Potts goes Potty… AGAIN!
POW (Protect Our Waverley) the CPRE (Campaign for the Preservation of Rural England) and Mr and Mrs House (though she didn’t mention them by name) came in for a right rollicking from leader Julia Potts at the Full Council meeting on Tuesday.
She began her tirade of chastisement gently saying “how extremely disappointed” she was, by the three legal challenges, and how “unfair” it was of “them” to involve local taxpayers in £200,000 plus of legal costs.
But then she revved up the rhetoric, saying: ” I am appalled I am absolutely horrified that these groups want to waste taxpayers money by trying to sabotage the Local Plan – it is despicable.”
She said both POW (a limited company) and the CPRE had ticked the box on the legal papers marked AARHUS (The Arthur’s convention which set a limit on costs of £5,000 for individuals and £10,000 for companies) – thereby limiting their individual costs to just £10,000 whilst the cost to the borough would be huge.
But she warned, all challenges would be defended robustly, with no stone unturned, all those involved in the Judicial Review had been given ample opportunity to have their say since 2013, and their concerns had been heard, listened to, and debated upon. The Local Plan was approved and would be fiercely defended.
Cranleigh Councillor Mary Foryszewski shared her “anger” and asked would the courts allow the challengers to risk so little of their money after forcing the Council to, “Spend, spend, spend.”
Councillor Jed Hall said – “the armchair pressure groups” should not be allowed to undermine local, and national planning decisions.
… However, not everyone agreed.
Farnham Residents’ Councillor Jerry Hyman side-swiped the leader Julia Potts for her inexcusable use of the word “despicable” saying to describe Waverley residents as “despicable” was taking too harsh a line. “We should respect our residents’ and their right to challenge – if the courts decide they are wrong then so be it. But it was their right” He said there were also many other residents of the borough who believed it was wrong that Waverley should be forced to take part of Woking’s unmet housing need.
Councillor Wyatt Ramsdale – admitted he ‘wasn’t a massive fan of the LP,’ but, “this plan is better than no plan. Our residents have every right to criticise but the NIMBY approach here is just for their particular area!”
Planning Portfolio Holder Councillor Christopher Storey stressed that the Local Plan meant Waverley was no longer Developer-led, but Plan lead, and it carried full weight and would be defended. Any attempt to question its entirety would destroy the council’s credibility.
A Question from Godalming Councillor Paul Follows – “What if the challenge succeeded?” fell on deaf ears!