We here at the Waverley Web are a complete mixtures of ages, gender, and political allegiance and are generally quite a cynical bunch.
Trawling through the Campaign For The Preservation of Rural England website had us scratching our heads, and under our armpits, with disbelief and we think we have worked out what the initials actually stand for.
We’ve said it before and, no doubt, we’ll say it again but
YOU REALLY COULDN’T MAKE IT UP!
One could be forgiven for thinking that the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) has, under the aegis of Chris Budgen, Joint Vice Chairman of CPRE Surrey Waverley District, changed its name to the Campaign for the Prevention of Redevelopment of Everywhere.
On its national website CPRE makes the following statements
• ‘Brownfield land could provide one million homes’ … but at a local level Chris Budgen insists they cannot be built at Dunsfold Park
• ‘We don’t need to sacrifice the countryside when we have brownfield land in our towns and cities that could provide housing’ … but at a local level Chris Budgen insists they cannot be built at Dunsfold Park
• ‘Our research, ‘From wasted spaces to living spaces’, found that local authorities have identified enough brownfield land for at least 960,000 homes’ ... but at a local level Chris Budgen insists they cannot be built at Dunsfold Park
• ‘Most recently, we analysed the results of a pilot study into the development of Brownfield Registers. We extrapolated the results from 53 local authorities which suggest that there is space for at least 1 million new homes on brownfield – the equivalent of at least four years supply of housing. This could save thousands of acres of beautiful countryside being lost forever’ … but at a local level Chris Budgen insists they cannot be built at Dunsfold Park
• ‘We could make more efficient use of existing sites, for example, by building mixed-use developments’ … but at a local level Chris Budgen insists they cannot be built at Dunsfold Park
• ‘We believe the Government should do more to encourage brownfield redevelopment’ … but at a local level Chris Budgen insists this shouldn’t include Dunsfold Park
• ‘Local councils and the Government must refuse permission for greenfield sites where there are suitable brownfield sites available’ … but at a local level Chris Budgen is only interested in blocking development at Dunsfold Park, but is silent on the countryside being developed -even flood plains!
• ‘Guide local authorities to identify suitable brownfield sites’ … but at a local level Chris Budgen insists Dunsfold Park shouldn’t be included
Can someone please explain to us why Mr Budgen’s masters at CPRE preach the gospel in favour of brownfield development whilst their acolyte is so far off-message he’s not reading from the same book let alone on the same page?
One could be forgiven for thinking that CPRE has failed to bring Chris Budgen to heel for reasons none other than naked greed. If the man had cosied up any closer to the Cash & Clout Brigade – AKA Protect our Little Corner of Waverley – at the recent Public Inquiry into Dunsfold Park’s latest planning application to build houses on the former aerodrome he’d have been sitting on Bob Lies’ knee!
Perhaps CCB see CPRE as its plaything, an organisation that exists merely to provide flunkeys – in the shape of Chris Budgen, Tim Harrold, Anthony Isaacs and Colin Hall – to do their bidding because it sounds so much better if CPRE, a nationally recognised institution, is objecting to development than a group of over-privileged NIMBYs, wielding their cheque books like sabres in order to gain clout. KERCHING!
When and how did CPRE Surrey Waverley District become so distant from CPRE nationally? Does CPRE at a national level realise how their colleagues in the Waverley District are bringing the entire organisation into disrepute?
We thought CPRE was a serious organisation and above the pressures of electoral accountability and financial grasping. We undestand from our Cranleigh followers that Chris Budgen has a personal axe to grind: his family were formerly tenant farmers of the land that now forms part of Dunsfold Aerodrome and both he and his father were employees of Skyways, Hawker Aviation, Hawker Siddeley and BAE but is one man’s sentimentality really enough to fly in the face of the organisation’s oft repeated policy and mantra?
The more we learn of CPRE SWD’s behaviour, the more it stinks! And the more its regional acolytes betray the fine principles of the national organisation the more it becomes glaringly apparent that CPRE SWD is an embarrassment and a stain on the wider organisation. They need dismantling.
The only excuse for CPRE (SWD) to object to development on the largest brownfield site in the borough – whilst greenfield sites are being concreted over on an ever increasing scale – is that it’s lost sight of its raison d’etre and is being influenced by those who can contribute to its coffers – he who pays the piper and all that! – when on their own website they are saying:
‘… our latest research reveals that 425,000 houses are planned for protected green fields around many of our towns and cities: a rise of 400% in 5 years. This is the biggest year-on-year increase in proposed development on the Green Belt in two decades.
There is a much better alternative
New housing does not need to be built on treasured Green Belt to provide the affordable homes people need. We have demonstrated there is enough brownfield land available in England to build 1.4 million new homes without taking chunks out of our Green Belt.