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