It began so well. On the second day of the High Court Hearing into CPRE / POW’s challenge to the Secretary of State, Waverley Borough Council and the Dunsfold Developer, Julia Potts went from fabulous to fishnets.
Of course, there were fewer bums on seats in the public gallery – having turned out to cheer on team POW on day one, POW’s supporters didn’t bother turning up. Why would they? They’ve never been interested in listening to anyone’s arguments but their own.
Despite eloquent counter arguments from Wayne Beglan, on behalf of Waverley BC, David Elvin, for the Dunsfold Developer, and the Secretary of State’s barrister, the Judge appeared sympathetic to poor little David’s fight against Goliath. Yes, things appeared to be going swimmingly for Capt’n Bob and Co.
Here the WW want to make something clear. We have never opposed residents’ right to challenge. In fact, we have applauded that right. However, we believe in honesty. This protest group was set up for one purpose and one purpose only – to Dump Development at Dunsfold. Nothing else. If POW cannot tell the truth – others will tell it for you. Hundreds of thousands of pounds of OUR money, has been spent by 11 parish councils, some even from across the Surrey/Sussex border.
Did anyone ask YOU?
Which takes us back to yesterday’s hearing when the Judge turned her attention to the Aarhus Convention (The public’s right to justice which limits costs to just £10,000). POW’s barrister only just stopped short of pulling out his violin as he painted a picture of brave little David’s hand-to-mouth existence, passing round the begging-bowl every time they needed to mount yet another challenge against the Big Bad Developer and Wolfish Waverley, neither of whom gave a fig for local residents, both of whom were only interested in concreting over a big brownfield site to the detriment of all those living nearby.
Smiling graciously, The High Court Judge looked sincere and almost reached for her handkerchief.
Capt’n Bob Lies and Boy Britten’s fizzogs were wearing huge smiles clearly believing they were home and dry on the costs front whilst, in the public gallery, La Potts and Ged Hall gnashed their teeth.
And then a miracle happened. The Dunsfold Developer’s junior brief leapt up and with a few well-placed words turned the tide. Mr Turney said POW was a single-interest group that, despite pleading poverty, had been successfully raising huge sums of money in order to fight/stop any development at Dunsfold Park at every turn. He strongly suspected POW was a front for a few “high net worth individuals” who had promised to cough-up whatever it took to stop the Dunsfold development in its tracks while underwriting the whole shebang. Mr Turney’s prose was far more elegant than ours and issued in a mellifluous tone that, whilst soothing, held just the right degree of indignation to get the Judge’s attention.
The Judge said she couldn’t help but agree with Mr Turney’s assertion – backed up by Mr Beglan on behalf of his client – that there was a lack of transparency on POW’s part about where their financial resources were coming from? Looked suitably pained, PoW’s barrister said the Judge couldn’t be suggesting that poor little David was trying to hide anything? POW simply lurched from one fundraising event to the next, raising dribs and drabs, against all the odds, as the need arose.
M T. was having none of it saying POW had raised vast sums in order to mount a challenge at the Public Inquiry. It was then the Judge’s sympathy began to wane and Capt’n Bob’s smile evaporated like Scotch mist when she said she was leaning towards proposing full disclosure from POW in relation to their funding sources. PoW co-ordinators Chris Britton and Alan Ground looked fit for the ground to swallow them.
PoW’s Rumpole appealed again, surely not, the Judge couldn’t really mean it! But Mr Turney had shone a light on POW’s dirty little secret, revealing not the slightly dented, second-hand petty cash tin they claimed to keep their sparse funds in but a dirty great safety deposit box full of filthy lucre!
Apparently, they weren’t counting Doris’s pennies; why would they when, as Mr Turney disclosed, a small group of wealthy well-wishers were writing gold-plated cheques to the tune of £15,000 – £20,000 a pop with a flourish of their Mont Blancs!
Whose to say same wealthy donors hadn’t egged POW on, agreeing to underwrite all their costs, whilst, at the same time, urging them to try to gain protection from Aahrus thus ensuring that the Waverley Tax Payer ended up footing the bill for POW’s largesse?
Mr Turney didn’t allude to it but the mutter in the Waverley gutter, which has been gaining momentum in recent weeks, reveals at least one devious developer is bank-rolling POW in order to stop development at Dunsfold Park to give his own sites, elsewhere in the Borough, a better chance of succeeding. A strategy right up POW’s lane as they don’t care what’s developed elsewhere in the Borough as long as it’s not on their doorstep!
And isn’t that’s exactly what happened in the case of Mr & Mrs House over at Milford? Their challenge, which was thrown out at the first hurdle, was funded by a developer eager to build in Godalming!
Against a background of excited chatter from the public gallery and red faces in POW’s camp, the Judge instructed the POW’s Rumpole that his clients had seven days in which to provide a full witness statement in relation to their funding arrangements/donations going back to the publication of Inspector Bore’s report.
In the meantime, our advice to Dear Doris. Save your pennies for POW has no need of them. You and any other unsuspecting pensioner who’s donated precious funds they can ill afford have been deceived.
POW’s is a front for some serious High Rollers who don’t want development on their doorsteps but on someone else’s and are hellbent on ensuring it goes anywhere but Dunsfold and at taxpayer’s expense!
In the meantime, we at the Waverley Web look forward to seeing how the Sorry Advertiser – report The Great Dunsfold Dust Off. Whose own High Roller boss lives on the boundary of Dunsfold Aerodrome A “high worth’ individual who just happens to live so near he could spit at the airfield from his £8m and reducing, country pile.