Providing late paperwork for councillors on a Farnham development an hour before the meeting did not go down well with Chairman David Beaman. It also scuppered the chances of a Farnham man’s bid to build 24 apartments.
“I am not happy, words fail me” Chairman David Beaman told his colleagues on the Western Planning Committee – “to receive important up-date papers at 5 pm – how about you?”
The beleaguered applicant – a Mr John Boyce (apologies if we don’t have your name right) sat in the Zoom wings – watched helplessly, while his scheme for 24 dwellings, 7 of which are affordable homes – bit the dust for another month.
He told the committee the application was due to be considered on 15th July 2020 and it had cost him a “considerable amount of money” waiting month after month for a decision.
Outline application for the demolition of an existing bungalow and erection of 24 apartments with underground parking.WA/2020/0558 – LAND AT THE OLD MISSION HALL, HOOKSTILE LANE, FARNHAM.
The application, which is already out of time for a decision, was recommended for approval by the officers.
Despite it languishing in Waverley Towers since last July, the committee unanimously decided to defer determining his scheme until April 26th. As all admitted they had not had time to read the paperwork.
Waverley’s Tory Group has complained about a proposal to cut meetings from four area planning committees down to two – leaving less opportunity for councillors to represent their constituencies. The Tories claim too many important decisions are being delegated to officers.
The matter of managing council business post-COVID is being discussed at a special Executive meeting on April 6. However, the Leader of the Council Farnham Residents’ John Ward said earlier this week that the Government was making it extremely difficult for councils to work now that Zoom meetings would be forced to end on May 6. Self-distancing in the council chamber for major meetings would be difficult if not impossible.
Along with councils around the country Waverley has appealed to the government to allow virtual meetings to continue for the time being. But the numerous requests have fallen on deaf ears.
You can hear this part of the Western Planning Committee meeting here: