Do you want Godalming to have a bigger say in​ how it develops​​ in the future?

Please note: Conservative councillor Jan Floyd-Douglass voted against the Charterhouse application. She says she listens to both sides of the argument and then votes, even if it is against officers recommendation to refuse. Wow! even the new Tories have minds of their own now?

And … more of a say on ALL important  issues affecting the town for which some residents have adopted the soliloquy – “Godawfulming?”

Do residents want to reinforce the case for making the way ahead for Godalming planned by Godalming again?

Just so that the Waverley Web can put you in the picture – until Godalming’s New Guard took over – the previous administration, that just happened to be almost all Tories – couldn’t be bothered to debate Godalming matters, either at the town or parish councils.

WHY? We hear you cry?

Because – quite simply – why bother – when the REAL decision-makers were holed up in Waverley Towers and as most of them were borough councillors why give up an evening’s bridge/golf/TV at two meetings – when you can score a hole in one.

But thankfully soon – Godalming’s time could come again…

 Soon the Godalming Town Council, led by Cllr Paul Follows,  could well be considering planning applications and other matters of local importance.

Yipee – is that the sweet scent of democracy we smell wafting over Godalming for the first time for many years?

 

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Please, Sir? We want more.

 

 

The effect of this was seen in the controversial decision last week to let Charterhouse School build on Green Belt to construct two new boarding school houses for girls because the charitable organisation needs more pupils – in other words, it needs more dosh.

Green Belt development isn’t allowed unless there are exceptionally strong reasons for it, and Godalming Town Councillors were against it. They believed the reasons given were not “exceptional” and were certainly not “strong.”

But it went through the Waverley planning process because the town council doesn’t have a say. When it was considered by the Joint Planning Committee it was passed by 14 votes.  (We believe these were all Conservatives plus some Farnham Residents and the Liberal Democrat Chairman. (However, it is almost obligatory for the Chairman of the Joint Planning Committee to vote for everything – even holding Easter at Christmas if the planning officers’ says so.)

Saying YES to everything comes with the job.

However, there were five (Labour, Green and some Lib Dems opposed to the scheme), with one Lib Dem abstention.

 So – whoops there goes another green field!

Screen Shot 2019-07-02 at 19.26.23.pngNow one Godalming Cllr who has recently arrived on the scene doesn’t believe this is sensible.

He says:  “Although I’m perfectly happy working with Farnham and Haslemere councillors on Waverley issues,  I believe it’s unreasonable to expect them to take a keen interest in Godalming. Clearly, Godalming Town Council should recover a say in planning, and if the town’s proposed Neighbourhood Plan is approved by a good majority, that’s a vote of confidence in them and it will help them recover a proper say. So Let’s vote yes.”

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So  “Do you want Waverley Borough Council to use the Neighbourhood Plan for Godalming & Farncombe to help it decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area?”

If you want to read the full plan, it’s at https://www.waverley.gov.uk/downloads/file/6800/godalming_and_farncombe_neighbourhood_plan_april_2019.

 

10 thoughts on “Do you want Godalming to have a bigger say in​ how it develops​​ in the future?

  1. I think the voting figures are from me, so apologies as I got them slightly wrong. There were two abstentions (one LibDem, one Conservative) and one Conservative voted against (Jan Floyd-Douglass).

    Doesn’t change the main point, though – it’s daft that Godalming planning isn’t influenced by Godalming.

    • Mea Culpa- but it is almost impossible to determine how anyone votes.

      However, at least now the New Guard is in charge we get the actual voting figures. Have to be thankful for small mercies. Under the previous administration the committee clerk just mumbled the figures under her breath, and swallowed them.

  2. It is daft, which is why we had a manifesto promise to make sure Planning input comes back to Godalming (and why in the interim we are making use of what arrangement could have been used in the past but were rarely actioned).

    The bedrock of that needs to be the Godalming and Farncombe neighbourhood plan. Don’t get me wrong I am entirely of the view the neighbourhood plans should have influenced the Waverley Local Plan (as clearly localism had in mind) but we are where we are on that.

    I am urging people to vote YES next week and we will put it at the heart of the the restored Environment and Planning Committee of GTC.

  3. So now it is up to the people of Godalming to stand up and be counted. However, this concerns us, because many of them have already decided to take flight from the town – in the belief it is done for.

    We say- stand up and fight for the town you care for – and when planning powers come back to the Town Council make Waverley Planners listen to your voices – even if they are not heard.

  4. Having a neighborhood plan does have a strong influence on planning decisions but i would advise a much greater degree of caution in managing expectations. A town or parish council cannot ever override the planning authority should they be in disagreement. A refusal from the town or parish council committee has little or no bearing on the decisions taken by a planning authority which is bound by planning law. Additionally, if the current administration at the borough council reopen the adopted local plan, as they have pledged to do in their various publications, all neighborhood plans in the borough could be simply ignored, as they are required under planning law to be compliant with an adopted local plan. Neighborhood plans sit under, and are compliant with, an adopted local plan. Neighborhood plans do not influence or change the content of the adopted local plan.

  5. Agree with you wholeheartedy. And it is our view that so far Waverley Planners have taken scant regard of anything local people have to say about anything – whether they are parishes or towns with Neighbourhood Plans or not.

    It is a bit like all those public consultations – whether they are through the NHS, county councils or the borough’s – they (the officers’) tick the box that says – CONSULTED – and then do their own thing in line with Government policy.

    So what difference does it make if the adopted local plan is re-opened? Becuse that too will be overriden by Government Planning policy which is to drive through as many homes in the South-East until it reaches bursting point. In other words S**t happens – and it is happening on the countryside all around us. As one developer was overheard saying – “I have made millions, so many millions I don’t know what to do with it all.” But then he told one of our followers – he had a great deal of help from his Tory councillor friends, and a couple of Waverley planning officers.

  6. I completely agree with you on the subject of consultations. However, let us wait and see if the local plan is actually reopened by the new guard as promised – £100 to the charity of WW’s choice says they will not reopen it.

  7. We very much doubt that the Local Plan will be, or should in fact, be re-opened. Been there, worn the T-Shirt and have thousands of homes being built on flood plains and inappropriate sites to prove we should have had a Local Plan much sooner.

    However, not the former administration’s fault to be fair – it was all down to Bramley’s Shut-The Gates and Robert Know-less.

  8. I don’t remember the Lib Dems unequivocally committing to reopening the local plan so I looked back at their manifesto and what that says is that they want to look again at housing mix etc and re-open the local plan ‘at the earliest opportunity’. I have no idea what Farnham Residents said on this topic, if anything.

    In the light of the legal advice the Waverley ‘new guard’ has received as part of the CPRE/PoW case on the potential dangers of having to resubmit a revised plan to Government and so falling under the new system for calculating new housing need, I expect Watching Waverley is correct and there isn’t going to be a rush to reopen it. However, there is now a statutory obligation to review within 5 years of adoption so as the Waverley LP was adopted in 2018 looks to me like this administration may have to grapple with this at some point before they leave office.

    ps I have no idea where that leaves Watching Waverley’s wager as no time frame was mentioned……….

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