cranked open the lid of her coffin and been resurrected as a Cranleigh Parish  Councillor!

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By Courtesy of Facebook

Just when you thought it was safe to walk Cranleigh High Street, Marmite is on the march again.

We knew things were a tad desperate over there in Cranleigh with resignations raining down like confetti but we didn’t realise the Cemetery Committee was digging up the bodies as fast as the Ellises and the Stennetts were trying to bury them!

We heard at the Waverley Web from a follower that the former borough councillor had gone Down Under – not died of course – but gone to Australia  – because she is so embarrassed that Cranleigh still does not have the replacement  hospital that she fought so hard for!  Has she really returned to become a Cranleigh councillor? Answers on a postcard please to? mailto:contact@waverleyweb.org

Watch out Cranleigh: broomsticks at 11 o’clock! There could be trouble ahead?

You can read about it in the Surrey Advertiser here :

16.07.22 – Shouts of Shame

Will the last person leaving Waverley turn the light on?

Up to 33,000 street lights in Surrey may be switched off every night between midnight and 5am as a cost-cutting measure planned by Surrey County Council (SCC).

Perhaps if things are a bit tight and they want to save a few bob the County Council gumbies should think twice about investing £58m on a “risky” £100m venture with “Your Waverley?” Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 19.32.55.png

The five-hour switch-off could be introduced to quiet areas on October 1. It is intended to save as much as £240,000 this financial year.
Cllr Mark Brett-Warburton (Con, Guildford South-East) said: “There have been reductions to the grants SCC receives from the Government and therefore we are working as hard as possible to reduce the impact it has on increases in Council Tax.

That’s funny and there we were at the Waverley Web thinking that our council taxes had been increased .

“It isn’t street lighting in particular that is being targeted, but one of many areas across the whole spectrum of services being reviewed to ensure budgets are used as effectively as possible.

That’s alright then spending £58m on the Brightwells/East Street development in Farnham, even though legal experts warned them they could be entering a “very risky venture” with their Waverley friends.

“However, the technology in SCC’s street lights means we have the ability to set different lighting patterns, and so because of this, it has been included as an area for exploration.”

The measure, which is being considered due to ever-increasing demand for council services and a simultaneous reduction in government funding, has given rise to concerns over possible effects on motorist and pedestrian safety in and around Guildford.

Maybe someone at Gumby Towers on the Planet Zonk might consider that dumping the county in the dark, might… just might cost other authorities more money, than they will save? The emergency services picking up the young, the old, and the motorists from ditches?

Cllr Pauline Searle (Lib Dem, Guildford North) said that, while she understood that the council’s budget was under increasing pressure from limited government funds and an ageing population, she was concerned about the impact such a measure would have on early morning commuters.

What about all those poor devils who work during the night. All those nurses, doctors, paramedics, firemen, police officers, shop workers, etc…

“We know many people work night shifts and have early morning starts,” she said. “These residents will be travelling when the lights are off and could be very vulnerable.”

Cllr Searle also suggested that the switch-offs might have implications for Guildford’s night-time revellers: “Guildford has a very lively night-time economy, and though the town centre will not be affected, once [people] travel out of Guildford to go home it could be in an area with no lighting.”

Guildford resident George Proudman said he was concerned for the safety of pedestrians travelling in the dark.

“It probably would increase danger to pedestrians,” he said, “if they’re, say, coming home from nights out or coming back late from work.

“In general I’m against it, but if there are actually valid savings that could be put towards something else that’s as important, then maybe it’s worth it. I’m not passionate about streetlights, but they’re something I’d rather have.

“Ultimately the council needs to decide whether the money that they’ll save outweighs the dangers of turning off street lights.”

Helen Naisby, who lives on one of the quieter streets in Guildford, which might possibly be targeted by such a measure, believed that switching off the street lights was a better alternative to cuts to other services, like Social Care.

“Sounds like a very good way to save money,” she said, “if you can save that much; but I would be concerned about safety if areas are thrown into darkness. It would have to be done in selected areas.

“I think [the measure] would impact me. Not that I’m driving hugely between the hours of twelve and five in the morning, mostly, but maybe [SCC] should think about people walking home on weekends.

“Maybe weekends they could leave them lit longer, factoring in that people go out on late night parties and might be more inclined to be coming home late.”

Roads throughout Surrey will be assessed by council officers over the coming months before the planned implementation of the “Part Night Lighting” in October. As a result, Cllr Brett-Warbuton said that it is not yet clear which roads in the Guildford borough will be affected but the impact on Guildford was likely to be low.

Cllr Searle concluded: “I would hope this will be a trial period, say of sixth months, to be assessed to see that there has been no adverse impact on residents’ safety or crime.”

 

 

Come on Farnham people. Dig deep for the future of our town. This is the Summer of our discontent.

 Donations continue to roll into the Fighting Fund for the Brightwells East Street Judicial Review.
A whopping £50,000 was given by an anonymous donor last week bringing the total to over £90,000 and growing.
Any day now the legal challenge that has long been the dream of residents opposed to the scheme dubbed by some as,  “The Big Farnham giveaway” could become a reality.
“Your Waverley” has long boasted of its financial expertise, and in some respects this is correct. We like to be fair.
However,  in recent years  this Tory dominated  council’s  financial accomplishments have been few, mainly s it is  without the benefit of the checks and balances provided by a strong opposition. But now it financial expertise has gone AWOL with the the East Street/Brightwells scheme to regenerate part of Farnham Town Centre. An area most agree is  in need of development, but not on the present scale of that  proposed by developer Crest Nicholson, who is laughing all the way to the bank!
Are Farnham people going to allow the town’s  “family silver” to be sacrificed on the developer’s alter – Brightwells Gardens left in Trust in 1922 for the people of Farnham for pleasure and recreation; The Tennis Club; The Bowling Club; The Redgrave Theatre; and The Memorial Hall to name but a few. Waverley Borough Council is systematically selling off one asset at a time until there will be nothing left too sell!
Now “Your Waverley” intends to put the Farnham Pump House  up for sale, the building that once housed Waverley training services – and where will it operate from in future?
Why the Memorial Hall no -less, the very same hall that will be housing The Gostrey  old people’s centre, Uncle Tom Cobley and all!  Soon to be renamed “the Waverley Memorial Dumping Ground.”
Is it any wonder then that those residents labelled by councillors as, a bunch of nuisances, and a group of  people with too much time on their hands,  wait with baited breath to hear whether they will be given leave to embark upon a David & Goliath type fight with Waverley Borough Council in a Judicial Review.
So Farnham people dig deep into your pockets and Let Battle Begin...
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Fighting in Farnham

Mad cows and Englishmen…

GO OUT IN THE MIDDAY SUN?

Is that dreadful disease on the march again in Surrey?

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Rumour has it that the rather anaemic looking cow adopted by the POW
CAMPAIGNERS – Protect Our Waverley – for the uninitiated, – that is
usually to be seen in the garden of a converted forge (?) you know, the
one in Hascombe where the planners allowed the daughter of a local family to live near her parents even though it was judged at the time to have been contrary to
planning policy – we digress – well, it was to be found outside
“Your Waverley’s” offices a few days back when members of said POW (aka) Stop Dunsfold Park New Town converged on the council offices with its
papier mache model just as the odd bods that are WBC councillors debated
the fate of the borough’s Third Daft Local Plan!

Now …

WW would not wish to be accuused of being  a meaney

OR

Of not having a sense of humour

Perish the thought! We love a good joke/laugh/cartoon/comment etc… BUT 

Plagiarising the Cow Parade which was instigated to raise money for deserving local charities is not the way for  POW to gain friends and influence people… is it?

It was obviously hoping to milk local sympathies for the residents of Alfold and Dunsfold who object to their rural idyl being desecrated by the Big Bad Developers who own Waverley’s largest brownfield site and want to build on it – shock- horror – affordable homes there. How dare they? After all there are plenty of green fields in the surrounding towns and villages of Cranleigh and over here in Farnham. Why not build them there and leave the sacred cow brown field former airfield well alone?

Who was it that said  only Mad Cows and Englishmen go out in the midday sun?