Tom, Tom – is the fight on…to reduce our council tax?

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Read the full Daily Mail Article by clicking below to read how East Hampshire District Council intends to abolish council tax altogether over the next few years! Wow!

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Published on another date we’d have thought this was an April Fool’s Joke …

Waverley residents can but hope that the new boy on the block, who has migrated from East Hants, will be bringing with him some of the revolutionary ideas they’ve employed there which has enabled them to freeze Council Tax for the past seven years and even aspire to – whisper it who dares! – eradicate it within a few years!

It’s not often we, at Waverley Web quote the infamous Bob Lees of POW, but in his immortal words, ‘The Residents of Waverley deserve better’! And if the councillors and officers at the Burys read this and take a leaf or twenty out of Ferris Cowper’s book, under the guidance of our new Chief Executive, Tom Horwood – who has clearly learned at the knees of a master – it could actually do better … much, much, much better!  Look, listen and learn Leaders, Julie Potts and David Hodge!!!

Yes Hodge the Bodge – Oh, Ye of the 20 county council tax increases over 21 years,  who said recently after announcing a 6% council tax increase and another 19m cut to its social care budget…

“SCC is not having a financial crisis, we are just facing more challenges.”

No pressure there then, Tom. The bar has been set by your former boss at East Hants District Council, and we, the residents of Waverley, expect you to live up to our expectations!

So, what are you waiting for? Get to it! And, ask your county council colleagues to take a leaf out of East Hants book too, instead of laughing and ridiculing them!

No wonder you left Tom.  It pays its present Chief Executive less than an ordinary MP, £60,000, and she actually earns £120,000 for running two councils!

Hee at the Waverley Web we are told you have already impressed the locals by ‘listening’ and ‘hearing’ what they say. Even taking their complaints seriously – so impress us some more? 

There are 14 people other than Joanna Killian The new Chief Executive of Surrey County Council,  earning more than £100,000.  She herself is in the first class carriage of the municipal gravy train on a salary of £220,000 plus expenses, which we expect are considerable!

We rest our case.

Who says nobody listens to the Waverley Webbers.

Just a day or two ago we wrote this!

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We now understand that Surrey County Council has decided to introduce a new leisure activity under its community Health & Wellbeing Programme.  It intends to keep us all fit and well and remain independent in our own homes, stay out of council-funded nursing homes, and not become a burden on the State of Surrey!
It is called Scuba Pot Hole Diving!

Is someone going to ask the Pope if they​ should be allowed to build at Dunsfold?

AFTER ALL, THEY’VE ASKED EVERYBODY ELSE!

BETTER LATE THAN NEVER …

We’ve all heard the old adage ‘he thinks all his Christmases have come at once’! If the Secretary of State doesn’t pull his finger out of the proverbial, that could be the verdict for the Flying Scotsman – always assuming, that is, Sajid Javid makes a positive decision when he finally gets around to making it!

Here at the Waverley Web we wonder –  is there anyone who hasn’t commented?

Our moles – both within Waverley Borough Council and PoW (and, no, the PoW mole doesn’t know s/he’s a mole, s/he’s just too trusting of his / her intimates!) – that the Ministry of Housing, Communities, and Local Government has written, this week, to ‘Your Waverley’  – copies to every Tom, Dick & Harriet who have expressed a passing interest in the decision – except of course, His Holiness.

 Saying: “The Secretary of State is considering the report of the Inspector, Philip Major who held a public local inquiry from 18 July 2017 into the [Dunsfold Park] planning application … [and he] takes the view that the recently published Report on the Examination of the Waverley Borough Local Plan Part 1 and the associated Final Schedule of Main Modifications include new information which may be material to the application before him.” The upshot being that “The Secretary of State considers that a period of two weeks to submit representations is reasonable in the circumstances of this case” and arising from that he “considers that he will not be in a position to reach a decision on the application by 15 March, as previously notified … he will now issue his decision on or before 31 March 2018.”

How long does it take one man and his army to make a decision that’s as plain as the nose on his face?! It’s like pulling teeth trying to get a decision out of the Ministry of Housing! No wonder there’s a chronic shortage of housing in this country if they keep putting off making a decision.

 In other democratic countries, the application would have been issued in half the time and  1,800 houses would have been built and occupied! But here in the UK, where every mouse, bat, and bullfrog has to be consulted –  – it’s  taken 10 years and counting … so what’s another three months here and two weeks there …?

We’ve heard that PoW is having a pow-wow as we type, taking “the opportunity to submit further written representations ”because it “affects the case [they] put to the Inspector at the inquiry.”

We can just see it now, winging its way over the ether:

Dear Mr. Jewell

Inspector Jonathan Bore has surprised no-one – least of all us! – by the conclusions reached in his report on the Waverley Local Plan Part 1; he has not wavered (no pun intended!) from the position he took during the Public Examination last summer when he unjustifiably ‘talked up’ the housing need target to the unsustainable level of 590 dwellings per year. Waverley Borough Council, to their detriment and shame, did not challenge that at the time or subsequently, and the result is a Plan which blights every part of the Borough but especially our corner of it.

Once again, local opinion has been ridden roughshod over and ignored. Neighbourhood Plans seem to count for nothing and the most unsustainable site for development, Dunsfold Aerodrome, has been elevated to almost ‘holy grail’ status by Mr. Bore. The report, which in its own words correctly states that it is strategic, has none the less placed a disproportionate reliance on this single, remote site for delivery of the unsustainable quantity of homes to be built in the Borough over the Plan period.

Mr. Bore talks at length about his own assessment of the environmental and transport credentials of Dunsfold Aerodrome, without the benefit of the full evidence properly being considered in the separate Call In Inquiry, the conclusion of which was not expected to be announced by the Secretary of State until 15th March. At the same time, Waverley Borough Council has proposed handling a ‘free gift’ worth between £10m and £16m to the owners of Dunsfold Aerodrome by exempting them from all-important Community Infrastructure Levy – money the whole borough desperately needs and would benefit from.

POW believes the residents of Waverley – and especially the residents of Awfold and Duncefold – deserve better!

Yours sincerely 

Bob Lies
Chairman of the Campaign

Protect our Waverley Campaign
… is a group formed to campaign against the development of Dunsfold Park New Town on the Dunsfold Airfield and other un-sustainable planning applications throughout the Borough of Waverley – not that we can be bothered to do or say anything about applications in the rest of the Borough because we only really, truly, madly, deeply care about Awfold, Duncefold, Ker-Chiddingfold and Where-Has-All-the-Traffic-Come-From… Horsham? But we’ve been told it’s not PC to let the people of Cranleigh, Godalming, and Farnham think we don’t give a Donald Duck about them!

Now, dear readers, once you’ve picked yourself up off the floor, where you’ve no doubt been rolling,  and wiped the tears from your eyes, we’ll break it to you gently … we didn’t make that letter up – well, OK, we might have used a touch of poetic licence describing POW and its supporters, but the rest is a reproduction its latest Press Release, written in a fit of pique when Inspector Bore’s Report was published.

Seriously, folks, we couldn’t have made that up if we’d tried. Yeah, we’re tongue in cheek and on a good day we can be funny but that was hysterical … all the more so because they actually believe their own PR! And… if they don’t get their own way they will…do what Violet Elizabeth Bob did and they will…

Come to Surrey and visit the UK’s capital of potholes​ – on and off-road!

Or you could come to Godawfulming and break a leg on the pavements!

Today we are bemoaning the state of footpaths in  Godalming High Street.

There are numerous trip hazards to be had here – aside from the cobbles!

It comes as no surprise to any of us that we all need to watch our step in Waverley! But what exactly is our town council doing about the dangerous situation with which we are faced?  

We are told council tax hikes are on the horizon from all our local authorities.  The town,  parish, borough, and county councils – but don’t dare look ahead – just look down!

This picture below is just one of many hazards spotted today – 12th February – probably the worst so far. Hideously dangerous to pedestrians. You may even have seen us? animated-spider-man-image-0007
Hopefully, anyone on a night out celebrating  Valentines Day-to-day will look before they leap when they are out in the dark walking past The Lounge bar on the corner of High Street and Wharf Street.

It could be a disastrous evenings-end to a romantic meal out in one of Godalming’s eateries if you end up base over apex!

Perhaps Surrey County Councillor Peter Martin will – ‘take a trip’ down Godalming High Street and do something about it? More like Councillor Penny Rivers will!

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We know that Surrey has been named the worst county in the UK for road potholes – some are now so deep, particularly in Shere Road and Ewhurst, you could dig for coal!

The county has 6,712 “current hazards” and that has probably increased during the construction of this post! These are hazards not marked as “fixed” on its road – that is almost twice as many holes as in neighbouring Hampshire, in second place with only 3,395. This data has been compiled by a website called Fill That Hole, run by Cycling UK, which passes on the details to local authorities.

But what about the statistics for Surrey’s deteriorating pavements, like the one above in Godalming that could cause a serious accident, which, if suffered by the elderly, could result in death!

 

“Whatever happened to localism?” Well, Councillor Cockburn if the cap fits, wear it!

Councillor Carole Cockburn bleats on about the “cruel blow” a Government Inspector has dealt Farnham.

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“I no more want to see additional housing allocated now to Cranleigh than I do to Farnham and I certainly wouldn’t want to pass on another 450 dwellings to existing settlements in the East of the borough.” ‘Etcetera, etcetera…

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this woman generates.

Her hypocrisy is legendary.

Everyone in the east has been watching her and her Tory Tosser mates as they clamour to pile as much housing as they can muster over there, even on floodplains and adjacent to homes that have flooded for decades.

Her beef is all about, “timing’ and the fact that some very unpopular Farnham planning appeals in the pipeline are likely to be allowed! Shock horror, biter bit we say here at the Waverley Web!

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Did she think that when she was masterminding her Farnham Neighbourhood Plan, which she believes is written in tablets of stone, the rest of the borough was asleep?

If so what about all those other Neighbourhood Plans that were written and then re-written, and then written again, all of which have proved useless!

What about the Cranleigh Civic Society’s efforts to speak up for the village of Cranleigh to prevent unsustainable development – now called Cranleigh New Town! The same village you rubbished as not having ‘very much architectural merit.’  What about the village of Ewhurst which you claimed “was hardly a quintessential English village” and contained a lot of “rubbish.” Jesus, Mary, and Joseph! It beggars belief how you now have the gall to chastise a Government Inspector and say`:

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Could subscriptions be dropping off from Mistress Milton’s Tory donors?

Get that cane out Mistress Milton?

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A Conservative borough councillor is offering to provide a rent-free HQ based at her home in Worplesdon for the Guildford Conservative Association (GCA), which covers east Waverley.

Wow! can we see a gong coming on!!

 The Association includes the Waverley eastern villages branch of Cranleigh and Ewhurst where the internal flack has been flying for months and where wholesale resignations from members are expected!

The offer comes after GCA  considered moving from its HQ  in Loseley Park in Godalming which the association chairman Bob Hughes, states in a confidential memo is “relatively expensive”. 

Which in other words means, they can’t afford it anymore because donations are dropping off!

Cllr Iseult Roche (Con, Worplesdon) made the offer following the grant of planning permission in November 2017 for a: “conversion of a detached redundant lambing shed to habitable accommodation” at her home, despite  objections from local residents about the conversion within a conservation area, in green belt and in the setting of a listed building.

The application was referred to Guildford’s  Planning Committee because the applicant, a Mr. Costeloe, believed to be Cllr Roche’s husband, was related to a councillor. Her postal address has been withheld from the GBC website because it was judged: “disclosure… could lead to her being subject to violence or intimidation.”

It is believed that candidate selection for the Worplesdon ward is currently part of the overall candidate selection process within the area covered by the GCA, which includes parts of Waverley. A leaked internal memo, from its chairman, has identified four possible options for the future location of its offices:

1. Remain at Loseley, possibly seeking a smaller, cheaper unit.
2. Share offices with another neighbouring Conservative association.

Whoops! Does that mean Mistress Milton intends joining forces with SW Surrey MP Jeremy Shunt?
3. Purchase a property.
4. Pursue the offer from Cllr Roche “rent free”.

Bob Hughes admitted in his memo that the last option: “…has the obvious downside risk of us becoming beholden to one association member and any factors could change the relationship.”

Sharing an office was discounted because: “…this was not handled well by Woking“ … “sharing with Mole Valley would be difficult…”, “…The Surrey Heath offices at Windlesham are a long way…and the area may move to the Windsor constituency…”.

Oh! dear – didn’t even consider moving in with Shunt then?

Cllr Melanie Whitehand, chairman of the Woking Conservative Association, said recently  “There are no plans to establish a joint office, and if Guildford is claiming it’s due to Woking handling it badly, I refute that…”.

WW says: There you go then – like rats in a sack the whole bloody lot of them!

The leaked memo also revealed that Cllr Geoff Davis (Con, Holy Trinity), whose career has been in property surveying and development, had been trying to identify premises for the association to buy without revealing who the purchasers would be.

An office in the centre of the constituency is the preferred option of Guildford’s MP Anne Milton but, with what are believed to be low membership figures, the association does not have sufficient liquid assets at its disposal and would have to seek a loan.

“Here at the Waverley Web are all quite sure there will be someone in the Cranleigh/Ewhurst part of the constituency eager to house the offices! Why don’t they nip down to one of their Cranleigh donors – like the Lettuce/Concrete  King and his developer friend Andy Leafy aka Vrijland a Leahy?

The memo concludes that while purchasing a property was the favoured option it risked tying up all the association’s funds, leaving no reserves. It recommended leaving the property purchase option on hold and the offer from Iseult Roche be explored. Legal advice to the association was that an agreement could be drawn up giving GCA the right to occupy in return for a peppercorn rent.

When Bob Hughes, was asked by The Guildford Dragon NEWS about the leaked memo, he said:  “A confidential options paper was leaked – I don’t know who leaked it…

“We have a number of options, including continuing in our present offices. We are exploring how all options would work – all of them.”

The Guildford Conservative Association, which oversees the selection of parliamentary and council candidates,  reveal very little of its inner workings. Even officer appointments are unpublished on its website. Unless of course when they are unselecting sitting councillors such as Surrey County Councillor Alan Young, by the way, has anyone spotted him recently, or the county councillor who replaced him? Have you seen this man?

It’s called openness and transparency! 

 

Has this highly respected architect​ come up with a better town plan for Farnham?

Has Michael Blower, a former Waverley Mayor, borough Councillor, highly respected Farnham architect and a former partner of Guildford’s Scott, Brownrigg & Turner, devised a scheme that could bring about a volte-face to the presently proposed town redevelopment? 

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Developers will soon be like bees around The Elstead​ Honeypot.

 Honeypot Antiques in Elstead closed down at the end of August last year. A sad day and the end of an era for the village. No more wandering through this wonderful Aladdin’s Cave of interesting artifacts.
The windows have been obscured for several months – but one of our eagle-eyed followers noticed the yellow peril in the window had recently appeared and it wasn’t nectar it was a planning application notice.

The target for making a decision on this particular scheme was quoted as 21st January but it doesn’t appear anything has happened as yet and we can’t see it on any planning agenda. 

 This latest plan has provoked six objections to date, though only  12 neighbours have been informed. 

Plans were approved March 2015 for the redevelopment of the site to include reconstruction of a retail unit with two flats over, one attached cottage and pair of cottages to the rear of the site, together with associated car parking and landscaping.
Now, this new application WA/2017/2196 is for:
Thee erection of a building comprising ground floor retail space and 2 flats above; attached dwelling and detached dwelling to rear together with associated works and parking following the demolition of the existing building

The History is interesting: Plans to redevelop the site go back to 2000 but according to a Heritage report attached to the latest planning application. It seems it has a chequered planning history. The link is at the bottom of the page.
Honeypot Antiques has been used as a shop since around 1923. At that time it was only the existing frontage building and in the 1950’s, flat roof rear and side extensions were added. It was a grocer until 1970, then a hardware store and since 1996 has traded as an antiques store.
Between 1999 and 2002 the garden, the garages belonging to the shop and the gas storage compound were demolished and included in a large development at the rear of the shop. This also included the land/gardens of 1-6 Avenue Row, the fish and chip shop, the delicatessen and the United Reform Church and demolition of the next door bakery, butchers and newsagent/tuck shop.
This development went on to become Orchard Close and two new shops on Milford Road, currently a pharmacy and beauty salon.

Whatever happens – it seems once the developers start to swarm, the Honeypot will be no more!

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Oh dear! Is Protect Our Little Corner of Waverley having a nervous breakdown?

With depressing predictability, Protect our Little Corner of Waverley has reacted with fury to Inspector Jonathan Bore’s conclusion that Dunsfold Aerodrome is Waverley’s best hope of meeting its housing need. It is his view that Dunsfold is a strategic site and will lessen the need to concrete over our green fields creating unnecessary and unwanted over-expansion of the borough’s three main towns, Cranleigh, Godalming and Farnham.

A disparaging Press Release issued on Tuesday makes a number of choice remarks from which we have cherry-picked the best to save those of you who are heartily sick of reading PoW’s self-centered, let’s protect the villages of Awfold, Duncfold, You-have-to-be-Kiddingfold, and Where-Has-all-the-traffic-combe-from and bugger Cranleigh, Godalawfulming, and the borough’s largest town of Farnham that has now become a brownfield site because ‘Your Waverley’ has thrown so much sh*t at it!

How Now Says POW?

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Violet Elizabeth ‘Bob (Lees)  – I’ll scream and I’ll scream til I’m sick!

‘Inspector Jonathan Bore has surprised no-one …’

‘… he unjustifiably ‘talked up’ the housing need target to the unsustainable level of 590 dwellings per year.’

‘Once again, local opinion has been ridden roughshod over and ignored … and the most unsustainable site for development, Dunsfold Aerodrome, has been elevated to ‘holy grail’ status by Mr. Bore.’

‘POW believes the residents of Waverley deserve better.’

Oh no, they don’t! What they really believe is the residents of the aforementioned Awfold, Duncfold, You-have-to-be-Kiddingfold, and Where-Has-all-the-traffic-combe-from deserve better! They don’t give a damn about the rest of the borough as long as their own backyards are protected!

Never mind that Cranleigh already has 1,300 homes consented, more in the pipeline and that Farnham is already grid-locked!

Where was POw when Waverley Planners was handing out planning consents on greenfields like Smarties? Nowhere! That’s where. They were too busy handing round the begging bowl to build a war chest to fight the Dunsfold Developer and fill Mistress Milton and Jeremy Shunt’s coffers in order to ensure they did their dirty work in the corridors of power, thus ensuring the application was called in.

And… exactly what good has that done? None whatsoever, quite the reverse in fact. It led to Waverley Borough Council having to spend a shed-load of money it could ill afford to defend their position at Public Inquiry and Betty Boop (the woman formerly known as Liz the Biz) running around like a headless chicken, rubber stamping planning permissions faster than developers could print them off! So frit was BB that housing at Dunsfold was going to disappear, like Scotch Mist, that she granted consents to the Berkeley Bunnies and the Lettuce King to build over 800 houses in Cranleigh on land that everyone knows – floods!

Waverley Web believes the residents of Cranleigh deserve better, and so do our residents here in Farnham.

PS. For those of you who can stomach POW’s crocodile tears for the residents of Waverley, herewith a link to their latest Huffing and Puffing that even the Flying Scotsman couldn’t match!

View: POW Local Plan Press Release

Dumb and Dumber’s crowd just get dumber by the day!

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As our local authorities run like lemmings towards the fiasco that is ‘Blightwells’ retail giants in the county are bleeding to death! 

Today:

Bunnings, the new owners of Homebase Stores, has announced a £1billion write-down with money flowing down British drains, and warns ‘this cannot continue!’

Yesterday:

Meanwhile, cash-strapped Waverley and Surrey County Councils invest £30/50m of our money and our land in the Blightwells, East Street retail development in Farnham!

Today:

Surrey –  Britain’s richest county faces a £100 million cash crisis … and the county council and borough councils are proposing a huge hike in our council tax bills!

The owner of Homebase Stores – has characterised the financial situation of the British arm of its business, which it bought just over a year ago as, “terrible’ but warns it will not allow the situation to drag on! And says:

“its fate must be decided quickly!”

Perhaps  Waverley and Surrey County Councils should do the same, by examining where they are going wrong, instead of just blaming the Government?

“The underlying loss, before interest and tax is £97m”

Said Bunnings Boss – Rob Scott – “I appreciate that what we have disclosed today is terrible news, terrible,  terrible for our shareholders, and we feel the pain of that as shareholders as well, but what is most important is what we do from today onwards to address the issue.

“We are not going to let this roll on for years.” He said there would be a complete review of the Bunnings British Arm, (formerly Homebase) and although closure of the stores – which includes those pictured below in and around Surrey and Waverley, would be ‘incredibly costly,’ as it was sitting on lease liabilities of at least £1bn, but admitted, ‘complete closure of the business could not be ruled out.’

The company bought  the Homebase DIY stores in 2016

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Surrey’s woes will alarm Downing Street as it is a solidly Conservative council and the county is represented at Westminster by seven senior government ministers.

SCC has one of the worst financial outlooks of any area of the country, research by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism reveals. Council documents warn of a £105 million funding gap — the difference between the funding it expects to receive in the next financial year and the money it needs to spend. It is the largest deficit reported by any of the 150 English local authorities whose finances have been analysed by the bureau. The average is £14.7 million. When calculated as a percentage of its budget for the coming financial year, Surrey’s funding gap is 12.8 percent, the ninth highest in the country. The average is 6.9 percent.

The council, whose core government grant has been reduced by more than £200 million since 2010, is exhibiting several other signs of financial stress.  Its usable reserves will have more than halved between 2013 and 2019, falling from £170.3 million to £63.2 million — far lower than its funding gap. On Tuesday night the council approved a new three-year budget, including the use of a further £23.6 million from its reserves despite being warned last year by the accounting institute Cipfa that its reliance on short-term fixes was not sustainable without drastic savings.

And… still, it insists on funding an unpopular retail development in Farnham that the commercial sector wouldn’t touch with a bargepole!!

Surrey has a low-level of emergency reserves and is overspending — by £11 million this financial year.

At a meeting on Tuesday, David Hodge, the council’s Tory leader, attacked the government for reducing funds. “We’re facing the most difficult financial crisis in our history,” he said. “The government cannot stand idly by when Rome burns.”

Surrey has the greatest number of high net-worth individuals of any county, more than Greater Manchester, Kent, and Hertfordshire. Its MPs include Philip Hammond, the chancellor, Michael Gove, the environment secretary, and Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary and Guildford MP Anne Milton.