Is the “Nasty Party’ on form in Godalming?

You couldn’t Adam and Eve It could you?

 

Bang slap in the heart of a pandemic, with families struggling to make ends meet, while family members suffer or die of COVID than the Terrible Tory Twins ride again!
May be an image of text that says 'GODALMING CONSERVATIVES ABSTAIN ON VOTE TO CONTINUE COUNCIL'S SUPPORT OF COMMUNITY STORE SUPPORT TO CONTINUE THANKS TO LIB DEMS & PARTNERS AT GODALMING TOWN COUNCIL godalming-t.gov.uk/communitystore'
Here at the Waverley Web, we couldn’t believe that if only for the reason that we are within months of the county council elections,  the Tory Group on Godalming Town Council would have supported extending the life of the Community Store. But no – not even for political reasons, let alone compassionate reasons, would they support the continuing use of the Wilfred Noyce Centre of this valuable life-line until May.

Ah! lest we forget – Cllr Peter Martin, who also abstained from the vote, isn’t standing for the county seat – so no probs there then?

Tory Steve Cosser, was apparently concerned about committing the centre for the foreseeable future as it was used by ‘hundreds and hundreds of members of the community’ and the valuable community asset should be made available to them.

Wakey, wakey Cllr Cosser – hasn’t anyone told you that for the foreseeable future the community at large won’t be meeting up anywhere soon. Most of us are too damned scared.

WHY?
Because now we all know someone who has either died, is languishing in a hospital bed or is suffering symptoms of post-COVID. We also have family members working around the clock until they drop – caring for the afflicted or rocking up to their doors following emergency calls! Although Tory’s worried wealthy may have to miss a Pilates class, spare a thought for all those who are experiencing job losses, reduced hours, or have been furloughed or made redundant.

The Nasty Party Rides again?

Cllr Cosser said the Wilfred Noyce Centre was important to the mental health of residents by way of the activities it provided. Absolutely – right! Very Important! But not right here and not right now.  You know what Cllr Cosser, the mental-health of residents’ unable to feed and care for their families is a very real mental health issue too. Going without Zumba – isn’t in the big scheme of things – a huge sacrifice. Neither is it vital for mental health. All are available online and elsewhere.

Crystal ball gazing?

By committing the centre for its present use until two months after furlough ends, is “unwise” says he, the owner of a crystal ball.   Does he actually know when furlough will end?  With the horrifying infection rates and deaths presently being suffered it is unlikely that normal service will not be resumed any time soon. Does his crystal ball tell him what the effect will be on Godalming people when furlough ends?

Another point of view.

 

Cllr Alex Adam feared the worst was yet to come in terms of redundancies and people would need support once the furlough system ends.

“I predict that this time next year the rubber is going to hit the road,” he said. “When all the [Government] support has been taken away, that’s when it’s really going to be bad.”

He asked whether Godalming Town Council had any longer-term plans for supporting people once the furlough scheme finishes?

“This isn’t going to go away,” he said. “This time next year, I think, is going to be a lot worse than this year.”

Cllr Follows said that he would like to see the council provide a “successor entity” to deal with not only the economic consequences of the pandemic but also deal with the latent need for a Godalming food bank that had existed before the pandemic.”

Although Cllr Cosser and Cllr Martin abstained from the vote to extend the period – they did vote to engage with other community groups to ascertain the level of need.

Cllr Cosser said, “What I am really trying to push for is a tightening up of our processes going forward, to try and ensure that what’s not really a responsibility of this council is transferred to another group, so that we don’t run the risk of losing the benefit of the Wilfrid Noyce Centre.”

“Let’s make absolutely sure that we don’t have people going hungry. Let’s make sure we don’t prejudice that, by making sure we provide this in another way,” he said.

 

Cllr Paul Follows. 
So what did Council Chairman Paul Follows have to say after the meeting?
“Rarely am I speechless at the end of a town council meeting – but watching the Godalming Conservatives ABSTAIN on a vote to continue the Town Council support for the Godalming and Villages Community store, during the height of a pandemic and its economic consequences is one of those times.
Fortunately, they are in the minority and so that support continues.
The community in its generosity in food, donations and time (with support from the town council in terms of a building, staff and organisation) has helped so many over this pandemic. It is needed more than ever.
Thank you to all the volunteers who work in the store and those who donate.”
Cllr Paul Follows
Leader, Godalming Town Council

A Cranleigh development dubbed as ‘awful and objectionable’ has been thrown out by Waverley planners.

Councillors from Elstead, Cranleigh and Bramley joined together to deliver a swingeing attack on the design of a controversial development on the former West Cranleigh Nurseries site in Alfold Road.

The outline planning application – vehemently opposed by Cranleigh people and many local councillors was passed in 2017 on the casting vote of Tory chairman Peter Isherwood. Now four years later – after being sold by Dutch lettuce grower Nick Vrijland it has finally reached the design and landscaping stage for 118 homes by new owners A2 Dominion.  However,  building won’t start until later this year with the completion of some properties in 2022.

West Cranleigh Nurseries bounces back like a rubber ball and councillor Peter Isherwood scores a goal!

Cranleigh Cllr Liz Townsend administered the first blow – after an introduction by ‘mystery planning officer’ Patrick Arthurs – who, surprise, surprise, left the council last year – but returned in voice only, to present the scheme. 

She was promptly followed by Bramley, Busbridge & Hascombe Cllr Martin D’Arcy who expressed  “dismay” that there was no landscaping or management plan and that on an utterly treeless site, 16 types of specimen trees were proposed of which only three were native species.

On the subject of energy sustainability, it was in his opinion “quite bizarre” that all 118  proposed dwellings were to be fitted with gas boilers. Boilers to be phased out by 2030 and with solar panels fitted to only three large apartment blocks.

 

But it was Elstead  Cllr David Else who described the scheme as –

“probably the worst we have ever seen.”

But it didn’t get any better – with the exception of  Chairman, Cranleigh Cllr Richard Coles, who said he was perfectly satisfied with the design, saying – 

“I find it rather attractive”

Not a problem then for a man, who it is rumored,  is leaving the borough for a new home in the West Country?

Which prompted officer Arthurs to openly criticise councillors for not raising their concerns earlier, saying they should have told him before the meeting if they didn’t like the design!

Ah! So now a Waverley planning officer/developer is asking councillors to pre-determine planning applications before they are heard in public are we? Now – there’s something for the monitoring officer to chew over?

At which point we thought Cllr Liz was going to explode – and literally take off on Zoom to box the ears of officer Arthurs. Saying-

“don’t blame us, that’s what this committee is here for – to make a decision and I really object to being told we should have made this decision earlier”

She said she had made her concerns known in the past, but this was the first time members had seen these (warehouse) apartment blocks, due to the high degree of affordable housing.

They are not in keeping with Cranleigh and are akin to an industrial unit, not a home! The character of the area will be deeply affected by these blocks.

According to Godalming Cllr Paul Follows – once again the council had been bitten by an approved outline scheme when it came to the detail – and…

I agree with every word Cllr Townsend has said:

“This is a design I cannot stand.”

Before deferring the application by 14 votes to one (presumably the chairman) with a strong message to the developer to go back to the drawing board and come up with something more appropriate it was Cranleigh Cllr Ruth Reed’s turn to hammer the last nail home.

You can listen to the whole meeting here.

https://youtu.be/1OQygjVRy3U

Does another threat hang over our Surrey Hills?

Having kicked into touch the bid by UK OIL & Gas to drill in Dunsfold – near Hascombe Hills in Waverley – the battle by exploration companies could continue elsewhere.

County planners refused the scheme to drill at High Loxley Road near Dunsfold aerodrome. twice.  Once in June 2020 – a decision ruled invalid due to technical problems during the online meeting. It was refused again in November last year.

Link to the first decision: UK Oil & Gas application in Dunsfold – Refused…for now?

Local campaign group Protect Dunsfold said: “Protect Dunsfold and all involved in fighting that application from UKOG was extremely relieved that the application has been refused on certain planning grounds.

“We feel this is a very fair and realistic judgement in today’s world of climate change.”

 Image courtesy Ackroyd & Harvey/ Surrey Hills Arts / Photo From The Air

However, The licence to drill for oil and gas, not so very far away from Dunsfold, in the area pictured above covering Leith Hill in Surrey, will still be offered to exploration companies, even though successive companies have failed to drill there.

Leith Hill, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, was the site of controversial plans to drill for oil by successive companies over a 12 year period. Europa Oil and Gas pulled out of the site in 2018 after a lengthy legal battle to get planning permission to drill at the site. 

UK Oil & Gas Plc (UKOG), Angus Energy and Egdon Resources Ltd took over the licence from Europa and said they were considering plans for a horizontal drill under Leith Hill from the A24. They gave it up after concluding:

“the required long-reach/shallow target-depth wells are neither technically viable or economically feasible”

James Knapp, on behalf of A Voice For Leith Hill, contacted the Oil and Gas Authority to request an update on the licence now no oil company seems likely to be able to use it. They replied: “We can confirm that PEDL143 was relinquished on 26th September 2020.  The OGA cannot speculate on future out-of-round licence applications that may encompass this area or the outcome of any future licence rounds”.

James Knapp said.

“The licensing system is broken. The Oil and Gas Authority should remove unworkable areas from the licensing rounds.”

“The rules say that companies have to drill, or the licences must be relinquished. This licence area has proved unviable and the blight on the local community and the environment should be lifted by drawing a line under PEDL 143. The Oil and Gas Authority should review its broken licensing system and free wide swathes of the country from the threat of oil and gas drilling.

“In the year of COP26, when we are supposed to be working towards net-zero, it should be routine to withdraw unlicensed areas because there is no requirement for an operator to be compensated. Other countries have stopped fossil fuel exploration altogether. Where is the ambition of this Government?”

For further information about drilling at Leith Hill visit http://www.wealdactiongroup.org.uk/leith-hill/

Contact: info@voiceforleithhill.co.uk

 

Hospital’s in Surrey & Sussex reach ‘tipping point.’

So ensure when you are called – don’t hesitate – go for it. Stay Safe and Save the NHS.

The Surrey & Sussex Healthcare Trust has warned it may reach a ‘tipping point’ where it is ‘impossible’ to separate COVID positive and negative patients.

The (S&SH ) includes Surrey Heartlands Trust – the organisation that covers the borough of Waverley.

Surrey and Sussex Healthcare Trust also revealed in papers published ahead of its Thursday board meeting that it planned to distribute a “duty of candour” leaflet for patients, warning them of the risk of contracting covid in hospital.

The papers noted covid patients at the trust increased from 80 pre-Christmas to 230 by January, filling half its beds.  figures suggest covid patients at the trust continued to rise until around 14 January before dropping back slightly

The report from the trust’s safety and quality committee said:

“It is becoming more difficult to separate the covid+ and covid- patients. In an increasing number of instances, patients are admitted to cold areas for non-covid treatment and without symptoms but then test positive. These patients then need to be admitted to hot areas and any contacts (including patients from the same bay) isolated.”

“At some point, a tipping point could be reached where it may be impossible to retain hot and cold areas.”

The paper added the criteria for admission to hospital is higher than normal, with patients only being admitted if the risks of not doing so outweigh the risk of contracting covid during their stay. On the other hand, it added criteria for discharge was lower.

The document noted the trust has added intensive care unit beds in converted wards but one patient still had to be transferred to Torbay, where the nearest available ICU bed was sited. Cancer operations are continuing at an independent sector site but much elective work has been cancelled, with only urgent procedures being carried out.

The trust has already reported a number of serious incidents involving hospital-acquired COVID. In one case, three patients died following an outbreak of probable or definite hospital-acquired COVID on two wards. In another, a patient who had shared a bay with someone who developed COVID then died from the disease.

As of 25 January, an estimated 37 per cent of SASH’s adult general and acute beds were occupied by COVID positive patients, a figure which appeared to be stabilising in recent days.

Michael Wilson, chief executive of SASH, and a former director of The Royal Surrey Hospital in Guildford said:

“We have seen unprecedented numbers of patients with COVID being admitted and requiring critical care. Staff continue to pull together to provide safe care and it remains important to inform patients about the risk of infection, the things we are doing to prevent spread and how they can help while in hospital.”

 

The temperature may be dropping in ‘Your Waverley’ but its rising in Haslemere.

The residents of the much-loved town are flooding Waverley’s planning portal and social media sites with calls to ditch a controversial development site in Haslemere.

Waverley Officer laden down with applications or objections

With only a matter of days to go before the consultation ends on Waverley’s blueprint for development – Local Plan Part 2, officers are set to deal with shedloads of objections.

The consultation ends on Friday, January 29.

You will see from the comments below, and on the planning, portal objections are not from the worried wealthy or the Nimby’s – (Not in My Back Yard’ or even the Nimfy’s Not In My Front Yard) they are from correspondents genuinely concerned about a developer who wants to build in an Area of Great Landscape Value – An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – and adjacent the South Downs National Park. In fact, if Red Court Ltd get away with this one – nowhere’s safe in Surrey, is it? The developer intends to build a phased development of around 180 homes on a site which is also a wildlife corridor and home to precious flora, fauna and endangered species called – Red Court.

So will ‘Your Waverley’ say as the Tories did with Blightwells in Farnham – ‘bu**er the bats and the wildlife, to hell with heritage buildings and green space, let’s build 28 new shops! Or, as they did in Cranleigh and in Milford ask? ‘flood plains’ what flood plains?”

Or will the new Rainbow Administration that now controls Waverley Borough Council do what it said on the tin when elected?  LISTEN to the people who care about development that will lead to huge biodiversity loss.

 

All the contact details for having your voice heard are in the link below:

So use it or lose it?

Only 7 days to pitch in to help Haslemere protect its green spaces.

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