Now that the dust has settled – and Jeremy Hunt is firmly ensconced back into his ‘entrepreneurial’ MP role at Westminster, let us reflect for a moment on the amount of criticism heaped upon the new coalition administration of ‘Your Waverley,’ that is beginning to feel more like “Our Waverley.’
Every new administration – regardless of its political allegiance – needs time to settle in. When that new administration is comprised of Labour; Liberal Democrat; Farnham Residents’ and an Independent – it could take a little longer. Let us be patient?
However, the borough’s residents are already beginning to feel the wind of change and each day that goes by, are beginning to feel considered, and more involved. Watching the webcast run properly, the ability for residents to ask questions – and more important, getting answers.
Fairer hearings for the public at planning meetings, and a Mayor who has asked members not to stand, as is customary, to speak during Full Council meetings. If they do, their heads are chopped off. Saying she will only vote on items where there is a tied vote, and generally assists in lightening the mood.
It is refreshing to see the new portfolio holders getting to grips with their briefs without point-scoring and continuously thanking officers for reports. That’s an officer’s job, that is what officers are paid for.
It is great to get regular up-dates on social media about the issues of the day – and the public welcomed The Listening Panel on oil and gas exploration which was presented by the portfolio holder with the experience of one who had been in the job for years. Steve Williams did what it said on the tin – he listened. Likewise with the Climate Emergency declaration – which everyone recognises will take time to bed in. and requires commitment from the council, developers and residents’ alike. The Green Party is a welcome addition to Waverley.
The public like the fact that the new guys and gals are questioning how and where Waverley spends its finite resources. Resources which diminish by the day due to Government cuts.
The Waverley Web joins others in being particularly impressed that the new administration wants funds distributed more equally between the major settlements in the borough. Over here in Farnham, we have received more than our fair share of Waverley handouts over the years. So too, the decision to meet with the residents of the small rural villages, often forgotten in the past.
WW remembers only too well the commitment made by the Tories to commit £12m to a new leisure entre for the benefit of the eastern villages, just a month before the May election. Did it have the money to make such a pledge? Will Cranleigh see that new Leisure Centre soon, or did the Tories commit a new council to a pledge it could not afford to keep?
As for Brightwells – the fact that New Waverley intends to look at the scheme with different eyes is welcomed by most here in Farnham. But is it too late?
Even if nobody else does. The Waverley Web fully appreciates the transparency of John Ward, Paul Follows and their team. So let’s give them a break and if then, they don’t deliver then we will be among the first to say so.