BECAUSE THEIR ACTIONS COULD HAVE A SERIOUSLY DAMAGING AFFECT ON US ALL!
It became increasingly apparent as the Dunsfold Park Inquiry progressed that the least public-spirited and responsible body in living local memory, PoW & the Parishes (routinely referred to as the Rule 6 Parties at the Inquiry), treat the question of housing as a game of cunning and conspiring.
To-day we received a comment from a follower that by even mentioning PoW we are giving it legitimacy! However, it is spreading such a web of lies, deceit and mis-information we MUST set the record straight and limit the damage it is doing to the Waverley borough.
This can only be because they and the majority of their supporters are insulated by comfortable levels of income and homes and have, at worst, completely forgotten and, at best, simply overlooked that their actions and objections affect the aspiration of young people to own their own homes and find jobs close to those homes. Surrey house prices are now 15x the national average and PoW and their acolytes need to recognise that much as they’d like to populate the villages with people in their own image, we can’t all be Captains of Industry!
We, at Waverley Web, never thought we’d be writing in praise of Julia Potts – the woman previously known as Gone-to-Potts – but it began to dawn on our Waverley-Watchers, as they witnessed the Borough gearing up for the now not-quite-so-daft looking Local Plan and the Dunsfold Park Inquiry, that under Councillor Potts, Waverley is galvanising.
For the first time, in a very long time, the Borough has a Leader who actually appears to be stepping up to the plate and forcing officers and councillors alike to face up to their housing responsibilities, rather than shirking them and trying to shove them onto other boroughs. This is a significant change from the shambolic, do-bugger-all politicks of Potts’ predecessors – Robert Knowless and Richard Shut-the-Gates!
There was a time – under Knowless & Shut-the-Gates – when putting the worried-well-to-do’s interests first came naturally to Waverley BC’s Leaders but in Councillor Potts we detect something of a sea change. Evidence of this is apparent in her and Liz-the-Biz’s willingness to bury the Council’s decade long differences with the Dunsfold Developer in order to bring forward a new village at Dunsfold Park in order to resolve a goodly part of the borough’s housing shortage.
A shortage that PoW & the Parishes – their backs against the wall – now suggest should be resolved by freeing up the Green Belt and green fields in and around their villages! Yep, you read it here first, if PoW & the Parishes get their way, hundreds of homes are coming to the villages of Alfold, Bramley, Busbridge, Dunsfold, Hambledon, Hascombe, Ifold, Loxwood & Plaistow.
Did the Parish Councils ask all 20,000 residents they claim to represent if they wanted to dish out their tax payer precept – rumoured to be around £6,000 per council – to pay for PoW’s barrister, planning and traffic experts.
Anyone who sat in the public gallery at The Burys during the first week of the Inquiry, when PoW & the Parishes’ – so-called – expert witnesses put their case, could tell PoW & the Parishes had been duped, sold a pup, a pig in a poke! In fact, if the Waverley Web was in PoW & the Parishes’ shoes, we’d be demanding our money back! Their witnesses conceded so many of their half-baked arguments under cross-examination by Rumpole and Wayne Beglan that we simply don’t have space or time in which to list them! As Rumpole so succinctly put it, the Rule 6 Parties’ case ‘unravelled’ and The Stinch’s closing submissions were ‘fantasy and fiction’!
Which brings us neatly to the latest mutter in the gutters of Godalming! Apparently, so reluctant were some of POW’s expert witnesses to work for them, they quoted 3x their normal fees in anticipation it would send PoW & the Parishes running for the Surrey Hills. Unfortunately – for the experts (and the Parishes’ coffers!) – the experts weren’t exactly lining up to align themselves with PoW so they had no option but to pay through the nose to get someone … anyone!
And, be warned, PoW’s about to circulate the begging bowl – again! Beverley Weddell, Clerk to Alfold Parish Council, sent a letter to the Secretary of State (SoS) on behalf of Alfold, Bramley, Busbridge, Dunsfold, Hambledon, Hascombe, Ifold, Loxwood & Plaistow Parish Councils and the PoW Campaign formally requesting the SoS to:
[NB PLEASE NOTE THREE OF THESE PARISH COUNCILS ARE IN WEST SUSSEX!]
1. direct Waverley BC submit their emerging Replacement Local Plan to him for his approval
2. or to modify their Local Plan
3. or withdraw the document.
In the meantime, they want him (the SoS) to give a temporary direction that Waverley BC does not take any further step with regards to the preparation of their Local Plan until the SoS has reached a decision on their request.
One regular reader of the Waverley Web wrote in this week saying they now believe that PoW’s posturing is an almighty scam on behalf of the cash-and-clout brigade who are openly boasting that as soon as the Dunsfold Park application is routed Waverley’s well-to-do will be coming forward with applications to build on their own green fields! You don’t say! Quelle surprise!
But enough column inches have been devoted to POW, led by Charles William Orange Esq (AKA OJ – strapline: The future’s bright, the future’s Orange!) and Nic-the-Brick Pidgeon (who has admitted in the dim and not so distant past to having a pecuniary interest in the Springbok planning application to build 425 homes in the village everyone refers to as AWfold).
More about Councillor Potts’ epiphany. We don’t want to speak too soon but we think we might be glimpsing a slow but sure change of direction from the Good Ship Waverley. The coming together of Councillor Potts and Liz-the-Biz and their apparent determination to do something to end the tyranny of a well-heeled minority who complain about anything being built within five miles of their In/Out drives and want to ban all cars – except their own – from the A281!
It could just be that in Councillor Potts we are finally seeing a local politician with the selflessness and vision to work in the interests of the wider borough, rather than just those of the cash-and-clout brigade from Awfold, CKerchingfold, Dudsfold and Where-Has-all-the-Traffic-Comb-Frome, who have, to their eternal shame, effectively, bullied and bought the submission of local MPs, Mistress Milton and Jeremy Shunt-all-the-housing onto someone else! More of which in a future post.
As a result, Waverley might, just might – but don’t hold your breath – emerge from the current situation in reasonably good shape!
We say ‘might’ because Councillor Potts and Liz-the-Biz are just two women and they’re up against some dark and very powerful forces who now want to build on green fields owned by them.
So there you have it, folks, if this Inspector and his boss, the Secretary of State, decide not to recommend in favour of the Dunsfold development, it’s going to be open season on every green field and piece of Green Belt land in the borough and the Coutts accounts of the cash-and-clout brigade will be going Ker-Ker-Kerching! No wonder they’re all so keen to derail housing at Dunsfold!
The final word on this has to go to that elder statesman of the three barristers at the recent Inquiry, Rumpole: “The very fact that the Rule 6 Parties speak in such terms shows what the planning system has to grapple with and face down here!”
See yesterday’s post – another shedload going onto a green field near YOU?