Full blown scraps between two Waverley councillors.

Part 1 was at an Executive meeting -there was another row at Full Council.

Yep – you guessed it – what gets Farnham Councillor Carole Cockburn’s fuses blowing?  Anything that might increase housing development in Farnham! And to hell with the rest of the borough!

Farnham’s Lion roars

The Farnham councillor clashed head-on when Cllr Liz Townsend, Waverley’s Planning Portfolio Holder, said Local Plan Part 1  would be updated. She said it was VITAL that now after five years of the plan’s life and a Government dictate that Waverley review its housing numbers, the council must make a robust and evidence-based stand to ward off an increase. The suggested “light touch approach” proposed by Cllr Cockburn could return the clock to the previous administration’s failures on Local Plan Part 1 rejected by Inspectors – leaving areas like Farnham, Cranleigh and Alfold in the state they are today.

The government has ruled that Waverley’s housing numbers rise from 590 p.a. to 744. However, due to the lack of delivery in its existing 5-year housing land supply (now claimed to be 4.9 by Waverley and 3.46 years last week by an Inspector .)   This is mainly due to developers delaying consented development like Dunsfold Garden Village. Due to backlog, the figure could be as high as over 800 p.a. in the future.

Cllr Townsend stressed if the Plan wasn’t reviewed, Waverley could be open to even more pressure from housing developers and their heavy-weight legal teams. 

The difference between the two feisty women:

Farnham’s Cockburn wants the LP1 given a “light touch” and left alone.  Accusing the administration of wanting to  “tear up LP1 and Neighbourhood Plans and causing unnecessary delay.” Appeals across the borough are stacking up – yet another was granted this week in Farnham. She complained about the timeline (which hasn’t yet been set) and the cost of the update (which is only an estimate if required.)

Yet another planning appeal was allowed in Farnham.

Cllr Cockburn was part of the previous Tory administration whose Local Plans were thrown out by Government Inspectors. Delays left Waverley vulnerable, set developers out of the starting gates, and allowed numerous planning appeals to be granted.

Backed by Cllr Townsend, planning officers now want the Local Plan examined and updated by experts and lawyers to resist challenge by Government or developers – and wants it…

 Robust and evidence-based to ensure places like Farnham, Cranleigh and Alfold are not thrown to developers’ doors.

Appropriate legal advice was sought to ensure the updated Plan would have weight to ensure the council did not repeat the previous administration’s mistakes. Mistakes that had cost the borough’s towns and villages dearly.

Inspectors are now arguing that there is NO minimum figure for the quotas set out in LP1 for villages. A prime example is Alfold which has already tripled in size.

Here’s the testy discourse: Grab a coffee or perhaps something stronger. The debate on LP1 begins 59 minutes into the meeting. We’re sorry for not giving a precise clip of the exchange.


And here’s what Carol said in a recent Tory pre-election leaflet! OH, Carole! Make up your mind! 

Recently the Elstead parish council and its neighbouring village of  Paperharow have called for development on the Green Belt!

This a brilliant article in the Farnham Herald about the country’s broken planning system.

09.02.23- Farnham Herald- Farnham under siege- The battle against a broken planning system copy


5 thoughts on “Full blown scraps between two Waverley councillors.”

  1. Yes it’s a very good article in the Farnham Herald, which highlights what successive governments have failed to fix – a planning system not fit for purpose and stacked in favour of the predatory developers (some of which are tory donors) Why oh Why does Cllr Cockburn never say so, instead of laying the blame at the feet of Waverley?
    Surely it’s not because a Blue on Blue attack wouldn’t go down well with her Local Conservative Association?

  2. Reference the Town and Country Planning Association 20th August 2020


    “England already has a poorly resourced and highly permissive planning system, which produces outcomes that favour the interests of property developers.”

    “The failure to build new housing is not a result of excessive state regulation, but of dysfunctional markets and a failure to invest in social housing.”

    “Around 90% of applications for planning permission are approved in England. Consent has been granted for between 800,000 to 1,000,000 new houses that remain unbuilt.”

    Farnham is already jammed with dwellings because Planning Inspectors fail to consider cumulative impact and atmospheric pollution. If there is a housing shortage, why does the Woolmead remain undeveloped and Brightwells remain behind schedule? Accepted that COVID is part of the problem but where there is profit there is endeavour.

    Planning is likely to remain a problem looking for a solution until governments are obliged by the electorate to recognise that our scarce land resource must be used wisely for public benefit.

    1. When will the government take action against the land banking developers – who sit on their planning consent until the time is right? Perhaps not until they resist taking their shedloads of cash-wearing developers’ sponsored lanyards around their throats at the Tory conference and sit around the dining table before giving the green light to their Appeals.

      1. The notion of developers being landbanking has been dispelled time and time again WW should stop making such unevidenced accusations about developers and consider why sites are not coming forward and the specific reasons for that – see Dunsfold as a good example

      2. OK – so explain why sites such as Brockhurst in Alfold – the Garden Centre – the A281 site for over 100 homes, we could go on and on – still need to be built out? Why did it take so long – five or more years for the KP! site in Cranleigh? Come off it – the developers want to avoid flooding the market with homes all at once. Pull the other leg. It has pound signs on it! BTW the evidence is there for all to see. Dunsfold not being built out has a great deal to do with Trinity College not giving a toss – other than making a great deal of money. The fact that it hitched its horse to the wrong cart is unfortunate – a delay that has dearly cost the eastern villages and the rest of the borough. The eastern villages could now be left with the worst of all worlds. Does TCC care one jot about the borough of Waverley? Do developers care about overcrowded roads, sewage disposal, water or electricity supplies, and non-existent bus services? No! Planning in Waverley could explain why they hike the numbers up when Inspectors grant appeals as soon as the scheme goes for detailed permission.

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