It’s all kicking off in Alfold as news of the Parish Council’s unexpected windfall – of £276,400 – and subsequent spending spree – of the same – began to spread like wildfire around the village and the phrase, ‘WTF?’ went viral as residents across the borough, not just in Alfold, began to ask what on earth had been going on in not so sleepy Alfold (population circa 1000)?
Here at the Waverley Web, our inbox hasn’t stopped pinging. Many of the postings have been unprintable and speculation is rife about what exactly Alfold Parish Councillors have been up to, under the aegis of outgoing Chairman Nik Pigeon and Clerk Beverly Weddell.
The Waverley Web doesn’t know but the rumour mill has gone into overdrive and it isn’t just Alfold residents who are demanding an explanation.
Several correspondents have speculated that Crystal Tipps Weddell, who is up to her ringlets in Protect our Little Corner, has been laundering donations for the organisation through the Parish Council.
Assuming that is the case, Why can’t POW manage its own dirty linen? is a question that many people are asking.
Others are surmising that POW, with the connivance of Alfold Parish Council and, in particular, Crystal Tipps Weddell might be concealing the true extent of its financial resources in order to improve its chances of securing protection from the costs of its High Court Challenge to Waverley Borough Council, the Secretary of State and the Dunsfold Developer. All under something called the Aarhus Convention.
We understand POW has been pleading poverty claiming to have only pennies in its bank account – which even the High Court Judge found less than credible – but if they’ve been ‘laundering’ their cash through the Parish Council’s bank account that would go a long way to explaining the, to-date, inexplicable paucity of their own bank account!
Is anyone going to inform the Judge of this latest development in POW’s financial affairs? Cue Julia Potts, Daniel Bainbridge, Tom Horwood, the Dunsfold Developer, the Secretary of State … Hello? Is anyone out there watching and listening to what’s going on under their noses?
The Waverley Web is no expert on the affairs – financial or otherwise – of Parish Councils but, helpfully, one of our readers is and she provided the following explanatory note for us:
‘I do know a thing or two about parish council finance and think this is worrying. I’ve had a little look at the APC website and I can tell you what is missing! The external auditor’s report has not been published – and the law requires that that should have been placed on the parish council’s website by 30 September. It is possible that the external auditor has not yet reported – the external auditor appointed to cover Surrey parishes has struggled with workload this year and some reports have been delayed (although I would have expected to see something to this effect published on the APC website by 30 September). The external auditor checks variances between years and asks for an explanation of significant differences – I’d love to see the explanation given here. I wonder how long it will be before the external audit report appears here with the rest of the annual accounts information? http://www.alfold.org/page12.html
So our question – and that of many other Waverley residents – is: Where is the external auditor’s report?
And, whilst we’re on the subject, a lot of people think Chairman Pigeon and Clerk Weddell have some explaining to do!
Rumours abound in the Alfold Barn and The Compasses, that Nik Pigeon is standing down as Chairman of Alfold Parish Council – before he’s pushed? – and Chris Britton (Cap’n Bob’s No2 at Protect our Little Corner) is going to be catapulted into his place.
What? WHAT? WHAT? we hear you say ... Well, it is only a rumour and we’d given it little credence to date – after all, what Parish Council in its right mind would elect a Chairman who hadn’t served a day, let alone six months as a Parish Councillor, in order to learn the ropes? But the mutter in the Alfold gutter is that Thakeham Homes – which may or may not have been contributing to POW’s coffers – is simply waiting for POW to get the Dunsfold Park decision thrown out by the High Court, before resuscitating its own application at Springbok. The plan, so we’ve been told, is to dust down the Springbok application and slap it in with slightly fewer homes, safe in the knowledge that if Waverley’s Local Plan goes down and the Dunsfold development with it, there will be a window of opportunity for other developers to fill the void and concrete over everywhere but the biggest brownfield site in the borough.
But of course, others may think that. The Waverley Web couldn’t-possibly comment.
Nik Pigeon, who has previously admitted to a pecuniary interest in relation to the Springbok application, is thought to have been in favour of the scheme from the get-go and Chris Britton is happy to build anywhere in the Borough, absolutely anywhere, except at Dunsfold Aerodrome because his home, in Hall Place, overlooks the airfield. Poor old Awfold, talk about going from the frying pan into the fire … when it comes to Parish Council Chairman they’ve really hit bottom and yet, still they keep on digging!
So, there you have it, folks, another everyday tale of Country Folk … or do we mean Skullduggery in the Shires?
Watch this space for further developments (no pun intended!) and, in between times, keep checking the Awfold Parish Council website for the External Auditor’s Report.