The men in grey suits could soon be on their way to ‘Your Waverley.’

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WAVERLEY Borough Council faces an imminent threat of being placed in ‘special measures’ and having planning decisions taken out of its hands, as a consequence of it undermining the newly-made Farnham Neighbourhood Plan earlier this year.

 

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Your Waverley may welcome developers – but not enough!

In a report to the council’s executive committee on Tuesday – updating Waverley’s performance against Government targets for the ‘speed’ and ‘quality’ of determining planning applications – officers warned that should several appeals go against the council in coming months, its powers of determination could be withdrawn and handed to the Secretary of State.

The borough council’s current performance on speed of dealing with ‘major’ and ‘non-major’ applications is “excellent”, say officers, and its performance on ‘non-major’ appeals is “well within target”.

However, executive members voiced “grave concern” on Tuesday night about the authority’s impending failure to meet the government’s target for the number of major planning applications refused by the council but allowed at appeal.

Against a target threshold that no more than 10 per cent of major appeals should be allowed, Waverley’s record is currently 6.4 per cent.

But officers predict that, subject to the result of several appeals yet to be decided, and refusals not yet appealed, this figure could soon rise to 16 per cent in the “worst case scenario” breaching the Government target.

Pending appeals outlined by officers as putting Waverley at risk of special measures include plans to build:
• 157 homes in Waverley Lane, Farnham,
• 140 in Lower Weybourne Lane, Badshot Lea,
• 56 to the rear of Bindon House in Monkton Lane,
• 102 in Upper Old Park Lane, Folly Hill,
• 254 opposite the Hogs Back Brewery in Tongham Road,
• 43 at Baker Oates Stables in Gardener’s Hill Road,
• 97 on the site of Farnham Park Hotel in Hale Road, and
• 43 at Green Lane Farm, Badshot Lea.

With the exception of Tongham Road, each of the above appeals hinge on the weight afforded to the Farnham Neighbourhood Plan, which excludes the sites as either inappropriate for housing or for falling outside of Farnham’s Built-Up Area Boundary.

Waverley adopted the Farnham planning blueprint in late July after a huge 88 per cent of voters backed the plan in a referendum in May.

However, the borough council then undermined the document just weeks later when, announcing modifications to its own Local Plan, it proposed that Farnham find space for a further 450 new homes, requiring a possible early review of the Neighbourhood Plan.

It now appears Waverley’s decision, to cast doubt on the borough’s only up-to-date planning blueprint, could come back to haunt it should its major appeals target tip over 10 per cent as a result.

Addressing the damning report on Tuesday, Farnham Town Council leader Carole Cockburn highlighted the problems caused by Waverley’s decision to propose a review of the adopted Farnham Neighbourhood Plan.

“I assumed you were aware how important Farnham Neighbourhood Plan was in defence of appeals,” she said. “As soon as the Waverley executive declared the plan out of date within weeks of its being made, developers wrote to the Secretary of State, asking him to allow the three recovered appeals.

“Without the protection of a made neighbourhood plan, the developers claimed that the evidence was not convincing enough.”

Waverley’s performance was described as a “significant concern” by Liz Sims, the borough’s head of planning, who recommended more training workshops for councillors and officers and the need for councillors to “recognise and engage the presumption in favour of sustainable development” to avoid “unnecessary” refusals.

She also urged that Waverley’s new Local Plan should be progressed “as quickly as possible” to strengthen the council’s defence against harmful developments.

But hopes that Waverley will meet its timetable target of getting the first part of its Local Plan adopted in December, now look increasingly unlikely, after government inspector Jonathan Bore posed a new set of questions this month on the latest modifications to the plan, which have not yet been answered.

One question relating directly to Farnham, asks how Waverley can ensure the 450 houses on top of the 2,780 allocated for Farnham can be built, due to the timing of the Farnham Neighbourhood Plan review and Natural England’s objection the Local Plan does not identify enough mitigating land, or Suitable Alternative Natural Green Space.

It was also revealed at Tuesday’s meeting that Waverley has spent more than £500,000 fighting appeals against its planning decisions in the last two years alone – equivalent to 3.5 per cent of the council’s total budget for 2016/17. This includes £51,000 Waverley has been ordered to pay developers in costs for “behaving unreasonably”.

 

Waverley leader and Upper Hale councillor Julia Potts said: “To see more than £500,000 spent on defending appeals is absolutely horrendous and it’s partly because we don’t have a sound Local Plan.

“Hopefully we are well on the way to that now and can adopt one to ensure appropriate plan-led development. Think what all that money could have been spent on, such as services to vulnerable residents. We need to make sure we invest in planning services and officers. If we don’t we will continue to have issues. We must ensure the Local Plan is adopted as soon as possible.”

 

Diddling the Disabled?

The picture featured below says it all  about the state of austerity and the priorities  of Waverley’s Tory Councillors!

‘Your Waverley’ has made disabled adaptations to the access to the Pay and Display car parks so they can take the change out of a disabled drivers pocket…

BUT – you wouldn’t Adam and Eve it … the disabled won’t be able to reach the machine from their wheelchairs to flash their cash!

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Here at the Waverley Web we ask? Why should the disabled pay for austerity? Councillors had a choice: Why penalise a section of our society who have enough hurdles to cross just getting through their everyday lives?

In terms of parking charges, in addition to a general increase in charges on a proportion of the busiest car parks, three options were considered.

These were:  

  • Sunday charging, overnight charging and charging Blue Badge holders (who had previously been able to park for free, for unlimited periods). So, members opted for the introduction of Blue Badge parking charges in preference to Sunday charging or evening charging.

This is the criteria for applying for a free permit: includes the lower and higher rate of Attendance Allowance in addition to the higher rate of Personal Independence Payment and the higher rate of Disability Living Allowance.

Finally – and you couldn’t make this up – somebody in a wheelchair is still not at the right height to put money in the machine!!

https://modgov.waverley.gov.uk/documents/s17698/Disabled%20Parking%20charges%20consultation%20feedback.pdf

Coming to a flood plain near you?

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Here at the Waverley Web we can think of a few sites in the borough where homes like these would fit in quite nicely. No names no pack drill! However if may solve the problems of new homes being built on flood plains, but is there some cunning plan for raising existing flood prone properties, whose situation is made worse for the older homes situated around them?Screen Shot 2017-10-02 at 17.55.16

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The 65-tonne building will have a steel frame and sit on a steel ring beam instead of normal foundations.

It will have eight mechanical jacks powered by a central motor, gear box and drive shafts to lift the whole thing up in less than five minutes.

No-one will live there as engineers spend four years testing the design. If it were built for real occupants, then they would have to leave their home while it is held above ground.

Thousands of elevated houses could be built in high flood-risk areas if the experiment is successful. The costs of the hi-tech equipment would be offset by the relatively lower cost of such land, said Larkfleet Homes, the developer behind the idea.

Chief executive Karl Hick said: ‘We have planning permission to build an experimental house that could rise on jacks above flood waters, effectively eliminating the risk of flood damage.

 

A spokesman for the Lincolnshire-based firm added: ‘As far as we know, this is the first project of its kind in the world. It seems so obvious really.’ The one-off house will be built in a field by the River Welland in Weston Hills, near Spalding.

Solar roof panels and a battery mean it will have a constant electricity supply while water and sewage will remain connected with hoses.

The planning permission expires in 2022 when the house will be dismantled but the modular design means it could be rebuilt on another site.

Mr Hick added: ‘The technology is a one-off and therefore likely to be quite expensive but if the system goes into production the costs would certainly come down. The overall cost on some sites may be lower because of the reduced land price.’

If the design succeeds, then insurers will also gain by avoiding huge payouts for flood damage.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4998128/Three-bedroom-house-raised-5ft-flood.html#ixzz4w8VsGoNJ
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Members of Waverley’s senior planners have ridden roughshod over the people of Cranleigh … AGAIN!

Waverley’s Joint Planning Committee trampled over the views of local people, including parish leaders and approved another extension of Crest Nicholson’s development in Horsham Road.

Despite pouring gallons of crocodile tears  all over  ‘poor Cranleigh residents’ and giving a host of reasons why a Crest’s scheme for 119 houses (69 of which wouldn’t even meet the national housing standards and were  described as ” an old fashioned council housing estate’)  should be refused), up went their mits approving it  by 12  votes to 6 with 2 abstentions!

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Up goes the hand of Councillor Mike Band (Con, Cranleigh North & Shamley Green) who said – none of us believe anything the statutory consulatees say, but we have to accept it.’ 

So now in addition to the 149 homes already under construction west of Horsham Road – by Crests whose finance director lives just down the road in Wonersh Park, a stones throw from firm supporter councillor Michael ‘ Sleepy’ Goodridge  – it now has the go-ahead for another 119 off just one access. This, despite councillors agreeing that many of the owners of these homes, when built, could be taking on shedloads of problems through a management company’s  onerous responsibilities. These include play areas; roads; common areas; sh*t pit holding tanks, etc.

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The developer, who has already shown in Cranleigh, and elsewhere in the area, that it regularly rides roughshod over planning conditions, government guidance on the size, and the design of accommodation, can now remove trees protected by preservation orders, and remove ancient woodland.  Should an accident occur at the access, it will provide no emergency access! All this has the blessing of ‘Your Waverley’s’ planning ‘experts’ and the statutory consultees – Thames Water, and Surrey County Council, the lead flood authority ‘experts’ and highway ‘experts.’

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Here’s what the locals said in a ream of objections that could paper the walls of ‘YW’s hallowed halls inside and out: Yet another shedload of housing on its way to Cranleigh? 

And Yes, didn’t we say in the post last week that the scheme  would be approved at  the Waverley Muppet Show! An outfit who would  pave over Cranleigh’s famous cricket common with half a chance, as Liz the Biz Sims, whip, cracks away!

The Cranleigh Parish Council public speaker obviously didn’t think it was worth turning up to oppose yet another development believing that all was cut and dried, and saving his valuable breath deeming that breath is so good for you! Or, has the council imploded?

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Cranleigh Councillor Patricia Ellis gave an impassioned speech about how dreadful Cranleigh was being treated, and how awful the scheme was, despite the fact that she had, along with her late husband Brian Ellis colluded with developers in secret meetings for years to have the Crest Nicholson sites included in the Strategic sites of Waverley’s Daft Local Plan. It was councillor Brian Ellis who repeatedly claimed that Cranleigh shops needed more ‘footfall!’ Well Councillor Ellis, if you are looking up, or down on Cranleigh – you certainly got your wish!

However, the woman who took his place as Chairman of Cranleigh Parish Council said:

Screen Shot 2017-11-27 at 21.04.28.png But of course, as she has come to realise, despite her repeated protestations about the damaging effect of yet another swathe of countryside going under concrete, the inadequacies of the local infrastructure to accommodate a huge influx of people, and the poor standard and unimaginative design and quality of the homes, no-one takes one blind bit of notice!

As for Cranleigh’s Neighbourhood Plan, and others, including ours here in Farnham – press SEND straight into the bin marked TRASH!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your Waverley is building ‘affordable’ homes of its own – all two of them!

Two affordable homes in Craneigh is better than non we must admit, but could there be many more just around the corner soon!

Because the Government is now beginning to stamp on developers who are hoarding land…including the Berkeley Bunnies!

Berkeley Homes was  given the go-ahead by a Government Inspector almost two years ago to build 425 homes on parkland in the east of the borough, over 40% would be ‘affordable.’ How many have been built Non! Detailed planning permission was granted at yet another appeal for 55 executive homes, with access of Knowle Lane a month ago.! Let’s hope they keep growing lettuces long enough to feed the Berkeley Bunnies. Because a Government inspector has approved its appeal for burrowing to begin!

Non of the  affordable homes, which are separated from the executive homes, have  seen the light of day, or a brick laid, although to be fair, the planners have received a detailed  application for 18 homes, some of which are, ‘affordable’ accessed off Alfold Road.

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The White Paper – which is expected to be published on Tuesday – is anticipated to include new proposals to require developers to complete homes more quickly.

Currently builders lose planning permissions after three years unless work has started. However, they can maintain planning permissions on sites simply by “digging a trench”, sources said. This means that more than 700,000 homes which have been granted planning permission since 2006 are yet to be built. 

Under the new plans permission would be linked to the completion of homes by certain dates, rather than the starting of work.

Developers could have to build quotas of homes by set deadlines as a condition of receiving the planning permission, or be let off paying for new local roads, bridges and community halls – so called Section 106 agreements – if they complete the new homes more quickly.

Oops here  go all those 106 Legal Agreements?

We can hear Dear Denise wailing from over here in the Farnham hop fields.