What it isn’t telling you about that tax hike!

LIKE BLONDIE SAYS – ONE WAY OR ANOTHER THEY’RE GONNA GET YA!

You heard it on this blog FIRST… that “Your Surrey County Council” intends to hold a referendum on it’s proposal to raise “Your Council Tax” by an eye watering 15%.

Now – WW will tell you.  YOUR  VOTE on THAT  Referendum won’t make  one scrap of difference – because it’s  going ahead regardless.

The WW was tipped off  by a county councillor – we get more tips here than Bet Fred – that SCC is going to take the money anyway to plug the big the big black hole in its finances and then “if it loses the Referendum in May”  it will  pay the money back!  

WHAT A BLOODY CHEEK!

Now, this shocking tax hike, from a Tory council that during the past 20 years has raised taxes an amazing 19 times, is said to be increasing costs to finance adult social care. But how was last year’s £11.8m spent? that is the question read here: Things you might want to know – before you respond to a proposed Referendum – on “Your Surrey County Council’s” tax hike?

  • Alzheimers Centre’s Closed or Closing! 
  • Age Uk Runnymede Closing, Age UK Waverley Closed –
  • money withdrawn for the elderly’s  Meals On Wheels service and would you Adam and Eve it?
  • All Surrey County Council nursing homes flogged off and Cobgates  in Farnham being used as a Student doss house!
  • Debt ridden nursing Homes who say they have not had any increase in funding for their local authority clients despite last year’s hike which brought in £11.8m!

So who exactly is getting the money? – Well we all know about all those massive pay rises trousered by Surrey councillors last year . After which, the  Independent Remuneration committee all resignED in protest!

WW have also heard from Surrey family’s who are self-funding aged parents in Surrey’s private  nursing home  saying  they believe they are effectively subsidising the less-well off  council funded residents as nursing homes shove up their fees to cover the local authority’s shortfall! They say…

 “which ever way we turn we shall be hammered one way or another.”

And – then they wonder why A & E’s are full to bursting point and Surrey Hospitals are on BLACK ALERT, or as Our Jeremy prefers to label THEM OPAL ALERT … in other words – Meltdown!

Watch this  Nice C4 piece https://www.channel4.com/news/political-revolt-in-surry

So when you are asked in May,  remember the decision has already been made – and the bills will be dropping through your door before you can say DAVID HODGE … and just in case you hadn’t  noticed,  before he started slating his Tory Masters, in the New Year Honours…  they gave him a gong!

WW says let’s all join the Taxpayers Alliance.

Things you might want to know – before you respond to a proposed Referendum – on “Your Surrey County Council’s” tax hike?

Shortly you will hear that Surrey County Council intend to hold Referendum – yes another one of those damned R words  – which will undoubtedly attract lies, damned lies, and statistics?

These words – “Budget – and significant shortfall” will be the buzz words of our local authorities from here on in – those whose poor past management  of “our money” is  legendary. 

There is no bigger example than “Your Waverley”s”  Great Brightwells/East Street Debacle. Where councillors are perfectly happy to throw millions of pounds, if necessary, in a bid to thwart the attempt of Farnham’s Fearless Famous Five at a Judicial Review later this month.

No doubt, if FFFF’s are successful, the Council will appeal the decision – why? because this argument is not about what is legally or even strategically, right – but a war of financial attrition – in other words David (with little money and backed by the public) Goliath with stacks of dosh “our money” to waste!

So… where are we?

“Your Waverley” most likely will  increase council tax by another 2% – and Surrey County Council by 15%. So a Band D property could have an increase of over £200 a year. But such a huge increase by the county council cannot be imposed without holding a Referendum – more money down the drain – and… what exactly do they intend to do with that money?

THAT IS THE QUESTION?

Last year the county council increased the Adult Social Care tax by 2%, which produced an extra £11.8m – (see e-mail below from the Cabinet Member for ASC Councillor Mel Few.

He says: “It was used to meet some of the demand for ASC services. The current demand increase for ASC in Surrey is currently around 6% annually with the majority being spent on individual packages of care for older people with physical, sensory and/or learning difficulties and mental health.”

In answer to a question posed by the Waverley Web did it increase  fees to Surrey’s nursing home providers  – this is his vague answer :

“Following joint work between SCC and Surrey Care Association ASC did increase guide prices for nursing and residential care in 2016/17.

However, enquiries by WW to a number of nursing/residential homes in Surrey, has revealed they have received “no such increase” and some are running at a huge financial loss.

We also posed the question: – Why had the county council removed its contributions across the county for  Meals on Wheels – a service designed to keep old people independent in their own homes?

His response: 

“SCC does not directly fund Meals on Wheels Services to district and borough councils.” and… in a later e-mail when it was suggested to him that it had in the past  contributed towards MOW’s. He responded:

“We have however reviewed grants that were made to various local authorities as it was established that those funds, in most cases were simply merged with other income.”

 He isn’t saying that those monies were used for other purposes – is he – surely not!

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This month Waverley Borough Council  stepped into the breach to provide a Meals on Wheels Service through “some” of its Day Centres, due, it claimed,  to the county council’s decision to  withdraw its funds!

So… who is telling the truth. In this particular instance – Our money is on “Your Waverley.”

SO BEFORE WE ALL AGREE TO HUGE COUNCIL TAX RISES – WILL SOMEONE TELL US TRUTHFULLY – WHAT WILL IT BE USED FOR?

Investing  over £30m – it has now dropped from £50m – into the re-development of Brightwells/East St in Farnham – or funding nursing homes “properly” to care for our elderly and infirm? Or will the money be used to further inflate the gold plated final salary pensions that business can no longer afford?

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A Ball for Hunt?

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SURREY ALZHEIMER’S CENTRES CLOSE: NEW MOTHERS SAY THEY FEEL LIKE HERDED CATTLE: GP’s SPITTING FEATHERS: A & E DEPARTMENTS LIKE WAR ZONES:

BUT

Thank the Lord “Our Jeremy is still smiling.” and… working with a touch of Frost  to pedestrianise Farnham!

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Crisis, what crisis? Everything’s coming up roses and lollypops – isn’t it?

 

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Just as a matter of interest if you feel like studying alternative medicine – yes you guessed Hotcourses provides them all, including homeopathy! Do you think it might provide the answer to Waverley’s Meals on Wheels Crisis?

Shouldn’t we be hanging our heads in shame – as we witness the closure of Surrey’s Alzheimer’s Centres?

What a Bloody disgrace – that lack of funds is   prompting the closure of  Surrey’s four  Alzheimer’s Centres, including  Waverley’s.

The  very centres which  help to make life bearable for  Alzheimer sufferers are to set to close putting  even more strain on  carers and their families.

 And then they wonder why people  are piling into A & E  departments. By withdrawing funding from this vital service aren’t councillors failing to recognise the need to keep the sick and elderly in their own homes as long as is humanly possible.

There are 850,ooo Alzheimer sufferers in the UK and that figure is expected to double by 2050. Alzheimer’s is now responsible for one in nine recorded deaths and has overtaken heart disease  as the UK’s  leading cause of death.

So why – oh why is  Haslemere’s  ( Marjorie Gray Centre ) which has been at the heart of Waverley’s Alzheimer’s Service for many years and which has proved to be  a lifeline for so many – shutting its doors in March? And… didn’t Surrey County Council raise its council tax last year by 2% bringing in £11.8m for adult social care? 

Sufferers and their families said they were  completely  “bamjacked” by the shock announcement with John Barlow’s wife Margaret saying,  “This decision will end his world.” 

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“If we  make cuts to old people’s services hopefully there won’t be any old people?”

Cuts in local government funding and cuts in funding for the Hoppa Bus have made the Centre unviable for the local branch of the Society which operates  5 days a week, Monday – Friday 8am – 6pm, in the Grayswood Road together with services provided by its outreach  team, across the Waverley area. The hall in Haslemere  was built by public subscription and the Society has worked tirelessly there to ensure sufferers and their carers get the respite  they so desperately need and rely on. Other Centre’s in Dorking, Woking and elsewhere in Surrey have, or will, close.

Two years ago The Alzheimers’ Society  opened an outreach centre over in the East of the borough to prevent   clients  travelling over an hour to Haslemere. But when the old people attending Cranleigh’s Day Centre received “Your Waverley’s” backing for their bid to stop  “their” centre being used or shared  one day a week by Alzheimer’s sufferers  the outreach closed and  moved back to Haslemere. 

One Ewhurst carer  told the WW that  she, and many others,  were “absolutely horrified” at the stigma attached by one group of older people, to another, saying she  sincerely hoped that Cranleigh Day Centre clients who complained, wouldn’t need the service themselves  one day?

“Alzheimer’s in no respecter of person – ask Margaret Thatcher’s family.”

After Waverley Council Officer ( Damien Roberts – aka “The Omen”) backed the Cranleigh objectors’  the service returned to Haslemere. This resulted in the reinstatement of  the lengthy daily journey across the borough resulting in a  predictable drop off of  clients-  now it too is closing. It is alleged that this same officer, aided and abetted by Elstead’s “Elsie” was responsible for the closure of Age Concern – which was set up by “Your Waverley” with “Your Money” to help the elderly  for more than 30 years. 

And.. “Your Surrey CC” has closed six older people’s care homes – some of which focused their care on Dementia patients.

All this whilst at the same time Surrey County Council proposes holding a Referendum to seek  a 16% increase in our county council tax and “Your Waverly”proposes another hike on top of last year’s 2% rise! ….

What for… to buy even more properties in the West Country,  invest in more redevelopments like Farnham’s East Street, or maintain their gold plated final salary pensions?  

And Didn’t Councillor David Hodge – the Leader of Surrey County Council get a gong for services to Local government and charities? Here’s what one Surrey Ad reader thinks of that!

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Isn’t it time someone, somewhere, started to get their priorities in order? Because the fact is that nobody is getting the level of support and care they need. Once block contract funding supported these vital services. 

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Ah! But those awards ruffled more than a few feathers – didn’t they?

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Full marks to the Cranleigh businesses who won awards for innovation and achievement at Monday night’s CRANLEIGH BIG Awards that were hosted at the “New” Town’s  Arts Centre …

… but a BIG BLACK mark for Surrey County Councillor (and wanna-be-MP) Alan Young.

Our sources within the Chamber – which leaks like a broken chamber pot – tell us the petulant County Councilor was so miffed when he discovered the Cranleigh Chamber had invited Dunsfold Park to sponsor one of the Awards that he tried to black-ball the business park!

When that initiative fell on deaf ears he tried to insist that the Dunsfold Park Rep only be invited along to the second half of the evening – just in time to present their own award!

‘Who the hell does he think he is?’ fumed our source. ‘He put us in the most embarrassing position! Did he really expect us to tell one of our main sponsors they weren’t welcome to attend the first half of the ceremony because some small-minded county councillor had thrown his toys out of the pram! ‘

Apparently so!

But the more interesting question is not who, but why?

What has Councillor Young got against Dunsfold Park? You’d think, given it’s the largest employment site in the Borough and his eulogy in the Awards Programme about the need for a ‘vibrant economy that works for everyone,’ and his claim that ‘our local companies and all who work in them play a vital role in sustaining the country’s economic health,’ that he’d want to be seen to live up to his claim as a  ‘county councillor over there in the East to ensure [he] does all he can to assist [people] in making a success of [their] business.’ In theory, maybe but in practice obviously not! 

Thank God the South West Surrey Conservative Association over here has given him the bum’s rush!

Most county councillors with a huge brownfield site like Dunsfold Park in their borough, brimming with possibilities, would be all over it like a rash but not Councillor Young. Wonder if he told the Horsham constituency that he didn’t actually back businesses/ or anything else for that matter on brownfield sites when he tried to capture its Parliamentary seat. Maybe, they sussed him out  in good time.

Apparently – or so our sources tell us – he has other fish to fry! He’s invested so much time and effort in cosying up to former parish councillors, Jeannette and Stewart Stennett, and Councillors Patricia and Brian Ellis (RIP), in an attempt to bring forward development on Cranleigh’s green fields, that he had no interest in seeing the proposals put forward by Dunsfold Park succeed – quite the opposite, in fact!

One national developer, who attended the ‘Secret Meetings’ – that didn’t remain secret for long thanks to Waverley Web – organised by Young and his cohorts, the Ellises and the Stennetts, said it had ‘NEVER’ before been asked by a Surrey county councillor to work with other developers to get the bulldozers rolling into Cranleigh!

Maybe when the former M16 officer responsible for the dossier on Donald Trump comes out of hiding he could be asked to take a look at Mr Young & Co’s activities in and around Cranleigh …

 

 

Is the “truly” Memorial Hall – about to become a memory?

Does our memory serve us correctly – when “Your Waverley”instigated a Feasibility Study in 2014 to secure  the future use of Farnham’s Memorial Hall for an Old People’s Day Centre – wasn’t the figure mentioned £750,000?

We here at the Waverley Web know how  time flies when you are enjoying yourselves but just two years later hasn’t that figure just risen to £3m, and mounting, and hasn’t the emphasis changed?

So now it is to be a centre for the young and the old. The Brightwells Gostrey Centre clients will shlep  across town  into a bright and airy refurbished  building which will  provide services to the elderly, including those with mild dementia.

The hall was formerly home to a number of community and voluntary groups and activities, dance, fitness, martial arts as well as dance and social functions.Where will those users be going?

Now it has been decided that Waverley Training Services that offers work based qualifications and apprenticeships to young people will leave its premises in Farnham and take up space at the Memorial Hall.

In the meantime The Football Club changing rooms are  moving  and due to  lack of parking for matches on the “memorial grounds” as a result of  building work – Waverley has shelled  out another £10,000 to provide a temporary car park (without planning permission) for players.

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But as you will read here – not everyone in Farnham is impressed with “Your Waverley’s” move to satisfy the requirements of wannabe developers Crest Nicholson. And… it is patently obvious to everyone that the Memorial Playing fields will soon be going under concrete? After all there is no need for “Your Waverley” to apply for planning permission, or legally apply to extinguish covenants that exist on land or buildings… is there?

And Memorials ? what’s the odd Memorial between friends?

Why not? Quite simply… because “Your Waverley” is above the law, it knows it, and we in Farnham know it… don’t we?

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Fines could be imposed on tenants who demonstrate anti social behaviour.

Has  “Your Waverley”  woken up to the fact that some people’s lives are being made an absolute misery by the anti-social behaviour of its tenants.

 No …it’s all words,  will it actually happen – we doubt it.

We here at the Waverley Web know of tenants (one in particular in Farnham who we dared to  mention and who immediately suffered reprisals,) who owns his own home but who has existed for years in something resembling hell!  Godalming residents too have contacted us, claiming there are no -go areas for law abiding people there, and in Cranleigh the comings-and-goings of some (Waverley tenants) throughout the night are being questionable.

 

As for objecting to the housing officers – forget it – it gets law abiding, decent people “absolutely nowhere.” In fact, one told us he received verbal abuse at the hands of a female council  officer he complained to and whose accusations against the complainant we refuse to print.

So Waverley Borough Councillors it is useless endorsing the New Anti-Social Behaviour Powers for housing operations if you don’t do anything with them?  As for commenting that “Your Waverley” does not have a big problem with ASB – “rubbish” of course you don’t have a problem if you ignore complaints – because you know what- in the end people just give up and suffer!

So now you have the power to deal with those people who have “a significant issue” use that power and do something!

At least no-one is pulling the wool over the eyes of Councillor Christiaan Hesse or Bramleys Councillor Richard Seaborne judging by their veiled criticisms.

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A Cranleigh man’s view.

The Waverley Web seldom posts  the comments it receives from followers. But,  every now and again a comment hits a chord with us, and perhaps it will do the same for many of our followers/readers?

So here’s Cranleigh resident Adrian Clarke’s view. This is how he sees the efforts now being made by Waverley Planners to solve issues affecting those in the East of the borough. 

Since he posted this comment a  Government Inspector has given Threadneedle permission to build 120 new homes on a  brownfield site at the Hewitts Industrial Estate in Cranleigh. (Not that it will necessarily build them now John Lewis is rumoured to want the site for a new Waitrose/JL at Home store.) Read here: THE LONG WAIT(rose) MAY FINALLY BE OVER?

However, the lack of infrastructure continues to  haunt the developers champing at the bit to cut through  the swathes of countryside in and around  Cranleigh. and villages.

He says in a nutshell he believes “Your Waverley” planners are getting a handle on things – environmentally speaking – however the WW is not quite as confident as Mr Clarke.

Dear Waverley Web.

Like a lot of people I know, my wife and I moved out to leafy Surrey in the 80s to enjoy living in the countryside and to bring up our children in a non-urban environment. In the natural way of things, many people in their late teens and early twenties move back into towns and cities to experience urban life. And many of those then drift back to their roots eventually.

The large net migration influx into the UK in the last few years, an increase in single person households and increased longevity are driving the need for more housing, and to me it does make sense to use up “brown field” sites like Dunsfold and Hewitts in Cranleigh first, and develop those fully, before encroaching into pristine green fields.

I feel it is really important to deal fully with environmental and infrastructure issues at the same time, and that is something that Waverley Borough Council have not been doing well in recent years. The Planning Officers (I know because I have asked them myself) have had scant regard to environmental pollution issues, and they simply haven’t grappled effectively with the complexities of balancing infrastructure with the need to build more houses in the draft Local Plan.

Waverley Borough Council staff, and especially many of the Borough Councillors themselves, have so many different egotistical and private agenda issues that it has become difficult to get effective agreement and action on environmental and infrastructure issues. So instead, they’ve just been playing the housing numbers game. And we’ve all heard transport people from Surrey County Council saying “yes the traffic is bad and it’s going to get worse, so just get over it”.

Rather than just bitch about all this, I felt I should try and do something instead. So I joined Cranleigh Civic Society over a year ago and, like many others, I’ve put a lot of time into trying to get Waverley to understand and deal with environmental and infrastructure issues. What started out as an acrimonious conflict between Waverley Borough Council and what they saw as a village pressure group has now morphed into a friendly and productive relationship, and I’ve just recently noticed a sea change in the way Planning Officers have started to deal with particularly environmental issues.

So, credit to Waverley’s Planners where it’s due; but there’s still a long way to go.

This is just a personal comment to recent messages I’ve been following on Waverley Web, and it’s not been sent to or endorsed by either Waverley BC or Cranleigh Civic Society, though I hope they would be sympathetic to my views.

WW: Please keep these comments coming.

Where will this madness end?

 Over there in the East  they wonder why so  many people in the rest of Waverley favour one of the largest brown field sites in the borough  being developed?

Come on Protect Our Waverley – start practising what you preach – start Protecting Our Waverley’s countryside and the character of our towns.

Because REAL green fields are going under concrete on a daily basis, and idiots, who literally cannot see the wood for the trees (some of them ancient – and about to be felled – trees that is – sadly not idiots ) are doing everything, and we mean everything, to stop development on brownfield sites.

Thankfully another Inspector has, just days ago, over-ruled a local decision and  allowed another brownfield site to be developed.

Shopkeepers have/are being threatened if they don’t put up posters, villagers/councillors/MP’s arms are regularly being twisted and untold untruths are being peddled – will 2017 see more of the same?

Since Christmas Waverley Planners have been faced with applications to “garden grab” in Hindheld, turn bungalows into five bedroom houses in Haslemere,  and turn single family homes into three separate dwellings.   Helicopters fly over the highways and byways of our towns and villages looking for development opportunities. And… almost all the applications come with an officers’ recommendation to approve – but some are being resisted by councillors.

The Waverley Web has been contacted by householders who are regularly bombarded with letters from developers wanting to buy their properties – some of whom are very old and are refusing to answer their doors to unknown callers. One such resident told the WW…

“I have lived in this old house all my life and intend to end my days here, if I can, but my twilight years are being damaged by callers/letters/telephone calls from people wanting to buy my home. The home my late husband and I bought to nest in – not invest in!”

When and where will this madness end?

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