Just in case you forget what a green field looks like….

Feast your eyes on this… commit it to memory… and then dream it will become reality in another life!

Because… “Your Waverley” has just this minute Passed its Local Plan in readiness for its examination by a Government Inspector!

Some of “Your Waverley” Councillors wanted to weep – some said they “had already wept” over the “unsuitable, unimaginative and “heartbreaking” developments already approved on green fields that would bring traffic chaos and damage to the towns and villages in the borough – mainly in the East.

Why?

Because its Local Plan was not in place and developers had been in control of “Your Waverley.”

Five councillors abstained from voting – and one lone voice was against – that of Farnham   Residents’ Jerry Hyman. But the remaining 40 councillors – despite their reservations – voted for the Local Plan to proceed. Because Developers had it their way long enough – and it was time for “Your Waverley” to take control!

All the Cranleigh councillors who instigated the secret meetings with developers voted for the Plan, one of whom said  “Cranleigh had been dumped on” and  not having a Plan in place had been an unmitigated disaster for the village. Hypocrisy or what? 

Councillor Mary Foryszewski said no-one could “loathe” the loss of the countryside around Cranleigh and elsewhere in the borough more than she! (765 houses granted – 500 in the pipeline) and with minimal infrastructure mitigation on the minor B roads as well as flooding and sewage issues.

But… she said the brownfield site at Dunsfold Park was contributing many millions of pounds  – (she said,  £8m – WW believes it to be over £20m ) – towards road improvements, schools and infrastructure – and was supported by 80% of the borough’s residents.

Some Farnham residents are not giving up the fight to include vital “green lungs” in Part 2 of the Plan which will examine the Green Belt.

 

Screen Shot 2016-04-14 at 21.09.38.pngThis is how it looks now..

 

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Coming soon to a green field near you? 

Not that anyone is actually interested in what we at the Waverley Web think about tonight’s decision, but we will say it anyway…

Everything that Farnham dreaded … that the traffic chaos will increase,  air quality would worsen  and  endangered species risked  … was only matched by those living in the East of the borough  dubbed by councillors – Cranleigh New Town and “Poor Old Cranleigh.” Why?

Because once all residents  feared was a new settlement at Dunsfold Park – now it would appear they will get the worst of both worlds. Two towns when if they had accepted the largest brownfield site in Waverley – they might have just had  one!

 

Kamikaze Bridge in Cranleigh?

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And now the planners at “Your Waverley” want to allow another three  hundred plus  houses in the Elmbridge area of Cranleigh which will generate another thousand cars most of which will travel down through Elmbridge road to reach the A281 junction at Nanhurst.  Or maybe they will have the good sense to travel through Shamley Green and Wonersh?

Oh… and by the way – the road also boasts the bridge over Cranleigh Waters as well as this one-way dangerous bridge over the Wey and Arun Canal.

Happy Days?

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You can always live in hope –  “Help Elmbridge Road.”  Keep Fighting!

Now what are Cranleigh”s dynamic duo up to?

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What was item 11 in the CONFIDENTIAL section of the Eastern Planning Committee in which the Councillors’ Stennett declared  they had a financial interest?

Seems to be happening rather a lot lately? But of course we  couldn’t possibly comment.

Perhaps someone should submit a Freedom of Information request to “Your Waverley?”

O.M.G – WE NEED TO WEE!

Pangbourne in Royal Berkshire to-day – now… Farncombe in wealthy Waverley! 

Screen Shot 2016-11-25 at 23.19.04.pngWho says ‘”Your Waverley” doesn’t listen to public protest – just recently it got to the bottom of a problem that has been upsetting the “locals” in Farncombe  for some months – the loss of their public lavatories.

Our Godalming and Farncombe followers have been in touch with us here at the Waverley Web in a bid to ensure the three month trial  reprieve for their disabled loo- ensures the long-term future of all its lavatories.

Churchill said “A Nation that forgets its past has no future.”

The Waverley Web maintains that “A borough that fails to relieve its residents at times of need – has no future.”

Sadly despite a widely supported petition from the locals the Farncombe gents/ladies remains CLOSED. But the disabled loo has been given a three-month reprieve  to demonstrate  how often it is used.

So we urge all our readers to travel to Farncombe  from the furthest  corners of the borough to go to the aid of Farncombe people. Use the public loo – because “Your Waverley” is watching you.  We don’t think they have put CCTV cameras in there yet – so feel free to flush away  your heart’s content. But remember, use lots of paper, wash your hands to ensure everyone at “Your Waverley” knows you’ve been!!

Otherwise the poor souls of Farncombe and its visitors, could  be caught short for ever more.

Now Surrey County Council is turning out the street lights from midnight until 5.a.m. guess where everyone will relieve themselves?

Some toilets have been reinvented by local authorities as trendy bars, restaurants, even nightclubs. In some towns architects have kept the original mosaic floor and tiled walls and turned the old urinals into tables and intimate alcoves – and they are now flushed with their success.

 

In out, in out… and shake it all about?

Play this while you are reading it will set the mood:

A  controversial scheme to build 265 homes many of which developers claim will be  … “affordable”  was refused by Waverley Planners in April.

The Knowle Park Initiative’s scheme Timeline.

  • 2014/ 2015 KPI invited to a series of “secret meetings” with some, Borough councillors.
  • 2015 KPI’s application submitted and a month later is withdrawn because the call in by – Brian Ellis was out of time. Planning officers were recommending refusal under their delegated powers.
  • A month later late (2015 ) KPI application re-submitted and called in (in time) by Councillor Brian Ellis.
  • April 2016 Application refused by Waverley’s Joint Planning committee.

Cranleigh Councillors Brian Ellis and Councillor Stewart Stennett declared a “pecuniary interest” just days later Councillor Ellis claims he only declared  “a prejudicial interest.”

  • September 2016 KPI application re-submitted in a different name A2 Dominion – but by the same outfit.
  • October 2016 KPI application withdrawn. (Invalid)
  • October 2016 Appeal lodged with the Planning Inspectorate. 
  • November 2016 – re-submitted and registered by the council.
  • No date for determination.

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  There was a bit of a stink in April when two Cranleigh councillors declared a “Pecuniary interest” and left the Joint Planning Committee meeting but sat outside waiting for their colleagues to grant the scheme recommended by officers for approval. Officers  were originally minded to refuse the application (without reference to councillors) under their delegated powers.

One of those councillors, now deceased , argued  he had never declared a “pecuniary interest” only  a prejudicial one  – because he had  called the scheme in .. twice…  and had been holding secret meetings with the developer for years! The others just lobbied  colleagues to support the scheme which was  scuppered on the night when “Annie Get your Gun” MP Anne Milton wrote to councillors outlining  her  concerns.

The West Cranleigh Nurseries (KPI) site in Alfold Road,  Cranleigh is notorious forScreen Shot 2016-10-24 at 10.27.25.png flooding  and the narrow road will also serve as the access for  approved schemes including :  The Berkeley Homes development (425 properties )  and Little Meadow,  another (75) There is also an application from Thakeham Homes in the “pipeline” for another 58 properties on a flood plain adjacent to the KPI site pictured here left  and a  decision on an appeal by Threadneedle Investments for 120 on the nearby Hewitts  Industrial Estate is expected shortly. 

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So.. here you have the Knowle Park Initiative guys waiting to wipe the smiles off the faces of Cranleigh Parish Council/The Cranleigh Society and villagers  who fear for Cranleigh’s future with another 265 houses dumped onto Elmbridge, and more to come! But now they claim  there is a material change in circumstances – WHY … because everyone elses schemes have been allowed so why not ours? So … Who Dares Wins? 

Whose blaming who for the HGV’s thundering through Bramley?

Happy Thanks Giving to one and all in the Waverley Borough and a spot of good news and cheer on this festive eve.

Those living on or contending with the A281 on a daily business – where, according to Richard All-At-Sea (AKA Seabourne), all the HGVs that traverse the Horsham to Guildford road are either coming from or going to Dunsfold Park, Dunsfold Park, Dunsfold Park and, oh yes, Dunsfold Park – should rejoice that they don’t face the traffic jams shown in the attached link
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-38083341 which shows ariel footage of the great Thanks Giving Get Away in California.

To listen to PoW, the Bramley Babes, Bypass Byham and All-At-Seabourne you’d think this was ariel footage of the A281 on a daily basis!

So … LET’S ALL BLAME …..you know who…. ?

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Just off to Dunsfold Aerodrome Maurice to play the blame game!

DUNSFOLD PARK WHO ELSE?

But… before you do…

Fact File: There are currently 700 HGV lorries per day, yes per day,  – thundering up and down the A281 Horsham to Guildford Road… going to and from just one site!

Thanks to the good offices of  Bramley’s By- Pass Byham the infilling one of Europe’s most polluted sites at Cranleigh Brick and Tile off Wildwood and Knowle Lanes – was permission granted by Waverley Planners for 19 houses.

And the parish council there trousered a big fat cheque for nodding the HGV’s through its village centre for the next five plus years!

Read all about it here:http://www.cranleighsociety.org/2015/06/19/cranleigh-brick-and-tile-works-knowle-lane/

But here’s a taster if time is short.

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Still convinced all the HGV’s are coming from Dunsfold?

And… the parish council there trousered a big fat cheque for nodding the HGV’s through its village centre for the next five plus years!

Bunch of bloody hypocrites!

The Final Countdown – Is it full steam ahead for Waverley’s Local Plan?

Good old Waverley councillors – those you entrusted with  your vote  so they could speak on your behalf? Well…

most of them were nowhere to be seen, or heard  when “Your Waverley’s” Community Overview & Scrutiny committee sat to “scrutinise” the last knockings of the  Local Plan before it is examined  by a Government Inspector.

“Couldn’t tear yourself away from “I’m a Celebrity Get me Out of Here” or the football to debate a vital document that  dictates  the borough’s future development?”

But worry not! Councillors: Tom Martin; Stephen Hill;  David Hunter; Simon Thornton; Denise Le Gal (too busy cooking up property deals?) Peter Martin; Sam Pritchard; Ross Welland; Liz Wheatley; Pat Frost; Bob Upton et al! Because at least some of your mates don’t view the electorate as mere “voting fodder so they  turned out to represent us!

Enough of our grumbling:

Thankfully – planning experts  were out in force-led by Chief  Officer “Liz The Biz “Sims who said the Plan had been – “years in the making – and there had been “robust” consultation with everyone – the public, stakeholders etc” She warned it was “critical” that  the tight timetable set by Government for early 2017 was kept, and tonight, (Monday’s meeting ) was an important part of the final process . “We are confident we can submit the plan to meet the deadline and stressed the very  real difficulties experienced by the council of not having an adopted  Local Plan or a five-year land supply.”

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If you don’t get the Local Plan at the finishing post – maybe the Government will do it for you?

Onto the business – all two plus hours of it – wrapped up into a nutshell:

Graham of “sick as a” Parrot fame – who is still reeling from the drubbing he received at the Inspector’s hands at the last Plan’s failure, outlined the challenges facing the borough and  highlighted some of the issues raised by objectors – including The Save Our Waverley Group. ( Now re-named by many as the “Save Our Little Bit of Waverley Group and S** the rest of the Borough.”

and.. as he outlined some of the comments even he raised his eyebrows when suggestions included:

  • Make  Dunsfold Aerodrome into a – Conservation Area – or a Borough Heritage asset.  (or even perhaps  a National Monument.)
  • That even with the figure of 519 homes per year – there would be an unmet need.
  • The Plan relied too heavily upon Dunsfold Airfield,with some arguing it was not a Brownfield site others arguing that it was and  there should be many more than the 2,600 identified – perhaps even 6,000/8,000
  • Too much housing was concentrated in the East of the borough – and  in particular in  Cranleigh, which lacked infrastructure.
  • Some believed  the villages needed more housing, some less.
  • Infrasture/flooding and drainage issues were of concern in the East.
  • Transport, air quality and habitat  issues (Thames Basin Heath and Wealden Heath issues in  Farnham and beyond.
  • The needs of Gipsies was unmet.
  •  Insufficient employment sites were identified.
  •  Green Belt issues were identified- around Godalming/Elstead and South Farnham.
  •  The Strategic gaps between towns/settlements had been identified – but it was suggested  more should be included  in South  Farnham/Rowledge and Dockenfield.

Then Councillors who did turn up had their say very ably led by the committee/Council’s new boy – Councillor Jerry Hyman (Farnham Residents’) and did we detect a sneaking admiration for the way he handled a very complex and lengthy meeting – no of course not – we couldn’t have could we – silly us!

Predictably By-Pass Byham and All at Seaborne – blamed all Bramley’s traffic problems including the increase in HGV’s at Dunsfold’s door. Even the bits that fell off lorries onto the heads of pedestrians? Has anyone told them that THEY gave permission for Cranleigh Brick and Tile to run 700 hundred of 50 tonners every day for the next 5 + years down the A281! All with Surrey highways’ blessing. And…   didn’t the Bramley Parish Council  trouser a big fat cheque  for allowing it.  Hypocrisy personified – we’d call it!

It was Shamley Green’s very own Mike “Rubber” Band who warned  officers they better get the Plan right this time because 11 Parish Councils all led by the POW group now renamed POLBOW, were going to CHALLENGE THEM BIG TIME! 

and… that isn’t a threat its a PROMISE!

Whist he  completely ignored the fact that all the traffic from all the new Cranleigh developments – supported by Waverley’s various planning committee’s – will be travelling through … yes… you guessed Shamley Green and Wonersh. (By the way where was the Wonersh Sleepy Jean- Councillor Goodridge? – Tucked up in bed with a nightcap perhaps…?”

Councillor John Gray said he was “disappointed” there was no mention of “alternative   site allocations” for the areas around Dunsfold/Alfold and Cranleigh.

 Wake up Dummy – there are planning applications from  the wannabe’s for over 1,000 homes in total – don’t you read the planning and Appeal lists?

Portfolio Holder – Brian Adams stressed “all sites” had been assessed – infrastructure problems affected many of them (e.g. sewage/drainage/flooding problems.) And… it was explained The figure  for affordable homes had been dropped from 40% to 30% because housing associations didn’t want to build homes for rent, (due to the 1% cut in rents) and  shared ownership properties.  Stressing  only open market properties es provided the funds needed to provide – vital Infrastructure.

Another warning: “We’ll see about that when the Plan is Examined by the Inspector – because it WILL BE CHALLENGED! said Dunsfold’s Councillor Gray who just supported a development in Dunsfold village for 43 homes at Nugent Close with sewage pumping into…. guess where CRANLEIGH!

As there is only so much a reader can handle – suffice to say:

The document now passes to the EXECUTIVE and FULL Council for the final countdown November 29th.

But before we sign off, we must  mention a comment regarding Infrastructure: made by the Chairman: Jerry Hyman”

He said soto voce (but we could all hear it on the webcast) “It appears  to me that all the Infrastructure in the borough is being provided by Dunsfold Park!

** Infrastructure – roads, schools, sewage treatment; power;………..

Oops! We did it again…and again…?

“Your Waverley” is becoming very adept  at contravening its own planning rule book… isn’t it!

When the Waverley Web makes a mistake, we say Mea Culpa … what does Waverley Council do? It is economical with the truth- and blames someone else?

 

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Farnham Herald reporter Daniel Gee was interviewed this week on BBC Radio Surrey News about Farnham’s Great War Memorial legacy and how it is being rubbished by “Your Waverley” – “Oops, we did it again”.

 

You can watch it here: Please see attached and slide the link to 52.42 minutes.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04dq1dz 

WAVERLEY Borough Council has admitted to yet another embarrassing breach of planning rules at the Memorial Ground in West Street.

Farnham Town Football Club, which leases the sports ground from Waverley, recently undertook engineering works at the ground to extend its car park and offset the loss of spaces during the refurbishment works at the adjacent Farnham Memorial Hall.

However, following concerns expressed by a member of the public, the council – which is currently working alongside the football club to improve the Memorial Ground’s facilities – has confirmed the engineering works “should have had planning permission”.

It comes just months after Waverley was forced into another embarrassing admission that planning permission should have been sought for the club’s new changing rooms, built at the sports ground in July.

The council has not yet revealed what action, if any, it now plans to take against the football club for the engineering works.

Says the WW: Of course it cannot, and will not  take any action against the FC because it went ahead with Waverley’s blessing – didn’t it ?

However, a council spokesman confirmed that a long-awaited retrospective planning application for the changing rooms is imminent. Adding  “The council is aware that the improvements made to the car park should have had planning permission. Waverley is working with Farnham Town FC to resolve the issue.The planning application for the temporary changing rooms is currently still in the pre-application stage.”

The latest saga has prompted an indignant response from Mark Westcott, a Rowledge-based architect who brought the changing rooms issue to light earlier this year.

“It’s appalling behaviour and I’m utterly speechless,” he said. “But sadly I can’t say I’m surprised as this is typical of Waverley and again shows the incompetence of our local authority.

“At least they’re not denying it, but what is rotten is that they will in all likelihood grant themselves planning permission for both the changing rooms and the car park extension after the event.

“You have to ask would they grant permission if it was anyone else?”

Mr Westcott said  the latest engineering works also contravene the restrictive covenant placed on the land by Farnham United Breweries, which gifted the Memorial Ground and adjacent community hall to the town in 1947 in memory of its five employees who lost their lives during the First World War.

The football club has confirmed its intention to rent out some of the parking spaces at the ground during the week.

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Concerns have also been raised over the materials used in extending the car park and the possibly heightened flood risk, after 150 tonnes of un-permeable ‘scalpings’ were reportedly delivered to the site by builder’s merchants Chambers.

John Williamson, leader of Waverley’s opposition Farnham Residents group, joined Mr Westcott in expressing disbelief at the latest planning breach at the Memorial Ground, stating the works are “clearly not permitted development”.

He added he raised the issue with council leader Julia Potts and director of operations Damien Roberts last week.

But despite Waverley’s close dealings with the football club and the council assigning “two planning officers” to oversee the improvements to the ground following the changing room saga, both Miss Potts and Mr Roberts “knew nothing about it”.

SURPRISE, SURPRISE!

Waverley helped fund Farnham Town FC’s new changing rooms at the Memorial Ground after the club was displaced from the Memorial Hall, which is being refurbished to provide a new home for the Brightwells Gostrey Centre and Waverley Training Services.

Of course it did because it had a cunning plan to re-develop East Street move the Gostrey Centre and build houses around it?  

In February, the council also signed off £50,000 for a feasibility study into relocating the club to the former Weydon Lane landfill site, known locally as Brambleton Park, and in turn redeveloping the Memorial Ground for housing.

However, while the feasibility study is yet to be completed, the council has agreed to support the club in improving its current facilities at the Memorial Ground to meet league requirements.

Explaining the reasons for the recent engineering works, Mick Morgan, committee member at the club, said: ”Farnham Town FC, in order to meet FA ground grading requirements and to remain financially viable, require additional parking spaces to accommodate players and officials on match days and training sessions.

“Therefore the car park at the ground has been expanded to provide additional off road parking; adjacent to the clubhouse. The spaces will also provide additional parking for local businesses during weekdays and some additional parking for residents.

“Farnham Town FC is an important community asset and Waverley Borough Council has been very supportive, providing new changing rooms and working with us to explore the possibility of whether the former landfill site at Weydon Lane could be used as a potential new home for the club.”

Handbags at dawn in Cranleigh?

 

 

The stilettoes were out  this week when newby Cranleigh Parish Councillors, Dominique McAll and Liz Townsend, fought over who should be selected as the Conservative candidate to stand in the Borough Council By-Election to be held next month.

Both ladies were well-placed to take on the borough councillor mantle being parish councillors, but as the cards fell Ms McAll lost out to Ms Townsend – who in addition is the popular Chairman of the Cranleigh Civic Society and for whom she has earned  a formidable  reputation for….

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Waverley Web informers told us Ms McAll felt so bruised from the fallout with her former colleague-in-arms that she has now resigned from the Parish Council in high dudgeon, and… is considering appealing to Tory Tossers Tower where  the head honcho’s of the party preside.

That’s probably the dumbest thing Ms McAll has ever done – and if she’s not careful, we will have no choice but to call her Dumb not Dom!

Why? Because Cranleigh Parish Council has been on an upward trajectory ever since Ms McAll and Ms Townsend joined that former hotbed of self-interest. The two newby councillors punched well above their weight from the outset, lending their support to the previously beleaguered Councillor Mary Foryszewski who, for far too long, had been a lone voice in the parish council wilderness. 

For a short space of time – too short – the three Valkyries bestrode Cranleigh as if it were Valhalla but now Ms McAll has fallen off her pink cloud with a thud.

Our advice to Ms McAll is to pick herself up, blow her nose, wipe her mascara and throw herself back into the fray. Never mind! There will be other opportunities and, in the meantime, CRANLEIGH NEEDS YOU!

There’s not enough space here to explain just how much or why Cranleigh needs you – really, really needs you – besides, you know why – Cranleigh is the new land of milk and money, it’s been designated an area of outstanding natural profitability by greedy landowners and cowboy developers! And who’s going to save it if you don’t? Ms Townsend & whose army?

So Dom, don’t be dumb, stow your pride, put your lipstick on and get back in that saddle before someone far less able grabs the reigns! 

And our advice to Ms Townsend (not that anyone takes any notice of us) is to pick up the phone and tell Ms McAll, “there’s been a lot of sh** flying around and things got a little heated  – so lets put the sh** behind us and get on with the real job in hand  sorting out the Sh** and floodwater that Cranleigh will soon be up to its neck in and …keep working on behalf of the people who had enough confidence in us to elect us  just over a year ago! Because some people/developers would love to see CPC implode!

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Chiddingfold’s Captain Hogwash – in the Nationals!

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE! Because…

Hogwash gets a mention in the nationals!

You couldn’t make it up … our Chiddingfold correspondent told us they nearly choked on their full English when, turning to page 15 of Saturday’s Daily Mail,  the name of the Chairman of their Parish Council leapt  off the page. 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3951256/Millionaire-angers-villagers-building-Disney-mansions.html

Apparently, Richard Hogsflesh – better known to readers of Waverley Web as Hogwash … has taken it upon himself to speak on behalf of the village the Daily Mail describes as ‘polite and genteel’. ..

Polite? Genteel?  Tell that to the wannabe  developers of South-West Surrey who have been misrepresented and vilified by the “polite and genteel residents” of Chiddingfold and  other parishes. 

The subject of Hogwash’s derision this time is  one Gerard Ayrton-Grime,  a property developer who dared to spend some of his millions, and creative skills building himself a mock-Georgian mansion in the  countryside which, according to the Daily Mail, ‘horrified’ the villagers of Lurgashall, who described it as ‘too big and inappropriate’.

Waverley Webbers have no taste of course, because we thought the exterior of the property looked rather elegant in the Mail’s photograph – a modern country house built in the style of its historic ancestors.

OK, maybe it  looked a bit new but give it 200 years and we’re  sure it will have mellowed and blended into its setting just as the genuine Georgian gems, so beloved of the wealthy-well-to-do of West Sussex and Surrey! After all, even old houses  started out new…  … didn’t they?

May we be got it  wrong!  and  those old Georgian Rectories and Dower Houses, now  snapped up by the middle classes before you can say  “estate agent” sprang from the ground complete with the  patina of age and grace we believed  could only be acquired over generations?screen-shot-2016-03-16-at-23-10-00

Not content with building one McMansion, Mr Ayrton-Grime dared to sell up and build another in – SHOCK! HORROR! – Chiddingfold! That bastion of the polite and genteel! How dare he pollute Chiddingfold with, to quote one villager who didn’t want to be named (according to the Daily Mail), ‘a Disney impersonation of a country estate [which] is grotesque and completely out of character in this village’.

What is it with these people? Who do they think they are?…

Who made them judge and jury of other people’s taste? And why is an elegant, nine-bedroom Palladian-style home so abhorrent to them? Villages like Chiddingfold grew up around small country seats and manor houses so why should people today not have the opportunity to build splendid properties similar to those our ancestors built? Houses that may, in the fulness of time, when they have mellowed and weathered, become as treasured as those built by our Georgian ancestors? Mr Ayrton-Grime’s house is, according to the Daily Mail, set in 23 acres, surely a five bed executive home would have been equally out of place on such a large plot?

What is it exactly that Hogwash really objects to? He claims ‘ Chiddingfold needs around 100 houses ‘and it was felt this site could be used to meet that urgent need’. Oh really? You don’t say? And what’s the betting if Mr AG  had submitted an application for 100 homes on a former smallholding in Chiddingfold he would have been slapped on the other cheek by Hogwash and told Chiddingfold has no need of such a large housing estate in its polite and genteel environs?

It wasn’t so long ago that neighbouring Hambledon Parish Council was only too willing to support a similar application to  AG’s  when they thought it was being submitted on behalf of the then Prince William and Kate Middleton. Royal Wedding fever had, undoubtedly, infected the villagers who, due to wishful thinking or a very clever but entirely misleading PR campaign, succumbed to wild speculation that the future Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were the mystery buyers behind the £20 million application by Millgate Homes to transform the old Nutbourne Brickwords into a ‘grand country seat’. The company  even signed a confidentiality agreement not to identify the prospective purchasers but had, cunningly, revealed it was someone ‘famous for being very English’!

Screen Shot 2016-11-20 at 15.38.58.pngMillgate Homes went to great lengths to win Hambledon Parish Council’s support for its ambitious plans for a grand home complete with lodge gatehouse and three staff cottages,  even offering to enter into a binding covenant with the Parish Council to quash concerns that it might decide to build a large number of new homes there instead!. Ultimately, the Parish Council, most local residents and Waverley Council supported the application to build on the site which was not only in the Green Belt but also the AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) where development is not usually permitted, particularly in leafy Surrey!

This  tale of every day Chiddingfold folk brings shame on the village and their Parish Council, demonstrating, as it does, that middle class envy is alive and well behind the Surrey hedgerows.  The two-faced residents of South West Surrey were perfectly happy – jubilant even – when they thought it was the future Duke and Duchess of Cambridge who would be building a McMansion in their polite and genteel environs. The Surrey ladies  who lunch were orgasmic at the thought of rubbing shoulders with Kate in Waitrose and drooling over the idea that little Tom, Dick and Harriet would be toddling into Tumbletots alongside George and Charlotte (who were, admittedly, but a twinkle in their father’s eye at that time) but they changed their minds PDQ a few miles up the road when instead of HRH they were getting GA-G!

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It’s fine for them to buy a chocolate box cottage or a Berkeley Home in a picturesque village, splash out on a Landrover Discovery and the ubiquitous two-point-two Labs to slumber in front of the Aga and the log burner but the minute anyone else wants to do it or, heaven forbid, the children of the local indigenous population want some affordable housing erected , suddenly, the Wandsworth Wanderers who’ve moved down to Nappy Valley want to pull up the drawbridge!

A survey conducted by a political strategy consultancy, Development Intelligence, in early 2016 found that the British public is ‘overwhelmingly NIMBY’ and is resistant to local development. Apparently, despite local residents now having more powers than ever to shape the way development is carried out within their area, through the government’s localism agenda, more than half of respondents, whilst recognising that there was a national need for housing, objected to it being built locally to them, which means both the government and local authorities still find themselves facing an uphill struggle to tackle the UK’s housing crisis in the face of local opposition to development.

So there you have it folks, yet again, the well-off-well-housed of middle England are at war on multiple fronts with a common enemy: housing! They are determined to resist it in all its guises – whether it’s a rich man building himself a mansion or a property developer trying to create a new village. A recent study found that of 75 published neighbourhood plans, 55%  were designed solely to resist development, with the  number rising to 63% in rural areas. Even more striking, the figure rose to 73% in areas with Conservative councils!

So there you have it folks… it doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor, you’re not welcome in the polite and genteel village of Chiddingfold … unless, of course, you’re the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. But, sadly, for Hambledon and Chiddingfold they’ve decamped to the real countryside (Norfolk) and they’re left with plain old Mr & Mrs Ayrton-Grime