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.”

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;………..

8 thoughts on “The Final Countdown – Is it full steam ahead for Waverley’s Local Plan?”

  1. As I understand it it was the previous O&S meeting that decided to lower the affordable housing threshold from 40% to 30% – DESPITE developers already meeting that requirement (such as Farnham’s Hop Fields). Utter madness – lets hope this gets corrected before the Inspector, given there are so few sites that actually have capacity for affordable housing. Here in Godalming over 34% of our new housing is office to residential convertions which require NO such contributions.
    Also well done to Chairman Jerry Hyman who was very well briefed. If you are to tackle a subject such as Planning you have to read around the subject in great detail – especially to write objections that are taken seriously, and Jerry has clearly been burning the midnight oil (for many many years!).
    I was dismayed (although not surprised) each time he came to a new chapter of the Plan and said “Right, Transport, I’m sure Councillors will have a lot to say on this..” and was met by tumble weed…

  2. WW – Finally had time to listen to the whole thing.. Don’t think the summation on your post above is QUITE accurate…I think what annoyed me the most and I return to my earlier comment is the Elizabeth Simms says that they should stick to the recommendations of the Consultants they have employed, and not waste more time looking at the others such as Neil Macdonald on the SHMA’s or the Vision TA – but then she fails to even Mention the Mott Macdonald Part 4 Report that recommends Farnham and ignored the fact that the 1st GL Hearn report recommended Farnham as the best area for the majority of Affordable housing….

    I listened to Councillor Hyman’s comments and they were quite obviously NOT said Sotto Voce – But in an amused and slightly telling way for all to hear – that there seemed to be little coming from the planners for any major infrastructure improvements!
    He was excellent and may be from Farnham – But I think Yet again has proved himself to be an erudite speaker and a man that looks AT THE FACTS!! – You in Farnham are VERY lucky to have him! Make the most of him – I think he will be an excellent advocate for the East Street Development and you should get behind him
    Best as ever – Grumpy from the EAST of Waverley

  3. You are not Grumpy you are just concerned! Sadly – summarising several hours debate into short/readable/informative posts, that everyone can understand, means sacrificing some of the more detailed reports – and the SHMA – (Strategic Housing Market Assessment) means different things to different people. Some believe it is too low – others too high – a dozen different Consultants will have a dozen different views.
    It is not the planners who are ignoring the big infrastructure debate, but the smaller developers, whose contributions are meagre in comparison with those expected from Dunsfold Aerodrome.

    We do agree with your observation that the chairmanship of Councillor Hyman was excellent. Debate has returned to the Waverley Council Chamber, and it was music to our ears to hear members asked if they were “satisfied” with explanations received. Farnham recognises how fortunate it is to have him – and more Farnham Residents will join him in the future. Pity some of your councillors in the East, with the exception of Mary Foryszewski, didn’t speak up for you over there!

  4. I agree – Sadly – I wish we had him here!
    I think he will when he looks at the minutiae of the reports – But at the end of the day – he is accountable to Farnham – and whether I like it or not he has to be influenced by his locality – Just a breath of fresh air and I wish him well

  5. Although Jerry’s letter in the Farnham Herald this week is about using the EU Habitat’s Directive to reduce the number of houses in Farnham (because of proximity to the SPA).. and thus put more pressure on Dunsfold and Cranleigh.

  6. We believe if Jerry Hyman and his colleagues had been representing us when the Local Plan was in its infancy it would have been a very different document to-day. Sadly until the Farnham Residents arrived there have been no checks or balances – and as Farnham Conservative Carole Cockburn said about the function of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee – “Sometimes I wonder why I am here?” – Very different now eh Carole!
    The East of the borough has been well and truly dumped on aided and abetted by its borough councillors and county councillors Alan and Victoria Young. We exclude the lone voice of Mary Foryszewski who has been crying in the Waverley Wilderness for far too long.
    The people over there in the East should make them all stand before them and answer for their actions – and all their – “secret meetings” with developers.

    1. Our sincere apologies to Councillor Hunter. But it would be quite nice and even polite if, when the officer is giving apologies for absence, all those who intended to be absent, actually informed the officer that they would not be attending the meeting and gave their apologies, then we would all know who attended. WW

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