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?
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!
Just in time for Guy Fawkes Night, the High Court has thrown out CPRE and PoW’s appeal over Waverley Borough Council’s Local Plan.
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?
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!