We’re on a road to nowhere… if Surrey wins hearts and minds.

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As you may be aware in a blatant – rather underhand way the head honchos at Surrey County Council are engaged in a power grab. A grab that could see our county dubbed ‘the biggest single Unitary Authority in Britain’ if not Europe – with a population of 1.2+m.

We have been saying for years here on the Waverley Web that local government reorganisation is long overdue. In 2013 Tory-controlled Waverley pledged it would cut the number of councillors from 57 to 53. Instead, it kept the number at the same level and increased Cllrs allowances by 94%! Has made huge payouts to failing Chief Executives and has invested unwisely here in Farnham.

However, credit it where it’s due in recent years councils, regardless of party, have shared expertise and worked together in a bid to save manpower and money. But, more change is urgently needed particularly post-COVID. But certainly not with the unseemly and ill-thought-out haste currently proposed by our County Leaders.  Pick up 11 borough and district councils, lump them all into a big bag, shake them out… nd up pops a weasel?

Over the coming weeks/months here at the Waverley Web, will highlight some of the awful errors made by Surrey County Council.

Suffice to say – to highlight them all would require a book!

Some glaring examples that stand out among all others are (a) shocking and dangerous road and pavement repairs: Just like these below all taken in ‘Your Waverley.’ A  TV programme on Liverpool revealed that even in a street where houses were being sold for £1 they had better roads and pavements than Surrey.

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If Local Authorities we’re ranked Surrey would come last. What have the punitively taxed Surrey residents done to deserve such abuse?

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Cranleigh High Street – where workmen covered double yellow lines with bituminous macadam.

 

Potholes

Yes, council workmen really did such a bad job here that material was flying everywhere. 

Come to Surrey and visit the UK’s capital of potholes​ – on and off-road!

Would you want the same people who repair our roads to run all our services in ‘Your Waverley?

Prompting graphics like this!

Pothole pic Hold on Jack

In a week, or maybe a month or two – after another shedload of ripped tyres and broken axles?

For years Surrey Highways has been operating a ‘tick-box’ exercise when dealing with planning applications. Time and again local councillors, attempt to do their jobs properly armed with in-depth knowledge of local traffic conditions in the areas they represent. Using any highway grounds as an objection means zilch!. Highway concerns are ignored and hey ho, off the developers go.  What do they leave behind? Simples – accidents, near misses and angry and frustrated locals.

Frustrated for being continually ignored – many councillors just give up to spend more with family. A Cllr dubbed ‘the Cranleigh lorry driver’ once pointed out that it would be physically impossible to drive a vehicle without causing huge traffic danger into an Ewhurst development. He said vehicles were too wide for the one-way road and would destroy the hedges and gardens in on neighbours properties. It was approved. They did. No hedges, and series of traffic dangers every day! With mounting incredulity, they ask: How can highway officers’ come to their conclusions when they don’t even visit sites?   Instead, they conduct ‘a desk-top’ exercise and scupper any meaningful decision. A decision which borough’s and districts in Surrey cannot challenge at appeal.

WW believes it should be mandatory for highway officers to visit a site – before putting forward any view. Recently SCC’s planning committee was poised to permit large-scale oil and gas exploration on a site in Dunsfold. A site which councillors had not visited. But would be offered a virtual drone tour of the area. How shambolic is that? Only public protest prevented the hearing. Subsequently, it was refused – but with no highway objection.

UK Oil & Gas application in Dunsfold – Refused…for now?

We could list thousands of cases – East Street, Farnham; Badshot Lea; Ockford Park, Godalming; Milford Golf Course; Amlets Lane; Cranleigh; Cranleigh Rd Ewhurst; Wildwood Lane, Cranleigh the list is endless…

The most recent in Witley:

This week  Cllr Paul Follows and Cllr Maxine Gale drew a line in the sand and deferred an item on Rokes Lane in Witley. They demanded that Surrey Highways come back and review the issues and the consequences of the development on the area – in person – and give a proper comment.

Let’s see how that goes! Well done Cllr Maxine Gale for seconding Cllr Follows’ motion to defer this application which the planning committee then supported. 

 

So … Cranleigh parish council isn’t happy about the private care home either?

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As letters continue to pour in – For and Against CVHT’s latest planning application – villagers have unveiled the man behind the scheme? Watch this space!

Cranleigh Parish Council

So it is not only eastern villages residents who want answers from Cranleigh Village Health Trust  – Cranleigh Parish Council wants answers too!

Here’s a PDF of its actual letter:

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 Planning application WA/2020/0965 Erection of a building to provide a 64 bed care home with 16 community beds together with a building to provide 14 health worker accommodation units with access from Knowle Lane, associated parking and ancillary work (revision of WA/2018/1966)

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• Response as a local authority having regard to the public interest of its parishioners.

 The Parish Council discussed this planning application with the regard to the public interest of its parishioners. Concerns were raised about the benefit of the community beds to the Cranleigh community.

Questions were asked about the exact usage of the beds with regards to care, nursing, Alzheimer’s, post op and/or mother and baby care and how the provision of community beds in the CVHT care home differ in funding and allocation to the provision of NHS/Surrey funded beds in any other care home.

Q The Council would like to know the exact usage of these proposed community beds as this is currently unclear?

Q The Council would also like to know what the exact financial community benefit of the beds is and how this differs to other NHS/Council funded beds and how they would be allocated.

Q The Council also asked for confirmation of how the viability of the community beds had been assessed. The Council would like CVHT to clarify the qualifying criteria and to confirm it to Waverley Borough Council.

Q The Parish Council would like CVHT to clarify to us and to Waverley Borough Council the qualifying criteria for the proposed accommodation block as this is currently unclear. Is the accommodation for key workers or local healthcare workers? Should this application progress the Parish Council would like to see any appropriate qualifying criteria and allocation process secured through a legal agreement rather than a condition. We would also like to highlight that there is still no clarity on the legal agreement and connection between the care home and the separate accommodation block. This must also be established.

• Response as adjacent landowner and beneficiary of the restrictive covenant.

The Parish Council discussed this planning application as adjacent landowner and beneficiary of the restrictive covenant. The Council’s concerns are:

• Impact on the ASVI and views to and from the playing field and from Village Way.

• Flood risk – Concerns were raised that whilst the applicant may have mitigated flooding on their site, the discharge into the watercourse would have a cumulative impact, along with other significant local development on residents further downstream.

• Noise and disturbance from the development – odours, noise from machinery and equipment installed in the buildings for heating, cooling or circulating/extraction of air, light pollution. The overall impact on neighbouring amenity particularly on John Wiskar Drive and the Berkeley Homes development on Knowle Lane from what is a 24-hour business operating on site and its associated traffic, in addition to noise pollution impacting Snoxhall Fields and the loss of rural amenity to the recreation ground.

2 • Highway safety – Cumulative impact of additional traffic movements from this development, the Berkeley Homes development, and the operation of the commercial premises on Knowle Lane, particularly the long standing independent garage operating towards the junction of Knowle Lane which requires the parking of vehicles outside, reducing that area of the road to one lane.

The Council also wants to highlight the impact of this development on the dangerous pedestrian crossing between Knowle Lane and High Street as well as the impact on the crossing point from Snoxhall Fields to the Bruce MacKenzie Playing/Football Field. 

Would you want the same people who repair our roads to run all our services in ‘Your Waverley?

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Unitary Authority Map of Surrey

 Here’s a pretty picture of the county of Surrey – which could become a behemoth – Council with 1.2m residents called The Surrey Unitary Authority!

Why? Simples: As Cllr Liz Townsend said at ‘Your Waverley’s’ Full Council meeting recently, The fight to stop Surrey County Council’s power grab has begun.

Cllr Liz Townsend called the county bid “discourteous and predatory” and saw an even darker scenario behind the bid.

“This is an attempt to cut out and weaken the local planning process. To open the doors to development on more green fields. We would be better served to tell the Government that there are currently one million homes granted planning consent that have not yet been built and that is the real uncut truth.”

And here’s the man leading the power grab – Leader Tim Oliver.

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In Tim Oliver’s letter  to the Secretary of State asking for Surrey to become a Unitary Authority includes this sentence:-

“We can build more homes more quickly and develop the high streets and town centres of the future, but to do this we need to streamline decision making on planning and infrastructure with a single clear strategic approach.

We can tackle inequality and level up within Surrey to ensure inclusive growth. We can reach net-zero carbon emissions and deliver a greener future. Our One Surrey Growth Board is well-placed to provide the place-oriented leadership and strategic co-ordination to deliver this.”

Want to know which areas have been earmarked on Oliver’s Surrey Growth Board? 

You can read about those areas here: Now, look at Surrey County Council’s cunning plan for ‘Your Waverley’s’ eastern villages.

The Government will publish a Recovery and Devolution White Paper in the autumn, setting out its plans for the devolution of powers, freedoms and flexibilities alongside intentions to increase the number of unitary and combined authorities and elected Mayors.  Doing so will support the achievement of the 2030 Community Vision for Surrey.

 

 

The fight to stop Surrey County Council’s power grab has begun.

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‘Your Waverley’ (YW) will stand with the 11 other borough and district councils in the county to stop Surrey County Council’s bid to abolish them lock, stock, and wheelie bin.

Almost to a man and woman, Waverley’s Full Council opposed a county bid for a behemoth Unitary Authority of 1.2m people.

YW,  with the exception of two Tory councillors – Peter Martin – a Surrey County Councillor, and Steve Cosser who abstained; have agreed to work with other Surrey authorities to prepare an alternative proposal for re-organisation. This would prevent Surrey becoming England’s biggest single, non-metropolitan, unitary authority.

Tim Oliver (above) Surrey’s leader has asked Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick to make the county a unitary authority – a preemptive strike before a Government White Paper on Unitary Authorities is published in the Autumn.

One councillor after another from every Waverley group or party – Independent; Tory; Labour; Greens and Farnham Residents’ Group registered their “disgust” that neither they, or any other Surrey borough’s leaders had been consulted before the plans were announced in the local government press. Cllr Oliver had, however, engaged with Surrey’s MP’s and in Waverley’s case Jeremy Hunt and Angela Richardson.  It is believed the leader of Woking Borough Council – may be backing Oliver’s deal – now dubbed – ‘we want more.’

When Waverley’s Leader John Ward addressed the zoom meeting he called the idea of a “monolithic” single authority “absurd, and “a misguided and blatant power grab.” Although “some” reorganisation was appropriate, this proposal would not serve Waverley residents’ well. “That’s what we are all here for – to do what is best for the residents of Waverley. “

Others were not opposed to some reorganisation but were against the county council’s unseemly rush to create such a huge organisation.

The general opinion was that a single unitary authority is too large and would have a detrimental impact on the social cohesion of the communities within each of the boroughs and districts. Cllr Simon Clark, said the usual size for a UA was between 300,000/400,000 and this rushed exercise was aimed at avoiding next year’s county council elections.

Elections that the Waverley Web does not believe will result in a Tory-controlled council. 

Cllr Nick Palmer – asked what is it that has driven this ill-thought-out attempt borne out of desperation and panic? Is it a cost-saving exercise by the government? “Let’s keep Local Government local.”

Peter Clark challenged Tim Oliver and his “power-grabbing band” to give the electorate of Surrey a chance to vote on alternative options. “Don’t be timid Tim and try to postpone next year’s county elections because that would not be democratic.”

Cllr Carole Cockburn warned that time was of the essence – and Waverley and others must not be overtaken by events, must mount a robust opposition by producing a strong case. “I am amazed at the way this has been done, but if we don’t propose something it will be imposed upon us.”

However, her Tory colleague Steve Cosser didn’t agree. He believed the residents of Waverley didn’t care who provided the services they needed as long as they were. There was a strong case for economies of scale.

Others said – they had wanted SCC abolished for years, saying it cannot even convince Offsted that it is competent to run its children’s services. Another asked,

“would you want the people who deal with our pot-holed roads to empty your bins?

Cllr George Wilson  claimed: Surrey was an authority which had shown it couldn’t even hold a virtual planning meeting – e.g. The recent UK Oil & Gas planning application – which he described as “A fiasco.” UK Oil & Gas application in Dunsfold – Refused…for now?

“They call this devolution when in reality it moves power and accountability further away from the voters. The sheer hubris displayed is breath-taking. Surrey is too big for a single unitary authority, and the timing of these proposed changes, given the pandemic, the economic crisis, and with the reality of Brexit looming, is completely reckless.”

 

Liz Townsend

 Liz Townsend

 Cllr Liz Townsend called the county bid “discourteous and predatory” and saw an even darker scenario behind the bid.

“This is an attempt to cut out and weaken the local planning process. To open the doors to development on more green fields.We would be better served to tell the Government that there are currently one million homes granted planning consent that have not yet been built and that is the real uncut truth.”

The WW understands that a letter is to go from, all but one or two local authorities to the Secretary of State voicing their concern and that the relevant chief executives would work together to put forward alternative proposals.

Guildford Borough Council has suggested a  contribution of £10,000 from each authority to commission the work looking at this further. 

Joss Bigmore (R4GV, Christchurch), who is expected to become GBC leader in September under the power-sharing agreement, said:

“R4GV is very supportive of this co-ordinated approach from the boroughs and districts of Surrey. We will not accept being told what is good for us by a county council that is more interested in Westminster and a ruthless desire to stay in power than what residents actually want and voted for in their thousands last May.

“They call this devolution when in reality it moves power and accountability further away from the voters. The sheer hubris displayed is breath-taking. Surrey is too big for a single unitary authority, and the timing of these proposed changes, given the pandemic, the economic crisis, and with the reality of Brexit looming, is completely reckless.

“There has to be a proper public consultation on the various options proposed but it seems SCC has already made their mind up on their preferred political solution, so how seriously they are looking at the actual business cases remains to be seen.

“We, with our partners across the county, will show our residents there is a better way, consolidation to improve efficiency without becoming detached from the very people who elect us.”

“The full [Guildford Borough] council has not debated this matter. It appears to have been promoted by Tim Oliver of SCC with Surrey MPs, following government pressure for devolvement, but without early engagement with local borough councils or residents and businesses.

“GGG advocate full transparency and involvement of all interested parties with a proper due consultation process.”

 

It’s official. The Cranleigh Village Health Trust has NO partner for its bid to build a new Private Care Home.

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The man who heads the Charity kicked off yet another row when he went head to head with leading protestors at a vigil in Cranleigh on Saturday. But it came straight from the Charity’s mouth that it has no Care Home partner and there is no plan B! 

Dr Robin Fawkner-Corbett (DR FC) tackled members of the group protesting against a new 64 bed Private Care Home and 16 community beds, during a showdown on Cranleigh High Street on Saturday.

One couple of shocked passers-by contacted the Waverley Web. saying that the group was simply handing out leaflets urging people to object to the use of former parish-owned-land behind M & S in Knowle Lane for a private care home. The land was once earmarked for a replacement hospital/day hospital with funds donated by villagers. 

The couple said: We live in Cranleigh so please don’t mention our names – as this whole business is tearing Cranleigh apart including the closure of the once-popular community board.

It appears that anyone objected on the board to the forthcoming CVHT planning application: Here’s the link: http://planning360.waverley.gov.uk/planning you were blocked by the administrators and the group of protestors said this was confirmed by the Dr.FC.

Days later a new board was set up by Bamford & Co, the charity’s front-man together with other members of his family, and a Cranleigh Parish Councillor. Thousands of its former members are furious that the popular board has been dumped and has been hijacked!

The couple said“This whole saga which has plagued the village for 20 years  is having a very damaging effect on Cranleigh and is a stain on its reputation. There is so much bad feeling here, and with COVID and BREXIT haven’t we enough to worry about?” 

They claimed villagers in Cranleigh and the nearby villages wished the plans could be halted until there was a proper public meeting when all their concerns could be addressed.

They said they were shocked to overhear a well-respected former Cranleigh Health practice GP  quarrelling aggressively in the street. Particular as he or his fellow Trustees have repeatedly refused to appear in a public venue to answer residents’ very valid questions. 

We understand from the group, that they had been under the watchful eye of ‘Bamleigh’s Stasi’ from outside David Manns department store, the group was expecting trouble but was shocked that it came from the charity’s chairman and not the Charity’s lapdog.

The main inquisitors – we will mention no names for fear of further reprisals in Stasi-controlled Cranleigh – did manage to obtain some hard facts.

  • DR FC He confirmed there was no signed partnership agreement with HC-One the private provider that is named in its planning application and on its website as its key stakeholder.
  • DR FC  did not have an answer to what would happen if no future provider came forward for the Care Home, and what would happen if the proposed development fell flat.
  • The Trust – which collected several million pounds of villagers money – for a new hospital and day hospital, on former parish land, now confirms it has no financial partner for the circa £30m development. Which confirms telephone conversations villagers have had with HC-One’s head office.
  • Campaigners against the scheme told him how abysmally the Public Relations had been handled, as any dissenters had either been shut down, blocked completely on the Cranleigh Community Board and/or vilified on Bamleigh’s personal Radio Station. Which, we understand has now been dubbed  “The Stasi’s Bamleigh Radio.”
  • He also confirmed that the benefactor for the residential block of 12 1/2 bedroom flats is former Trustee and property developer Nick Vrijland, who resigned in December and who, it is believed, has now moved away from the village. 
  • WW understands another Trustee name has gone AWOL from the Charity’s Website? Mr David Barry. (Our next post? – where have all the Trustee’s gone? 
  • UPDATE PS. We understand from a local informer Mr Barry is still a Trustee and appears on the new CVHealthT website. Our apologies to Mr Barry. 

Oh! another one bites the dust!

A former Chairman of the Trust – Mr Peter Nutting – himself a Ewhurst property developer – said in a letter to the planners this week.

“I now live in Hampshire and so would not benefit personally from this wonderful initiative by the people of Cranleigh. I was however chairman of the Trust from 2003 to 2006. I have some sympathy for the residents of John Wiskar Drive objecting ( not in their backyard) …”

So presumably living in Hampshire he now believes the residents of an adjacent   Waverley housing development in Wiskar Drive are Nimbies? 

Letters for and against the development are now piling onto Waverley’s planning portal.

Did Cllr Deanus’s hissy fit get the result he wanted?

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Or was it all a tale of political point-scoring  – and the decision to include the Alfold Councillor in the New Dunsfold Advisory Board was made weeks ago?

You can read the questions Cllr Kevin Deanus posed at the Full Council virtual meeting this week, and the answer he received from Leader John Ward. Not, we might add, Cllr Ward’s finest moment!

Did ‘Mighty Miffed’ Cllr Deanus get his place on the Dunsfold Garden Village Board?

It would appear that the whole show over the airwaves was a bit of a sham – as the decision on who was going to serve on the controversial board to oversee the New Dunsfold Garden Village was in chef’s speak ‘one that had been made earlier.’ A decision that Cllr Deanus was either probably, or could quite easily, have been aware of? 

As you will see – the group no longer sits with John Ward – the Leader of the Council – but with the Portfolio Holder for Dunsfold – Liz Townsend the Independent member for Cranleigh West. Good choice – as Cranleigh will be heavily impacted by a new settlement. 
What is the board looking for? Shedloads of housing – and a garden village that is environmentally sustainable. 
As you will see – all the borough councillors from Cranleigh and Dunsfold and Chiddingfold and Bramley have been included in the new board plus parish councillors from the same villages. ‘Your Waverley’ couldn’t get much more inclusive than that could they Cllr Deanus? Unless of course, the public could hear the meetings too?
So – Dunsfold’s Garden Village here it comes?
Dunsfold Garden Village
Dunsfold Garden Village

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Elstead’s Aunty Elsey – v – Mr Deputy.

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It was spats all round when the Full Council met on ZOOM this week – first The Leader John Ward and Alfold’s Cllr Kevin Deanus

Did ‘Mighty Miffed’ Cllr Deanus get his place on the Dunsfold Garden Village Board?

Then later Elstead’s ‘Aunty Elsey’ (Cllr Jenny Else) went for the throat of Paul Follows for daring to say at a previous council meeting that she obtained and then used information from social media, perish the thought!  She was of course referring to Facebook and not the Waverley Web. She wouldn’t read this scurrilous blog – however her husband does.

The fracas surrounds the new administration’s decision not to renew the Broadwater Park Golf Club’s lease. This overturning a Tory’s decision which, by the way,  it took years to make. The site now forms part of Waverley’s Property Investment Strategy – at a time when every penny counts.

However, as is Aunty Elsey’s style – armed with only half the facts, facts she could determine if only she only took trouble – instead went off at half-cock going for the jugular of the messenger. 

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They say a leopard never changes its spots – well Aunty Elsey went in for the kill at Full Council – when she demanded an apology from ‘Your Waverley’s Deputy Leader Paul Follows.

The spots were practically jumping off Aunty Elsey’s leopard-skin top –  sometimes she wears zebra stripes having a penchant for the out-of-Africa look – when she went in for the kill and demanded an apology.

In her best schoolmarm voice, she ranted about the councils’ “disgraceful and dishonourable” treatment of the Broadwater Golf Club and the way she alleges it has been treated by the council for not renewing its lease. She referred to the Deputy Leader’s “hubris.” She said Cllr  Follows had dared to question the ethics of a colleague.   ‘Not allowed in Waverley’s Code of Conduct,’ she roared!

It appears the minutes referred to Aunty Elsey gaining some of her information from Godalming’s social media board. She repeated the dreaded SM word over and over again.

“Untrue” the leopard roared! “You must treat your colleagues with more respect.”

She claimed she speaks to lots of people and gained her information about the controversial issue from letters and emails from local residents and not from social media. Aunty Elsey, who regularly uses social media particularly during elections, obviously doesn’t really like social media, unlike her councillor husband who really likes social media, and will probably respond to this post on the Waverley Web? She said references to her using SM – that is… social media and not Sado-Masochism – perish the thought, added “insult to injury” she said when it was included in the minutes of the Executive Meeting and she wants the minutes changed. However, Cllr Follows said not only would the minutes not be changed – they would be ‘improved upon.’

Then out came the normally gentle Cllr Follows’ claws:

“You lifted the comments from the Godalming Community Board on May 8 verbatim – I did not say that you were not contacted by others. However, I would urge you to remember the legal confidentialities here. Acting precipitantly without being aware of all the facts is potentially dangerous!”

Oh! come on Cllr Follows, do you really expect Aunty Elsey to make herself aware of the facts or stop act precipitantly when she has been doing that for years? Surely you don’t expect her to break the habits of a lifetime!

Of course, as always, Aunty Elsie believed  she had the last word – The leopard roared again! – ‘Don’t you belittle me, Cllr Follows, I don’t have to answer to you. I represent the people of Waverley and have done so for nine years. Stop this now or you will answer in front of the Monitoring Officer.  OMG  –  not Robin Taylor! Is that the sound of Cllr Follows’ knees shaking we can hear from over here in Farnham!

Then Blessed be the peacemaker Mayor Dr Penny Marriott held up her hands indicating ENOUGH! Saying  – take your argument outside!  Jolly good job the meeting was on Zoom?

So – will it be pistols at dawn over the simple matter of where Aunty Elsey gets her information from?  Perhaps someone should tell her? – Mainly from the dreaded word that we won’t mention?

 

 

 

Did ‘Mighty Miffed’ Cllr Deanus get his place on the Dunsfold Garden Village Board?

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Ignore the member for Alfold at your peril Waverley Borough Council.

As you will read in the post above Alfold’s Councillor Kevin Deanus has been struggling for 13 months to be seated on ‘Your Waverley’s’ Advisory Board for the new Government-backed new Dunsfold Garden Village.

Kevin Deanus

Kevin Deanus

He claims as the representative of the village most affected by the scheme to build 1,800 homes in the initial phase and another 800 in the second, his opinion on how things should progress has not been valued. In fact, numerous requests to Waverley’s Leader and Executive have been ignored.

“My views are simply not valued – and have been constantly ignored,’ he told the Full Council on a Zoom meeting last night. “And this from a new administration that claimed it would be open, transparent and communicate! In my opinion I have been dealt with in an unprofessional manner for 13 months.”

The full transcript of his five questions are included on the post in the red link above. Suffice to say, it is an understatement to mention that Cllr Deanus – is not a happy bunny!

Even ZOOM couldn’t hide Leader John Ward’s anger – his eyes bulged and his pallor changed as he warned Cllr Deanus that his 400 word ‘Intemperate questions strained the limits of the council’s procedural rules.’

He then reeled off a string of regular meetings, including the dates on which they were held, both internally with the developers of Dunsfold Aerodrome, and with external organisations – including Design South East and Homes England.  So whilst WW thought all was quiet on the eastern-front it has been anything but?’

Earlier Cllr D requested the minutes of all meetings held – will he get them? Watch this space?

Cllr Ward said both local borough councillors for Alfold and Dunsfold would be included on the DP Liaison Board, which had not met since March 2019.  As mentioned by Cllr Liz Townsend earlier in the meeting:  ‘Representatives from the parish councils of Alfold, Cranleigh & Dunsfold would be included in the new Dunsfold Advisory Board.’ However, the Leader omitted to mention whether Cllr Deanus would be among them, as he is not a parish councillor! 

Was Cllr Ward being mischievous, or being obtuse, we wonder? The answer may lie in the last paragraph?

The Leader said the development at Dunsfold was moving forward and the new Dunsfold Advisory Board would ensure the project is delivered in a timely manner.

“We are working very closely with Dunsfold Airport Limited (DAL) to bring forward an exceptional new settlement and a four-week public consultation on the Master Plan will take place prior to the reserved matters – (that is the details of the scheme) to be considered by Waverley’s planners. DAL had held its own consultation in October 2019 and if they wish the parish councils can hold their own consultations.”

John Ward

John Ward

“So,” said The Leader, “that’s the good news – now for the bad news, and, I notice from the language you use you are mighty miffed that you have not been selected based on your extensive knowledge of the site and the surrounding area, which has not been valued. But, it may come as something of a surprise to you and a distinct blow to your ego that you are not the only person in Surrey that has knowledge of the site and the surrounding area, but thank you for your questions.”

 

Oh, dear! It appears all is not sweetness and light at Waverley Towers – another post follows – on the spat between A Leopard from Elstead and Mr Deputy Dog!

 

 

 

All hands on deck at ‘Your Waverley’ to mind the gap.

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Cllr Penny Rivers taking part in a video urging residentsd to Keep Safe, Shop Local and help fill the £6.8m black hole in Waverley’s finances.

The COVID pandemic has wreaked havoc on the Waverley’s finances – and with a £6.8m black hole. Only by making cuts and using £3m from its reserves can it balance the books.

With the unexpected hole in its finances officers and councillors have been burning the midnight oil in a bid to find sufficient savings to bridge the gap.

Despite receiving £1.1m Government money, the forced closure of Leisure Centres and other venues and most important the free for all in the borough’s car parks, Waverley Borough Council is not in a good place.

With a recruitment freeze already in place, saving £0.6m the authority hopes, there will be no redundancies. When a revised budget goes before the council in August more recently announced government grants might improve matters. 

Finance Director Grahame Clark painted a grim picture at the Overview & Scrutiny Value for Money meeting recently. 

Saying: “Although we are only four months into the financial year we are facing the biggest challenge since this council was formed.”

Cllr Mark Merryweather, Portfolio Holder for Finance, said the council was still trying to determine all the issues it faced and was assessing how much money would come from the Government to get it through the uncertainty. The largest single impact was from the closure of Leisure Centres – closed by law – and the car parks which were completely emptied following the lock-down. It was too early to determine whether officers’ assumptions were correct on future car park usage. However, it was believed during July it could reach 50%, and hopefully increasing from then on. The only good news.  Commercial property tenants’ rents were holding firm, but the council had been “giving comfort” to some community tenants who had been hit very hard.

The huge reduction in planning work had to resulted in a £600,000 loss of income.

Work on savings, already underway prior to the pandemic, had reached £9m – “so Waverley was running a very tight ship.”

The council was pushing for a fairer formula for future business rates and seeking more Government help – along with other local authorities. 

He said removing £3m from the council’s reserves had been “an extremely painful and nasty process.” An act that could affect the council’s future plans.

(Later in the meeting the Executive went behind closed doors to consider the situation on its Leisure Centres.)

Was that thud the sound of Cranleigh’s New Leisure Centre going off the diving board? A £12.75m centre pledged by the former Tory administration shortly before last year’s May elections with money that the new council found once in power that it did not have?

The Voluntary sector had experienced an increased demand for services, particularly in the villages. However it was doubtful that sector could continue meeting such high demand, and Waverley may have to step in?

Councillors agreed to recommend increasing the costs of collecting green waste; look at ways of reducing grounds maintenance and at the agreements it had for funding community groups including day centres. Strategic Director, Annie Righton warned the council must prevent “double billing”‘ for the staff day centres had furloughed.

Following a suggestion from Cllr Jerry Hyman (Farnham Residents’)  it was also agreed to investigate further a way of removing money from Farnham Park SANGS.

 The next six months would be crucial in determining how much further the council’s income would deteriorate or improve.

It was unanimously agreed that if further Government funding was received – that money would be used to replenish the council’s reserves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

So there you have it. One of our Waverley MP’s spends most of her time ‘congratulating’ anyone and everyone – while the other one…

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Spends his time prodding and criticising the Government!

Local MPs in Commons Questions, Why the Variation in Hospital Covid-19 Mortality Rates?

By Martin Giles of The Guildford Dragon

Guildford’s MP Angela Richardson (Con) highlighted the quick provision of the new isolation ward at the Royal Surrey during a COVID update debate in Parliament as Health Secretary Matt Hancock took questions.

Ms Richardson said: “On Monday morning [July 20], I will attend the opening of the new Guildford ward at the Royal Surrey, a 20-room, fully equipped with CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure), isolation ward built in just four months.”

She complimented Guildford Borough Council for ensuring the planning process did not delay construction “Will my Right Hon Friend join me in congratulating the local council on the pragmatism shown and the hospital on its forward planning?

“Does he agree that in the event of a localised spike in cases requiring hospitalisation, the Royal Surrey will be well-placed to deal with it effectively?”

Mr Hancock said: “Yes. My hon friend is a great champion of the Royal Surrey at Guildford. The hospital has done a brilliant thing by, in short order, expanding its capabilities in this crisis, as have many other hospitals around the country.

“One of the positive things that has come out of it has been the dynamism and flexibility of parts of the NHS and their collaboration with local authorities.

“Both of those have risen to heights never previously seen, and I hope we can bottle that best practice and make sure we keep a dynamic, flexible NHS that works collaboratively with local authorities long into the future.”

In the same debate, Jeremy Hunt, the Conservative MP for Guildford’s neighbouring constituency, SW Surrey, who chairs the Parliamentary Health and Social Care Committee, focused on the unexplained differences in COVID mortality rates between hospitals in Surrey. RSCH has the lowest number of Covid-19 deaths.

See also: Royal Surrey Staff Feel Treatment Approach Has Kept Covid-19 Survival Rate High

He said: “I want to ask the Health Secretary about the worrying variation in coronavirus mortality rates between hospitals, which appear to range from 12.5% to 80%.

“There may be some issues of deprivation or ethnicity, but some of that variation is likely to be due to a failure in some hospitals to adopt best practice, which is what the Getting It Right First Time programme, led by Professor Tim Briggs, addresses.

“Will my Right Hon friend agree to meet me and Professor Briggs to discuss whether the Getting It Right First Time programme could help to reduce COVID mortality rates?

The Health Secretary said: “As my Right Hon friend knows better than almost anybody, the unjustified variation in performance between different hospitals within the NHS is a huge issue across the board because if the standards in every hospital were the same as the standards in the best hospital, the performance of the whole would be so much higher.

“That is exactly what the Getting It Right First Time programme was designed to deliver.”

At Prime Minister’s Questions last week Boris Johnson for the first time, last week committed to an “independent inquiry” into the coronavirus pandemic.

He said now was not the right time for an investigation but there would “certainly” be one “in the future” so lessons could be learned.

The group “Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice” said the PM’s pledge was a “long way from what families need to see” and that the PM has refused to meet them to discuss their concerns.

The UK has “suffered one of the worst death rates in the world and Europe’s worst death rate for health and care workers,” said acting Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey.