Are Dumb & Dumber running Surrey County Council?

If you really have to shop in Guildford – may be, you should think again?  WW is wondering if trialling a new one-way system blocking off Walnut Tree Close is good timing for the town’s 2020 Christmas Trade? And, have you seen the new parking charges!? 

Because this is what Guildford Borough Council is going to trial until February. Or – maybe for good?

There are fears it won’t be a trial – it will stay. If you cannot quite place Walnut Tree Close it is the road that goes past Guildford Station and cuts through to the Guildford Dual carriageway at Woodbridge Meadows. 

Mr Terry Habgood among many who is strongly against it, says it’s been fine for many many years as a two-way road, why mess with it? They must have money to burn, he says.

One-way trial – December 2020

We will be implementing a trial one-way system on the northern section of Walnut Tree Close between 29 November and 17 February 2021. During the two-and-a-half-month trial, vehicular traffic will only be allowed to travel in the northbound direction. The effect of the trial on surrounding roads will be monitored and a decision on a permanent solution will be made after the trial period.

Diversion route:

A signed diversion will be in place throughout the one-way trial period. The diversion route is as follows:

  • Woodbridge Meadows, Guildford (northbound)
  • A25 Woodbridge Road, Guildford (eastbound)
  • A25 Woodbridge Road, Guildford (southbound)
  • Onslow Street, Guildford
  • Walnut Tree Close, Guildford (northbound)

WHY you may ask?

Why are we doing this trial?

The trial is in response to a petition in 2016 by residents of Walnut Tree Close to Guildford Borough Council requesting the closure of the road to separate the commercial and residential ends of the road and prevent traffic using the road as a through route. The volumes of passing through traffic have increased significantly since then. Vehicles are currently using Walnut Tree Close as a through-road between the A25 and the gyratory, causing large amounts of congestion. We are aiming to make the road quieter and safer by putting this traffic restriction in place.

Where will the one-way trial be located?

The one-way system will be in place between Kernal Court and just south of the Royal Mail Delivery Office and Mail Centre on Walnut Tree Close.

Motorists will be able to travel both southbound and northbound on Walnut Tree Close up until Kernal Court, at which point the road will become one-way in the northbound direction. From Kernal Court, motorists can travel southbound to the station, however between the Royal Mail Delivery Office and Mail Centre and Kernal Court the road will be one-way only in the northbound direction. Motorists will not be able to travel southbound in this section of the road, so they will need to take the signed diversion route through Woodbridge Road to gain access to the train station.

What are the benefits of the trial?

  • To reduce the number of vehicles passing through along Walnut Tree Close as a shortcut route into Guildford town centre and vice-versa
  • To improve road safety for all users and reduce the risk of collisions

Car Parking charges the Guildford way.

 

When you are in a hole in Alfold – developer keeps digging!

As developers fall over one another in a pincer movement to turn little old Alfold into a new town “Your Waverley ‘ finally – issues a STOP NOTICE on the works at the Wildwood Golf Club.

Despite the parish, borough, county councils and the MP being bombarded with complaints from villagers – including Alfold’s very own Mole,  the new owners of the club on the A281 at Alfold Crossways – just ‘Carry On Regardless!’

Despite a  Temporary Stop Notice being issued by Waverley Enforcement Last Wednesday –  the Diggers are still on-site and merrily Dig – dig – digging away.

BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR ALFOLD?

At first, villagers were ecstatic because they believed they were going to get the Professional Golf Association (PGA) HQ, a 27-hole golf course, a hotel with a spar for the locals and 39 golf lodges as part of a planning consent given ten years ago. Now they are not quite so sure? As the land being cleared – has nothing to do with the extant permission for the golf development it is closer to THE NUTSHELL – a site which is now either owned or on which the developers have an option,  for yes – you guessed folks – MORE HOUSING

Now the new owner’s flash Jag has swung into Alfold with some big VERY BIG plans. – Sedat Peker is a very interesting individual. Full of Eastern promise as part of Peker Holdings Ltd. based in Cobham – and recently quoted as saying: Do read his Wikipedia profile, we have provided a link.


 

       AH! HA! So there we have it, folks! This is all about A NEW SELF-SUSTAINING NEW SETTLEMENT – IS IT?

Or as an Alfold Mole would say:

“A 9 Hole Golf course!!! Looks like the Nutshell are in on this and will sell their Brownfield land for housing along with the 9 hole/Car parks etc and we will have an application for hundreds of new Homes. They can then carve up the rest of the Farmland for sale and we will have lost this wonderful asset – one of the few we had in this village.”

This Wikipedia profile makes very interesting reading. If any of our followers have ever wondered why the Waverley Web remains anonymous – then here’s your answer!!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sedat_Peker

Interesting! Very interesting!

But no worries.  According to Turkish businesswoman Mrs Aysegul Peker, there will be plenty of goodies for the locals in the NEW BIG WILDWOOD URBAN SETTLEMENT bag. Because she intends to donate some of the 230 acres back to the community, so will consult residents to find out what they would like to see that land used for.

A spokesman for Mrs Peker said: “She wants to give back some of the lands for a school, community centre, playground or something that the residents here currently need.

Now! Where have the locals in Alfold heard that one before?

“Whether that be 10, 20 or 30 acres. Whatever the residents want she will try to deliver,” she says.

Groundwork construction on the hotel has already begun on the site.

Surrey County Council was due to issue a Temporary Closure notice on the Footpath to yesterday THURSDAY. However, walkers tell us it is not yet in force. Once granted the well-trodden path by villagers will be across  Pickenswood Copse a site covered by restrictions as an (ASNW and Tree Preservation Order site)

 

Cranleigh charity’s request for ‘private meeting’ UNANIMOUSLY REFUSED.

The Paddock field in Knowle Lane. The site which is currently proposed for a care home in the latest planning application

 

Village leaders considered this request from the Cranleigh Village Health Trust. The charity that is seeking planning consent to build a 64-bed care home an accommodation block and 16 community beds now wants to meet the parish council in private… again.

Here they go again… we hear the CVHT trumpets blow again…?

Here’s what it said on last week’s  Cranleigh Parish Council Agenda. The meeting was held on Zoom to enable the public to take part.

CRANLEIGH VILLAGE HEALTH TRUST (CVHT) CVHT Response to letter exchange (This item may be held in private and confidential session – reason: commercial in confidence) Recommendation: •

‘To consider the request from CVHT for a private meeting of two CVHT representatives with the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Council, and the Clerk, to discuss an outcome for the Paddock Field which is beneficial for the community and satisfies CVHT’s obligations as a charity, in line with the covenants placed on the land. There may be information that is commercially sensitive.’

Another chapter is about to open in a burgeoning book of a 20-year saga that has dogged – what has been dubbed by some as ‘the largest village in England”  

The Cranleigh Village Health Trust’s request was given short shrift by councillors who were united in their opposition to holding ANY further meetings in private with a developer seeking to build a commercial private care home for HC-One one of the nation’s largest care providers. 

Though it is now debatable whether HC-One is the operator?  The Chairman of the Trust, Dr Robin Fawkner-Corbett has confirmed publicly that the planning application in the name of HC-ONE and CVHT that has been with Waverley Planners for many months, has no signed-up operator! Saying an operator will be named once planning permission is granted.

Now that the Trust has effectively become – Billy No Mates – it wants a secret meeting with a handful of councillors to unveil its latest cunning plan. A plan for a site it owns – has the value of a playing field, land swapped 15 years ago sold by the parish council of-the-day for £ 1– in return for a piece of agricultural land for a playing field.

See the link here – ` It&#8217It’s official. The Cranleigh Village Health Trust has NO partner for its bid to build a new Private Care Home.

And here`; So what​ the​ hell is​ going on – with Cranleigh’s private​ nursing home and HC-ONE?

And here: Health Honchos pull the plug on a 20-year-old scheme to return Cranleigh’s Community Beds.

The first, and only, member of the public to speak was the man who heads the campaign group to stop the development going ahead.

Andy Webb – as we repeatedly say – who has no connection with the Waverley Web, asked if he could represent the Campaign Group on behalf of its supporters at any meeting to be held. He said as the Trust had received considerable amounts of public money.  ( believed to be circa £1.7m plus) – the public should be included in any debate. He said he couldn’t get any response to his requests from the Trust for a meeting, but firmly believed the public must be allowed to hear whatever its representatives had to say?

“We have an absolute right to know what is being said – it is our money they are spending!

Chairman Liz Townsend said the council would go into the council meeting and consider the request and the decision lay with her members.

First off the grid was Cllr Richard Cole who said he recalled the previous private meeting with the Trust was to listen but not comment. Cllr Townsend reminded everyone that the well-minuted private meeting was to hear nothing other than any ‘community benefits’ put forward by the Trust. 

“We made it very clear to them it would not be about process.”

Cllr Cole, who is also Chairman of a Waverley Planning Committee, said any meeting should not be discussing the planning application – an application that…

“it appeared wouldn’t  be coming to the borough council – any time soon.”

” You can offer them another meeting – but this time “I want to be there,” said a feisty Cllr Rowena Tyler – and I want that minuted!”

Cllr Jeacock said he wasn’t happy about holding any private meetings in the first place  – “I don’t like it.”

Neither did Cllr James Betts –

“I will strongly object and I want that minuted. I don’t agree with the Trust keep asking for private meetings with two representatives,  they should speak to the parish council, and anyone else who is interested as an elected group – and the meeting should be held in public.”

Cllr Nigel Sanctuary echoed his sentiments. “this is a community issue – and there a lot of emotions around this. Public emotions are running so high, that we should reject any request by the Trust to meet a few of us in private.” He said the council should reject any more private meetings and should have some clear objectives about what it wished for an outcome.

Cllr George Worthington:  “We said three months ago the last meeting was a “one-off” to hold another would not be sending the right message. We need to have everyone on the parish council – and the public involved.”

Both Cllr Hannah Nicholson and David Nicholas agreed. A conciliatory voice from Cllr Nicholas said the last meeting in private should be the final meeting.

We are a civilised lot here – an open meeting can be well-chaired, and well-managed and we will listen to the Trust.  There could be an opportunity here for something sensible to come out of it. However, we have to make it clear to the Trust, that if there are confidential commercial matters – they should give us that information in a report. We could at least offer them that.”

It was UNANIMOUSLY agreed that the council would write to the CVHT stressing that it agreed it would hold a parish council meeting to be held in public – which was not the same as a PUBLIC MEETING.

 

Could ‘Your Waverley’ be entering the Supermarket sweep?

 

‘Your Waverley’s’ EXTRAORDINARY EXECUTIVE went behind closed doors this week to decide whether to invest up to £10m in an out of town supermarket.

The controversial investment opposed by some in the Tory Opposition – has been prompted by the catastrophic effects of COVID-19, combined with year-on-year Tory Government cuts. In common with other cash-strapped local authorities, ‘Your Waverley’ is struggling to keep its head above water and protect services.

Council Leader John Ward apologised profusely to the public for excluding them from part of the debate made necessary by both the seller and tenant of the property in question. Both of whom had demanded absolute CONFIDENTIALITY. However, he would allow any comments or questions from any councillors to be heard in public.

Title: Portfolio Holder for Finance, Assets and Commercial Services.

Portfolio holder for Finance Mark Merryweather said the administration was doing everything in its power to keep Waverley sound and protect services against a background of continuing “maligned threats” from the Government.  95% of Waverley’s business rates were now syphoned off by the Government and Surrey County Council. This combined with the financial menace of the coronavirus was robbing councils of their ability to cope.

The investment for discussion and hopefully approval could bring the council closer to its strategic objective of investing in its own, or others property, thereby improving its finances. After expert advice from officers and independent financial experts, and in line with its property investment objectives, he saw no reasonable grounds to object to the investment.

  • A Business Plan and Due Diligence was included in an Exempt Annex.

First off the grid was Cllr Steve Cosser who wanted his objections heard by the public, sacrificing his ability to speak in the EXEMPT session in the process. This was pre-ceded by a brief skirmish during which Cllr Ward told his colleagues they could either speak in open or exempt but not in both.

Cllr Cosser outlined his numerous concerns. He was surprised the Executive had considered spending £7m + £400,000 in fees to acquire a supermarket out of town? Even more, so that it came from internal borrowing. How could a council that was pleading poverty consider finding such a large sum of money – and how much more was buried in its accounts?

He argued the money could have been better spent on the investment in a new leisure centre, or perhaps a Community Hub for Cranleigh believing the residents of both Waverley and Cranleigh would think so too! **

He claimed the proposal was an abandonment of the council’s strategy to only invest in an “area of economic influence,”

However, this is the area of economic influence he referred too.

Dunsfold Cllr John Gray said the move shouldn’t be made unless it was a triple-A investment.

“This is more like the Icelandic Bank tale of the past” and claimed the investment finance would come from Waverley’s depleting coffers.

Cllr Peter Martin described the new Administration’s strategy as “risky.”He couldn’t understand why it was moving to investments outside the borough. But, was told suitable investments “did not grow on trees.”

** Cranleigh Cllr Liz Townsend exploded the myth that money used for investments could be used to provide “other services.”

 Does the Waverley Web presume this was a veiled reference to the previous remarks on – Cranleigh Leisure Centre?

She said, there was a BIG difference between the council’s use of Capital Funds or borrowing money today for the cost of providing ongoing services. 

It was left to Godalming’s Cllr Paul Follows to spell out a few home truths to the faint-hearted Tories.

“Let’s remember why we are here? Because of the escalation via COVID on the structural financial issues impacting on local government; that exist solely because of central Government policy towards local government.”

He reminded the opposing voices that a vacancy existed on the Property Advisory Board. A Board on which Cllr Peter Martin sat until he resigned to take over chairman of an O & S committee. A seat that has remained vacant, ever since, despite repeated requests made to the opposition,  because nobody wanted to fill it! 

“So perhaps rather than appear here, without any evidence to back it up or give any actual examples of the many other places we could have invested in the borough, perhaps I could suggest that they join the Board and bring all these opportunities, they say exist in Waverley for its consideration?

He said he couldn’t help wondering if so many opportunities for direct investment within Waverley existed WHY investment opportunities already taken up in the past by other councils including neighbouring Rushmoor Borough Council and a council in The Wirral – hadn’t been taken up by the previous administration?

“Perhaps this has shown that the previous administration had been asleep at the tiller with its acquisitions over the past decade?”

After almost an hours debate behind closed doors. The Executive agreed the following.

Recommendation The PIAB recommend the Executive approve the purchase of the property identified in Exempt Annexe 1 within its delegation limit of £10 million subject to: 2.1 A bid of up to £6,955, 000 to acquire the freehold, subject to satisfactory completion of the further evaluation work and due diligence referred to in this report. 2.2 To delegate to the Strategic Director (Sec 151) and the Chief Executive, and Portfolio Holder for Finance, Assets and Commercial Services: i) The undertaking and signing off of the evaluation work and due diligence required as referred to in recommendation 2.1; ii) The decision not to submit a bid or to withdraw a bid if already submitted, in the event that the evaluation work and/or due diligence is not satisfactory; iii) The decision to accept a lower financial return (after internal borrowing costs) than required in Waverley’s investment criteria, if justified after evaluating the wider strategic and long term benefits of acquiring this site; iv) To finance the acquisition as set out in this report; v) To delegate the completion of legal matters and signing of appropriate contracts to the Strategic Director (Sec 151) and the Chief Executive, and Portfolio Holder for Finance, Assets and Commercial Services.

The Full report and details of the investment are included in the link below.

https://modgov.waverley.gov.uk/documents/g3730/Public%20reports%20pack%2020th-Nov-2020%2016.00%20Executive.pdf?T=10

 

 

 

 

 

https://youtu.be/GE3hoJ0UXco

Motorists fuming trying to get to Godawfulming.

It’s enough to drive you round the bend – and certainly around in circles.

 One very helpful sign Lying on the grass?

Visitors to Godalming recently have been left bewildered and confused by diversion signs that direct them “around” the gas works in Brighton Road which began two weeks ago. Chaos rules.

Here is a little travel log from one of our followers … Chris from Cranleigh outlining her tortuous journey from Cranleigh to Milford where she had planned to have a potter around Squires Garden Centre. 

“Not strictly essential shopping I confess but frankly, I’m really bored.”

I got to Nanhust Crossroads and saw a sign on the Dunsfold Road corner saying Brighton Road, Godalming was closed, please follow the diversions.

The only diversion sign I could see was pointing towards Guildford along the A281. “That can’t be right,” I thought,” it’s totally the wrong way.  And as it happens I know that Tilthams Corner Road is closed due to bridge works – it has been closed for months and months which is the only way I can think they might be directing me. So I conclude that someone must have mischievously put the sign in the wrong place.

WW understands that the reasons all the bridge closures – Albury, Run Common, Cranleigh and Tilthams Corner- are due to Badgers! Pull the other one Surrey highways, it has bells on?

“So I head off along the Dunsfold Road, expecting to see a diversion sign somewhere. Sure enough, I notice a couple telling me again that the road is closed ahead “please follow the diversion.”

 Expecting to see a diversion directional sign – somewhere. I plough on and on and six odd miles later I’m approaching Godalming, still expecting to see a diversion sign.

I get as far as Home Farm Road junction and lying on the ground (really useful) is a sign telling me that I can’t go down Home Farm Road.  “Not suitable for Brighton Road diverted traffic please follow signed diversion route.”

OK, so where is that exactly? I go a bit further on and come to a “Road Closed” sign across the top of Brighton Road at the junction with The Drive. Damn. So what happens now?  Do I go down The Drive? It looks very narrow with cars parked all along it?

I turn my head to the right and lo and behold there is the diversion sign directing me back the way I have come – all the way back to the A281. No mischievous sign fiddler. They really wanted me to go all the way towards Guildford and Shalford!

Needless to say, along with everyone else, I ignore it. A few other confused drivers do U-turns. I want to go to Milford for heaven’s sake not back to Cranleigh crossroads and all-around Shalford!

Sat Nav advises me to turn around and go down Home Farm Road, on to Quartermile Road and down Shackstead Lane which takes me past Inn on the Lake and out to Milford.

Heading back from Squires into Godalming town and along Flambards way – there are no diversion signs at all until you get to Brighton Road junction itself.   Oh well, I had better do the right thing this time and head on down to the A281 then, after all, that’s not a busy road is it!!? Never mind there are only another four and a half weeks of it! And, who wants to go shopping anyway?