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Come on Queen Victoria and Cllr Furniss – get a grip on Godalming? Before Godalming gets a grip on you at the 2021 May Polls.

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Perhaps Surrey Council Highways Department should take a look at these pictures.  Particularly its Portfolio Holder – Matt Furniss and its Area Committee Chairman Queen Victoria aka Victoria Young?
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The residents of Godalming are getting heartily sick! No, not this time of the Coronavirus – TBTG – but the shoddy workmanship of their highways and byways. Particularly in Godalming North!
There was a recent incident near Prime Place in Godalming (off Flambard Way) that has caused serious damage to the pedestrian crossing. (Photos 1 & 2).
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Concerns have been raised to Surrey in the past (often via Queen Vic at the local committee regarding the traffic phasing relating to this crossing and nearby.  Many residents predicted an incident to be inevitable.
Perhaps someone out there should let the authorities know how it happened?
But what is baffling many, is the quality of repairs and the manpower it took to do them! Especially when money is frequently given as the reason why things cannot be done?

Photos 3 and 4 are of a recent set of repairs on South Hill. The Green section is the area that was patched, patching may be putting too fine a point on it as the quality is questionable!  But surely as shown in the red section it cannot be cost-efficient to send a crew out to repair one element and not the section next to it?

Or – was it a phased repair?

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Highway staff in the yellow corner standing by just in case they are needed? WWeb heard for this particular repair there were 4 members of staff present during the repair and for the duration only 2 of them did anything. Is this standard practice for a small repair?

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Oh! and just in case you think this is a first in Godalming. Take a look at this little photo gallery of SCC’s previous offerings to pavement and road safety.  
Come on Queen Victoria and Cllr Furniss – get a grip on Godalming? Before Godalming gets a grip on you at the 2021 May Polls.

Yet another example of shoddy workmanship.

Lies, damned lies and statistics?

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Here at the Waverley Web we use data provided to us by the highly respected Health Service Journal (HSJ)

You will see the statistics below revealed two days ago (27 April). However, our only comment is:

How can any conclusion be reached about ‘peaks, flows, flattened or downward curves when deaths in the community in people’s homes, care homes and hospices are not included in the figures. If Scotland’s First Minister can do it – then why can’t we? Does this make a mockery of the so-called ‘scientific approach’ which looks at the data?

Also: There is a quite fascinating disconnect between peopl’s perception of the UK from inside and from outside the country. Whilst here coverage is mostly serious and calm, from our followers outiside the UK their perception of what is happening over here is very different. They are frightened and outraged by what is happening in the UK. Yesterday (a follower contacted us)  – Australia had 82 deaths, and anyone disobeying the strict rules during the height of the epidemic was fined $5,000 dollars. Now their beaches are open.

Yesterday it was announced that there have been 5,500 deaths in nursing homes.

P.S. at the bottom of the page.

 

The HSJ’s unique analysis shows the spread of hospital deaths confirmed as coronavirus cases to date, by trust and area, as well as the regional growth trends.

The deaths in English hospitals of a further 329 people who tested positive for coronavirus have been reported today (27 April). The cumulative total is now 18,749. This has now gone up yet further since.

The figures were collated between 5pm on 25 April and 5pm on 26 April, but due to the need to inform relatives and authenticate reports, many of the deaths occurred earlier than this period. It is also very likely that some deaths which did occur during these 24 hours — and before — have not yet been recorded, normally for the same reasons.

The delays to reporting mean the growth curve of deaths for recent days appears flatter than it actually is.

The figures do not include those who have died from the virus outside of hospital, which is an increasingly significant number, nor those where covid-19 has not been specifically recorded as a cause.

The running weekly total of confirmed hospital deaths continues to fall – it has dropped for 11 days successively up to 21 April, the most recent data point with robust data due to delays in reporting some deaths. The total has decreased by 28 per cent from the pandemic peak on 10 April.

Deaths and the number of people in hospitals in England continue to fall, though they are not dropping consistently across the country.

The seven day rolling average of total deaths has fallen faster in London compared with other regions, including the Midlands. The North West, however, is falling steeply after a rapid ascent, having peaked nearly a week after London.

The North East and Yorkshire appears set for a more gradual decline than the North West. The South East region is also showing a slower decline, while the East of England and the South West, as yet the least affected region, appear to have stalled.

Our other covid-19 data analysis includes: How coronavirus peaked and deaths by STP.

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Our other covid-19 data analysis includes: How coronavirus peaked and deaths by STP.

P.S. The Government has told local councils – in our case Surrey County Council – to open up our recycling centres.

WW wonders how long tht will take?

 

Godawfulming becomes Godalmazing during this life-changing Coronavirus epedemic.

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Do take a moment to watch the video on the link below – because it reveals the true spirit,  generosity and selflessness that exists in our town in the heart of the borough of Waverley.

How refreshing to hear that community spirit is alive and well in Godalming.

Our heartfelt thanks should be shouted from the roof tops for the partnership of the volunteer group and the town council that has achieved the Community Store now operating at the Wilfred Noyce Centre. 

For the moment memories of queuing traffic on Godalming’s congested roads exacerbated by the mounting number of developments, that prompted the solilioqy  ‘Godawfulming’ is fading.  The town now has a more tranquil feel, despite the food queues at the town’s supermarkets. Neighbours chatting to one another for the first time- with the opportunity to stop, watch Spring unfold and listen to the birdsong.  While we wait in a different kind of queue!

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Shoppers queuing at a safe distance all around Sainsbury’s car park in Godalming.

Full marks to Godalming Town Council’s Chairman, who apologises in his message for the length of his hair. Some of our bloggers say they are distinctly envious of his lengthening locks and only wish their sparse thatch could follow Follows and show similar growth during the lock-down.

As the messenger says- don’t be shy – use the new Community Store – take what you need – tell your neighbours and friends to use it.   We are living in extraordinary and unprecedented times. For some it may be time to give. For others time to take.

Give and Take – isn’t that what life is all about?

P.S. We heard that hairdressers could be among the last to be un-locked from the lock-down – so heavens knows where Cllr Follows’ locks will be by Summer!?

https://www.facebook.com/paulfollowsGodalming/videos/3124350087626946/

Surrey Lib Dems call for our recycling centres to reopen.

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The Lib Dem Group on Surrey County Council has called for the Council to reopen its Community Recycling Centres with social distancing measures to avoid fly-tipping.

This follows the latest advice from the Government that stated that Household Waste Recycling Centres can be open, but should have social distancing measures in place.

Lib Dem Councillors are concerned the closure of local tips has started to result in a spate of very unwelcome fly-tipping, and there are incidents all over Waverley. In one incident in our borough, the pile of fly-tipped rubbish included a dead dog!

Local authorities are focusing on household rubbish and food waste and regard the collection of garden waste and recycling as less of a priority. This coupled with Community Recycling Centres being closed and people being at home, so having time for gardening and housework, and DIY has resulted in an increase in fly-tipping.

Lib Dem Group Leader at County Hall, Councillor Chris Botten, said:

“I am calling on Surrey County Council to reopen our Community Recycling Centres in a limited and safe manner to enable gardeners to dispose of their plant material and also for householders, who may be using the time at home to catch up with domestic jobs, to safely dispose of waste.”

“The County Council has been listening to concerns so far and I hope for a partial reopening of our community tips in the near future.”

A Brilliant article from The Guildford Dragon which includes Care Homes in Waverley.

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Lack of Testing For Those With No Symptoms Will Cost Lives, Says Care Homes Chief

by Hugh Coakley

The lack of Covid-19 testing for those without symptoms will cost lives says David Holmes, chair of the Surrey Care Association (SCA). But he added: “The social care system in Surrey is doing outstanding work.”

The Guildford area has 737 beds in 23 care homes a total higher than the Royal Surrey’s 720 beds. Seventeen of the homes are rated “Good” by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), one is “Outstanding” and five are “Requiring improvement”.

Mr Homes told The Guildford Dragon NEWS that collating the numbers of coronavirus deaths in the homes was difficult, confirming a BBC report. “I’m not sure if there are any statistics,” he said. “But anecdotally, my guess is that the coronavirus figures for Surrey will look favourable against other areas and that is down to the quality of care here.”

He said the lack of reliable statistics was partly caused by variation in the way doctors filled in the death certificate and in the timing of recording deaths.

“It would be good to have the statistics,” Mr Holmes added. “But that would have to be done through the CQC. [For me,] each day is full on sourcing PPE, managing the organisation and saving lives.”

He called the three- to four-day delay in Covid-19 test results “disappointing” and testing is still being restricted to only those with symptoms.

“If one member of staff has symptoms and they have been in contact with all the other staff members, you can’t send everyone home. You need to test everyone but it isn’t allowed, even though there is capacity at the Chessington and Gatwick testing stations.

“We are asking and being refused and it will be costing lives.”

And PPE is still a daily challenge. “I know of services which are down to their last knockings on masks and gowns,” he said.

“I have a strong view that the government was slow off the blocks. Clearly, they had to prioritise the NHS but they were too late recognising the needs of care homes. The penny finally dropped about a week ago.

“But this is not new; social care has been neglected for over 10 years. 2007 was the year that councils stopped giving inflation uplifts to care home payments and that has forced wages down. It is shocking and done quite explicitly by the government.

“Our society has underfunded social care. We expect people on a minimum wage to do a highly skilled and outstanding job.”

David thinks that the social care system will be the last to come out of lockdown. “We are just starting to discuss the future and it is raising flags,” he said.

“As soon as the lockdown is released, our staff are at the risk of increased contact and this will increase the risk to our residents.”

He is looking for a fundamental change but did not appear optimistic. “The change I would like to see is the creation of a national care service. NHS is national and social care is local. It just doesn’t work.

“The funding differs from county to county and Surrey doesn’t compare well. They are one of the most challenging to deal with, focusing on savings as opposed to the quality of the offering.”

Mr Holmes said he had to get back to work and added: “Social care does outstanding work in Surrey, supporting people incredibly well. I just hope this crisis will create a real change in the way we treat our workers.”

 

We know it’s tempting but please don’t light bonfires.

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Burn Baby Burn When ya gonna learn to put out that fire?

The dumps- recycling centres – are shut – the rubbish is piling up, but …

Waverley Borough Council is appealing to residents to consider the “Five C’s” when it comes to getting rid of rubbish through the Coronavirus pandemic.

The annual garden Spring Clean will be on hold until…?

·    Consider: Do I need to create the waste at this point in time – or can it wait?

·    Cut back: Reduce the quantity of waste produced by the household – and re-use items that can be re-used

·  Compost: Start composting garden waste

·   Compact: Reduce the bulk – and store until more frequent collections return

·   Care: Think about your neighbours, the community, the bin collection teams and other key workers who are doing what they can to help people at this time

Steve WilliamsCouncillor Steve Williams, Waverley Borough Council Portfolio Holder for Environment and Sustainability, said:

“As with many councils across the UK, we have been working hard to try and keep bin collections running as normal during the Coronavirus pandemic. In light of government advice, Community Recycling Centres have had to temporarily shut, and we expect to see an impact on our services because of staff shortages; that’s why we are offering some advice on how to reduce waste and asking for residents’ help during these unprecedented times.”

The council has also asked residents to consider their neighbours and the wider community and to avoid burning waste.

Councillor Williams added:“Bonfires in back gardens can not only be anti-social but can have a very real impact on people with breathing problems which, of course, under current conditions, needs to be avoided at all costs. They can also present a fire risk which would draw on the already strained resources of the emergency services; garden waste can be composted, or you can store until normal service is resumed.”

Those persistently burning waste in their gardens can be liable to a fine of up to £5,000.

“We are asking people to please think of their neighbours and surrounding communities in these difficult times; if we each do our bit; we can pull through together.”

To keep up-to-date with the situation, you can visit http://waverley.gov.uk/bonfires or follow us @WaverleyBC on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram.  You can also see some useful information about composting at https://www.surreyep.org.uk/

 

 

 

Now its Farnham Town Council’s turn to be ignored by Waverley Planners?

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Here’s our post on a so -called ‘Non Material Amendment’ (NMA) you know those little changes that developers fall back on every time they want to do what they  intended  at the planning application stage but didn’t want to make waves!  You know, like getting rid of the wildlife, trees, etc?

Waverley Planners could have a riot on its hands if it allows the removal of heritage trees developers claim could blight Blightwells

Now the Town Council has stepped into the fray.

The thorny issue of trees about to get the chop in Farnham’s Blightwells development is now capturing the attention of Farnham residents – and many others around the borough who have, or are about to suffer, the same fate. 

Although we have to mention that most developers ensure any problem trees that may get in their way are  felled BEFORE, they apply for planning permission!

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Just a couple of little-old trees at Brightwells House in Farnham before developers arrived on the scene. But, don’t worry chaps – we’ll give them the heave-ho later so we can get a couple of extra shops in?

Oops! We just might have constructed our buildings a bit too close to the trees. Ah, well never mind, we always knew it would be a problem but a little old NMA will soon sort that out – won’t it?

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Oops! We think the trees just may reach into the windows in a few year’s time? We might not be able to sell if there is a loss of light?

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No wonder Crest Nicholson want to remove the trees – because as you can see it has built the buildings too damn close. Or, did they just grow like Topsy overnight when nobody was looking?

Waverley Planners could have a riot on its hands if it allows the removal of heritage trees developers claim could blight Blightwells.

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Letters from angry residents are pouring onto ‘Your Waverley’s’ planning portal opposing a joint application by Crest Nicholson (CN) & Surrey County Council (SCC). 

The furious townsfolk of our beleaguered town are calling on Waverley councillors to – “stand up and be counted” to prevent three heritage trees facing the chop.

They are calling on councillors to throw out plans by  “unprofessional and deceitful” developers hellbent on destroying a part of Farnham’s heritage as they “wantonly attempt the destruction of anything that stands in the way of development”

The duo of CN and SCC wants to remove three mature trees near Brightwells House in East Street. 

Here’s one – other pictures will follow tomorrow.

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Here today – gone tomorrow? 

The pair have put in an (NMA) a ‘non-material amendment’ to their planning application to vary Condition 20 to remove a further three trees – one of which is a memorial to Farnham resident Mr R Bide.

A Copper beech – a Cedar – and a London Plane Tree – all face the chain saw axe if the dynamic Duo get their evil way. Because, the reason given for the trees removal, all factored into the original development scheme – in their words not ours…

Tree No 30no doubt better to give it a number than a name?

‘Will not adjust to the changes around it and will become a maintenance concern and that tree 31 is of a species that is fragile.’

WW: Of course it is fragile – because the development made it so!

And – wait for it – yes you guessed

‘Why trees 30 and 31 should be slashed and burned?  `No 32 – will be incongruous in the new setting inhibiting a suitable landscape for the future.”

FUTURE?    Exactly what future does Blightwells have as a retail and restaurant hub may we ask?

But fear not the developer duo (DD) has all the answers.

 In their words.

Tree 31 – Cedar

 ‘Is of compromised form now that the adjoining horse chestnut has been removed. It is a typical Cedar with long lateral branches. These branches are highly prone to failure, especially in summer months. Failure in their proposed setting could result in harm to people and property.’

 

The developer is…  ‘rightly mindful that placing people and property at harm from trees should be avoided if possible, especially when the risks are well known as in this case. 

Consideration was given to crown reduction of the tree however that only leads to onerous maintenance over the coming decades. Again, replacement of the tree was thought to be the most prudent course of action. It removes the risk of failure but secures long term tree cover in this important landscape feature.

Its replacement will permit the extension of the proposed avenue of small-leaved lime trees to provide a complete avenue feature within the central gardens. These trees will be planted at a semi-mature size of 40-45cm girth and will make a significant contribution to the landscape.

As for Tree 32 the London Plane?

– well that can face the chop because lots of them are dying from the dreadful Massaria disease – so one more won’t hurt – will it? And its replacement...Their words:

 

“Its replacement will also permit the extension of the proposed avenue of small-leaved lime trees to provide a complete avenue feature within the central gardens. These trees will be planted at a semi-mature size of 40-45cm girth and will make a significant contribution to the landscape.”

Screen Shot 2020-04-21 at 22.22.08.pngWell – we have news for you DD’s – Farnham will not sit idly by and watch you take over our town and turn it into a disaster area.  You may have  ‘Gone too far this time Sir Percy.’   Because enough is enough – and this picture sums up what we all think of your Bum idea.

 

Just one objection taken from the reams on-line  David Howells.OBJECTION to NMA/2020/0045: Brightwells, Land centred East Street, Farnham
Amendment to WA/2016/0268 for amending the wording of Condition 20.

We strongly object to the content of this application to fell these three trees, and to the use of an NMA as the means of achieving this end. The three trees are an intrinsic part of the historic appearance of Brightwell House and are much-loved by Farnham residents. The Condition requiring their retention was set for a good reason.

The main explicit argument put forward by the applicants appears to be a concern with safety because of the species of tree involved. But the trees have not changed species since 2016 when planning permission was granted including Condition 20.

Any potential problem should have been foreseen by the applicants back then. The Council’s Tree Officer clearly considered the position and condition of the trees as not being threatened or posing a risk. This application includes no proper assessment of the current state of the trees, far less detail than a householder wishing to cut back a protected tree would have to submit to gain approval.
Trying to use an NMA to amend Condition 20, implies, by definition, that the presence of the trees is not impeding the progress of the scheme in a material way, and that their removal would not affect the realisation of the final scheme. The latter implication is clearly not the case: the removal of the trees would greatly change the appearance of Brightwell House and its setting. If the trees are considered to be affecting some aspect of construction, a full planning application to change that aspect should be submitted.

 

Cllr Nick Palmer gives the heads up on what is happening at ‘Your Waverley.’

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Hi all,

Quite a bit to report. Everything I say is based on the best information I can get, but is not “official” – see the Waverley and Surrey sites below for the latest official news.

* Residents  in the highly vulnerable group are being phoned individually by a team on the council to find out if they need help.

A team of 11 have spoken to 1200 people on the initial list, but a new list arrived a couple of days ago with 700 more, so there’s still some way to go. There’s also a problem that some people don’t answer calls from unknown numbers – the council is trying to find ways of contacting them (e.g. through a neighbour) but it can be difficult Sainsbury in Beeston and Tesco in Haslemere are both making progress in getting the vulnerable on their delivery list,

* There remains a significant issue with people who are somewhat less vulnerable but still over 70 or with a somewhat less serious underlying condition – they shouldn’t be taking risks, but aren’t on the “very vulnerable” list. Age Concern is operating an effective volunteer network for the elderly, and the Waverley and Surrey websites have contact numbers for others to ask for help. The challenge is to make sure people know about that.

WW: We didn’t think Age Concern existed any more in Waverley? – Age UK Waverley  was scrapped by the Tories years ago – claimed it wasn’t needed in the borough any more!

Please keep reminding friends and family of these key reference sites:

https://www.waverley.gov.uk/info/100010/health_and_wellbeing/2221/coronavirus_covid-19

https://www.surreycc.gov.uk/people-and-community/emergency-planning-and-community-safety/coronavirus/community-support

* The local hospitals are not currently overwhelmed, and as the new infection rate seems to be dipping it looks as though they may get through it without having more than they can cope with (as some London hospitals have been close to doing).

* I’ve had no confirmed reports of a local care home outbreak. I saw one claim of it but the person reporting it on Facebook didn’t give any details despite my asking for them, and we should be sceptical about vague reports in the current climate.

* Generally social isolation seems to be pretty well observed locally, though there have been a few complaints about bonfires, which are unhelpful for people nearby with asthma.

* Biffa is still managing to maintain its services (except street sweeping), with a sickness rare of 15% as before – not all Covid.

To avoid bunching bin collectors together with higher infection risk, times for the routes are being staggered across the day. You can do your part by being patient – frankly we’ll all survive if our bins are collected a few hours later or even next day. If you see the bin collectors, please shout your thanks – they’re doing a brilliant job. Likewise supermarket staff, postal workers, utility engineers and all the other who are keeping society’s wheels turning.

  • Please give some credit to council officials, who are knocking themselves out 7 days a week to stay on top of this, coordinating help to the most vulnerable and ensuring that key services are maintained. If you can avoid making routine enquiries (e.g. about a planning application) during this period that would be great.

giphy

National overview

See SW Surrey Labour’s site for the non-partisan interview with a local member in the pharmaceutical industry for the outlook for vaccines, treatments and antibodies tests:

https://www.facebook.com/swsurreylabour/ (scroll down for the Adrian LaPorta interview).

Nationally, there are four key issues:

  • Shortage of protective clothing and equipment for NHS and care staff
  • Shortage of testing – our rate per head is 1 person in 230 tested, and has now been overtaken even by the US. This seems to be partly an organisational issue – there are repeated reports of testing facilities that are barely used, but also over-stringent Government rules, which mean that underused facilities are turning NHS staff seeking tests away unless they are actually showing symptoms (you can be infected and pass it on without symptoms, so this is a mistaken policy).
  • The waste, so far, of the 750,000 volunteers who were urged to sign up to help the NHS. Virtually none of them appear to have been used because the initiative was announced with fanfare without engaging local authorities to process the offers.
  • The apparent absence of any medium-term strategy. We gather that there will be some sort of relaxation in the some weeks or months, but there is nothing clearer than that. Both ordinary people and businesses are up for working seriously to make a plan work – but we need to know what the plan is?

I am not keen to score political points, but frankly the Government needs to up its game – Britain reacted more hesitantly than most countries, as a result of which the peak has come later, seemingly with many unnecessary deaths, and there are still people on the front line with completely inadequate protection. Giving carers a badge and clapping them are both nice but really not the immediate need.

Tactically, though, I think the national situation is getting slightly easier now, and the danger of NHS hospitals being overwhelmed may have passed – the critical issue there is testing and equipment of staff. It will be a long haul back to normality even if policy improves.

Do keep taking care – it would be silly to catch it now if it’s just passed the peak!

Best wishes

Nick Palmer

Leader, Labour group on Waverley Council

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