The number of business and retail units in Waverley being turned into homes is reaching​ alarming proportions​.

Here are just a few:  Julia Potts was featured recently on film proudly reeling off the key tenants for its own proposed retail development, including the restaurant ASK which we understand has just closed its doors in Cranleigh! Wonder if Blightwells will end up one great big housing development. Could the new shops soon easily convert into flats.

Just a few of Farnham’s empty independent shops that have closed down.

According to ‘Your Waverley’ retail is a key sector of the borough’s economy and a prerequisite to the continued vibrancy of its town centers.  So it must be spitting feathers that so many of its shops and businesses are being converted into – residential units.

And… who’s to blame for that – The Conservative Government – and former Communities Secretary of State Sajid Javid!

There is less need every day for us to travel to our towns and villages as we lose our cashpoints and banks – will they too soon become homes?

Because Waverley’s planning portal is almost impossible for anyone to navigate any longer – did it cost lots of dosh to make such a bu**ers muddle of what was once an easily navigable site? It is difficult to find out exactly how many shops and offices have been converted. But rough guess it is hundreds, maybe even one thousand?

It took ‘Your Waverley’ quite a time to catch up with Government planning legislation that gives permitted development rights to applicants to convert retail and offices without seeking permission. If it had, it would be even more. In fact, one local professional went to Horsham District Council, who downloaded the appropriate forms for him which he then sent to WBC, who didn’t want to accept them!

Having now recognised, like the rest of the country, that the image and attractiveness of high streets are diminishing – because not everyone wants to buy in charity shops – even though we here at the WW do!!! And the proliferation of services, nail bars, hairdressers,  betting and dog shops add nothing to the street scene. 

Now prompted by a cheerleader from Haslemere Town Council which is carrying its message around to other councils in the borough, Waverley has woken up and has decided to work with them too…. wait for it… ‘to safeguard and monitor those permitted development rights!’

And, it is also considering making an Article Four Direction, which is an incredibly difficult, expensive, long-winded and complicated legal means of preventing even more conversions. And, Haslemere Town Council has been rewarded by  being the borough’s first pilot – well, it wouldn’t be Farnham would it?

So why doesn’t our Conservative controlled administration point out to their Tory masters that this change in planning law, combined with massive increases in businesses rates have had very real consequences for our towns and villages?


Taken from WBC  paperwork.

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