Godalming people​ Taking Green Oak School fight to County Hall.

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Will the reckless officials of Surrey County Council, who only last week squandered the opportunity to receive £380,000 from Taylor Wimpey to provide school places in Farnham – ignore the anger of Godalming residents at the proposed closure of ‘Green Oak School.

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Click on the link below to read of the Farnham debacle!

When is someone, somewhere, going to stand up and tell Waverley Council it is no longer fit for purpose !

Have a guess how much money, NOT having a Local Plan, has cost the Waverley borough?

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HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF POUNDS!

The mathematicians in one small part of the borough – but an area most affected by not having an up-to-date blueprint for development, has had the abacus out! And Cranleigh Civic Society’s findings make grim reading, they are quite simply – staggering! Particularly if these figures are extrapolated across all the major towns.

 At last, we have a LOCAL PLAN, but even that is now the subject of three separate Judicial Reviews to be heard in the High Court shortly!

An agreed LOCAL PLAN gives Waverley Planners power to control future housing development; they can plan for the development of new infrastructure, roads, railways, schools, hospitals etc.  More important it enables the Borough Council to charge house builders a COMMUNITY INFRASTRUCTURE LEVY known as CIL for short. 

What is  CIL?

 CIL raises monies towards the cost of the new Infrastructure needed for developments to go ahead. What a wonderful step forward we all exclaim!! and so it is. But what of the housing already approved? 2,000 houses and growing every day throughout the borough. 

Unfortunately, CIL is not retrospective.

How much will Waverley charge? www.waverley.gov.uk/CIL

Waverley’s draft proposal sets a CIL rate of £395/ Sq Metre of floor area for all new housing, (about £40,000 on an average 3-bed house), except quite reasonably for “Affordable Housing” where there is no charge. So taking the 35% of Affordable Housing the Borough is committed to building away from the approximately 2,000 houses so far approved, there will be a loss of CIL to the tune of a minimum £60 MILLION pounds. £60 MILLION pounds that will NOT be available to improve our ROADS, our SCHOOLS, our HOSPITALS, our BOROUGH!!

 How could this have happened we may ask? It happened because our planning officers at Waverley failed to come up with a plan that satisfied the Government’s criteria for a LOCAL PLAN.

How a Local Plan is developed by the Borough Planners

The basic criteria affecting us as council tax payers was to identify suitable sites for new housing. This has to satisfy the Central Government’s housing policy, a requirement that was for about 350 houses a year until 2032. Woking BC have had an agreed  Local Plan for some years that has now proved inadequate, so the inspector added a further 150 or so houses per year to WBC’s to cover their shortfall! So WBC’s Yearly requirement rose to 509 houses until 2032 (a total of 7,126 houses) 35% of which must be “Affordable”. Plus a further rise to 590 was deemed necessary by the inspector recently to take account of some of Woking’s unmet need. 

What of democracy?

Of these 7,126 houses, a minimum of 4,300, rising to perhaps 5,000 are planned for CRANLEIGH and DUNSFOLD, with the balance spread around the rest of the Borough; We have to ask – just how democratic is that?

 Improvements to our Local Roads and Rail?

Perhaps we could have a new road to rescue us from the A281 Blight? Unfortunately not: there will, however, there will be a new roundabout at Shalford. The Elmbridge Road and Bramley crossroads junctions will be reconfigured, There will also be a new Canal bridge at Elmbridge but no new bridge over the old Railway.

What of the Railway?

No plans whatsoever have been considered since SCC’s last feasibility study found not enough demand and not affordable. However, Waverley is stipulating in the Draft Local PPlan {Part 2)Screen Shot 2018-04-10 at 18.03.33.png

 

So if anyone comes along with a cunning plan for introducing a new railway line – “the movement corridor’ is protected! So watch out By-Pass Byham you may get what you wished for!

What of DUNSFOLD AERODROME?

There is a plan for 1,800 homes, plus businesses,, shops, a school, a medical centre approved by the Government.  The adopted Local Plan, now being challenged also includes increasing this to £2,600.

Dunsfold, due to its approval when 106 agreements were applicable and due to the limitation CIL would have on this major development there will be NO CIL. However, the Dunsfold developer will be contributing well over £50m towards a whole series of infrastructure improvements, not just the five included in CIL contributions.

And that is just the East of the Borough. Maybe, someone over here in Farnham will do the maths here?

Much of this article was contributed to the Waverley Web by the Cranleigh Civic Society, we have however made a few minor alterations in the interest of accuracy and the up-to-date situation on challenges to the Local Plan.

 

The battle goes on for Green Oak School, Godalming, but is Surrey County Council listening?

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Why would Surrey County Council want to close a School and Nursery at a time when Godalming is growing?

Here’s what Councillor Penny Rivers told the Extraordinary Meeting in answer to the question ‘Should Green Oak School and Nursery Close?’

THE ANSWER WAS AN EMPHATIC NO! 

ARE YOU LISTENING SURREY COUNTY COUNCIL?  IGNORE THE PEOPLE OF GODALMING AT YOUR PERIL!

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Penny, Ollie, Paul Follows and the Green Oak PTA parents have submitted some formal questions to the Tory SCC Cabinet next week.

We must talk about that Milford Golf Course covenant and that challenge by Mr House of the Local Plan!

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As “Your Waverley’ keeps the champagne on ice – here’s one of the reasons why OUR LOCAL PLAN has been halted in its tracks!

houyseshouse.jpgThe very thorough Bea at the Haslemere Herald featured the issue of Mr House’s Covenant on Milford Golf Course, which is now the subject of a legal challenge to the Local Plan.

According to the Herald’s busy little Bea, in the Local Plan part one, surplus land at Milford Golf Club was allocated as a ‘strategic’ site for 180 houses, although it is in the green belt. Government Inspector Jonathon Bore has requested it’s GB status be removed to help meet Waverley’s and some of Woking’s housing targets.

However,  the land is the subject of a restrictive covenant owned by adjoining householders who are determined to prevent a major development on their doorstep.

The historic covenant allows some development, but not on such a large scale. It stipulates “one detached dwelling house to the acre with one lodge and one cottage suitable for and intended for occupation by a gardener, chauffeur or other employees of the occupier of the said dwelling house”.

Let’s all hark back to the ‘good old days’ when we all had housekeepers, gardeners and indeed the new must-have  –  a chauffeur.

Mr House seems to be relying on this very old-fashioned covenant, in a document he is yet to disclose to the Council or the Planning Inspector. The Covenant doesn’t save the site from development, in fact, it actually encourages development! 

As the ‘Houses’ (very apt name for a lawyer attempting to prevent just that) but acknowledges, the total number of units which could be built consistent with the covenant is 81: 27 main dwelling houses together with up to two units of staff accommodation on each plot (see §29 of counsel’s opinion).

Whether 27 or 81 is used as the number of units that could be built consistent with the covenant, any additional disruption would not be sufficiently substantial to satisfy the test.

The existing house is well set back from the boundary line and shielded by a mature boundary of trees and hedgerow. The house cannot be seen from the development land. In addition, there is no good evidence (indeed any evidence) to show that any reduction in value to the House’s land would be significantly affected regardless of whether the development was 27, 81 or 180 units.

Waverley’s detailed response to the Local Plan inspector about the covenant – [link] with some excerpts highlighted below:

Haslemere Herald report of Local Plan February 2018

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No doubt the High Court will be viewing those conveyancing documents soon?!

Godawfulming’s Town Council forced into action by its residents.

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Feelings are running so high over the threatened closure of Green Oak School, that the Town Council was forced into calling an EXTRAORDINARY TOWN MEETING – the first in its history.

But the Tory-controlled council – that has more than just a few skeletons in its council cupboards – was at pains to point out to its  Surrey County Council masters that pressure from residents forced into such an unprecedented step.

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Hark! Is that criticism of their fellow Tory colleagues that we hear… no surely not! 

In the second par – in Godalming Town Council’s letter, an extract of which appears above and the full text in the attachment below – it speaks of the electors’ frustration!

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http://godalming-tc.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/SCC-Green-Oak-School-Consultation-Closure-of-Green-Oak-School-Letter-from-The-Council-13-April-2018-Web-Version.pdf

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THE SAME OLD, SAME OLD FROM THE SORRY ADVERTISER

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With delicious irony, in a recent story in the Sorry Advertiser a headline read HOMES NEEDED BUT WHAT ABOUT THE ROADS? alongside a photograph of The Wintershall Estate actors who brought Guildford High Street to a juddering halt as they performed The Passion Plays on Tunsgate over the Easter weekend.

Relegated to page 13 – unlucky for some! – was the Sorry Ad’s Round-up of reactions to Dunsfold news. Bob Lies, chairman of Protect our little corner of Waverley, opined: ‘While more housing is needed it should be put in the right place and Dunsfold clearly is not the right place with its totally inadequate infrastructure.’

WHAT is that man on? The only thing that is clear about this whole sorry saga is that Bob Lies and his campaigning cohorts consider the largest brownfield site in the borough, with direct access onto an A-road – moreover an A-road that doesn’t even appear in the top 10 busiest A-roads in the county! – ‘clearly is not the right place’. The man and his minions are barking! The only people that deem Dunsfold Park ‘not the right place’ are some, and it is only SOME, residents of Alfold and Dunsfold, who don’t want their rural idyl polluted by  people who, once the new village is built, will – in the words of Dunsfold Park’s QC, ‘Live more sustainably than they themselves do.’ What a nincompoop. We’ve said it before but it’s worth repeating, Mr Lies would do well to take a leaf out of the late Sir Denis Thatcher’s book:

BETTER TO REMAIN SILENT AND BE THOUGHT A FOOL THAN TO SPEAK OUT AND REMOVE ALL DOUBT!

While Mr Lies was saying, ‘We now trust the local authority and the site owner to work closely and constructively with the local community to ensure the adverse impacts of the development are minimised ‘ his legal beavers were preparing to challenge the Local Plan. ...’ To the best of our knowledge Dunsfold Park has spent the past 15-odd years trying to work with the local community, and at every turn, they have been snubbed and vilified by Mr Lies and his predecessors, Stop Dunsfold Park New Town.

In the Bramley Babes Update, published on the same day as the Sorry Ad, it said:‘Despite all of our best efforts, this is not the decision we were hoping for. Should have added: we’re not giving up…yet!

We know from our Bramley correspondent that year after year tickets for Top Gear were requested and generously donated by Dunsfold Park to the village fete and Bramley and other Infants School, helping to boost their coffers!  What price a little gratitude?

Meanwhile, MP Moaning Milton, who made no secret of her opposition to Dunsfold Park and, in cahoots with fellow MP Jeremy S-Hunt, are guilty of wasting hundreds of thousands of pounds council tax payers money making Waverley Borough Council jump through hoops in its bid  to meet the housing quotas dictated by their Conservative Government, now has the nerve to pontificate:

‘Now that the Planning Inspector has approved the building at Dunsfold, it is absolutely essential that every possible step is taken to fund and provide the supporting infrastructure we need. This will be critical during the construction period. I will, therefore, pursue every possible mitigating measure to help local residents in Alfold and Cranleigh.’

What a pity Moaning Milton didn’t give some thought to the millions of pounds that could have been spent on local infrastructure if the Dunsfold Developer hadn’t had to fight, tooth-and-nail, her dirty little behind-the-scenes shenanigans. We wouldn’t go knocking at the Dunsfold Developer’s door if we were you, Moaning Milton!  You’re the last person likely to persuade the DD  to support any initiative you’re spearheading. From what we’ve heard from some of the Dunsfold businesses.

 You won’t be invited to break ground, you’ve spent far too much time breaking wind!

Meanwhile, there’s a little light relief on the Sorry Ad’s Letters Page:

H Alexander of the Residents Greenbelt Group, claims that ‘buy-to-let landlords have effectively bought every property built since 1985′ and that ‘Solving the housing crisis will not be achieved by destroying the countryside but by sensible policies such as reversing buy-to-let so as to bring those 5 million properties into occupier-ownership.’ Watch out Jeremy S-Hunt – AKA Peter Rachman of Southampton – Comrade Alexander has your buy-to-let portfolio in his sights!

• Meanwhile, Paul Woodhams, of Merrow, is ‘appalled at the decision to allow 1,800 homes to be built on Dunsfold Park. No thought has been given to the problems of the extra traffic along the A281.’ Durrrhhh! Where have you been, Mr Woodhams? One of the reasons the application was consented is due to the proposed mitigation measures improving the traffic problems on the A281. The learned gentleman goes on to say that he ‘suppose[s] our local Members of Parliament will be silent on these plans ...’ If only! Again, where have you been? Moaning Milton has been banging on about nothing but for years!!!

Disgusted of Woodland Avenue demands to know, ‘What makes it OK now when it hasn’t been viable before?’ Does anyone bother to read the paperwork? The Planning Inspector and the Secretary of State in their respective report and decision letter were at great pains to explain what makes it OK now when it hasn’t been viable before! Get with the programme Mr Baldock! Try reading the report then you won’t make a fool of yourself asking daft questions that everyone else knows the answer to, even if they don’t care to admit it because it’s such a very inconvenient truth that Dunsfold Park will make the A281 less congested if and when it’s built than the road would be if it isn’t built!

Seriously, folks, no one minds you having your say – after all, it was still a free country last time we looked – just! – but if you’re going to pontificate, at least take the time to do your homework, read the paperwork and try to get your heads around the facts rather than the drivel that has been propagated by the likes of Bob Lies – the clue’s in his sobriquet!

 

The controversial consultation on 180 homes on Milford Golf Course – begins.

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See if you can spot Milford Man’s great big pad- next to the golf course, and near the railway station, below?

Milford man is just one of the band of three challenging Waverley’s Local Plan. Read it by clicking on the link below.

Read all about him here: While Farnham man rejoiced, Milford Man WAS BUSY TRYING TO SCUPPER THAT DAMNED PLAN!

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But remember CPRE – more land in Surrey is under Golf Courses than housing – at the moment:

 

Ah! well,​ Jeremy SHunt – we all make mistakes…but not all of us get away with them so easily!

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Here’s our post a month ago: Hypocrite Hunt hoovers up homes in Hampshire!

The UK health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has apologised after it was discovered he made errors over the purchase of luxury flats on England’s south coast.

Hunt said his failure to declare a business interest with both Companies House and the parliamentary register of MPs’ interests was down to “honest administrative mistakes” and that he did not gain financially as a result.

Hunt failed to notify Companies House of his 50% interest in Mare Pond Properties Limited, named after his home in Markwick Lane, Hascombe – something that took him six months to rectify.

He also did not inform the parliamentary register of members’ interests of his share in the business within the 28-day time limit, according to the publication.

It is claimed Hunt set up the company with his wife, Lucia Guo, to buy seven properties in the Ocean Village development in Southampton on 7 February.

A spokeswoman for Hunt said: “These were honest administrative mistakes which have already been rectified. Jeremy’s accountant made an error in the Companies House filing which was a genuine oversight. With respect to ministerial and parliamentary declarations, the Cabinet Office is clear that there has been no breach of the ministerial code.

“Jeremy declared the interest to them after the company was set up. They advised that as it was a shell company with no assets or value, it should only be registered

As those potholes get bigger – there may be even worse to come!

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South East Water received reports of customers in Sheephatch Lane, which include the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association’s Islamabad base and Garner’s Field scout campsite, having no water.  An inspection revealed part of the road surface had collapsed from a leak in an eight-inch diameter water main.

The lane will be closed from its junction with Tilford Road until Monday, April 16.

South East Water said:  “We would like to apologise for any inconvenience this repair work has caused the local community and thank them for their ongoing patience.”

Although a severe example, it adds to a raft of potholes and damaged road surfaces across the whole of Waverley. Not all of the damage has occurred this winter, some occurred in 2016/17 and remain to be filled!

Large potholes have formed on several key roads across Farnham, with notable cases on the A325 outside the Co-op in Wrecclesham Road and in West Street near the Coxbridge roundabout.

A number of motorists have taken to Facebook to report damage to their vehicles after colliding with the potholes.  Jack Butterfield blames the A325 hole for blowing his tyre and chipping his alloys – causing hundreds of pounds of damage. Others have reported damage which has wrecked the wheels and mechanics of valuable cars. Motorists say they will be seeking compensation from Surrey County Council for repairs.  

It comes after the county council announced a new £5 million investment in the county’s roads “to help reverse the impact of the winter’s weather” last month.

Surrey has also recently been named the worst county in the UK for potholes.

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Here’s what Waverley Web suggest…

Because potholes are appearing faster than Spring lambs!  ..!!!Come to Surrey and visit the UK’s capital of potholes – on and off-road! or 

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Here’s what one Farnham resident writes in the Farnham Herald.

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Potts goes…potty!

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… and who can blame her?

After all her hard work and all that heavy-lifting, dragging Waverley Borough and its Council into the 21st century, creating and adopting a long overdue Local Plan, Protect our Little Corner of Awfold, Duncefold, Kerchingfold and Where-has-all-the-traffic-combe-from have waited until two minutes to midnight to throw a hand grenade into the room!

Together with the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) and the ineptly named Mr & Mrs House (seriously, you couldn’t make that one up!!!) PoW have launched a legal challenge over the adoption of Waverley’s Local Plan!

Call us cynical but we – and pretty much everyone else who knows anything about it – suspect that this is POW’s cunning ploy to scupper the planning consent just granted to Dunsfold Park. The infamous Bob Lies and cohorts are simply re-running the same old, same old arguments they ran at the recent Dunsfold Park Inquiry.

ANOTHER circa £200,000 down the borough drains!

As for CPRE, their knickers are knotted over Woking’s unmet housing need, which was added to Waverley’s numbers, resulting in an additional 83 houses per annum to Waverley’s target. OK, we get it, it’s not ideal but what CPRE fails to tell the public in its indignant, self-righteous justification for its actions is, that if it gets leave to appeal, not only will that leave Waverley totally exposed because it won’t have an adopted Local Plan but residents will have to cough up circa £200,000 to defend CPRE’s action!

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No wonder Potts has gone off on one! She said: I am appalled that we have to spend money on legal expenses AGAIN when we could be spending it on services – £200k at a time when, as a council, we face enormous financial challenges and are doing our utmost to deliver and protect key frontline services for our residents.’

Too damn right! And as Waverley council tax payers, we at the Waverley Web fully endorse, Potts’ assertion that the Council will ‘pursue full reimbursement of all legal costs we incur [and] these campaigning pressure groups must understand that this irresponsible abuse of public money will not be tolerated by Waverley Borough Council and its residents.’

We never thought we would find ourselves saying this but – deep breath

‘THREE CHEERS FOR POTTS!’

Now here’s a thought: why not give CPRE £200,000 to go away? After all, we all know these so-called rural campaigners are open to a spot of bribery!

We’ve all heard the one about how Clive Smith, the Surrey Hills AONB Planning Adviser (and bosom buddy of CPRE, whose AONB Board he sits on) repeatedly objected to Lakshmi Mittal’s £30 million mansion that he wanted to build in the Surrey Hills until, finally, finally, FINALLY, the billionaire took the oft repeated hints dropped by Mr Smith and his colleagues and greased the palm of the Surrey Hills Trust with £250,000 of silver and then suddenly – but entirely unsurprisingly – Mr Smith did a complete volte face and withdrew all his objections! Result! A win for the Surrey Hills AONB and a win for Mr Mittal, who got his planning permission.

Just goes to show everyone has their price – even so-called rural crusaders!

The hypocritical Clive Smith even went so far as to sing for his cheque by rocking up at the billionaire’s estate, quaffing his Champagne whilst bad mouthing all other development in the Surrey Hills! We know we’re repeating ourselves but, seriously folks, you couldn’t make it up! if only these people could see themselves as others see them … Now you know where Cheque book Clive got his sobriquet!

So there you have it, Leader Potts, it’s just a thought but why not take a leaf out of Mr Mittal’s book and call down to the Accounts Department and ask them to write CPRE a cheque for £200k to make them go away? OK, you won’t save any money but you’ll save yourself and your officers a shed-load of work and stress and you could save local residents from having several concrete mixers full of more housing dumped on us!

Eh?

Durrrh! You really need to read the small print!

What CPRE’s Surrey Director, Andy Smith, didn’t tell us when he was sounding off, is that if Waverley’s Local Plan fails and a new one has to be created Waverley could end up with even higher housing numbers being dumped on its green and pleasant fields because the Government will shortly be bringing out yet another new method for calculating housing numbers so we could end up with even more houses rather than less!!!

The words Be careful what you wish for come to mind …

PS. For those of you who’re wondering where Mr & Mrs House fit into the scheme of things, see our post of 7 April. And for those who can’t be bothered, here’s a quick resume: They’re just your average Surrey NIMBYs. They object to a proposal to build 130 houses on a golf course near them and as Mr House boasts of a successful 30-year career as a litigator, what’s he got to lose? After all, with his salary and bonus package, he can afford to dig deep if Waverley goes for costs!

While Farnham man rejoiced, Milford Man WAS BUSY TRYING TO SCUPPER THAT DAMNED PLAN!