We at the Waverley Web have read Paul Follows latest Twitter postings with interest. Should Paul Follows spin the wheel?
Like many of our followers, we have welcomed the ‘new brooms’ at Waverley and their commitment to open and honest dialogue with the electorate, as opposed to the secret squirrel stuff that went on under the previous Tory monopoly administration. But …
Yes, of course, there’s a but! This is the Waverley Web and when have you ever known our spiders roll over and wave their little hairy legs in the air?
The but is that the new brooms need to be exceedingly careful that they don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater!
It’s all very well for Paul Follows to sit down with CPRE and Protect our Little Corner (POW) but this isn’t just about CPRE and POW and what they want. If Paul Follows wants to jaw-jaw (or, in this case, pow-wow – or do we mean wow POW?!) he will also have to jaw-jaw with ALL the stakeholders, not just CPRE and POW – just because the usual suspects shout the loudest doesn’t make them the only toddlers in the playpen!
Jaw-jaw is all well and good but it would be naive in the extreme for Paul Follows to assume that the new brooms at Waverley are going to solve the issues surrounding housing numbers by just engaging with POW and CPRE about them.
A review of the Local Plan isn’t within the gift of the Lib Dems, the Farnham Residents, CPRE or POW and whilst we would all like to see less housing cluttering up our countryside, the reality is there are VERY REAL RISKS that in lobbying for this review all these good-intentions could go horribly awry and the upshot could be that Waverley’s housing numbers DO NOT DECREASE and, instead, they INCREASE! Thanks-a-lot POW!
This isn’t a case of the only way is down – a review could go either way!
Like them or loathe them, the previous Tory administration at Waverley spent years with their heads up their … – oops! we meant to say, in the sand – denying that there was a need for any more housing in Waverley. They firmly believed that if they said No! No! No! And denied, deferred, delayed and procrastinated it would all go away or, as so often happened, be superceded.
But it didn’t and when, under La Potts’ aegis, she recognised and accepted that Waverley couldn’t and wouldn’t be allowed to continue taking the *iss any more and decided to grasp the nettle, she did us all a favour.
Why? Because that denial, deferral, delay and procrastination policy has cost us, the Waverley council tax payers, dearly. Not only financially but in concrete terms, because it is the reason developers and anyone with a paddock at the end of their garden have had – quite literally – a field day! With no Local Plan in place, it has been a developer’s and would-be developers’ charter to build on every green field, paddock and bit of redundant farmland they can lay claim to.
If Waverley BC, under the direction of Matthew Evans, Mary Orton-Pett (AKA Mrs MOP), Richard Shut-the-Gates and Robert Know-Less – not to mention POW’s mother, Stop Dunsfold Park New Town (SDPNT) – had accepted the inevitable and acquiesced to the Dunsfold Developer’s original scheme to build 2,600 houses at the aerodrome in 2009 not only would a great many of those houses now be built and occupied, Waverley BC would have been able to defend its green fields and belt and Cranleigh and Farnham – not to mention the villages of Awfold and Duncefold – would not now be turning into concrete jungles with housing estates popping up like mushrooms all over their formerly green and pleasant environs
At the end of the day, CPRE and POW are arguing about a measly 80 houses per annum. And in running that argument they risk another Inspector concluding that Waverley’s housing numbers are not too high but too low!
We, at the Waverley Web, have the greatest respect for Paul Follows and the Farnham Residents and their ambitious plans for the Borough but they need to bear in mind that it’s very easy to stand outside the tent and throw brickbats but it’s not so easy to be in the tent trying to reconcile the bickering factions and ensuring, in the process, they don’t all end up costing us yet more money we can ill afford and land we’d rather not lose!
Paul Follows and his colleagues need only look at the internecine battles that are going on in the Tory party and the Labour party at the moment and the damage that is doing to the country and take heed!