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.”
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;………..