A week has passed, and not one word of what happened before Elstead’s Parish Council meeting last Monday has leaked out – until now.
Rumour has it that on the way to Elstead, Waverley’s Council Leader had a nasty fall from his bike. (Yes, regardless of the weather conditions, Paul Follows cycles around the borough to meetings, unlike many who claim mileage allowances or taxi fares.)
A&E, here we come.
However, before visiting A&E (we bet that was an experience), he gamely struggled on and continued with a meeting that had been called by his not-so-friendly Tory friends aimed to give him a bit of a duffing up.
He had been called to answer for Waverley’s ‘disgraceful behaviour’ for not giving money back to the parish and planning concerns.
The argument was that other people, other than Elstead residents, were using village facilities at no cost, but others received more when Elstead’s share of the tax cake was decided. The village argued that someone from Farnham could use Elstead facilities and was funded by Elstead to do so.
WW bets Fred that Aunty Elsy had something to do with this. Though we heard from onlookers that she was unusually quiet…
Can you Adam and Eve it? Charging outsiders to use Elstead facilities was actually mentioned! Whatever next. Let’s set up the barricades, get passport control in and the Border Force – keep outsiders out or set up toll booths on the borders. Milford villagers OUT, FARNHAM TOWNSFOLK OUT. Elstead declares UDI!
Poor dishevelled Paul Kept Calm and Carried on and stood his ground, and the floor was opened to the public. Then up comes another hot potato – Planning.
Light the blue touchpaper and stand back.
There then followed a statement by Follows, which was honest and damning. Indeed there was silence and, frankly, acceptance. The two SCC councillors in the audience looked blankly ahead.
“Waverley’s senior officers have been misled by my Planning Dept. I have been misled. I have been told things have been done, and subsequently, I found out they have not. The whole situation is unacceptable. The last years have been misinformation to all.A new senior planner has been appointed.”
Was Cllr Follows suffering from his injuries, we ask? Or do we, AT LAST, have a politician who actually tells it as it is?
This somewhat blunted Elstead’s council leaders planned attack, supported by the Pepper Harrow committee regarding the stalled village Neighbourhood Plan. A row between a judicial judgement and the plan examiner has recently halted further progress.
“It’s stopping us building on the green belt,” said Elstead chairman.“It’s preventing our plans to build in the green belt too” said a representative of the Pepper Harrow committee.
Effectively Elstead’s plans to date are for nought because its hand of friendship to its neighbour was mishandled, as Pepper Harrow is not a parish.
Meanwhile, the debate moved to planning infringements. A member of the public offered Mr Follows an example of environmental breaches followed by two agricultural buildings being used as homes and announced.
“Did you know Elstead has a caravan site, and it is not registered and has not been for years?”
Mr Follows, having explained that the Infringement dept (the planning enforcement service) was small, pledged to burden it with all the cases mentioned the following morning. (That is, of course, if he gets out of A & E by morning.)
A question on the mysterious vanishing bus stop in Farnham outside The Queens Head under the Transport Infrastructure Plan was aired by the public. Mr Follows mentioned as nobody had control over SCC, especially the two SCC councillors present. Nothing could be done.
It was noted that not one Elstead parish councillor reacted regarding any of the unauthorised planning infringements. Not one.
The big surprise here is that Waverley’s leader admitted to the public that his planning department had misled him.
And a parish council that has attempted to block housing development WANTS to build on the green belt? Really!
A developer’s dream.
A week has gone by. The dust has settled. The seeds of consequences are now left to germinate.
PS. Well done, Cllr Follows, 10 out of 10 for facing the music and WW wishes him a speedy recovery.