All the major towns in ‘Your Waverley’ have a dedicated planning committee – including here in Farnham – Haslemere and Cranleigh. Even the small rural villages have either dedicated planning committees or public meetings where planning applications are considered – in public?
So why not in Godalming?
Our interest in the planning function of Godalming Town Council was sparked off by the letter featured on the link above.
Funny, we thought, funny … a major town, which hosts Waverley Towers and where there is a huge amount of development presently underway and even more proposed in the future? But no planning committee?
Even more puzzling? This paragraph from GTC’s new boy Councillor Paul Follows’ letter where he tells his fellow councillors of his, and residents concerns over the proposal to build on land at Milford Golf Course. A development that will have implications for Godalming’s overloaded road network and its infrastructure.
Cllr. Denis Leigh (Waverley Borough Council, Milford Ward)
Cllr. Bob Upton (Waverley Borough Council, Milford Ward)
Cllr. Gillian McCalden (Witley Parish Council, Chair)
Cllr. Tony Sollars (Witley Parish Council, Planning Committee Chair)
“My intent is to have this application reviewed by Godalming Town Council (GTC) to record a formal opinion before it goes to the Waverley Joint Planning Committee – and it is my hope that you might support that endeavour by writing to the Chairman of the Godalming Town Council Policy and Management Committee (Cllr Stefen Reynolds) to that end.
We, unfortunately, have no dedicated planning committee at GTC and as such, I am an opposition councillor asking the majority party chair for this to be added to the town council agenda – as you can imagine there is no guarantee that will happen and as such your support would be greatly appreciated!”
We have just learned that astoundingly the Tories abolished the Planning committee because quite simply they couldn’t be bothered. Their reason was that because so many of them are twin hatted – ie Waverley Councillors as well – then they would take the decisions and make the case at the meeting that mattered, rather than holding a trivial town council meeting, in front of the voting fodder, and duplicating their efforts.
They then said they would add significant planning items to other agendas, at the request of members. And an application in a neighbouring parish may not interest most of the council, hence Paul Follows lobbying for support with other Conservatives.
Surely, any self-respecting council -at the grassroots of local democracy – would want to hear its residents’ views on a planning application which affect their lives? Even a minor extension, can have a huge impact. So why don’t they review each and every planning application – allowing residents to have their say?