Waverley Councillors were left reeling last night when it was announced at a meeting of the full Council that Dunsfold Aerodrome Limited is to have “changes in its ownership.”
In other words following the appointment of a new Senior Bursar at Trinity College, Cambridge (the owners of Dunsfold Park) the College has decided to cut and run from its commitment to create a new village at the former aerodrome.
The new Bursar, Richard Turnill – fresh from BlackRock, where he was the Global Chief Investment Strategist – is now responsible for the College’s endowment fund that, according to its blurb, provides 75% of its operating income.
It would seem that Mr Turnill, unlike his illustrious predecessors, doesn’t favour taking the long view, which is what those who invest in property are generally required to do. Being a city man, he prefers to play the financial markets instead.
Maybe, before it’s too late, but should we send Mr Turnill a little light bedtime reading by way of a copy of Jeffrey Archer’s latest novel (Turn a Blind Eye), which our Webbers have been reading – in which it’s somewhat presciently noted that:
‘The land that surrounds Felixstowe Docks is owned by Trinity College, Cambridge, and is one of its most valuable assets. The college bursar at the time, a Mr Tressilian Nicholas, purchased the 3,800-acre site on behalf of the college in 1933, along with a road that led to the then-derelict docks. His successor, a Mr Bradfield, spotted its potential, and it’s now the largest port in Britain and makes the college a small fortune.’
Lord Butler, a former cabinet minister, and master of Trinity asked Bradfield at a finance meeting if he realised that the college-owned a tin mine in Cornwall that hadn’t shown a return since 1546, to which the bursar famously replied,
“You’ll find, master, that in this college, we take the long view.”
It would seem that in declining to take the long view at Dunsfold Park, Mr Turnill is turning his back not only on centuries-old tradition at Trinity College but on the residents of Waverley and their councillors, who were relying on Trinity to deliver on its promise to create an exemplar new eco-village at the former aerodrome, and thus, in one fell swoop, alleviating Waverley Borough Council’s housing shortfall and rejuvenating the former airfield which is home to many local businesses and jobs, which have done well to survive the current Corona Virus pandemic.
Read yesterday’s post: Are the floodgates for further development in the eastern villages about to open?
The Waverley Web revealed “the change of ownership” last week here:
Without Dunsfold Park’s contribution to its housing numbers, Waverley falls way short of its housing supply, leaving the door wide open to every cowboy developer roaming the green fields of its fair Borough.
Following the bombshell news, Waverley’s councillors and planners alike are feeling abused, bruised and used by the actions of Mr Turnhill. Not that they mentioned him, but we have been doing a bit of our own espionage work around the Dunsfold delay with a few of our Cambridge informants.
Our spider’s 8 highly efficient pedipalps reach far and wide but it is their other two peds they use as hands that do all the work!
And what of The Flying Scot, Jim McAllister, who has spent the past 19 years trying to bring his grandiose plans for an exemplar eco-village to fruition?
In Trinity College, Cambridge, with its illustrious history, deep pockets and famous ‘long view’, McAllister no doubt thought he’d found the perfect partner to embrace and deliver on his vision but, unfortunately, it now appears he backed the wrong horse, not realising it would throw the jockeys mid-race!
That’s the problem with horses – you need a big shovel to clear up the TURDHILLS they leave in their wake!
And now the speculation can begin? Who has the deepest pockets and who else gets the blame for scuppering the Dunsfold game? Answers on a postcard to us here at firstname.lastname@example.org
We will post a clip of the Leader’s official statement tomorrow. Hopefully, with a few reactions?