New NHS app – let’s do what we can to beat the virus.


Waverley Cllr Nick Palmer’s in one of his regular newsletters explains a little more about the new NHS App.


Should you download the new NHS app?

nick palmer

Nick Palmer – WBC Labour Councillor for Godalming Binscombe and former Member of Parliament.

Hi all,

Regular readers of my newsletter will know that I’m critical of the Government, which you might expect from the Chair of the constituency Labour Party – but I try to be constructive too. In the last resort, we are all facing collective threats, and while the Government may not always be sensible, they are not actually trying to kill us! So we should look at the new NHS app that they launched with an open mind.

Here’s the official launch site about the app:


and here’s a guide on how to download it:

and a general discussion:

I have an iPhone 6 and found it really easy. It offers real-time checking of your environment for known infection sources, as well as easy check-in for public places like restaurants which are required to check your identity in case you need to be notified of an infection. It also enables you to report any tests you’ve had and to remind yourself of the symptoms to watch out for and the latest advice. Finally, it tells you the current infection level in your area. For GU7 it’s currently Medium, meaning that Waverley or a neighbouring authority has a high or rising level – this probably relates to Spelthorne, which was recently identified as a place to watch for rising rates.

There have been various criticisms, which I’ll look at simply as an informed observer – I have no official standing, so you shouldn’t take my advice as gospel, but for what it’s worth I have a mathematics PhD and I’m familiar with the way these things are developed.

If it detects every possible threat, won’t it go off all the time?

No. It keeps track of how closely and how long you’re exposed – merely passing someone in the street shouldn’t trigger it. So far, the rate of infection has I believe been around 1 in a thousand people, and many of those affected will be self-isolating. So if you go for a stroll and pass 10 people, it’s unlikely to react. On the other hand, if you go to an illegal house party with 30 reckless people, then it probably will warn you. So it should.

If it does warn you, what happens?

You are expected to self-isolate for 14 days and request a test (also available through the app). In practice, it’s up to you but you’re breaking the law if you ignore it and can, in theory, be fined. However, your app is anonymous and it’s not reporting to anyone but you. Clearly, you’ll normally want to self-isolate if you might have caught the virus unless you actually want to go around potentially infecting friends and family. The app will warn everyone who also has the app and has recently been in contact with you (it won’t identify you as the source). If your test comes back negative, they will all be informed and can forget the incident, though to be safe you’re asked to complete the 14 days’ isolation before returning to normal (or perhaps one should say “normal”).

Why is it important?

In practice, the Track & Trace network isn’t working reliably yet, because it’s dependent on people alerting each other by phone, a manual process subject to whether they find the person at home, whether they answer, and so on. If a good chunk of the population is carrying the app and respond appropriately, then the rate of infection will slow down automatically and we’ll all benefit. It doesn’t have to be universal – like a vaccine if a lot of people are taking it, it reduces the spread. But clearly, it’s not going to be so useful if only a few people use it, though it’s still helpful in alerting you if you visit a restaurant or another public place. Similar efforts are going on throughout Western Europe, with Ireland the most successful so far – around a third of the population is already using it there.

Should society just return to normal and take the risk?

If you do catch the virus, you probably won’t die unless you have a pre-existing condition or are over 60, and quite likely not even then. But the virus can have severe long-term consequences even if you survive, not all of which are yet fully understood. Catching it is a bad idea, even if you’re young and fit – quite apart from the issue of passing it on to others. We could collectively decide to ignore it and hope for the best, but inevitably the result would be a colossal number of deaths, dwarfing current levels, and a huge impact on the health of millions more. It’s hard to describe that as “the best”. In my opinion, we need to have a prudent year, even though it will mean less fun.

Will the app solve the problem?

No – for one thing, not everyone has a smartphone that can use it. But it’ll help. And that’s perhaps all we can expect for now. But we have a national crisis, and we should all try to do what we can to limit it.

Best wishes


More gipsy and traveller sites allocated In Local Plan Part 2.


From this…


To this…


Waverley’s Local Plan Part 1 requires the council to provide suitable sites to meet the needs of travellers and gipsies. Now in LP Part 2, they are being provided for.

Following an assessment made of their needs in 2017, it was found that 43 traveller pitches were needed plus two sites for show people. However, as some development has already taken place – 17 pitches have been allocated in the borough – mainly in Farnham and Cranleigh.

However. In the life of the plan, the Council wants to allocate additional sites to accommodate the potential need for those unknown households that were unable to be interviewed when a needs survey was carried out by consultants.

The potential need arising from unknown households could be a maximum of 24 pitches if all demonstrate they meet the planning definition. 

However, according to a report on Local Plan Part 2 considered this week by Waverley’s Overview & Scrutiny Committee, some further pitches have been granted planning permission since the base date, (mainly in Dunsfold) so had already contributed to meeting that need. However, these have formed households where was unknown if they meet the planning definition of a ‘gypsy and traveller.’

The WW does wonder why therefore was permission granted?

Taking this into account, the report says there is a need for 39 pitches over the Plan Period up to 2032.

Now with the new draft Local Plan Part 2 under consideration – the council has included a policy for meeting the needs of this specific group by providing a new range of homes and accommodation.

  • The council took the view when identifying suitable sites, that in the main, they should be contained within existing authorised sites.
  • Suitable extensions to available existing sites
  • Use available land within settlements and other brownfield and outside settlements
  • Or other land.

  The Government’s aim is for sustainable and mixed communities, and Waverley wants to deliver enough decent homes in suitable locations for everyone in the community.

The report says: Gypsies and Travellers have historically been part of the local community and continue to be so; they are important groups with specific accommodation needs. The Government’s aim is to ensure fair and equal treatment of Gypsies and Travellers, in a way that facilitates their traditional and nomadic way of life of while respecting the interests of the settled community.

The Council is required under the National Planning Framework (NPPF)  and the Housing Act 2004 accommodate the needs of the population within their area. The Act also places a duty on local authorities to assess both current and future travellers’ needs. They must set pitch targets for gypsies and travellers and plot targets for travelling show people in order to address the likely permanent and transit-site accommodation needs of this group in their area.

The Council must also identify a five-year supply of sites against their locally set targets, much the same way as is required with another housing land.

In 2015 the Government updated its Planning Policy for Traveller Sites to include a new definition of Gypsy and Travellers. The key change to the definition was the removal of the term “persons….who have ceased to travel permanently”

For planning policy, ‘pitch’ means a pitch on a ‘gypsy and traveller’ site and ‘plot’ means a pitch on a ‘travelling show people’ site (often called a ‘yard’). The full definition is in the National Planning Policy for Traveller Sites.

This means that those who have stopped travelling no longer fall under the planning definition of a Traveller in terms of assessing the needs for accommodation.

Waverley’s The latest version of the Waverley Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment (TAA) was published in June 2017 and factually updated in 2018. It was undertaken by consultants who sought to identify all sites and encampments in Waverley and attempted to complete interviews during the non-travelling season with residents on all occupied pitches and plots.

They also gave the opportunity to traveller households in ‘bricks and mortar’ accommodation to engage in the process and engaged with seven nearby Local Authorities to understand the wider issues in the area. The assessment is based on the Government’s guidance in Planning Policy for Traveller Sites (2015) and the new definition of a Traveller.

The TAA concluded that, at the base date in 2017, there was a need for 27 additional pitches for households that meet the planning definition and up to 24 additional pitches from unknown households14 that were unable to be interviewed. Ten households did not meet the planning definition.

Based on the survey, the proportion of households in Waverley that meet the planning definition (26 households – 62%) versus those that do not (16 households – 38%), is higher than the national average (10% in 2017) according to statistics by Opinion Research Services (ORS).  The need arising from households that meet the planning definition translates into a minimum accommodation target that will be addressed through the site allocations process contained within Local Plan Part 2.

For contingency and resilience, it is proposed that two-thirds (66%) of the potential need from unknown households are built into the accommodation target. This higher number is in line with the local proportion of households in Waverley that met the planning definition in the TAA and gives flexibility and support to the delivery of the Plan to maintain a five-year supply of sites.

The TAA did not identify any need for the provision of a transit site due to the small numbers of unauthorised encampments in Waverley at the time of the fieldwork. 

Continue reading

Knock down not lock-down for ‘Your Waverley’s Local Plan Part 2.


The committee charged with scrutinising the next phase of Waverley’s Local Plan gave it a  bit of a drubbing this week claiming it was weak and needed tweaking.

Chairman  Carole Cockburn (Con Farnham Bourne) was in fine voice and only narrowly avoided a row having hardly stopped for breath and only reluctantly allowing her council colleagues to speak occasionally and not receive answers to questions.  She said she couldn’t see them in the Zoom meeting, so we presume she thought they had nothing to say? Poor old Cllr Steve Williams was told he wasn’t a member of the committee ONLY a member of the Executive. In other words, put up and shut up!

Too much on the agenda officers? And when were you offered an opportunity to answer questions?

Elstead’s Aunty Elsey once again in her best seaside landlady biddy mode remonstrated, as she has done so many times before…yawn, castigating poor old Williams for not treating the chairman with the respect she deserved. All the poor devil did was try to get a word in edgeways! Since when has Elsey been Waverley’s appointed policeman for enforcing the code of conduct by waving her broomstick all over the place?

 Chief Planning Officer Zac Ellwood and Team’s presentation was slick, easy to understand and revealed how the Draft Local Plan Part 2 might look.  Once approved by the council it would go out to public consultation In October to be and examined by an Inspector in December.

He said  LP2  had been delayed for a number of reasons, ( withdrawn by the Tory administration before the May 2019 elections) including the new Executive’s wish to produce a robust and sound replacement for the 2002 plan.  It included implications for the environmental, design, transport, the settlement boundaries and future development in the Green Belt and rural areas. It also included site allocations for development.

It included energy efficiency measures, water supplies/wastewater where changes to infrastructure were required.  Improvements to the Farnham A31 By-pass (Hickleys Corner) which had dropped off the county councils agenda for many years and was now back on again.

There were new policies for new homes internal space standards and significant new policies for Areas of Strategic Visual Importance (ASVI’s).

He said on one particular proposed development site – Red Court in Scotland Lane, Haslemere, officers would make the site boundary clearer for the Area of Great Landscape Value (AGLV) and the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

All sites earmarked for development should be suitable, available and achievable, and in accordance with local Neighbourhood Plans.

He recognised there was concern about the visual impact of development in the countryside in Haslemere and that residents would prefer housing on brownfield sites, and a higher density of development within the town centre. There was also concern about the water supply.

Secretts was the preferred site option in Milford. He outlined policies for gipsy sites in the borough (the subject of a separate post).

However, it was Cllr Robert Knowles that landed the first punch claiming that the Plan did not take account of the severe water shortages in Haslemere.

 “Assurances by SE Water and Thames Water  – which had no connection with each other – that they could continue to manage demand, was… rubbish!”

He said Guildford, Cranleigh and Haslemere are outside the area and not connected to the network. “Indeed there is no nationwide network.”

“In the Summer during the Coronavirus, when there was a serious threat to health Haslemere’s water was supplied by tankers. This included Haslemere Hospital. This resulted in a meeting between Waverley and the water companies, when we were told our area is an island and we are not connected to the grid. However, this has all conveniently been left out of this report.”

“So in other words, there is no long term solution, though we understand there could be a solution when Abingdon in Oxfordshire comes online in 2032! He argued there were more suitable sites in Haslemere for development e.g. brownfield sites already served with water.”

Farnham Residents’ Cllr Jerry Hyman said he wanted LPP2 to include environmental policies that strengthen and implement protections that exist in environmental law.  This would benefit in particular the East of the borough (Cranleigh and eastern villages) as well as the west and central areas.

The plan should also apply the wording… MUST in certain policies not SHOULD where appropriate. 

Other topics affecting individual town and villages will be included in future posts.



A missive from Nick on Covid and County.


Here at the Waverley Web, we have found Waverley Cllr Nick Palmer’s regular updates on the Covid-19 pandemic very helpful, easy to understand and relate to. 

Here’s his latest missive.

nick palmer

WBC Labour Councillor and former Member of Parliament Cllr Nick Palmer.

Hi all,

Just a few updates this time, but significant ones. Health warning: point 3 is partisan!




I won’t comment on the national debate, but it’s worth noting that the pandemic is edging upwards here in Waverley as everywhere else.

The latest daily reports note 558 confirmed cases so far in Waverley and currently an estimated 93 active cases, with 7 new cases this week. The active cases are not yet a big proportion of the population (around 1 in 1000) but it’s a reminder to stay on the safe side.

If you have a few contacts with people from other households now and then with luck, you’ll be OK, but if you see lots of people regularly without taking care you’re running a significant risk, especially if it’s indoors (e.g. a pub), which seems to have a much higher risk than out of doors. While it’s true that younger people generally don’t die from the virus, it can have nasty long-term effects on your health at any age, quite apart from the risk of passing it on. Wearing a mask when you’re out and encountering others remains a very good idea, both for you and for those around you.

Waverley Borough Council is quietly preparing to do all it can to help in the difficult months that we expect are coming. Please keep an eye on for the latest updates.

Council power grab aborted?

Is Surrey County Council’s bid to abolish all borough councils collapsing? We can answer that with a firm “Maybe”. The ludicrous sequence of events has been this:

  1. a) The Government let it be known that it was planning autumn legislation encouraging abolition of borough councils, with their powers merged into one central county council to rule us all. This would, however, “only be done where there was consensus”.
  1. b) Thrilled by this Lord of the Rings-style prospect, Surrey County Council rushed into preparing a bid to be one of the first, employing expensive consultants, printing glossy leaflets and conducting push-polling (phone polls in which you indicate what you want to hear and ask if the recipient agrees).Bye, Bye ‘ Your Waverley’ Hello ‘ Surrey?’
  1. c) All 11 borough councils opposed the proposal, and a grassroots campaign against it rapidly gathered thousands of signatures. This appeared to demonstrate a lack of consensus.
  1. d) The Government indicated that when they said “consensus”, they didn’t actually mean that most people needed to agree. Encouraged, the County Council continued to press ahead.
  1. e) Then the Government let it be rumoured that on reflection, it wasn’t going to do it after all. The Surrey County leader said grumpily “I don’t know why the Government keeps starting fires and then walking away”, but conceded that this seemed to mean the proposal was dead.Is Surrey’s Leaders bid for a Unitary Authority crashing and burning.
  1. f) Further rumours now suggest that perhaps it may not be quite dead after all.

Government by rumour is just irritating, and when the County Council spends large sums of taxpayers’ money on an unannounced policy it’s ridiculous. And does it make sense to abolish local government at borough level at exactly the time when boroughs are being asked to prepare to be the front line of tracing COVID contacts through the winter? Note that none of this is partisan in itself. The Government, County Council and many of the borough councillors are Conservative. We are paying for them all to squabble among themselves. Wouldn’t it be good if they concentrated on the real problems – notably COVID and the impending impact of Brexit – facing us all? If you’d like to sign the non-partisan petition asking them to stop, it’s at     

County elections

You’ll be able to take a view on all this next May when Surrey is due to have County Council elections. The Government flirted with cancelling these in view of the imminent reorganisation, but they now look likely to go ahead. If you feel that the Conservatives are doing well, this will be a chance to confirm them in post. But if you’d like a coherent alternative, Labour is preparing actively and we look forward to playing our part in Surrey to showing that people across the whole country want a genuine, intelligent alternative to multi-level Conservative rule. If you’d like to look into joining in, the link is here:

Best wishes

Nick Palmer

Is Surrey’s Leaders bid for a Unitary Authority crashing and burning.


If Surrey’s bid to become a behemoth unitary authority wasn’t so serious – it would have had audiences laughing in the aisles of the home of farce at the Whitehall Theatre.

So far only £150,000 of taxpayers money has been tipped down Surrey’s sewers.  Flushed away by Cllr Oliver’s attempt to convince us that his vanity project still has some mileage left in it.

They say a week is a long time in politics. Just a few days in the case of ‘Bob the Builder’ Robert Jenrick’s White Paper.

Last week Surrey County Council Leader Oliver was throwing his toys out of his pram bemoaning the fact that – ‘Jenrick’ as he referred to the Secretary of State – had pulled the plug on Cllr Oliver’s cunning plan to turn Surrey into the largest authority in the country.

 Bob appeared to have pushed the destruct button on the Recovery and Devolution White Paper. Setting it back on to his ‘to-do list.’

BTB relayed the message that No 10 was not prepared to move further on local government restructuring as part of the devolution White Paper, due in the Autumn.

Over the weekend you could hear the tyres screeching on the Whitehall tarmac as yet another government U-turn took place. County council leader Tim Oliver’s power bid for a single Surrey unitary authority appeared to be over. Scuppered by Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick.

No surprise there then. The Government to-do list is growing by the day and so are the U-turns.

Up pops a fuming  Cllr Oliver (Con, Weybridge) who broke the news to his fellow Tory’s by email saying:

“I have asked Jenrick to confirm what the position is regarding Surrey and we are asking some of our MPs to find out but as far as I am concerned this kills our bid.“I will confirm the position for definite if or when Jenrick answers my letter but quite why this government keeps starting fires and then walking away I really don’t know. Disappointing.”

– Surrey’s Tim Oliver can’t quite make up his mind whether or not he is actually in control of another fine mess ‘Bob the Builder’ has dumped the country in.

So with the ink barely dry on the Surrey’s borough and district councils £50,000 cheques winging their way to enable consultants (KPMG) to find a more appropriate way of joining forces with neighbouring authorities than… Wham Bang – his game of thrones is back on again!

So just days later  according to Cllr Oliver its all back on again. Really – you couldn’t make it up!

“It is expected that a government White Paper on Recovery and Devolution will still be published in the coming months. In line with that, we have been working hard to determine the best system of local government for Surrey, to make sure that any devolution of power can be truly grasped by our local communities.“What is most important to me, beyond any structural change or governance, is our residents and giving them more influence over their own communities.

“We have so far received no instruction from the Secretary of State, either to proceed or to stop work on this.”

So if that’s the case why did he tell all his Tory mates it was all off?

Have the lunatics at Whitehall and No 10 taken over the asylum – or is Tempestuous Tim in such a hurry to become Surrey’s new Mayor, that he is blinded by ambition?

Could we all soon be saying – Bye, bye to ‘ Your Waverley?

So where actually are we now? Well, certainly our hard-earned council taxpayers’ money is over £750,000 worse off and Cllr Oliver isn’t giving up saying:

“We need to progress … the whole local engagement and empowerment piece and I am discussing how we work that with the local Conservative group leaders.”

Someone tell him please, that the Conservative Group leaders aren’t on-board with his cunning plans?

Cllr Oliver had launched his unitary authority bid in anticipation of the White Paper, a shock move that stirred deep anger among the county’s 11 borough and district councils, including ‘Your Waverley’ that would have been wiped out. The Conservative Group at Waverley led by Cllr Julia Potts is opposing his bid.

Amid a furore that followed the shock announcement including accusations of a “power-grab”, all council leaders formed a group to challenge the plan.





Three Cheers for the Society that speaks up for Cranleigh.



After months of lobbying the Cranleigh Civic Society (CCS) has prompted Surrey County Council to withdraw its planning appeal APP/R3650/W/20/3253295 to build 91 homes on two former school sites in Parsonage Road.

The local Civic Society that speaks up on behalf of the residents of Cranleigh.

The local Civic Society that speaks up on behalf of the residents of Cranleigh.

The agent acting for SCC has advised that this is because the county council has decided not to progress the overall multi-million-pound project to re-provide new schools on an alternative site on playing fields at Glebelands School. It had intended to provide around 540 places for primary school children and 68 nursery school places. However, the CCS prompted a campaign to oppose the siting of the schools.

  New Schools for the eastern villages coming soon?

No doubt that volte-face means the long-awaited 3G pitch gets kicked into touch too? A row broke out when Berkeley Homes’ 106 monies towards the pitch were earmarked for a fee-paying school. Berkley’s did a U-turn when Cranleigh’s sporting organisations kicked off, saying the money was intended for community sports facilities.

Alfold Football Club puts its best foot forward – whilst Cranleigh’s 106 monies go to A Cranleigh top fee-paying​ school!

Here’s the link to Waverley planners refusal of 91 new homes which resulted in the appeal. 

Now, instead of going ahead with plans to relocate Cranleigh Infants, Cranleigh Primary School/nursery school, and the Cranleigh C of E Middle School county education chiefs will go back to the drawing board. Work has already begun on repairing the roof and toilet block on one school site where…

raindrops have been falling on the heads of pupils for years!

CCS says it is looking forward to working with the county council and the school to find the funds to carry out further urgent repairs as soon as possible.

So, at last, thanks to the campaigning of the CCS – led by the husband and wife partnership of Susan and Trevor Dale, the controversial plans which also included 91 new homes on the former school sites – one in Parsonage Road and another off Dewlands Lane and Church Lane have been dumped.

Its spokesman told the Waverley Web:

‘ We take this as a success and hope you do too – thank you to all who spoke up against losing fields, gaining more housing and being appalled at the design of the school entrance. Glebelands school playing fields are back in use for sport!  The school’s playing field, which were due to be built on, has now been reinstated as a U11 football pitch and is being used by the Cranleigh Community.

The local’s objected to the relocation due to the restricted access and traffic congestion in an inappropriate location.   It was agreed that the present site, on the same road,  is the best location for the school and should be retained.

Glebelands’ Governors have written to Liz Mills (SCC Education) to determine the future strategy for schools in the area.  They believe a meeting to discuss strategy along with the Heads of Glebelands and Cranleigh Primary School is now essential.  Cranleigh Parish Council has a strong voice in the bid to protect and improve educational facilities for the area. 

 Waverley Web wonders why the county council has suddenly dumped the scheme? –  New school places will be required to serve new housebuilding which continues unabated in the eastern villages? Could it be that it is predicting a big black financial hole in its finances?

CCS now wonders if the removal of the hedge alongside the bowling green will be completed.

We wonder whether Philip Roche (schools and major capital projects manager) will now finish his ‘general maintenance work of the site which included pruning, clearing and safety work on the social club site and the public footpath’   The Council denied that the removal of the hedge had anything to do with widening the access to the proposed site yet, since the withdrawal of the application, it has left the access to the playing fields in a real mess and far from making it safe for the children, they have left it in a hazardous state.  We can but keep trying….

A new Leisure Centre for Cranleigh coming soon?


Cranleigh Leisure centre

‘Your Waverley’ has agreed – with some reluctance – to dump plans for leisure-centre improvements in Farnham and Godalming in favour of building a multi-million-pound leisure centre in Cranleigh.

Previous post:

A new multi-million pound Leisure Centre for Cranleigh is on the horizon but improvements to other centres across Waverley are delayed.

The centre may be sited in the Village Way car park close to the existing centre and when ‘Your Waverley’s Overview & Scrutiny Committee discussed the project this week there was all-round relief that an end to Cranleigh being the poor relation in the borough’s leisure stakes could be coming to an end.

Chairman Cllr Kevin Deanus said:

“Just to keep the existing leisure centre safe and workable would cost us £6m over the next 5 years. Which would just be throwing good money after bad. That should serve as a useful reminder to us all.”

Cranleigh had a strong supporter in Farnham Cllr Jerry Hyman who said he could never understand why the condition of the Cranleigh facilities had been allowed to get so bad.

“It’s nice to see that the people of Cranleigh – like us  in Farnham – who  have endured road chaos on our streets and with its high street constantly being dug up causing havoc will finally have some good news.  Particularly after all the building-work, they have been put through.

However, he wondered about the timing and the wording on the officers’ report saying…?

‘It is expected that a few assumptions that were made will now have to be revisited.”

He assumed this was a caveat to the amount of time it would take? He believed it was obvious that the project, whilst being thought about, may not go ahead for 4/5 years as there was a lengthy process to go through.

However, although there was now real hope for Cranleigh – what if Waverley didn’t exist any more would it  be reliant on Surrey County Council loving the people of Cranleigh?”

He called for a realistic timetable for the project. – “I would like to know and so would the residents of Cranleigh.`’

Cllr Deanus assured the committee that was why it was top of the council’s agenda.

“I want to ensure this project doesn’t fall off a cliff and we lose control.”

Leisure Manager Kelvin Mills was as keen as everyone to get on with the project – saying “we want leisure facilities fit for the future as much as you do.’  But, post-COVID who knows what the leisure market will be like in future. However, given the time it takes for tender and other work it gives enough lead time to establish a sustainable business model. Officers would look at the facility-mix in the light of the COVID pandemic’s impact.

 Cllr Deanus warned: “We will be keeping you on your toes on this one we can assure you.”

Another sigh of relief came from Cllr Mary Foryszewski. She said she had feared that Cranleigh’s new centre was destined to become a COVID casualty and was thrilled that the new Administration had ensured it would not.


How business community is faring – post COVID in ‘Your Waverley.’


Leader of Surrey County Council Cllr John Ward who along with his team is grappling with the effects of the Coronavirus Pandemic.

There is little doubt that ‘Your Waverley’ has been doing everything possible to help businesses stay on track during the Coronavirus Pandemic. However, the picture that economic development manager Catherine Knight painted this week of the toll on the borough’s business community was not a pretty one.

” I spoke to one firm in Godalming that had to return £22m in holiday refunds – and it has now left the borough.”

She told the Community & Wellbeing Overview & Scrutiny Committee during a Zoom meeting that a survey of small businesses in Waverley had revealed that 30% doubted whether they could survive the COVID shock.

She said that from the outset of the lock-down, Waverley had been in regular contact with Chambers of Trade & Commerce and local parish and town clerks. It had compiled a large database of businesses and had monitored and spoken to many hundreds of businesses who were experiencing difficulties and had put them in touch with the Government’s Business Support Grant. It had worked with Surrey County Council and the Surrey Enterprise Partnership and had set up a Business Task Group to cover all the business sector.

“We have mentored many and given one-to-one support wherever we can.”

She said while many businesses had suffered from the loss of trade, others had experienced an increase in business, such as those providing Information Technology.

Her team was providing help to those who had lost their jobs or were expecting redundancy and were giving help and advice on setting up new businesses. Some flexible working space was being provided where possible. She urged everyone to access the Council’s Business News Letter published online every two weeks. It contained much useful information including signposting and new ideas.

The shock – and silence – among the committee members was palpable when she said:

There has been a massive increase in Universal Credit benefit claimants from 500 residents to 4/5 thousand and we expect this to increase!

 The council was continuing to work closely with the Department of Work and Pensions (DWPP) and Waverley’s Training Services was supporting people who had lost their jobs.

The government had announced a European Fund £15m Tourism Grant to help councils open up the country’s high streets and the council had received £111,000 and was working the towns and villages to access the money.

Cllr Jerry Hyman said: I thought that the government was going to reimburse us for our losses.’ Communities Minister Robert Jenrick promises councils will not be out of pocket by Covid-19. But ‘ Your Waverley’ is not so sure.

The remainder of the members of the committee – were obviously struck dumb by Catherine Knight’s revelations. Because it moved onto the next item… The borough’s leisure centres. The subject of another post. 


Let’s say Cheers and back Waverley’s breweries?


The boys on our team are partial now and then to a decent pint of beer, and what better than a drop of the amber nectar brewed locally

Richard and Bill of the Firebird Brewery based in Rudgwick are currently on a mission and they need all the help they can get.


Here’s what they told us:
We’re not normally too serious, but just for now we’d like you to help us persuade the Government to change its mind about the tax on beer:
Local and small brewers are under threat as the Government looks set to increase the tax paid by some small independent breweries, including us. At the moment small brewers like us benefit from Small Brewers Relief, designed to allow us to compete with larger brewers by paying less tax than the big guys. Currently, the level at which this relief reduces (and we pay more tax) doesn’t come in until we sell at least 50% more beer than we do at the moment. However, the Government plans to change all this, meaning we would be paying more tax as soon as next year. At the same time, larger breweries (some of whom started as small as us not so long ago) will pay LESS tax.
This doesn’t feel like fair play to us!
Everyone has struggled with COVID, but you might be interested to know the support brewers have received has been limited pretty much to the furlough scheme. Other sectors have been given cash grants and other forms of support. We, along with other small brewers, have worked hard to stay alive, and we succeeded through hard work, ingenuity, and the support of our brilliant customers.
We really need your help again now!
Help us to protect local breweries, the beers they make and your choice at the bar by signing the petition urging the UK Government not to remove tax relief from the smallest brewers to allow larger brewers to pay less. If you can share this post widely we’d also be very grateful!
You can add your name to the petition on the UK Parliament website
Thanks, Richard and Bill
Let’s raise a glass to Richard and Bill and all the other local small breweries in Waverley and elsewhere that may soon be under threat.

So how many homes ARE proposed at Haslemere’s Scotland Park?


Residents in other parts of the borough are just as concerned as are Haslemere folk about the proposal to build homes in an Area of Great Landscape Value and an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Because if they can build on the green, green grass of Haslemere in protected areas – they can build almost anywhere.
However, stranger things have happened at ‘Your Waverley.’ During the former Tory administration’s strong-hold on the borough council one of its members, despite officers’ advice to the contrary, managed to get his TT mates to approve building on the Green Belt in the Guildford Road in Cranleigh.
Wow! we hear you cry – not in THE green belt?

Flooded Scotland Lane

So where exactly are the homes proposed by Red Court Property developers? And how many?
It appears from the planning application just 50 opposite the Recreation Ground in Haslemere between Scotland Lane and Bell Lane. Potentially, a further 130 on the AONB land next to this site. However, WW understands that the Stantec report is based on the provision of 250 homes. However, if the new Government White Paper is approved – well – anything goes!
If you want to have your say on the planning application – the number is WA/200/1273.