Waverley has been sanctioned by the Government for under delivering its housing supply.

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 No surprises there then that our borough council has been sanctioned by the Government for under delivering its housing supply.  – although one might argue that, given the sausage factory panache, with which Waverley’s planners have been banging out planning consents one might be forgiven for wondering WHY?

Well, here’s part of the answer:  Here we go, here we go, here we go Ooooh!

WAVERLEY IS ONE OF THE COUNCILS TO BE SANCTIONED BY THE GOVERNMENT UNDER THE NEW HOUSING DELIVERY TEST.

SO INSTEAD OF AN ADDITIONAL 5% BUFFER ADDED TO ITS HOUSING SUPPLY NUMBERS, THIS HAS BEEN INCREASED TO 20%! THAT’S ANOTHER 1500 HOUSES!!!

Q Q: Why?

A: Because of all the developments already consented in Waverley approximately 400/500 of 1800 that could, and should, have been built on a brownfield site at Dunsfold Aerodrome – NONE HAVE BEEN BUILT … yet.

All thanks to the antics of that troublesome twosome – Protect our Waverley (POW) and The Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) – aided and abetted by the meddling Mistress Milton, and Jeremy SHUNT – who, shall henceforth be known as – ‘Waverley’s Old Buffers’ (WOB’s.’)  Together they were, and are,  dedicated to stopping development at Dunsfold Park so they can support building over the countryside! Had these unreconstructed NIMBYs bowed to the inevitable and accepted that the biggest brownfield site in the borough was the obvious place for housing, rather than trying to stop it by hook or by crook, housing development at the Aerodrome would now be well under way, thus enabling Waverley to demonstrate that it IS delivering on the planning consents it had granted.

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One-third of local authorities face a sanction under the government’s new housing delivery test this year and these include both WAVERLEY & GUILDFORD.

The delivery test was introduced in last July’s revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). It applies sanctions to all local planning authorities that, in the three years up to the preceding April, failed to meet 95% of their housing requirement, with the severity of the sanction varying according to the extent of the under-performance.

Under the test’s criteria, all local authorities delivering under 95% of their housing requirement must now produce an action plan detailing the reasons why they are under-delivering and how they will address it. 

Those under 85% of their requirement, which includes, Waverley and Guildford, must add a 20% buffer to their five-year housing land supply requirement, instead of the usual 5% buffer, and produce an – ACTION PLAN.

Meanwhile, the worst performers – those under 25% in November 2018, rising to 45% in November 2019 and 65% in November 2020 – face the NPPF’s presumption in favour of sustainable development.

SO WHAT’S WAVERLEY’S CUNNING ACTION PLAN? AND WHAT’S GUILDFORD’S?

Does that mean THAT THE LAND ADJACENT TO AARONS HILL in Godalming, in the borough of Guildford  COMES BACK ONLINE?

Fortunately, none have fallen under 25% which means no local authority faces the presumption penalty – this year. Which means that 66% of councils – exactly two-thirds – have escaped any penalty at all – this year. In comparison, research by Planning last November found that 120 local authorities – 62% – would be above the 95% threshold and face no delivery test sanction at all.

Research suggests our borough is among the 38% of councils would have to produce an action plan, and is also the 31% required to have a 20% buffer in their housing land supply to boost delivery.

Has POW and CPRE (WOB’s) learnt anything from their mistakes?

Have they hell!

Having secured yet another Judicial Review into Waverley’s Local Plan, which wastes shed loads more of Waverley taxpayer’s dosh. In the interim THE WOB’s cloak themselves in yet another cost protection order (the infamous Aahrus Convention enabling NIMBYs like CPRE and POW to play fast and loose at the expense of ordinary taxpayers’ money without fear of incurring prohibitive costs.) While they increase delays in housing delivery.

The upshot is. That even if they do manage to secure a so-called victory by reducing Waverley’s housing numbers, those housing numbers will now automatically increase because of the delays in delivery. You really couldn’t make it up!

 

 

 

Will ‘Your Waverley’ ever learn?

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WAVERLEY Borough Council has been accused of disrespecting the five employees of Farnham United Breweries who lost their lives in the First World War after painting over a commemorative plaque on the outside wall of the revamped Memorial Hall.

 

 

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Taken from the Farnham Herald. 

 

Farnham’s new £3.27m health and wellbeing centre re-opened last year on West Street following extensive building works, provides a new home for the Brightwells Gostrey Centre for older people,  Waverley Training Services, and, where possible, its previous users.

However, as part of the work, the council repainted the outside of the building – obscuring a plaque above its main entrance dedicated to the lives of Private George William Ayres, Private Mark William George Glazier, Charles Thomas Hawkins, Frederick Charles Mansey and John Baden-Powell Wallace.

Taking umbrage at the council’s actions, Scott Bell of the Farnham Great War Group said: “The Farnham Memorial Hall has recently been enlarged and upgraded and the work is now finished.

“On the front of the hall is a memorial plaque naming the five soldiers to whom it is dedicated, all employees of Farnham United Brewery who gave their lives fighting in the Great War

“Imagine my surprise and horror to see the plaque has now been painted over in brilliant white along with the whole wall so it is not possible to read their names.

“The Farnham Great War Group visited the battlefield where he died and laid a wreath in memory of one of the men, Private GW Ayres, in 2017, exactly 100 years after he was killed.

“He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Arras War Memorial along with nearly 35,000 of his comrades who also have no known grave.

“In a way, the Memorial Hall is his known commemoration and surely all who go there should be able to read his name and the other four names of his comrades?

“Before the hall was altered the plaque stood out and was a sandstone colour contrasting with the background wall and with the names clearly legible. I am no expert but feel the plaque should be carefully cleaned and reinstated to its original form.”

Responding to Mr Bell by email, Kelvin Mills, Waverley Borough Council’s head of communities and major projects, said: “The historical relevance of the Memorial Hall to Farnham was foremost in our thoughts as the hall was being refurbished.“In fact each of our main rooms is named in memory of the five soldiers named on the memorial plaque; in addition, we have erected five silent soldiers at the forefront of the hall and embedded the history within all our marketing material.

“The plaque was painted to raise the profile of those employees who gave their lives in the Great War. It was refurbished in line with its original form. However, we agree with your description that the names are somewhat difficult to read and it is our intention to bring out the names more clearly, as we have already done with the Latin inscription above.

“We have identified a firm capable of this detailed piece of work and are looking to confirm dates when this work can be carried out.

“It is our intention to do this as soon as possible.”

Breaking News. Ewhurst Appeal at Larkfield allowed by the Government.

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Might just as well ditch the ballot box, and all the huffing and puffing at ‘Your Waverley’ because the Government wants to blow them all down and continue to allow development in the countryside.

Ignoring the views of local residents are becoming an everyday occurrence as to-day Waverley Borough Council lose yet another planning appeal. This time for 59 homes on land outside the settlement boundary of Ewhurst. Rendering yet another Neighbourhood Plan useless.

So there you have it. Two homes built by Berkeley Homes just 20 years ago will be demolished to make way for  47 new homes can be built – 15 of which will be “affordable” on land at Firethorn Farm. Land owned by a former Ewhurst resident who has bu**ered off to live in the rural Hampshire countryside. Same resident who trousered millions after receiving planning permission on appeal for Larkfield.

Trees covered by Tree Preservation Orders will require removal, but then that’s not a problem is it?  As for the Neighbourhood Plan – here’s what the Inspector thinks of that little nuisance document that villagers have spent many months putting together!  

Screen Shot 2019-02-26 at 10.31.42.pngIn the meantime developers, Miller Homes are busy covering another part of Ewhurst in concrete, completely destroying the hedge along the entire length of the access road at Backward Point off the Cranleigh Road, Ewhurst. A hedge which has been destroyed by concrete sets laid down against the hedge which has completely destroyed the hedge’s its root system, and now leaves the nearby properties completely exposed.

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Here is the decision. A decision that will rock the socks off Waverley Planners who may find themselves in trouble with the Government as they may once again find themselves not performing against the critical data as they continue to lose major appeals. 

PS. No objection from Protect Our Waverley or the Campaign for The Preservation of Rural England. The Surrey Hills AONB, which overlooks the site –  made the fact that it had no objection known to the Inspector.

Firethorn Farm Ewhurst – Appeal Decision

Have you wondered why the decision to close recycling centres and libraries have​ been deferred until October?​

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To Dump or not to dump – that is the question?

Recycling Centres – v – Children’s Centres.

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WELL, IT’S REALLY QUITE SIMPLE: BECAUSE THERE’S AN ELECTION IN THE OFFING.

 

Has the Silly Season arrived early at the Sorry Advertiser this year?

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We know the daffodils are sprouting and the sap is rising – but have the Cranleigh birds been singing just a little too loud and long to the local rag about the siting of Cranleigh’s new leisure centre? 

Whose cunning plan was that, WW wonders, to frighten the voting fodder witless?

We’re aware that Dunsfold Airfield may soon have oil-wells springing up along its runway (journalistic licence for gas exploration, in the Dunsfold environs!) but a £14m leisure centre too?

Somehow, we doubt it!

We haven’t asked the Flying Scotsman to confirm or deny the rumour – as we think he must still be miffed with us for publishing his off-line invite to the ungrateful Denise Wordsworth to join him for tea and biscuits, for he never responds to our emails … and he’s certainly never invited us round for tea!)

But in this particular instance, we think we can safely speak for him. Because if he had thousands of Cranleigh New town’s residents rocking up on his doorstep for a swim and a jog around the parkland, there ’d be hell-to-pay from the Provisional Wing of Protect Our Waverley. They may have gone preternaturally quiet since losing all their Judicial Reviews but that’s just made them even more determined to look for an opportunity to take the steam out of the Flying Scot’s funnel at finally bagging 1,800 – 2,300 homes. His sporran must over-floweth!

However, we understand there’s considerable angst amongst Waverley officers – our moles there are very reliable – because, thanks to Cranleigh Parish Council handing over a piece of parish land it once owned to a local charity for a private care home – the new leisure centre may have to stay exactly where it is! If it’s demolished the centre will be closed for a couple of years and clubs and members of the public will have, perforce, to take a dip in the lakes which the generous Mr Vrijland intends to build in the nearby Knowle Park as part of his ambition to

“give something back to the people of Cranleigh,”

all whilst trousering squillions from the sale of his former lettuce nursery to provide the people of Cranleigh with 265 homes and now he’s asking for more!! 

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Have Councillors jeopordised saving Haslemere’s Georgian?

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Owners of Haslemere’s Georgian Hotel have been left dismayed after their planning application was pulled from the Planning Committee at the last minute. Group Chief Executive Richard Angel told Haslemere Herald:

“Waverley officers publicly recommended the application for approval – the application was  withdrawn just 48 hours before the committee date. Nearly 12 months on from the initial submission, this delay is putting the future of the hotel and all 30 jobs at risk.”


It’s a controversial application to build 3 dwellings and change some of the rear hotel and spa into 16 flats, in order to revamp the tired hotel into a trendy boutique eatery and destination hotel, generating £2Million to secure its financial future. If this was Farnham or Godalming, it would be granted in a wink of an eye… but oh no, not in precious Haslemere!

The hotel is already in administration, and currently trading poorly in the hope of a refurbishment. Mr Angel continued“The hotel does not operate at full capacity. In January 2019, the occupancy rate dropped to just 9 per cent. At weekends, the figures are even worse.”

It seems Town and Waverley Councillors and the Haslemere Society in particular have been determined to try to prove the business was mismanaged and is perfectly viable as a 43 bedroom hotel, despite the applicant providing reports from Savills (1st March 2018) and Fleurets (15th August 2018). The Haslemere Society said: 

In a letter to Waverley last week the owners were dismayed at the meddling by local councillors:
we are shocked to hear that Members have raised the concerns they have given the clear and unambiguous evidence that has been provided.

The matters that you report as being raised by Members are without sound basis and clearly step outside the parameters of what is necessary and reasonable to request in the circumstances. Whilst we have taken the time to address them below, we must raise our significant concern that they have been raised both in the manner that they have and at this very late stage in the determination of the application.”

In particular the applicants highlighted in this letter The Haslemere Society’s Basil Fawlty pipe dreams:

  • In response to the question regarding the potential viability of the current 43-bed operation, we have submitted sufficient evidence to answer any such questions posed. This is the precise purpose of the Fleurets report and it answers the questions as to whether the current use is viable. As such, this request is considered to be preposterous and without merit and Members should be pointed to both the Fleurets report itself and the conclusions of the Councils’ independent audit of the report to ensure that they have properly recognised the detailed content of both reports.

 

Here we go, here we go, here we go Ooooh!

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HIGH COURT CHALLENGE ON WAVERLEY’S LOCAL PLAN

The fight to reduce the housing requirement for the whole of Waverley continues!  

So here goes another shedload of our council taxpayers’ money going down the proverbial legal eagle’s pan?

Out of the cupboard come all the Rollicking Rumpole’s wigs, as they measure their briefs by the metre in readiness for yet another High Court drama between the Campaign for The Preservation of Rural England,  Protect Our Waverley and ‘Your Waverley.’

Yesterday  CPRE/ POW were granted leave to appeal from the Court of Appeal against the judgment delivered in November concerning the housing requirement set in Waverley Borough Council’s Local Plan Part 1. That November judgement said that the housing requirement of 590 a year should be maintained, including 83 to cover Woking’s perceived “unmet need”.

So ‘YW’ may have to build 498 fewer homes and no doubt POW/CPRE hope that will rule out Phase 2 at Dunsfold, as it certainly won’t want to stop development on the countryside – will they?

The appeal centres on how a shortfall in housing provision – unmet need – in one borough is allocated to neighbouring boroughs. The clarification of this issue has implications not just for Waverley but for Guildford and across the country. The Right Honourable Lord Justice Singh said:

“I am persuaded by the Appellants skeleton arguments that there is a compelling reason why these two appeals should proceed, namely the general importance of the issues of principle raised.  It appears from those skeleton arguments that they have not been considered at the level of the Court of Appeal and it seems to me that they should be.”

This latest appeal comes against the background of two important changes. First, Woking Borough Council has declared that it now has no unmet need. Second, new demographic numbers recently released by the Office for National Statistics imply a much-reduced need for new housing.

Dunsfold resident Bob Lees said “This is great news! It provides Waverley Borough Council with a golden opportunity to significantly reduce the mandatory number of new houses to be built in the Borough over the next 14 years. POW fought against the housing requirement at the Examination of the Plan in the Council Chamber. POW fought again in the High Court. POW will fight in the Court of Appeal.

POW is fighting to protect our Waverley against unneeded development of our towns, of our villages and in our beautiful countryside.”

Well – if you believe that you will believe in fairies! Because this has nothing to do with protecting Waverley – it is all about preventing development on the largest brownfield site in the borough close to the home of Bob Lies, and his running-mate Little Britton who both spitting distance from  Dunsfold Park. A development which was .given the go-ahead by the High Court in November. POW is still smarting from this decision

Dunsfold Park is now preparing its Masterplan – which includes 1,800 homes. The First Phase of the total of 2,300 in the Waverley Local Plan.

 


Residents believe there is a whiff of brown envelopes wafting over Waverley.

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Surely they all took a bung? “Oh no we didn’t.” Oh…

 

Local residents have been steaming and venting their spleens on Milford and Godalming Facebook groups over Waverley Councillors’ decision to grant planning for 200 houses on Milford Golf Course. After a three hour debate on Wednesday, the decision was made 10 for versus 5 against, with 3 abstentions.

Yes you heard it right – Three Councillors sat through THREE HOURS of debate and then still had the gall to abstain.*

How could they have done this? Gutless or what?
Why did they vote for this in the wake against such an avalanche of public outcry?

How did key local councillor Dennis Leigh keep Shtum after ranting vociferously against the development? What, we hear you cry? He abstained too?? This beggars belief! Had the Tory Whip – Councillor Michael Goodriddance been working overtime before the meeting?

No wonder local residents added 2 + 2 together and made 5, with many drawing the conclusion that Councillors were receiving big brown envelopes of cash. Surely there must be a reason for them to ignore the public so skilfully?!

As one resident after another came to the Bung Conclusion on Social Media, local top Tory Waverley and Surrey County Councillor Peter Martin  was forced to fire up his Facebook and defend his fellow councillors:

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Regrettably, we have to agree with him. The way Councillors approach these meetings is more cock-up than conspiracy and, although we make no excuses for them, are, as one said: “between a rock and a hard place.”  Otherwise, you would have to bung a lot of officers and councillors, and Statutory Agencies  – agencies that are completely overloaded with work, and half the time don’t even do their investigations properly. These things would certainly leak to our ears, wouldn’t they! We’d happily write an invoice too!

We heard one unguarded and frustrated SCC highway engineer say – SUDS – on developments (Sustainable Urban Drainage Schemes) just don’t work! What an admission to make in public!

As one local resident pointed out – the damage was done as soon as the land was taken out of the Green Belt by Waverley’s Local Plan Part 1. The developer didn’t need to bung anybody after that – in fact, they might have got a £5Million CIL discount by getting it in before 1st March!

*We understand one councillor did arrive late so wasn’t permitted to vote as he hadn’t heard the full debate. He too spoke against. The Committee acts in a Quasi-Judicial style you see. Not that one particular Farnham Residents’ Councillor would agree. He regularly accuses Waverley of ignoring environmental law.  Which it appears, they can continue doing as long as Natural England and the Government says so. 

Last night Waverley Planners gave developers the go-ahead to build homes on Milford Golf Course.

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Plus 3 Abstentions from the gutless ones.

We hate to say we told you so – but here’s yesterday’s post and here are the posts this little four-legged friend will soon be walking on!

Tonight The Milford Golf course development will be agreed on a wing and a prayer.

 A TORY TRICK – proposed by The TT’s whip Cllr Michael Goodridge who can  be relied upon to pull a rabbit out of the hat when the going gets rough. Proposed ‘A Planning Condition’ to approve the outline scheme for  200 homes in the hope, on a wing and a prayer, that the developer will reduce it to 180 later!

We should have put money on it at Bet Fred, but the odds were not good – because ‘Your Waverley” put the site in the Local Plan Part 1 – not the Government Inspector but ‘YW’ –  he just approved it! And last night consent was granted in outline- with an informative to developer Stretton Milford – that it is unlikely to get more than 180 homes on the golf course when it seeks detailed permission later.

Once upon a time,  everyone at Waverley thought it was THE  perfect site close to a station, schools, the A3, Milford village and nearby Godalming. In fact, local parish councils, hundreds of residents and most councillors didn’t actually like the scheme on Green Belt, on the flood plain, and believed it may not be deliverable as it is covered by a Covenant restricting its use.

But once again Betty’s nifty boot scored from the sidelines. Oh my – we will miss her.

For nearly three hours councillors, including the ward member, slammed the scheme. Most claimed there was insufficient information,  far too many unknowns including pavement improvements and bridge widening that were promised. Improvements that may not be in the developers’ gift, without the co-operation of Milford Golf Course!

But there was full support from Cranleigh Cllr Mary Foryszewski who, for the second time in just under a month, told her colleagues how much Cranleigh, with no station and very poor infrastructure, had repeatedly suffered from overdevelopment, and it was time for the rest of the borough take its share. 

In other words, you stuffed us and now it’s our turn to stuff you?

She went native after Waverley’s head planning honcho threatened the council’s  Planning Committee that if they refused the scheme towns like Farnham and Cranleigh, without the protection of Green Belt would suffer. As Waverley,  now requires a 20% buffer – and would not have a 5-year land supply, as had been proved recently in two overturned appeals!  Cllr Liz Townsend supported the scheme but called for, and highway officers agreed, too, bigger crossing points for walkers, Station Road should be wider and only 2-storey properties should be built.

Tim House, speaking on behalf of objectors lambasted the scheme calling it an “affront to common sense which flew in the face of public opinion.” He warned the land was covered by a restrictive Covenant that could prevent it ever being developed.”

He accused officers of coming up with a “cocktail of conditions” that the more realistic members of the committee should object to.

Witley Parish Council’s spokesman Cllr Gillian McCalden said the golf course was not the right place for development, and their Neighbourhood Plan had included far better locations for housing it recognised was badly needed. She predicted severe traffic congestion in Station Road, and although all the statutory consultees who had originally objected -Thames Water, SCC, Highways; Natural England; Environment Agency,  had now done a volte-face, and changed their minds, saying they were “now satisfied” –

However, she  Said: “we are not satisfied.”

The Ward Councillor Bob Upton said he didn’t blame Waverley planning officers:

“You are just doing your job and in the passage of time, you  will have moved on to pastures new as have most of your  colleagues, leaving behind many very frustrated villagers.”

Cllr Paul Follows said from the outset he would object to the application on the grounds that it was overdevelopment on a Flood Plain, off a narrow busy road, where no proper paths were provided to the station – unless, according to officers,  this could be negotiated sometime in the future! The Local Plan, which he said he had not voted for,  had stipulated 180 homes, and therefore 200 should be refused. Claiming the developer should be punished for its greed! 

Almost every councillor agreed that The boardwalk – of an unspecified height- necessary for villagers to reach a SANG in Flood Plain 3 – was inappropriate.

Councillor Jerry Hyman argued the scheme should be refused on the grounds that it ticked all the boxes as an EIA development and under the law required a proper Environmental Impact Assessment. as the site was above the required threshold.  

But as usual, politics came into play, he was slapped down again… but nobody could shut him up from warning that a time bomb could be ticking for the future of the environment and everyone should be considering the consequences of their actions would have on the borough’s endangered species.

Others said, the pavements were not wide enough and the extra traffic generated by the Dunsfold Development, Aarons Hill and others would exacerbate the situation at Milford Crossroads which was already at capacity.

Councillors questioned the County Highways’ predicted traffic flows and the size of the HGV’s from Tuesley Farm which regularly uses the narrow country lane.

Councillor Nick Holder called the scheme  – “a non-starter” and when the River Ock floods at it did in 2013- no traffic would move along the road- and where the SANG – which was- ” neither Special nor Alternative; nor Natural nor Greenspace – by any stretch of the imagination. “This scheme is complete nonsense, I won’t be voting for it.”

So there you have it folks,  once again the TORY JPC has caved in as they have on most major developments at the expense of the community – predominantly out of fear of appeal or planning inspectorate intervention due to appeals lost.

Full marks to Witley Parish Council which despite its objection, has wrung out of a developer a dumper truck full of money towards a host of improvements for Milford’s roads, schools, and community facilities. Some of which was squeezed out of it in the last few days!  

Perhaps if the former Chairman of Cranleigh Parish Council Mary Foryszewski had done the same – Cranleigh `New Town’ might not now be almost bereft of any improvements?

However, is that another Judicial Review we spy heading over Hascombe Hill? Because there are plenty of people out there in Milford with the will and the means to challenge this development. And based on some of the admissions made last night, there could be some very strong grounds to do so.

 

 

Tonight ​The Milford Golf course development will be agreed on a wing and a prayer.

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 In readiness for her swan song performance the head planning honcho at Waverley Towers is already buffing up her boots and inserting new studs to kick another unpopular planning application through the goal posts.  Ok, ok, we know it’s a golf course.

The soon-to-be-replaced Betty Boot, who is shortly leaving to play for the Home team – will provide members of the Joint Planning Committee with a thousand reasons why they should support building on the former Green Belt golf course in Milford. Cover a  floodplain  with concrete and 200 homes – 80 of which will be “affordable.” For whom, they will actually be “affordable,” is anyone’s guess? 

You can read WW’s post on details of the scheme here:

Another slice of Waverley’s former Green Belt – about to bite the dust – as planners get set to change the face of Milford?

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 In an up-date sheet added to a 109-page report to be presented to the committee – she says there are changes:

Page 75 – In regard to the test set out in Paragraph 55 of the Habitats regulations relating to the granting of a protected species licence.  To clarify, Natural England as the relevant licencing body will apply these tests when determining a licence application. As per relevant and established case law, it is not for Officers or members to carry out its own shadow assessment of this test when determining an application for planning permission.  Officers have made Natural England aware of the presence of protected species on this site and have been provided with a copy of Surrey Wildlife Trust’s response to this application. Natural England has not objected to this application and therefore it is considered reasonable for the Council to proceed on the basis that a licence is not unlikely to be granted if permission is approved. Perhaps she hasn’t read the latest Guardian Newspaper article – about which the Waverley Web has spoken to the journalist for confirmation.

PerhapsWaverley Planners should all read this?  https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jan/29/agency-protecting-english-environment-reaches-crisis-point

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Screen Shot 2019-02-19 at 18.04.41.pngWe will have a bet with you Bett.  Of course, Natural England isn’t going to object because thousands of environmentally important sites across England are coming under threat every day of the week as the government body charged with their care is struggling with understaffing, slashed budgets and increasing workload. 

Natural England has wide-ranging responsibilities protecting and monitoring sensitive sites, including sites of special scientific interest (SSSIs) and nature reserves, and advising on the environmental impact of new homes and other developments in the planning stages. Its work includes overseeing national parks, paying farmers to protect biodiversity and areas of huge public concern such as air quality and marine plastic waste.

(Well we all know what is going on in Farnham over the air quality scandal.  One former member of staff has been charged and awaits trial, while her line manager has bug****D off to pastures new and a new plump salary!)

But while the activities of NE are being impaired by severe budget cuts and understaffing, Natural England employees and other interested parties have told the Guardian. “These are fantastically passionate staff who are worried that the environment is being affected so badly by these cuts,” one frontline staff member said.

“There will be no turning back the clock” if we allow sensitive sites to be degraded.

The agency’s budget has been cut by more than half in the past decade, from £242m in 2009-10 to £100m for 2017-18. Staff numbers have been slashed from 2,500 to an estimated 1,500.  But worry not Waverley residents – Waverley Planners are “always satisfied” with the comments made by statutory agencies, including Thames Water and the Environment Agency.

Just like the same Tory-led administration, officers and, some  members. were “perfectly satisfied” with Thakeham Homes scheme to build on a floodplain in Cranleigh. Homes that the Association of British Insurers following a recent meeting at the House of Commons with Ministers, is now considering advising its members – not to insure!! 

Perhaps ‘Your Waverley’ will put that up on its Searches Website for future buyers?

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jan/29/agency-protecting-english-environment-reaches-crisis-point

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Here’s what one of our followers thinks:

As Harold Wilson didn’t say “a week is a long time in planning”

Last week Guildford was jubilant about the Inspector apparently restoring their Green Belt sites.

Yesterday the Government issued its response on using the 2016 ONS figures and entirely predictably rejected this idea ……..see https://andrewlainton.wordpress.com/ and various government pages. Make what you will of that.

Then as you say, tonight Waverley Borough Council Joint Planning Committee is racing to decide the fate of the application to build up to 200 houses on part of Milford Golf Course. Once again in Waverley, crucial flood risk assessments have been downgraded to matters to be dealt with AFTER planning is granted even though the Soggy SANG makes the FRA additionally complicated.

On top of that yesterday the Government also finally produced the local authority housing delivery figures ie the number of houses which have actually been built by Local Authority Area. That shows both Guilford and Waverley falling below the 95% mark which means (according to the revised National Planning Policy Framework issued last year) they now have to add a 20% buffer to their five year supply!!! No doubt officers will use that as justification tonight for bullying councillors into consenting to the GC site. That seems to me to be a remarkably stupid thing to do when everybody can see this application is highly likely to get mired in long legal wrangles over the restrictive covenant. That could mean delivery of these 200 houses will be held up for ? up to five years which will obviously have a knock on effect on delivery. But according to officers, the restrictive covenant isn’t a planning matter!

Words (nearly) fail me.