A Farnham planning-shambles at ‘Your Waverley.’

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Providing late paperwork for councillors on a Farnham development an hour before the meeting did not go down well with Chairman David Beaman. It also scuppered the chances of a Farnham man’s bid to build 24 apartments.

“I am not happy, words fail me” Chairman David Beaman  told his colleagues on the Western Planning Committee – “to receive important up-date papers at 5 pm – how about you?”

 The beleaguered applicant – a Mr John Boyce (apologies if we don’t have your name right) sat in the Zoom wings – watched helplessly,  while his scheme for 24 dwellings, 7 of which are affordable homes – bit the dust for another month.

He told the committee the application was due to be considered on 15th July 2020 and it had cost him a “considerable amount of money” waiting month after month for a decision.

Outline application for the demolition of an existing bungalow and erection of 24 apartments with underground parking.WA/2020/0558 – LAND AT THE OLD MISSION HALL, HOOKSTILE LANE, FARNHAM.

The application, which is already out of time for a decision, was recommended for approval by the officers.

Despite it languishing in Waverley Towers since last July, the committee unanimously decided to defer determining his scheme until April 26th. As all admitted they had not had time to read the paperwork.

Waverley’s Tory Group has complained about a proposal to cut meetings from four area planning committees down to two – leaving less opportunity for councillors to represent their constituencies. The Tories claim too many important decisions are being delegated to officers.

The matter of managing council business post-COVID is being discussed at a special Executive meeting on April 6.  However, the Leader of the Council Farnham Residents’ John Ward said earlier this week that the Government was making it extremely difficult for councils to work now that Zoom meetings would be forced to end on May 6.  Self-distancing in the council chamber for major meetings would be difficult if not impossible.  

Along with councils around the country Waverley has appealed to the government to allow virtual meetings to continue for the time being. But the numerous requests have fallen on deaf ears.

You can hear this part of the Western Planning Committee meeting here:

 

 

 

 

‘Your Waverley’ to put its money where its mouth is to fight UK Oil & Gas fracking.

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Waverley’s Executive agreed this week to stump up £30,000 to join Surrey County Council in its fight to stop UK Oil and Gas from fracking in Dunsfold.

Link to the previous post: Councils in Waverley are urging everyone to object to an appeal by UCOG to drill in Dunsfold.

Councillors heard that it had been given leave to become what is known as a Rule 6 Party in an appeal by UK Oil & Gas (UCOG) against Surrey County Councils refusal. But Waverley has to seek approval for a supplementary estimate to cover the fees of an external consultant to represent both it and local residents. It did not have a sufficient budget to meet the costs – and would require £30,000 from its reserves.

Cllr Steve Williams Green Party Portfolio Holder for Climate change.

Cllr Steve Williams told his colleagues that, a “Listening Panel’ made up of cross-party representatives had been highly effective in engaging with local people to gather evidence to fight the proposal by UCOG to drill for hydrocarbons in Waverley.

A bid, “which was not only obtrusive in our beautiful natural environment but is contrary to both ours and Surrey’s declaration of a climate emergency.”

He claimed that Surrey Planners had not put up a particularly robust case on its own, and had been highly reliant upon Waverley’s own planning officers help.

“It is an outrageous expectation to drill for hydrocarbons at Dunsfold. If it was in any other country in the world it would have been defined as FRACKING – but is defined in this country as DRILLING. It should be thrown out.”

Others agreed it would be money well-spent if it prevented further desecration of the countryside and it had the support of all the neighbouring parish councils including Alfold and Dunsfold.

Cllr Paul Follows, who is seeking the Godalming South seat in the forthcoming county council elections, alongside his Cranleigh colleague Cllr Liz Townsend featured in the clip below said: 

We have a duty to fight this proposal, and although Surrey’s case was quite weak, as a critical friend, we will fight this with as much force as we are able.”

Cllr Liz Townsend is the Lib Dem candidate for the Cranleigh & Ewhurst seat at SCC in the forthcoming election:  Conservative Cllr Andrew Povey has held county seat for many years.

Are Godalming residents being misled by the Tories?

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Is Kirsty playing dirty to snaffle a seat on the county council?

A Tory leaflet, which others claim could be a  deliberate attempt to mislead the public is being bandied around Godalming and on Social Media.. (photo below).

https://www.facebook.com/135691707151701/posts/762797174441148/?d=nI

Let’s do a FACT- OR FICTION -finding exercise, Megan Markle style?

FICTION OR FACT?

  • FICTION The claim that Waverley is a ‘Liberal Democrat Dominated |Council?’
  • FACT. The largest Group on Waverley Borough Council is … THE CONSERVATIVE GROUP.

GONE TO POTTS?

N.B. THIS  CHANGED SLIGHTLY OVERNIGHT AS CONSERVATIVE LEADER JULIA POTTS ANNOUNCED THAT CLLR BRIAN ADAMS HAS BEEN SUSPENDED FROM WAVERLEY’S CONSERVATIVE GROUP AT ‘YOUR WAVERLEY’ AND SUSPENDED FROM THE S.W.SURREY CONSERVATIVE ASSOCIATION!

  • FICTION Perhaps it wants to close Broadwater Golf Club for “an unpopular housing development?”
  • FACT. A housing development has never been mentioned. Why not use the word perhaps it could be ‘a refuse tip’ or perhaps ‘a multi-storey office block?’
  • FICTION. It made decisions behind closed doors.
  • FACT. It discussed the issue in public – but on the direction of officers, including the borough solicitor, made the decision privately from the public, but not the council, for sound commercially sensitive and legal reasons.

Should Ms Waldron win the Godalming South county council seat, she will, of course, want to adhere to officers’ advice in her new role, particularly when sensitive legal issues are involved?

FACT. Kirsty Waldron says if she is elected she promises, yes “promises,” the people of Godalming that she will fight to keep the club and protect recreational spaces which she uses regularly with her young (4 years old) daughter. 

Here’s what Cllr Paul Follows her Liberal Democrat opponent for the county seat has to say on the issue. 

FACT: https://www.facebook.com/135691707151701/posts/762797174441148/?d=n

 

A message from us to Cllr Paul Follows.

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Here at the Waverley Web, we want to take this opportunity of thanking Cllr Follows for keeping us all informed here in the borough of the frequent rule and advice changes throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic.

It has been a superhuman feat to keep Waverley residents engaged and informed every step of the way, whilst continuing the day job, leading Godalming Town Council and serving as the Deputy Leader of Waverley Borough Council.

On behalf of our followers, who have followed you in the press and on social media, we would like to say a huge

“Thank you.”

Yesterday we took a small but significant step towards the end of lockdown. 

The “stay home” message has officially been scrapped and people are now allowed to meet outdoors in groups of six or two households, while organised outdoor sports have also returned.

 

 CORONAVIRUS ROADMAP – CHANGES IN EFFECT FROM MONDAY 29TH MARCH 

Good afternoon. Please see below a short summary of the changes that have now come into effect.

 Social contact

From 29 March, outdoor gatherings (including in private gardens) of either 6 people (the Rule of 6) or 2 households will also be allowed, making it easier for friends and families to meet outside.
 Business and activities
Outdoor sports facilities such as tennis and basketball courts, and open-air swimming pools, will also be allowed to reopen, and people will be able to take part informally organised outdoor sports.
✈️ Travel
The ‘stay at home’ rule will end on 29 March but many restrictions will remain in place. Residents should continue to work from home where they can and minimise the number of journeys they make where possible, avoiding travel at the busiest times and routes.
Travel abroad will continue to be prohibited, other than for a small number of permitted reasons.
Please do let me know if you have any questions about this.
Cllr Paul Follows
Deputy Leader, Waverley Borough Council
Leader, Godalming Town Council

HGV Ban in Farnham Town Centre coming soon?

HAVE YOUR SAY – OR RUE THE DAY?

 

This is the full extent of the proposed ‘HGV ban’ in Farnham town centre.

The ‘ban’ does not include HGVs delivering to the town.

Not much, eh? If you want a ban on east/west HGVs avoiding Hickleys Corner make your views known before 15th April on this link.

https://www.surreysays.co.uk/environment-and-infrastructure/farnham-hgv-prohibition-proposal/

Today Guildford. Tomorrow Cranleigh? As wannabe developers buy-up ancient woodland plots.

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The recent Government White Paper on reforming the planning system, although a mixed blessing, includes a welcome emphasis on “protection” for green belt and other sensitive landscapes.

But it fails to address planning enforcement.

Is there any point in having a planning system if it can be flouted with impunity? Wannabe developers need to understand that if they break the rules they will be penalised, and swiftly.

Yet the disaster that is presently being inflicted on Wanborough Fields in the green belt north of the Hogs Back in Guildford – may now have arrived in Cranleigh. The beleaguered eastern part of Waverley earmarked as a new Waverley town. Developers have moved in and are building – north-south-east and west of the former village.

Cranleigh is Full Come back in 2033

Cranleigh’s village leaders heard concerned residents say that London developers had bought five plots in Cranfold Wood – an area of woodland off the Ewhurst Road between Cranleigh & Ewhurst. One said: 

“Another chap turned up and bought another few plots and started work there over the weekend. “What exactly are the rules over development in ancient woodland? What happens if they start pulling caravans onto the land?

Chairman Liz Townsend said if anyone did start felling trees they (the public) should contact the parish council and her personally. They should ring Waverley Borough Council’s Planning Enforcement Dept. , “I have all the emergency numbers,”  she said.

If they are clearing woodland their actions would be subject to enforcement action. If they have bought the land they will need planning permission before anything can take place there.” She believed that any development would be highly unlikely that planning permission would be granted in ancient woodland.

It is believed the owner of the former owner of the land is Ewhurst resident – Sue Hayes.


Yet the disaster now being inflicted on Wanborough Fields in the green belt north of the Hog’s Back and to the west of Guildford suggests there is little prospect of protection or enforcement. Residents are fuming at the inaction of Guildford Borough Council.

The upper portion of this site is within the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and qualifies for a degree of national protection. The lower portion has the local designation of Area of Great Landscape Value (AGLV).

Wanborough fields designated an Area of Great Landscape Value (viewed from the west).

Since 2013, planners have been waiting for the government’s environmental adviser, Natural England, to perform a boundary review that should lead to AGLV’s incorporation in the AONB. This under-resourced adviser moves painfully slowly; if at all, and an online petition is calling for it to move more quickly, and with very good reason.

The Wanborough crisis started with the sale of the land by a large estate and its subdivision into individual plots of varying sizes by the land agent who bought it. These have been marketed with the suggestion that they may be suitable for residential development, subject to securing “appropriate planning consent”.

That such consent is highly unlikely in such an environmentally sensitive area has not deterred the agent nor, it would seem, the buyers of the Guildford plots.

Could this be now be happening in Cranleigh’s Cranfold Wood?

Any development in Cranfold Wood would fundamentally threaten the character of this precious ancient woodland. Let us all hope for the locals’ sake Waverley’s Enforcement Officers are onto it!

 

MP Jeremy Hunt gets close and personal with Waverley’s residents?

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Are we here at the Waverley Web the only residents to be surprised to get a letter and survey from Jeremy Hunt, with no reference to a political party?

Surely not – we hear you cry? Not with the county elections due in May? He cannot be on the campaign trail, supporting his Tory colleagues, can he – surely not?

The fine,  print on our copy says…

“Your name and address were obtained from the Register of Electors, provided to us as a Registered Political Party”?

Please note the “us.”

Unless of course, Jeremy is using the royal “us,” it presumably means the Conservative Party. So actually if one responds to the survey, one is replying to the Conservative Party? And yet the reply address is a choice of two different Parliamentary ones, not to be used for party purposes.

So is it a party letter? (in which case the Parliamentary addresses shouldn’t be used) or is it a private letter? (In which case the Conservative permission to access the unpublished sector of the register shouldn’t be used)?
Just a thought Jeremy – perhaps someone could contact us, and all the other residents you wrote to, and explain? At contact@waverleweb.com
However, we won’t hold our breath awaiting a response – because breath is so good for us!

Councils in Waverley are urging everyone to object to an appeal by UCOG to drill in Dunsfold.

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On one side of the borough, the townsfolk of Cranleigh are fighting to stop a gas-fired electricity generating plant. On the other side of the town, others are working to stop UK Oil & Gas(UCOG) from exploratory drilling in Dunsfold. 

Here’s a link to an earlier post on the Cranleigh Plan – which has yet to be determined: Will Cranleigh be part of the biggest ever energy shake-up in the UK energy sector?
In a pincer movement, local parish councils are urging everyone to write to a Government Inspector to oppose UCOG’s plans to drill on the High Loxley Road, Dunsfold. The site is near the aptly named Pratts Corner! 
However, as Peter Lambert-Hartley remarked:
‘Good Luck with that.
I logged into the ‘User-Hostile’ Government Planning Inspectorate Appeals Casework Portal. After FINALLY managing to get the website to accept my details, and password (after 3 attempts), I was asked to give full details of the planned Development, including area and space and locality.
The Government Portal REFUSED to accept the reference.’
 UKOG is appealing the decision by Surrey County Council to refuse the proposed drilling for exploratory oil and gas in Dunsfold.
Alfold Parish Council (alongside other local councils) have resolutely objected to the application on the grounds of traffic, traffic safety, amenity value/impact on the landscape and local businesses in-line with objections raised by Waverley Borough Council.
Waverley has been granted leave to be a material part of the hearing alongside the Surrey County Council.

County planners have refused the application TWICE, but Ashley Ward, the Alfold owner of the land refuses to accept the local decision and is pinning all his hopes on the Government over-ruling local decision-makers.

The Appeal is listed for July and evidence can be submitted by residents, but there is not much time as this must be done by 6th April 2021, directly to the Planning Inspector online at https://acp.planninginspectorate.gov.uk quoting reference APP/B3600/W/21/3268579 (Loxley Well Site) or write to:
Elizabeth Humphrey
The Planning Inspectorate
3/J Kite Wing
Temple Quay House
2 The Square
Bristol BS1 6PN

Alfold Parish Council says it will be submitting further written submissions to the Planning Inspector, with particular reference to its previous concerns, however, it is urging everyone to do the same using the contact details above.

You may like to list personal concerns, including (but not limited to):
  1. 1. Any concerns you may have about traffic safety (extra-large abnormal loads and articulated tankers are not the same as smaller ‘HGVs’ and are unsuited to the local roads)
  2. 2. Mention your use and enjoyment of the local Public Rights of Way network (noting that the important Bridleway 280 passes through the field in which the oil/gas well is proposed)
  3. 3. Mention your love of the countryside (the oil/gas well will be visible from Hascombe Hill AONB, and is in farmland designated as being of Great Landscape Value) even more important since pandemic?
  4. 4. Mention the negative impact on local businesses, while no proven benefit of oil/gas (even if it is found, which is uncertain).
 Any questions, contact Julie: clerk@alfoldparishcouncil.co.uk.

Is it easier to get in touch with the Pope than Waverley’s planning dept?

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Is that the Vatican? Do you think the Pope could help me get in touch with a planning officer at ‘Your Waverley?’ I want my application determined before I drop off the perch!

Sing-a-long to – “Hanging on the telephone.’ 

We are all well-used to listening to automated messages. You know the ones that ‘thank you for your patience,’ while you wait… tearing your hair out from the roots. The message that tells you, you are in a queue of Numero Uno – and 25 minutes later, whilst still thanking your for your patience  – someone finally answers! Then, as you try desperately to remind yourself why you were ringing in the first place, you ask the receptionist to put you through to a named planning officer – at ‘Your Waverley.’

You then take a deep breath when the receptionist tells you she/he only works a couple of days a week – and guess what – yep – you guessed. She is not there on the day you rang! But then after ringing on the day, named planning officer is in – she’s out! However, a helpful receptionist takes your number sends him/her an e-mail message with your contact details – so you wait for another few days for him/her to return your call. By which time they have left the building/home/ and won’t be back until next week!

To say that the strain of COVID is taking its toll on Waverley’s Planning Department is an understatement. We are told that applicants are waiting many months for decisions. Many from last year!

When you do finally speak to someone – they cannot access your planning application with ease – and they tell you they are ‘collapsing  under a pile-of paperwork.’ And the last person dealing with your application has left, and one before him/her was only “temporary.”  After a little commiseration, giving you time to remember why you were ringing, – they explain despite applications festering in the bowels of Waverley Towers for many, long, months…

“There’s no point in you going to appeal for non-determination because you will be waiting even longer.”  

So, as the wheels of Waverley Planners grind ever more slowly – and the planning portal is on a go-slow that makes a tortoise a dead certain bet over the sticks at Cheltenham Races – is it any wonder that some frustrated customers – are building first and asking after? 

Some of the frustrated applicants who are writing to the Waverley Web at contact@waverleyweb.org are urging us to highlight the problem and beg council staff to get back to the office and start dealing with the backlog of planning applications. Or soon there will a protest march to the doors of the council offices at The Burys in Godalming. Oops! perhaps not as the police are the only occupants of the building.

Recently Elstead’s Cllr Jenny Else asked at an Overview & Scrutiny Committee if she could have a more detailed explanation than that contained in the meeting’s paperwork for the reasons why so many complaints were being levelled at the planning department. 

From what we hear from our followers Cllr Else, you have no idea of the number of complaints because most people are so frustrated, they don’t even bother to complain – believing that everyday life on Planet Zonk is so short and so difficult that it is just too stressful to put pen to paper.

We understand that the Planning Department under its new head planning honcho Zac Ellwood is undergoing a complete overhaul. No prizes for guessing why.

More “affordable homes” on their way to Godawfulming?

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Whilst promoting national house builders is usually at the bottom of our ‘to do list’ – we thought our readers would like a glimpse of the imaginative and architectural genius revealed in some of the homes now being built by Cala Homes at Ockford Park in Godalming.

Unlike Pete Seeger’s famous song – ‘there’s a green one and a pink one…’ Cala Homes appear to be fans of brown and grey – perhaps to suit the mood of our times?

However, the three-bedroom semi-detached homes priced at £500,500 could be just what young families looking for “affordable properties” are searching everywhere for? They just might be… right up their street?

Plot 6-3, Ockford Park, Godalming, Cala Homes South Home Counties

If you would like to see more of these aesthetically pleasing properties: follow this link:https://www.rightmove.co.uk/developer/branch/CALA-Homes/Ockford-Park-228623.html