Has ‘Get- a Gove- On’ got it in for Jeremy and Angela?

Here they come a-wassailing into ‘Your Waverley.’

Oh, dear!   We know Levelling-Down secretary Michael Gove has it in for MP Jeremy Hunt. He allowed UKOG’s appeal to drill for oil/gas in Dunsfold – Jeremy’s back garden. 

Now he is attacking the Guildford patch of his former bag carrier Aunty Angie MP for Guildford and Jeremy’s SW Surrey.

The Government blocks shale gas schemes elsewhere &#8211 but backs exploration in Dunsfold

Waverley and Guildford councils are among nine councils warned by the Housing Secretary that their planning departments are “not good enough” and has threatened to strip them of their decision-making powers. 

So there you have it, folks. Gaulighter Gove Wants Government Inspectors or the like to decide on developing a green field near you. Why? Because he says – we need many more homes across the country, and laggardly local bureaucrats must up their game, or he will get out his whip and make them.

And there were we here at the WW, believing his protestations about giving local people more control over their communities in his levelling-up agenda. Well, that was short-lived.

The two borough councils, which share a management team, have been written to by Gove about their “inferior” quality of service that fell “far below” expected thresholds. Along with others, including Portsmouth, Epsom & Ewell, and the Peak District National Park Authority!

Councils must determine at least 70 per cent of non-major planning applications within eight weeks – or agree to an extension. The department said the two Surrey councils have fallen well below that figure. Mr Gove was therefore “minded” to designate the councils, meaning developers could bypass them entirely and submit planning applications directly to the Planning Inspectorate. 

Well, that’s strange. Here at the Waverley Web, we thought that was exactly what the Planning Inspectorate was already doing through the numerous planning inspectors shoving through housing developments in shedloads in unsustainable locations following sham appeals.

One Inspector gave a local councillor five minutes to make her case. The village’s Waverley Borough Councillor didn’t even speak. Possibly, because he knew he would be ignored.

In his letters to councils on the naughty step, Governor Gove warned

“your performance is not good enough,” I have asked the ~Planning Inspectorate to prepare for designation over the summer period.

Last year Governor Gove conceded to a backbench rebellion against his Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill and changed the NPPF (National Planning Policy Framework.) Thanks to pressure from P’s, including Hunt and Richardson, it dealt a bit of a blow to housebuilders. So now he’s blaming tardy councils, grappling with a deluge of planning applications, which, when many, when allowed, remain stagnant. A prime example of this in Waverley is the Dunsfold Park Garden Village, with consent for 2,300 homes. 


5 thoughts on “Has ‘Get- a Gove- On’ got it in for Jeremy and Angela?”

  1. Planning is now a political football, and Gove should be sent off for such a low tackle

  2. I am a big fan of WW, but this article is littered with errors with frankly embarrassing and unsubstantiated assertions. Appeals are not shams and inspectors make decisions in accordance with the law, see recent appeals in Farnham and Rudgwick that were refused. Also the designation is for non-major applications, so under 10 units, not for the major applications that the WW purports that developers will be able to go to the Inspectorate for. Finally Dunsfold has permission for 1,800 units and is dormant because no house builder will go anywhere near it…

    1. Sorry to say, but your comments are littered with errors. Perhaps you should have watched some of the sham appeals that have taken place in Waverley. A perfect example of a sham Appeal and decision was Thakeham Homes application to build 99 homes in Loxwood Road. What a pity you didn’t hear the claims made by the developer? As for Dunsfold the Local Plan is for 2,600 homes and the reason for the delay has nothing to do with developers. More to do with the Bursar of Trinity College Cambridge. WW accepts that delays in dealing with minor applications has been nothing short of a disgrace. As we recently reported in the application to build 12 homes adjacent to the Cala Homes development in Cranleigh. Non determined for two years, and at the last meeting of the eastern planning committee prior to the election was deferred “for more information.” Shameful.

      1. WW, you need to be very careful as to what you allege without any credible evidence. I am well aware of the appeals and none of these were sham, such an allegation wholly discredits the wholly professional approach of the inspectors. You might disagree with the result, but that it not the inspector’s fault but one of the Council’s in failing to meet government policy.

      2. We have considerable credible evidence to show what a sham several planning appeals have been – not because of he result – but the way in which some Inspectors have swallowed inaccurate and total lies fed to them by lawyers acting on behalf of developers. We may, if our information is correct be writing about one of them in detail shortly.

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