If we didn’t laugh we’d cry at the outrageous waste of public money that is going on in ‘Your Waverley’.
It’s not hundreds of thousands of pounds of public funds that are being flushed down the drains – Oops! Sorry! We forgot, the drains can’t take it! Down the pan, then? No! They can’t take it either…! – but, we digress, it’s millions of pounds which could have been put to better use: keeping the public lavs open …; and the amenity tips open …; not to mention filling a few potholes…! We could go on but you get the picture!
For years the upper echelons at ‘Your Waverley’ – what a misnomer that is! – through devious endeavours, did their best to dismiss development in the borough – unless, of course, it suited their own ends; the redevelopment of East Street, Farnham being a case in point!
No doubt Mary Orton-Pett (YW’s former Chief Executive), Richard Shut-the-Gates and Robert Knowless (YW’s former Leaders), Matthew Evans (former Head of Planning’) and Graham Sick-as-a-Parrot (one of the former’s acolytes), thought they were being oh-so-clever in dragging their heels and getting not one but two daft Local Plans thrown out thus, they presumed, out-witting the borough’s builders and developers but last week the fruits of their do-bugger-all policy – or do we mean ploy? – blossomed and an orchard full of poisoned apples dropped into the builders’ and developers’ laps! Kerching!!
Inspector Jonathan Bore – who has been anything but! – told a stunned audience in the Council Chamber at the Burys, that not only was Waverley ripe for development – it being much less constrained than the neighbouring boroughs of Guildford and Woking – but it was going to have to take 50% of Woking’s unmet housing need! Kerching!!
That Dick D’Anus – who had rocked up to the Inquiry along with OJ (AKA Charles Orange) to represent the Parish Councils in support of Protect Our Little Corner … – took on a striking resemblance to a bull frog as he slowly but surely digested what Inspector Bore had to say. As for OJ, he simply lived up to his name, doing a wonderful impression of a blood orange so ripe and full to bursting it was about to pop its peel!
When asked, very reasonably, by Inspector Bore, where – if not Dunsfold Park – the housing might go, Protect our little Corner were quick to suggest Waverley’s green fields – any green field would do, as long as it wasn’t in their little corner of the borough …
Seriously, folks, you couldn’t make it up! An organisation known as Protect Our Waverley wants the planners to ignore the biggest brownfield site in the borough, simply because it’s on their doorstep, and dump a shed-load of housing on green fields, even those that flood, anywhere elsewhere in the borough.
We at Waverley Web are waiting, with baited breath, to see what local MPs, Mistress Milton and Jeremy Hunt, have to say. The former, no doubt egged on by the latter, have aided and abetted POLC and its predecessors, Stop Dunsfold Park New Town, in fighting development at Dunsfold Park tooth and nail, bugger the cost to the taxpayers! But now no less a personage than a government inspector has said he thinks there is no alternative but to build at the former aerodrome.
‘Traffic! What about the traffic?’ squeal Mistress Milton and that Dick D’Anus?
But, given a choice between spending an extra two minutes in traffic and providing much needed homes, Inspector Bore is adamant that both he and the Government – not to mention other fair minded and reasonable people – know what they’d rather do. Do the dummies not realise cars leave homes built on green fields as well as brownfields, and if there are employment opportunities designed into sites like Dunsfold- they are less likely to rely on their cars!
What a pity ‘Your Waverley’, Jeremy Hunt and Mistress Milton didn’t save Waverley Borough Council and Tax Payers a shed load of dosh and support the Dunsfold Developers at the outset. If they had, they wouldn’t be in the mess they’re in now with the concrete mixers parked on our lawns!
Let’s look back in anger:
2007 ‘Your Waverley’ refuses Dunsfold’s planning application to build 2,600 homes on a brownfield site, saying it didn’t need them
2008 Government Inspector refuses Dunsfold’s appeal on grounds of prematurity and tells the developer to take their proposals through the Local Plan process
2016 Almost a decade later, with no credible Local Plan, ‘Your Waverley’ approves a planning application for 1,800 homes on DP and puts another 500 in its draft Local Plan
2017 Protect Our Little Corner aided and abetted by Mistress Milton (who proudly admits she bullied and nagged the Secretary of State until he caved in to her demands) gets the application called in
A government Inspector holds a public inquiry into Waverley’s now not quite so daft looking Local Plan and indicates that not only does Waverley have an unmet housing need of its own, its going to have to take 50% of neighbouring Woking’s unmet need because their plan was done and dusted in a timely manner! At the same time, he indicates that whilst he’s open to suggestions, he can’t see any alternative to putting a significant amount of said housing at Dunsfold Park
Meanwhile another shed load of dosh is going to be trousered by another shed load of barristers, planning consultants and so-called experts as ‘Your Waverley’ and the Dunsfold Developer prepare to join forces in front of yet another government Inspector to lobby for homes that could have been built in the intervening decade and, if they had been, we wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in now … or forced to take another borough’s unmet housing need!
So, there you have it folks, a decade and millions of pounds of tax payer funds have been wasted! A decade during which Dunsfold Park could have been developed, Stop Dunsfold Park New Town, their successor Protect our Little Corner, Mistress Milton and her partner in crime, Jeremy Hunt, did everything they could to prevent it happening and what’s the poor old taxpayer’s reward? Half the borough’s going to be covered in concrete and its forced to take more housing than it would have done if it had bowed gracefully a decade ago and done the right thing!
Talk about a Whitehall Farce – it almost matches the Blightwells/East Street farce in Farnham. Perhaps the Redgrave Theatre should be saved and the farce that is ‘Your Waverley’ could pack a few houses.
There’s a motto in this somewhere: Be careful what you wish for! springs to mind!!
But what we at Waverley Web want to know, what we really, really want to know is? What argument – other than ‘Please Mr Inspector don’t let them build houses at Dunsfold Park because we don’t want them on our patch; build them instead on the green fields in Cranleigh and Farnham – is Protect our little corner going to run?