"Oh what a tangled web we weave, when once we practise to deceive.
The battle of Waverley Lane.
The year is 2023, and the location is the choked decaying town of Farnham’s outer reaches.
After years of seemingly futile engagement, the developers finally get permission for 14o homes on land known as “Compton Fields’ in Waverley Lane.
It was the sixth time lucky for builders Wates Developments Ltd.
However. No opportunity for celebration … yet?
Farnham Town Council, and ‘Your Waverley’ once again beaten into submission by Michael Gove’s posse at the Dept of Levelling Up, has unashamedly said “no”.
The decision made by the Planning Inspectorate was “wrong.” Inspector Coffey dismissed Farnham’s Neighbourhood Plan, the local blueprint for future development, and claimed it was ” for guidance” only.
The three combatants are thus poised to line up for a final decisive engagement. The sound of heavy artillery being dragged back into position echoes through the chambers of Lincoln’s Inn Fields once again.
Farnham town councillors were recently asked whether they wanted to challenge the Planning Inspectorate independently or join WBC in a cross-council alliance.
Let’s take a moment to look at the wider battlefield, which is somewhat complicated.
WBC, already suffering financial constraints, is now faced with taking on yet another legal case. It has a record for coming second.
WW asks. How can it continue to do this? Surely a council on the slippery slope to administration does not want to take on another costly battle, especially against the Dept of Levelling Up. But it does, and no doubt it will. Frankly, it is suicidal.
Milford Golf Course
The situation is further blurred when it transpires. WBC and Gove’s Dept are forced to be on the same side in a separate engagement over Milford Golf Course and a fight to defend Local Plan Part 2. shortly to be fought in the High Court.
Awkward is hardly adequate for WBC as the Dept is being exposed to the claimant’s charges courtesy of WBC.
WBC is becoming an annoying pain in the butt to the Dept. And it is in sheer boggle-eyed amazement that Waverley continues as if nothing is wrong. It is punching above its weight, jabbing away, and being generally annoying, which is fine if you have both the skills and ample reserves. Waverley Borough Council has neither.
The plucky shambolic amateur against the might of the Department.Making for the ever-so-British way of winning against the odds. All well and good eighty years ago, but celluloid thin against the intended desire of a Government and its special planning force determined to build, build, build on Waverley’s green and pleasant land.
Planning Appeals Mounting
Meanwhile, whilst Waverley prepares to fight the battle of Compton Fields, it is being attacked from the rear as further planning appeals are piling up as the new free-for-all-new one-and-only Planning Committee continues to confuse viewer and participant councillors alike.
“Anyone would think we don’t know what we’re doing.” muttered an informant in the last few days.
The developer can stand back, knowing whatever the outcome, Waverley will ultimately lose. For deep in Whitehall, the documents are prepared. The signature awaited. The clock ticks down as Waverley’s money drains away. Spent on good causes on principles on the desires of the electorate. Blatantly honest and exposed to the reality of the system as it is. Every time the ammunition gets thinner until the stores are empty.
What better way to pull the rug than to let WBC do it themselves?