Farnham Theatre lovers rejoice and regret.

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Waverley councillors under its Tory administration may have destroyed Farnham’s Redgrave Theatre but they will never destroy its memory in the hearts of the town’s residents.

A book charting the history and demise of the monument to the famous Redgrave Dynasty – whose namesake Sir Michael Redgrave was a former housemaster at Cranleigh School, will soon be published.

As you will see from the information in the Theatre’s newsletter below, the cover contains a reproduction of a telegram to the Castle Theatre from Noel Coward, himself once a resident of Alfold during the war years. Links with the treasured Farnham and Castle Theatres come from right across the Waverley borough – and its towns and villages have mourned their loss alongside The Farnham Theatre Association. As do we all here at The Waverley Web.

History will show that to send in the bulldozers and sacrifice the theatre on the altar of more retail, more restaurants and homes, will be a permanent stain on Farnham’s history.

Thankfully the new leaders of Waverley Borough council have agreed to take a further look at the East Street development – which is funded jointly by Surrey County Council and Waverley Borough Council with OUR MONEY! Times they are a changing, fast. It is time that ‘Your Waverley’ took a closer look at Blightwells Yard snd brought it in line with a 2020 vision – not a millennium vision?

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Screen Shot 2020-01-29 at 21.46.53.pngFollowing the 5th December Farnham Herald headline for a Farnham Theatre, a negative letter soon appeared from one resident, Mr. Stephens.

He had clearly been influenced by Waverley’s ‘spin doctors’ who had once desired it -gone to make way for a grand new East Street development. Notwithstanding this, more letters supporting theatre and critical of the development appeared. We reproduce one below which is from one of our committee member, John Price. This letter has been picked up by John Spackman for the Say Yes to the Appropriate Development of East Street website:

Easier to destroy than construct..
DAVID WYLDE’S excellent letter (January 9) once again shows the sense of his arguments based on practical experience and common sense.
It has been said it is much easier to destroy than construct, the latter taking much time, ability, thought and often hard earned revenue.

Mr Stephens’ need to move on has, of course, been undertaken and changes in presenting theatre, cinema and television are continuous and provide constant challenges for those who work in these fields.

Is it not apparent to Mr Stephens that the British Isles is a world leader in these fields. It requires great skills, perseverance and backing from much of the population.

We have provided the greatest playwright who ever lived, the invention of television and a language which much of the world communicates with. But I wonder locally whether we have the necessary politicians and administrators with skills to enable matters to progress?

Mr Stephens should remember that all young school children love acting first as participants in the school Christmas play followed by some acting in the secondary

stage of education, plays of all kinds.
It is a useful tool for education and a few dedicated individuals may decide to embark on an uncertain and competitive career, not only in an acting capacity but also in the necessary technical side. I wonder why our local university provides courses for the latter?

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Some years ago the Redgrave Theatre Company and its varied activities were extolled in the House of Commons as a centre of excellence with the minister of culture suggesting other theatres could follow its example. You could read the debate in Hansard.

I get the feeling the views of a few local leaders and the then chief executive of Waverley and leader of the council and a member of the Regional Arts Council were not happy with support.
A theatre was ruled out in the bids for redevelopment of Brightwells, to the surprise of Crest Nicholson.

I am convinced there is a demand for a professional theatre building, hopefully with good acoustics for music, but it takes much hard work to obtain the results the first Redgrave obtained.

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And remember, theatre did not start with Shakespeare. It goes back to the Romans, the Greeks and the ancient Egyptians. A long, long time.

John Price  Farnham Theatre Association

Will the latest gaff scupper the chances of the Tories sowing Oates in Milford?

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A couple of days ago we posted on the Tories efforts to data harvest opinion as a pre-cursor to the Milford By-Election due on 13 February. The dubious alliance of Peter Martin & Carmel Oates sent out a questionnaire to residents seeking ??? Votes ???

Can’t have been for any other reason, because the Tories have repeatedly shown they don’t give a damn about Milford – judging by the planning applications recently approved.  Will they face censorship for disobeying Electoral Commission rules?

So, who is genuinely interested in representing the views of Milford People rather than increasing the Tory Party’s hold on Waverley Towers?

In one corner we have : Parish Councillor Maxine Gale standing as an Independent.  It’s called doing the decent thing in Milford.

In another we have another independent Rosaleen Egan, who has had more than her fair share of quarrels with ‘Your Waverley’ over the years. Mrs Egan is canvassing with her outrageously cute campaign manager. She says, “any little advantage is fair in love, war and politics.”

Rosaleen Leaflet Milford 2020

The Tories data harvesting has begun in a bid to snaffle a vacant seat in Milford.

The strange case of Carmel Oates.

We should add, that we have heard nothing from either the Handheld -based Tory Office or Ms Oates or Cllr Peter Martin, despite being happy to hear what she intends to do for MILFORD and Witley?

As ‘Your Surrey’ is named pothole capital of the country – here’s an Alfold villagers view.

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The 26 homes consented at Brockhurst Farm on the A281 at Alfold Crossways hasn’t started yet – like so many other consented developments in Waverley- wonder why?

Denise Wadsworth is a regular follower of the Waverley Web and we share her frustrations that are included below.

The small rural village on the Surrey/Sussex border already has 125 consented homes – with another 56 at appeal for the former Wyevale Garden Centre. Waverley Planning officers recently refused Phase 2 of  the Cala Homes development in Loxwood Road, this too has gone to appeal.

Now another developer has homed in on the tiny village – ICENI Projects for WE Black Limited seeks a screening opinion for another 80 homes on vacant open land adjacent to the Crossways Petrol Station on the A281 Horsham/Guildford Road, just a Petunia away from the now derelict Alfold Garden Centre. 

Where one Alfold grew plants for the eastern villages – it will soon produce new homes. Just a hop, skip and a jump away from the Dunsfold Garden village.

The very same road villagers describe as a national disgrace, due to its rapidly deteriorating condition. Is it any wonder the locals are thoroughly cheesed off?

Wordsworth’s Lament:

“As I drove to London this morning there were the “Road-Patchers” out filling in the designated Pot holes on the A281 – ( already posts on the Alfold Village Network about another one that is ripping tyres) and ignoring those that didn’t have the little Orange Cross on it!”

“Wildwood  Lane is being repaired Apparently this weekend – No sign of any works on Alfold Lane!! Just as bad … Dunsfold road has Bollards marking a huge hole…Talk on Breakfast News this morning about re-opening the Beechings Closed Railways stations – Bet there is B*All going to happen for Cranleigh.”

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I am copying our Conservative MP on this as Anne Milton was always concerned about these issues I would like to know if our New one cares as much – Not that Waverley would even know we have her!!

 

Waverley Borough Council’s website obviously hasn’t caught up yet with  the results of the General Election! 

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CPRE speaks with forked tongue?

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More of this? A brand new home in Elstead?

The Campaign For The Preservation of Rural England outfit that opposed development on the largest  brown field site in Waverley – wants to build on brown field sites to save the countryside! Can you believe it!

There is no justification for building housing estates in our Green Belt, writes Andy Smith, Surrey branch director of CPRE.

The very same Surrey branch of the CPRE – that has fought ‘Your Waverley’s Local Plan – and in particular the Dunsfold Aerodrome’s new garden village. Fought at public inquiries, fought it in the High Court, and subsequently fought it through  the Appeal Court – and lost.

£300,000 of our money down the pan! But Protect Our Waverley, says “thank you” to its supporters.

Actually although our previous post says it only cost the CPRE £10,000 it did eventually cost it £20,000 in its costs awarded by the judges to Waverley Borough Council. It also cost the Protect Our Waverley Group – £30,000 – which has not yet been paid. All this in addition to the two organisations’ own costs.
This is what the CPRE claims:

The London Green Belt, which covers most of Surrey, is “the countryside next door” for millions of people in and around our capital city. Escaping from urban life into the tranquil countryside improves our health, boosts our mood, and gives us pause to reflect on the world around us.

Crucially, as we are now facing a climate and ecological emergency, the need to revitalise and protect our living green spaces has never been more important.

Our countryside plays a vital role in sequestering carbon and mitigating the worst impacts of climate change, providing space to plant trees and hedgerows, reduce flooding and cool our towns.

Since its creation in the 1950s, our Green Belt has proved a great success by protecting Surrey’s open spaces and reducing the damage of urban sprawl.

Unfortunately, however, it is now under huge pressure from development, with tens of thousands of new houses being earmarked for Green Belt land across Surrey.

Developers – aided by their political allies – make the bogus claim that loosening planning restrictions such as the Green Belt will enable us to build the homes we need.

They argue that if only we could build more houses in the Green Belt there would be no housing shortages. This argument is utter nonsense and bears no relation to reality whatsoever.

In fact, research shows that releasing Green Belt land for housing development does nothing to enable us to meet genuine local housing needs.

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By allowing harmful development in our Green Belt, on the false prospectus that it helps to solve the housing crisis, we are squandering a valuable asset at a time when it is needed for our own health and well-being, and to address the climate change crisis.

Instead, as the CPRE report makes clear, we need better solutions to fix the housing crisis, such as building on “brownfield” (previously developed) sites.

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In the future it is pertinent to ask those soliciting your vote whether they and their party will pledge to defend the Green Belt if elected. The lesson is clear: Building houses in our Green Belt is not the answer to the housing crisis.

Ask Angela if you live in Guildford and the Waverley eastern villages?

The Space to Breathe report can be downloaded at cpre.org.uk

Now that, ‘Our Jeremy’ is back in the smoke – we presume he’s too busy to shlep around Waverley?

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Do you remember how “Our Jeremy’ made a big issue about his personal fight against anti-social behaviour – during the General Election – of course!

 

There he was schmoozing with the locals around Farncombe and Godalming telling them all  how he leading the fight against ASB, and making it his his personal crusade. The crusade that the residents of Farncombe & Godalming had been addressing for many months through public meetings, and meetings with their borough councillors,  Surrey’s Police & Crime Commissioner David Monro and the local bobbies.

So was the comeback kid, there posting leaflets through the doors of his residents with the stalwarts pictured below. You bet your bottom teenager he wasn’t!

More likely sniffing around Westminster looking for a new post, that would give him enough time to earn another entrepreneurial crust and spend more quality time with his family. Now’s the time to step up to the mark Jeremy – you hold the power now use it!

After all Election won – game over!

 

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Here’s what the real activators are doing in a bid to solve the problem.

Antisocial Behaviour – Update Jan 24th

Good evening everyone. A lot more comments tonight and a little bit over the last week (with a couple of really notable instances that the police are following up on).

I am here to serve the community as best I can, and in that spirit have tried to use what position I have in our town and borough councils to ASSIST the bodies that have legal and financial responsibility for the police (the police and crime commissioner and our MP) to do what they can for our area.

Criminalisation of minors for antisocial behaviour should not be a first resort, but that can and will happen (and has happened) where the police have sufficient evidence and justification to do so. I want to be clear that although I do not think it a proper first resort, it should happen when merited. You can see from page 1 of the leaflet that has happened.

And of course where we are talking about serious escalation of that (such as Arson) there is no question in my mind about a need for police action.

In Farncombe and some of Binscombe we have delivered a leaflet to residents updating them on some of the progress, and for those outside that area the link below is a copy of that leaflet.

But can I please, please make a request of residents. Write to Mr Munro, the Police and Crime Commissioner. Write to our MP, Jeremy Hunt. These people are the ones responsible here. Ask them about police resource, and about cuts to the other services (such as youth services) that contribute to crime and especially to ASB.

I’m not the sort of person that will argue the borough and town should just stick to its own business and responsibilities because it’s politically ‘safer’ for us to do so.

I also respect that some residents are frustrated by this. Some will get frustrated at me – because it’s me that is here for you to be annoyed at.

I get frustrated as I can’t instantly fix this for you.

Part of why I stood for parliament here where I live was to try to be in a position to do more.

But I have to ask, would residents prefer the town and borough councils and the councillors to be silent on this issue (because it is technically not our responsibility?) I don’t think that is the morally right thing to do but would like to understand residents views on that?

But the entities responsible for policing need to hear from you too. You need to ask them why they are not here to hear your frustration too.

Happy to discuss as always.

https://www.waverley.gov.uk/…/farncombe_resident_update_jan…

 

The strange case of Carmel Oates.

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Tories Sowing Oates in Milford?

 
Screen Shot 2020-01-26 at 09.08.39.pngThanks to Carmel Oates throwing her bonnet into the by-election ring at least Milford knows it will be spared Adam Taylor-Smith. 
Thanks be to whoever had the good sense not to allow him to , try, try and try again to join the Tory trough at ‘Your Waverley.’
Carmel has stepped up and suddenly morphed from being an Independent on Witley Parish Council with no obvious track record of any serious activity  in Milford into the Conservative Candidate in the Milford by-election. 
 
So why isn’t Carmel described as the ‘Conservative Candidate’ in the recent Tory data harvesting exercise?  By the time this dropped through the post onto the doormats of a considerable number of Milford residents on 20 January, Carmel had already been nominated to run for the Conservatives in the Milford Ward By-election on 13 February.  She was also being touted by other Conservatives as their candidate on social media.  So you would have thought that they would be broadcasting this all over the place. But no, on the data harvester she is just 50% of “the Conservative Team” along with Tory perennial, Peter Martin.  
Here’s our earlier post outlining the data harvesting exercise.The Tories data harvesting has begun in a bid to snaffle a vacant seat in Milford.
 
It all seems a bit odd to us bunch of old cynics at the Waverley Web. 
 
According to the Electoral Commission, the question to ask about the any piece of material is,  was this …

…”material that can be reasonably regarded as intended to promote or procure the election of a candidate at an election” 

 

Could it possibly be that the reason she isn’t called the “Conservative Candidate” and it doesn’t refer to the election, is because somebody in Tory HQ at Hindhead thinks that by not labelling her as the candidate they won’t need to include this expensive piece of Tory propaganda in her election expenses? Tut, tut!

Waverley Web can see it must be a bit frustrating for the Tories. They are awash with money but the limits on what you can spend in a Borough Council election are peanuts compared to what they are used to chucking at elections. But do they really expect people to swallow the idea that Carmel and Peter have suddenly developed this burning interest in the views and voting intentions of (some) Milford residents at the same time as she stands for election?  Surely not. The Tories may be rich but they aren’t stupid and we are sure that Carmel herself wouldn’t want to entertain such behaviour, would she? We look forward to hearing from her. 

Link to electoral commission website here…… just in case  the Oates/Martin  duo  have forgotten  how the rules work.

Its official – Jeremy Hunt has contracted a deadly virus – AMNESIA!

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Has he had a memory lapse – does the name Sharmila Chowdhury ring any bells for you Mr Hunt?

If you have had a complete memory lapse, about your decade as Secretary of State for Health – read one we made earlier? How Jeremy Hunt protects Whistleblowers.

Just remind yourself what whistleblowing does for your career in the National Stealth Service. Leaves you destitute, ill, shunned by your colleagues, and worst of all – unable to work in the service you loved.

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You mention in your subsequent  Tweet that...

” Of course we should remember that UK has some of the finest & safest maternity care in the world, and huge progress has been made in bringing down stillbirth and neonatal death rates. But there is still too much avoidable harm, and it is taking far too long to come to light.”

 

If only you had been in charge of the system for the best part of a decade. The Waverley Web is sure you would have sorted it out?

Did the Tories use the promise of a new leisure centre to dupe Cranleigh residents into voting for them?

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Shortly before last year’s borough elections the Tories announced a huge £12.7m spending pot for improving leisure centres in Farnham, Godalming and building a new one in Cranleigh.

Millions will be poured into the borough’s leisure facilities​ – but Cranleigh could be the biggest winner with a £12.7m jackpot.

The Tories  accepted that the massive population increase in the east of the borough and the sorry state of existing facilities rendered it unfit  for the large influx of young families, so only Cranleigh should benefit from  a new build.

The EXECUTIVE gave the go-ahead for a detailed design and procurement exercise to extend  Farnham and Godalming leisure centres and for up plans for a new leisure centre in Cranleigh.

It anticipated that Godalming would have approximately 1,500 new homes, and Farnham 2,780, but although residents there are currently well served, with existing leisure facilities, improvements could be made. Haslemere Leisure Centre had received a £4.2m refurbishment in 2014. Cranleigh and its environs would 5,000 new homes.

It was agreed to set aside £3.2m to press ahead with detailed specifications for improvements at  Farnham and Godalming leisure centres, subject to negotiations with Places for People on their future management. However, Cranleigh would be the real winner in the borough’s leisure stakes with a new purpose-built centre, possibly on a new site?

Now over a year later – there are no firm plans for the development in Cranleigh and …

On Tuesday Tory Cllr Richard Seaborne (Bramley) asked officers would money be set aside for just the maintenance of  Cranleigh’s  Leisure Centre?

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He added. “Those of us in the east of the borough have raised the question of the absence of any eastern representation on the council’s EXECUTIVE. Which doesn’t give the area a “fair shout.”  Whilst future funding for projects in Godalming and Farnham was laudable,  what about Cranleigh and Dunsfold Park, why weren’t they on the list? 

Would funds be set aside to keep Cranleigh leisure Centre going until it was redeveloped? 

Officers gave assurances that a rolling programme of maintenance would continue to ensure Cranleigh’s centre continued to operate. But there was no mention of a new centre!

However, Finance director Graham Clarke advised there would be an opportunity for councillors in the East to bid for monies from the Community Infrastructure Fund through the CIL Advisory Board. Might be an idea to start that conversation NOW, he suggested.

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Ask Angela if you live in Guildford and the Waverley eastern villages?

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It’s official.  Angela Richardson, Guildford & villages new MP supports development in the Green Belt and doesn’t support re-opening the Horsham to Guildford Railway line.

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Is Guildford, Cranleigh and villages new MP Angela unperturbed about the increase in traffic from Horsham / Cranleigh, and into the  Bramley bottleneck, as motorists make their way nose to tail through Shalford into Guildford?

Or, does she believe a railway station would see another explosion of housing development in the eastern villages which will worsen traffic queues?

 

Now she has  put up a People Poll on one of the the Cranleigh Community Boards asking villagers?  Do they or don’t they support Surrey County Council’s plans to re-locate two schools. It wants to move the Middle School from Parsonage Road, and the Infants School and a Nursery in Church Lane into a new building on a new site adjacent to Glebelands School also in Parsonage Road. The former school sites would then be redeveloped with 91 new homes: Planning decision here: Waverley planners refuse 91 new homes and send the county council back to the drawing board.

As a former parish councillor – she joined her colleagues in their opposition to the scheme. The parish council has objected  – among a host of reasons it is claiming that the development will cause road dangers for children and the public, with a concentration of far too much residential and educational redevelopment in one place in central Cranleigh.

The schools applications will be considered on February 27 and will be recommended for approval, and, no doubt,  with the support of Cranleigh SCC councillor Andrew Povey, will be approved?

The homes application which was refused, as it takes away valuable parking baywill have to be resubmitted to Waverley Planners for its approval.

So far, most Cranleigh residents are 66% against – 34% support.

Shortly before the general election  Ewhurst resident, Ms Richardson, claimed that the Conservative campaign that the threat of former Conservative Anne Milton, standing as an Independent, splitting the Tory vote. was “not a problem,” and her prediction proved to be correct. 

It may not be easy for a Cranleigh parish councillor with little experience of grassroots local government let alone, the hothouse of Waverley Towers, to make an impact at Westminster. However, ten out of ten for concentrating on local issues. WW will be interested to see whether her Tory-controlled county council colleagues will take a damn bit of notice of what she, or the locals think?

Having swung in on Boris’s coat-tails by calling for Brexit, she mopped up 26,317 votes to experienced politician Lib Dem Zoe Franklin’s 22,980. Anne Rouse – Labour bagged 4,515, and Anne Milton – Tory MP for Guildford for 15 years – 4,356. John Morris Peace Party 483. In the 2017 General Election Anne Milton polled 30,295 votes and Zoe Franklin 13,255. So there was a huge leap of faith for the Lib Dems.

Mrs Richardson said voters were fed up with Brexit and wanted it done and the greater certainty would be good for business. While admitting there might be a short-term economic downturn, the longer-term future for the UK out of the EU, was “bright.”

She certainly proved it wasn’t ORANGE!

Although she lives in Ewhurst, near Cranleigh, she does not support reopening the Guildford, Cranleigh to Horsham line to reduce road congestion. She also supports the controversial Local Plan for Guildford and the strategic green belt sites it includes.

So do her views include the Green Belt in parts of the Waverley Borough? 

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Will residents ever get the true costs of fighting to keep ‘Your Waverley’s’ Local Plan?

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At an  Overview & Scrutiny Meeting this week the little matter of how much it has cost to fight appeals came up for debate.

Among the long list of appeals –  78 in 2018/19 – came  one for £107,367 to date on the court challenges to its Local Plan Part 1. ( This figure from a Freedom of Information request made by residents did not include all the costs) – perhaps one day, we will get the TRUE figure. Ah, well we can all dream can’t we?
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Those Court Challenges came from:  Protect Our Waverley – a bunch of has beens, who have never been protecting ‘Our Waverley, only their own Dunsfold back yards,  and The Campaign for The Protection of England, who say one thing nationally and do another locally!
Nationally it wants brownfield sites developed first – locally it doesn’t!
This week the committee heard that CPRE had paid over its £20,000 costs awarded by the Court of Appeal to Waverley. Which had slightly, only ever-so slightly,  lightened the heavy load of costs borne by the borough’s beleaguered council tax payers.
However, the £30,000, which the Protect Our Waverley’s Band of Brothers & Sisters has to stump up – has not yet been forthcoming. Wonder why? Surely there is enough in its coffers, over £250,000 ably collected by former Alfold Parish Clerk Beverley Weddell on POW’s behalf.
Perhaps now that she has left the council and is working for the Guildford Conservative Association she is helping them fill their coffers instead of POW’s and money is a bit tight?

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The new chief of planning Zac Ellwood, who has just hopped over the border from Guildford, told councillors, that Councillor Jerry Hyman, was quite right in his assertion that the figures quoted for appeals generally, were not the complete picture.
The costs quoted were only for legal counsel and expert witnesses – and did not include other costs such as officers’ time.
He says he is planning a more “robust” planning system in future to avoid as many appeals as possible and signalled possible changes in the council’s committee structure, and more “robust” decision-making.
So watch out – there’s an Ellwood about!