They say a day is a long time in politics – in Godalming things are moving by the hour.
Perhaps this really progressive new council will be a model for others? Is this the man to follow?
Since the new brooms led by Paul Follow swept into the town’s council chamber in May it has:
Declared a climate emergency.
-Allocated initial money to schemes to support that work this year;
– Added a new grant fund for carbon-reducing projects to replace that from 2020;
– Used some of this year’s initial money to give the green-light for three public water points at key areas of the town in Godalming, Farncombe and at the Phillips Memorial Park;
– A couple of other projects too (one involving some land at Ockford Ridge becoming a wildflower meadow for the community and another regarding the transition to LED bulbs);
Upon being told that councillors robes would cost in excess of £10,000 to replace. The Town Council has elected not to!
Said Council chair Paul Follows:
“My own personal view here is that I want to be judged, and want the council to be judged on what we do and not what we wear and want to reduce any barriers between councillors and residents.
Tradition is important and this is part of our history but it should not override all other considerations.”
– We also agreed on a Town council level structure of regular surgeries where at least one councillor from each ward will be available at each session to meet residents. More details on that soon.
So in my view a very good result – and I am extremely proud to be leading a reforming, modernising and cross-party town council. Many thanks to all the hard work of the town staff on all of the above too – without them, none of these measures would get off the drawing board.
The first 100 days of Waverley’s coalition has now been completed – and some changes have already been implemented – (The Listening Exercise) and there are many more to come.
So far the opposition has had a few major gripes, such as accusing the new administration of not appointing council members quickly enough to outside bodies – of which there are many. To which Leader John Ward said the Executive wanted to get the right people, with the right skills, into the new roles.
It also accused them of raising the public’s expectation by suggesting residents could have a bigger say in decision-making particularly on planning matters.
Will villagers throw a spanner into a charity’s’ works on August 3rd? Or will there be another no show?
The WW has been accused by some of the Bamford Board Brigade (BBB’s) of telling lies and inciting hatred.
Now, it isn’t often our team of bloggers have a hissy fit – but on this occasion – as we have said to the Cranleigh Village Hospital Trust –
What’s it all about BB have we pooped on your stoop? You’re having a laugh aren’t you Pot? Kettle? Black?
All those poorer souls from Cranleigh and the nearby villages who dug deep into their pockets to raise over £1m want answers from the charity that trousered it. Honest answers. And social media keyboards have sizzled with incriminations. on your former self/developer/ propaganda board – the control of which you have now relinquished.
All villagers want to know is why they are getting an 80 private care home beds circa (1,200/300 per week and 20 community beds for Surrey County Council’s clients (circa £800 p.w. for dementia clients) a hostel for Surrey health workers and not the HOSPITAL, DAY HOSPITAL with a minor injuries unit and other services, that they were promised?
The WW accepts we are anonymous and our reasons are simple:
We are not hiding behind it, but sometimes you have to be invisible and be in all the right places to get the truth in this ever more devious world.
We receive information from officers/councillors and residents eager to shine a light on all things, Waverley. They trust us to tell you – what you need to know. Nobody funds us? We have nothing to gain?
The WW recognises we are Western-centric but have received many hundreds of private e-mails and public comments from residents of the eastern villages who believe they have been well and truly stuffed by a Charity.
The WW was prompted to publicise the hospital/care home saga by “local people, In fact, until we heard about residents’ angst, we knew nothing of this 20-year saga.
WW does not ask, promote, or suggest that anyone reads this blog. However, it is read here and all over the world.
For the first time since its foundation – now every political party; including Conservatives regularly read and comment on our posts.
We have received a Facebook trail of comments from the Cranleigh Community Board – run by the BB – who claims we are run by developers. Well BB – it takes one to know one?
And.. we will have a sporting sixpence bet with you BB when you say we are supported by developers. Name them? And within 24 hours of rising to our challenge, you will be on the receiving end of a solicitors’ letter!
Our offices are not provided/rented from a local developer; we are not Trustees working on behalf of a local developer – and we did not set up a local board to promote any developer’s agenda? Simples.
So we ask – what lies has the WW told Mr Bamford?
If we have lied or misinformed anyone – tell us do? Or perhaps your Mummy will tell us for you? And then we pledge to correct our so-called mistakes.
So let’s do a FACT CHECK and attempt to help BB untwist his super-hero spandex.
Whatever good intentions The Cranleigh Village Hospital Trust may once have had – the road to ruin is paved with good intentions?
Why did thousands of men, women and children support one of the biggest fund-raising initiatives the eastern villages had ever seen?
Because they were told it was for a replacement Cranleigh hospital with beds for residents within a 5-mile radius, on a new site owned by villagers via their partners (Cranleigh Parish Council.) This hospital, they were told, would include a day hospital for outpatients, minor injuries; X-Ray unit and diagnostics and MRI.
Cranleigh once boasted a Surrey County Council Dementia Residential Nursing Home – called Longfields – 65+ beds. We had one here in Farnham called Cobgates. Both abandoned, closed and left to rot. One is now derelict. One Cranleigh organisation told us that villagers raised funds to build a dementia garden there! –
– more villagers’ money down the pan?
So where are 20 of those 120 or so former county council elderly care beds going? Yes, you guessed – just 20 of them into the new private Care Home operated by HC-One, currently FOR SALE and with debts of £800m! All was revealed recently in the Daily Mail.
For whom are the 20 community beds intended? The residents of Surrey. As one villager commented…
“You have as much chance of winning the lottery as you have of jumping into a CVHT bed?”
So Who Dares Wins? SCC? Who gets to flog off a valuable site which should be used to meet the real needs of adult social care. Not trouser the money to push into a gold-plated pension pot instead of building – a proper residential care facility to serve the rapidly increasing population of Cranleigh and villages? An increase of over 6,000 when you include Dunsfold Park?
However, who wouldn’t grab beds heavily subsidised by the public, a parish council and the future care home’s paying residents’ purses?
Questions you could answer Mr Bamford, as we understand, as you have a direct conduit through the Chamber of Commerce and as a Trustee of the Knowle Park Initiative /A2 Dominion into the developer?
How long is ‘the bed contract’ with SCC? A year? Five years?
What was the District Valuer’s valuation on the land sold to CVHT by the parish council for £1?
What exactly is the ‘community benefit?’ Whose ‘community?’
How much Community Infrastructure Levy will it contribute towards infrastructure for such a large development?
Will, the developer hand over 106 monies or Community Infrastructure Levy to mitigate for the upheaval, increased traffic, noise and inconvenience to Waverley tenants of a three-storey building owned by ‘Your Waverley” and a 26-bed hostel unit – that is actually a housing development in all but name in Whisper Drive?
We suspect – ZILCH?
Would anyone support a scheme that has no value or benefit to the people who helped fund it?
Answer these questions Cranleigh Village Hospital Trust aka Martin Bamford – to the satisfaction of your donors and then you may get residents’ backing?
Rock up to a public meeting open to everyone, at Cranleigh Village hall on Saturday, August 3rd between 10-12 and have your say. Because the Deputy Leader of Waverley Borough Council will be there to hear you.
As there is so much controversy over the membership of ‘Your Waverley’s’ Executive.
Once new councillors have signed their Declarations of Office, they must nominate a new Leader, a New Deputy and Mayor. All of whom are now in post and cracking on with the jobs in hand – but apparently not fast enough for the ousted Tories.
A huge and important task faced one of the largest numbers of new councillors ‘YW’ has ever seen. To chose the Executive – where major issues are first debated and then scrutinised by the Overview & Scrutiny Committees and the roles of Portfolio Holders.
A new council made up of every political party (except Tories) and an Independent recognised very early on they needed to learn from the mistakes made by the previous regime. Engage more with the public, listen more and communicate more effectively. By the way, the Tories were offered a place on the Executive but refused! Got it? REFUSED!
Although all the parties have formed a Coalition, the Conservative group of 23 councillors still remain the largest party and will be judged by their actions on how they treat the new incumbents, who have been duly elected.
The skills and abilities of individuals, from whichever party need to be recognised as chairmen, portfolio holders etc. A team of all the talents from across the political spectrum.
It also needs to be recognised that the number one task is to represent the interests of Waverley residents in the towns and villages. We (WW) believe the views of the towns and parishes should carry greater weight, on planning matters in particular. So should the views of the councillors who represent the areas in which development is planned.
Is it fair for example that if all councillors in one area vote against an application they can be outvoted by councillors in other areas with different agendas and priorities?
There is also a pressing need to get rid of poor quality staff especially those who think quantity is far more important than quality. Shun the sometimes vomit-inducing tendency of thanking officers at every opportunity just for doing their job, often, not even particularly well. Throw out developers/turned planning officers who are there to help their colleagues?
There are many areas that need attention, the planning portal for one, which is almost impossible for professionals to navigate let alone the layperson. Our bete noir, the webcasting system, that works for some of the people all of the time, and some people none of the time, but never all of the people all the time. Send it back to Rumbelows?
Treat one another with respect. Turn up, and stay awake, and at least look as though you have read your papers. It was so obvious at the shambolic second meeting of Full Council that many hadn’t! There were numerous mistakes in the paperwork!
Stop pretending that homes costing upwards of £400,000 are “affordable homes” find another name for them, and build council houses that are affordable based on average shop/farm/worker salaries.
The London borough of Westminster has decided that no more officers can automatically be converted into residential properties. The town of Haslmlemere has had its shops and offices given the same protection, so other towns should follow – SOON!
Fuming voters ditched the Tories because they failed to bring out a credible Local Plan early enough. Full marks to Julia Potts & Co, they did manage something. However, even that is awaiting a decision on a challenge in the High Court… again.
The largest brownfield site in the borough should have been released for housing years ago. Those delays have cost the eastern villages dearly – and the Tories have been punished for it. Now – everyone should LISTEN to the public’s concerns as the purse-strings tighten.