‘Your Waverley’s’ Big Night Out in Farnham develops into ‘A Big Fight Out.’

Following a four-hour long debate during which the Tories hurled abuse at their council colleagues – it was obvious from the outset that the man who holds the Tory whip-hand  had worked his magic.  

Cllr Goody Two Whips Goodridge  better known as ‘Sleepy’ due to his propensity to take the odd nap during meetings, led the Tory cabal in lambasting the Rainbow Coalition’s bid to join forces (collaborate) with Guildford. Does the Tory Whip really want to lead his group towards promoting – BANKRUPTCY? Surely not?

A move by both authorities has been prompted by years of swingeing Government cuts. These, magnified by the dark days of COVID, combined with insufficient Government support,  and threats of  unitary authorities has forced Waverley like every council in the country to seek new ways of working. The perfect storm is now overhead.

This includes cash strapped Waverley & Guildford Borough Councils. Both of whom are eager to begin a collaboration to share a chief executive and senior management team. This would lead to predicted collective saving of around £1.4m in the first year and could be the pre-cursor to significant saving opportunities in the future.

Here’s a clip of why Council Leader Paul Follows and his Executive are promoting the move.

 Hours of wrangling and filibustering by the Tories followed.  Who had and who had not received the necessary paperwork. Accusations  of foul play, making threats, confusion and misinformation. Mayor John Robini, who handled the meeting brilliantly, hung onto his chain at times, for  support.

“I am hard of hearing” Elstead’s Aunty Elsey bleated saying she couldn’t read the paperwork or hear when it was repeated by the Leader Paul Follows around five times! She announced she wouldn’t support collaboration because the staff whom were  treasured might be affected, adding she, “didn’t understand the recommendations anyway!” 

One cannot help wondering what she was doing there?

There were some outrageous and damaging claims that staff and officers were already jumping ship at both Guildford and Waverley and morale was plummeting.

This despite calls from the Leader to “be aware that council staff may be watching!”

Farnham’s ‘Oh Carole,’ congratulated by the Mayor earlier for her recent gong,  almost in a going, going,  gong mood, administered in full school-arm mode dire warnings of the impending doom that the Executive proposals were promoting!

“This is going to be a very messy business. It is   irresponsible, cruel and unnecessary. You are going to damage a lot of people if you go ahead with this,” she warned.

But it was new-boy Tory Leader Cllr Stephen Mulliner who drove the knife into the move. Claiming the disruption to staff morale, the distraction and the costs involved for such insignificant, unquantifiable and unrealisable savings would damage Waverley, and its residents many of whom are vulnerable.  He and his colleagues wanted to “wait and see” what damage the pandemic has wreaked on the borough, and make savings elsewhere. Though only moments earlier the Tory Group voted against reducing councillor numbers from 57 to 50 – due to Boundary Commission requirements.

Did he, or any of his Tory colleagues offer an alternative to joining Guildford? NO! 

The Tories were in no mood to either hear or listen to the argument for collaboration. Despite the recognition that doing nothing was not an option and the state of its finances must be addressed. One Tory said recently, that cuts in services must be an option. There are already moves afoot by officers saying “we have to get more bang for our bucks in future” from the community pot that services voluntary organisations! Organisations which include day centres.

Councillor John Grey said Waverley had been extremely successful in saving money in the past and could easily save £350K in another way.

 Cranleigh’s ‘Mary, Mary, quite contrary’ Foryszewski said:

“Doing nothing is not an option, we all know the consequences of that.”Promptly accusing the Executive one minute of  “not being brave enough and playing it safe.”  then in the next, saying she wouldn’t vote for the recommendation!

We agree – they aren’t going far enough, and they never will while the Tories are in opposition! 

The meeting ended with the webcast buffering, followed by the doors of the Farnham Hall being tightly closed to the press and public.

Heaven only knows what the atmosphere was like when councillors’ behaviour was not being observed!  Perhaps one of those little endangered Farnham Dartford Warblers will warble to us?

Did the recommendation to collaborate with Guildford go through? Yes, it did.

5 thoughts on “‘Your Waverley’s’ Big Night Out in Farnham develops into ‘A Big Fight Out.’”

  1. Oh dear, again mixed messages from Waverley Web. One minute Stephen Mulliner proposes a wait and see policy due to the pandemic and make savings elsewhere. In the next sentence you accuse him of not offering an alternative! Not sure I understand your reasoning but perhaps you can only hear what you want to hear.

    1. We – and the taxpayer wanted to hear how the Tories would be saving money so easily, but no detail?
      Very easy to say – let’s wait and see how the pandemic pans out, and how Brexit affects the local economy, but where exactly does Stephen Mulliner intend to make those savings? Certainly not by supporting the bid to reduce overheads by bringing the number of councillors down, despite having pledged to do so some years back. What exactly is Cllr Mulliner’s cunning plan? Perhaps he could have spelled it out and given his argument some credibility. Do the Tories realise how many businesses in Waverley have either gone bust, or have dramatically reduced in size during the past 18 month? Thanks to the efforts of people like Cllr Liz Townsend and her economic development team, gargantuan efforts have been made to assist those businesses. However, Waverley’s staff continue to be paid, boost their plump pensions and in the case of the CEO – claim 8 weeks holiday every year and operate from his huge office with en-suite? In all honestly former Cllr Edwards, surely even you believe that times have changed – for us all – including Waverley and Guildford Borough Councils? Or, rather than see Waverley’s name continue – would you prefer to see one huge behemoth unitary authority? Like it or not – as the song goes… times they are a changing. That is what we, and many residents want to hear.

  2. What we can do is to look at the track record of Waverley Conservative administrations since 2007 which shows what can be achieved by elected members who understand that difficult decisions have to be made on occasions which will in the long term benefit our hard pressed tax paying residents. One simple example being the 8 yes 8 strategic directors in situ under the Lib/Dem administration in 2007! It appeared that if you stayed long enough you got to be a highly paid(80k+) director regardless of ability or competency. I note your comment about the hard working economic development team which I believe has still the same personnel as when I was the portfolio holder, but Liz must be very unhappy that after 27 months of the so called ‘rainbow alliance’ administration the situation has deteriorated so disastrously. There are opportunities out there(within our borough and not in West Wickham) and they need grasping sooner rather than later, but it needs courage and decisiveness not the continuing fear of failure which this administration obviously suffers from.

    1. Yes, WBC’s Tory administration did make some difficult decisions.

      Handed a former Chief Executive none other than Mary Orton a whopping great golden goodbye – how much did the council actually pay her?
      Then of course there was another couple of chief executive’s ‘Wenam I leaving” and The Omen – wonder how much they trousered.
      Then of course there were lies, damned lies and election lies. When the Tories announced days before the elections that Cranleigh was to get a £40m spanking new leisure centre – when it knew only too well there was no money in the kitty. We won’t even mention Blightwells in Farnham – lack of space prevents us from reeling off a list of disastrous financial mistakes there! Then of course there is Farnham’s Memorial Hall saga – how many millions did that cost the taxpayer. Then the piece de resistance – DUNSFOLD. The largest brownfield site in the borough where the Tories resisted development for years. Funding numerous defences, calling in consultants from here, there and every where – and then doing a volte face – which again cost them millions. It would take a bible to recall all the disgraceful wastage of taxpayers money by the Tory administration of Waverley Borough Council under your control Jim Edwards. But the ultimate was when we all watched £10,000 of taxpayers money used for fireworks at a Wintershall Bramley pop concert. A concert where the tickets cost mega bucks which most taxpayers couldn’t afford! Then you gave yourselves a 90% increase in your allowances – remember that. When at the same time you reduced grants to the voluntary organisations!

      1. No response yet from Jim Edwards we wonder why? Sudden memory loss no doubt1

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