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Today’s the day to have your say in Surrey.

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Elections Ballot Box

Where will you be putting your vote in the forthcoming Surrey County Council Elections? Remember – we get the government we deserve. No vote – no say.

But before you put your X in the box – read what an Essex MP has to say if you dare to put your council into the hands of others! And look at the lengths some Waverley candidates have gone to?

Because Jeremy Hunt’s election litter picking controversy almost broke the local community boards!

This is absolutely shocking and this man should be thrown out of the Tory party for making this outrageous suggestion.

A Conservative MP urging voters to vote Conservative as Ministers won’t help a Council controlled by an opposition party. This is not how Government ought to function – is it?

According to his Agent, his direct quote from Sir David Amess was…

“Unless we have a strong Tory council my ability to fight for Southend is hampered as Government ministers are reluctant to go that extra mile for an opposition-controlled local council.”

So we ask? Will our MP’s – the Honourable Angie and Jeremy Hunt – be able to work with Surrey County Council if it is run by others?

A little more local shenanigans? TGWIAO. (Thank God when it’s all over).

If you can’t kiss babies these days – pretend to pick up litter instead!

Over 300 comments on one post about the coincidence of Jeremy Hunt just happening to meet some candidates who just happened to be given some black bin bags for a photoshoot in Farnham, Haslemere & Milford

If you can’t kiss babies these days – pretend to pick up litter instead! Oh! and don’t forget the Tory leaflets in the gutters were just caught in a puff of wind!! The same puff of wind that put leaflets in car windscreens no doubt?

LINK:
From Jeremy’s newsletter:

 

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‘Your Waverley’ could soon be on a strict diet if the Boundary Commission has its way.

What more could anyone want right in the middle of a pandemic and difficulties with BREXIT than a Boundary Commission intent on re-organising our local government institutions and our electoral boundaries?

However, it is not the Commission itself that has abandoned common-sense by instigating the vastly complex and time-consuming review. It is a Government that is hell-bent on reviewing anything and everything. Education – planning; health; local government; promoting unitary authorities and more!

You name it – they want to change it – in the middle of the most catastrophic disease that we have faced in modern times. At a time when our cash- strapped local authorities are struggling to make ends meet

Whilst the rest of us are adding blubber, if the Commission has its way, our borough council will be losing weight. By that, we mean losing councillors – down from the existing 57 in 29 wards – to 50 and fewer and larger wards. So presumably in 2023, there will be a slimmer Waverley – or possibly NO Waverley – as it is still Surrey County Council’s intention for the whole county to become a Unitary Authority. It is hanging onto its fervent desire to get rid of the county’s 11 boroughs & district councils. This despite being told by Government to shelve its ambitions for the time being.

Your Councillors

Waverley Borough Council has 57 seats, representing local people in 29 wards that make up the Borough.

Councillors are elected by the community to decide how the council should carry out its various activities. They represent the wider public interest as well as individuals living within the ward in which he or she has been elected to serve.

Each councillor is elected for a four-year term. The most recent elections took place on 2 May 2019. The next Waverley Borough Council elections will take place in 2023.

Councillors have regular contact with the general public through council meetings, telephone calls or surgeries.

According to the council’s website, Fifty-six borough councillors are members of a political party registered with the Electoral Commission; one is Independent. They are currently divided as follows:

Councillors are not paid a salary for their work, but they do receive allowances. By law, all members of the Council are required to complete a declaration of interest form, the details of which are published annually.

In 2018/2019 the council paid out £395,000 in Basic Allowances, Special Responsibility Allowances, Travelling and Subsistence Allowances. it also included just £3,000 on internet charges.

in 2019/20 the figure was £397,000 – which WW believes is amazing value for money.  This is low, compared with many other councils across the country that pay considerably more.

 

The Tories are revolting.

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‘No community wants this’: Sussex new town plans anger local Tories

Although the Waverley Web mainly concentrates on all things Waverley/Surrey – the county is not an island and development on Waverley’s borders – e.g. Bordon – affects all our lives here in Farnham.

This scheme in Adversane adjoins the Surrey/Sussex border near Loxwood and Dunsfold and would mainly access the A281 Guildford to Horsham Road.

The scheme named Kingswood for nearly 3,000 new homes assembled by Sir Michael Hintze, who has given £4.6m to the Conservatives is a hop, skip and a jump from Dunsfold’s new garden village (2,600) homes on the former airfield on the outskirts of Cranleigh 

Sketches of the proposed new town of Kingswood, near Horsham in Sussex.
 Sketches of the proposed new town of Kingswood, on the Surrey/Sussex border. Not to be confused with Surrey’s Kingswood.

Plans for a new town in rural Sussex backed by one of the Conservative party’s biggest donors and close allies of Prince Charles are exposing a split in the Tory party over how to rapidly accelerate housebuilding.

The scheme for 2,850 homes, is being proposed on open fields at Adversane which has been assembled by hedge fund billionaire Sir Michael Hintze who has given £4.6m to the Conservatives. Its design is partly inspired by Poundbury, the ersatz Georgian town in Dorset created by Prince Charles, and Sir Michael Peat, the Prince of Wales’s former private secretary is a director of the development company.

But it is being opposed by local Conservative MP Andrew Griffith, who said:

“it is the wrong type of development in the wrong place” and local Tory councillors who have warned: “No community wants this on their doorstep.”

It looks set to be a test case for the government’s controversial new planning strategy announced last month which is set to relax national planning rules and set significantly higher local housebuilding targets in areas including Horsham.

John Halsall, the Tory leader of Wokingham borough council in Berkshire, which is also facing central government demands to build significantly more homes warned of a high political cost saying

“You won’t have a Tory left in the south or south-east of England.”

Some of the land is owned by Eton College, the alma mater of the prime minister, Boris Johnson. The largest parcel which would be built over is a farm purchased by Hintze for £10m from Mike Stock, the songwriter behind a string of 1980s hits by Kylie Minogue, Rick Astley and Bananarama.

Local opponents say the project – which could ultimately create a town of around 10,000 people – threatens rare wildlife, an increase in car congestion and risks becoming a dormitory for London commuters.

“There is an enormous amount of antipathy to this scheme,” said Julian Trumper, a local resident organising opposition. “Horsham has already taken enough of Sussex’s requirement to build housing and this potential growth is unsustainable. Infrastructure and road and rail links are insufficient. The displacement to wildlife and established ecosystems by building a new town in the open countryside is incalculable.”

The project claims that it will: “focus on building a community for people of all ages and providing a platform for economic opportunity and sustainable growth” and will champion the principle of “beauty” in town planning identified by Sir Roger Scruton in his report to the government on planning and architecture.

Kingswood sketch
 Kingswood promises to be a ‘socially inclusive, mixed-income development’ with ‘community at the heart’. 

But the row over whether it should go ahead exposes a growing schism in Conservative ranks over two proposed reforms to accelerate housebuilding.

The first is a new planning system that will make it easier and quicker for developers to build on greenfield sites, which Conservative councillors have complained undermines local democratic involvement by proposing zones where detailed planning consents would not be required.

The second is new inflated house building targets which backbench Conservative MPs and council leaders have criticised as too high and ignoring local needs. The new target for Horsham would see the area required to deliver 1,715 new homes a year, more than double the current target of 800. 

Waverley Web: A few things you should know about the government’s new planning White Paper.

The high status of Kingswood’s backers – with close links to the top of government and the monarchy – has also sparked fears that local influence could be further undermined, with opponents citing the planning scandal earlier this year in which it emerged that the housing secretary, Robert Jenrick, backed a project by party donor Richard Desmond against the advice of officials.

In other words, it is not what you know but who you know in the wonderful world of developers?

“After what we saw with Jenrick and Desmond, we have the impression that the property developers are doing all this with barely any local democracy at all.

 A spokesperson for Horsham district council said:

“Any site that is allocated in the next step of the local plan process will be subject to full public scrutiny at a public examination conducted by an independent planning inspector. Each site will be assessed to determine whether it is suitable, achievable and available, in a public arena.”

The local Conservative MP, Andrew Griffith, said: “We are building on greenfield, we’re not using brownfield land. This is the wrong type of development in the wrong place. The identity of the landowner is not important. I am giving voice to constituent concerns.”He told a Commons debate earlier this month: “So many of my constituents in villages of every letter of the alphabet, are having their lives blighted by the prospect of inappropriate and unsustainable development”.

Philip Circus, a Conservative member of Horsham council in whose ward the development is proposed, added:

“I am not interested that people are connected with royalty or people that donate to the Conservative party. It cuts no ice with me. We don’t feel any compulsion to doff our caps to anyone other than the residents. This is a rural community which in infrastructure terms does not look like an area for major housing development.”

The Kingswood masterplan has been submitted for inclusion in Horsham district council’s local plan, which is currently out to public consultation.  The director of the development company, Dominic Richards, was formerly a director at the Prince’s Foundation for Building Community – the heir to the throne’s architecture and planning charity which promotes traditional urbanism.

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

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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.

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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 https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/334066
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.

Are we all as sick as Waverley’s Parrott?

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WW followers may remember those heady days when Waverley Planning Policy Officer Graham Parrott burned the midnight oil preparing Local Plan versions 1, 2 and then 3 – which then once approved by a Government Inspector became the infamous Local Plan Part 1.

The poor s*d spent 15 years working with neighbouring authorities, including Woking & Guildford. Held public consultation exercises here there and everywhere with Tom, Dick & Harriet. Attended Examinations in public – High Court hearings and Judicial Reviews – phew!

Then with Local Plan, Part 1 finally agreed by Government Inspectors; the Secretary of State;  and ‘a bench’ of judges and with Local Plan Part 2 almost on the starting blocks heralding an end to the long saga of both Waverley’s and others’ Local Neighbourhood Plans in sight…  Up pops Boris The Bulldozer and ‘Bob The Builder’ Jenrick. The dynamic duo begins moving the development goalposts or ‘the ball’  as we know it – to enable development to be kicked onto a completely different pitch. It has announced the biggest shake-up of planning for decades to fast-track “beautiful” new homes across the country. Whilst in the process choking off affordable housing and diluting democratic oversight.

Poor old Graham – and you won’t have heard us pitying Waverley planning officers very often – so there’s one for the scrapbook!

However, it isn’t just The Waverley Parrott that is affected. We are all about to meet our new makers.  If you are not sitting down, and you haven’t seen this already, pull up a chair because this set us squawking and we suspect it will have the same effect on you? !  According to *Lichfields, under the new methods proposed by the Government for calculating housing targets, the Waverley target goes up to 835 homes per annum.

Yep – that’s right 835 – up from 590!

Read the link below and see for yourselves. Where you will see some of our Waverley neighbours’ new figures.

It even makes us here at WW as sick as poor old Parrott. How many other parrots are there in the country that have been working their ar*es off preparing Local Plans. Attending hearings – some of which were three weeks at a stretch – must have cost squillions of taxpayers’ money countrywide for paper exercises which are nothing more than a con trick to get us to accept more housing. 

https://lichfields.uk/grow-renew-protect-planning-for-the-future/how-many-homes-the-new-standard-method/

Litchfield’s

Town planning was a very new discipline when Nathaniel Lichfield set the company up. He was a pioneering economist and town planner, and the business was soon advising government, local authorities, and private clients on some of the country’s most significant projects – from new towns and airports, to the country’s first regional shopping centre, and the world’s most famous stadium.

It now gives practical and robust planning support for house builders, commercial developers, and local authorities as well as land owners and investors. 

A few things you should know about the government’s new planning White Paper.

Now, look at Surrey County Council’s cunning plan for ‘Your Waverley’s’ eastern villages.

The fight to stop Surrey County Council’s power grab has begun.

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‘Your Waverley’ (YW) will stand with the 11 other borough and district councils in the county to stop Surrey County Council’s bid to abolish them lock, stock, and wheelie bin.

Almost to a man and woman, Waverley’s Full Council opposed a county bid for a behemoth Unitary Authority of 1.2m people.

YW,  with the exception of two Tory councillors – Peter Martin – a Surrey County Councillor, and Steve Cosser who abstained; have agreed to work with other Surrey authorities to prepare an alternative proposal for re-organisation. This would prevent Surrey becoming England’s biggest single, non-metropolitan, unitary authority.

Tim Oliver (above) Surrey’s leader has asked Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick to make the county a unitary authority – a preemptive strike before a Government White Paper on Unitary Authorities is published in the Autumn.

One councillor after another from every Waverley group or party – Independent; Tory; Labour; Greens and Farnham Residents’ Group registered their “disgust” that neither they, or any other Surrey borough’s leaders had been consulted before the plans were announced in the local government press. Cllr Oliver had, however, engaged with Surrey’s MP’s and in Waverley’s case Jeremy Hunt and Angela Richardson.  It is believed the leader of Woking Borough Council – may be backing Oliver’s deal – now dubbed – ‘we want more.’

When Waverley’s Leader John Ward addressed the zoom meeting he called the idea of a “monolithic” single authority “absurd, and “a misguided and blatant power grab.” Although “some” reorganisation was appropriate, this proposal would not serve Waverley residents’ well. “That’s what we are all here for – to do what is best for the residents of Waverley. “

Others were not opposed to some reorganisation but were against the county council’s unseemly rush to create such a huge organisation.

The general opinion was that a single unitary authority is too large and would have a detrimental impact on the social cohesion of the communities within each of the boroughs and districts. Cllr Simon Clark, said the usual size for a UA was between 300,000/400,000 and this rushed exercise was aimed at avoiding next year’s county council elections.

Elections that the Waverley Web does not believe will result in a Tory-controlled council. 

Cllr Nick Palmer – asked what is it that has driven this ill-thought-out attempt borne out of desperation and panic? Is it a cost-saving exercise by the government? “Let’s keep Local Government local.”

Peter Clark challenged Tim Oliver and his “power-grabbing band” to give the electorate of Surrey a chance to vote on alternative options. “Don’t be timid Tim and try to postpone next year’s county elections because that would not be democratic.”

Cllr Carole Cockburn warned that time was of the essence – and Waverley and others must not be overtaken by events, must mount a robust opposition by producing a strong case. “I am amazed at the way this has been done, but if we don’t propose something it will be imposed upon us.”

However, her Tory colleague Steve Cosser didn’t agree. He believed the residents of Waverley didn’t care who provided the services they needed as long as they were. There was a strong case for economies of scale.

Others said – they had wanted SCC abolished for years, saying it cannot even convince Offsted that it is competent to run its children’s services. Another asked,

“would you want the people who deal with our pot-holed roads to empty your bins?

Cllr George Wilson  claimed: Surrey was an authority which had shown it couldn’t even hold a virtual planning meeting – e.g. The recent UK Oil & Gas planning application – which he described as “A fiasco.” UK Oil & Gas application in Dunsfold – Refused…for now?

“They call this devolution when in reality it moves power and accountability further away from the voters. The sheer hubris displayed is breath-taking. Surrey is too big for a single unitary authority, and the timing of these proposed changes, given the pandemic, the economic crisis, and with the reality of Brexit looming, is completely reckless.”

 

Liz Townsend

 Liz Townsend

 Cllr Liz Townsend called the county bid “discourteous and predatory” and saw an even darker scenario behind the bid.

“This is an attempt to cut out and weaken the local planning process. To open the doors to development on more green fields.We would be better served to tell the Government that there are currently one million homes granted planning consent that have not yet been built and that is the real uncut truth.”

The WW understands that a letter is to go from, all but one or two local authorities to the Secretary of State voicing their concern and that the relevant chief executives would work together to put forward alternative proposals.

Guildford Borough Council has suggested a  contribution of £10,000 from each authority to commission the work looking at this further. 

Joss Bigmore (R4GV, Christchurch), who is expected to become GBC leader in September under the power-sharing agreement, said:

“R4GV is very supportive of this co-ordinated approach from the boroughs and districts of Surrey. We will not accept being told what is good for us by a county council that is more interested in Westminster and a ruthless desire to stay in power than what residents actually want and voted for in their thousands last May.

“They call this devolution when in reality it moves power and accountability further away from the voters. The sheer hubris displayed is breath-taking. Surrey is too big for a single unitary authority, and the timing of these proposed changes, given the pandemic, the economic crisis, and with the reality of Brexit looming, is completely reckless.

“There has to be a proper public consultation on the various options proposed but it seems SCC has already made their mind up on their preferred political solution, so how seriously they are looking at the actual business cases remains to be seen.

“We, with our partners across the county, will show our residents there is a better way, consolidation to improve efficiency without becoming detached from the very people who elect us.”

“The full [Guildford Borough] council has not debated this matter. It appears to have been promoted by Tim Oliver of SCC with Surrey MPs, following government pressure for devolvement, but without early engagement with local borough councils or residents and businesses.

“GGG advocate full transparency and involvement of all interested parties with a proper due consultation process.”

 

All those small acts of kindness – could make Covid-19 a life changer.

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All over the country, if you added up all the small acts of kindness being played out on a daily basis it would add up to Tsunami.

Neighbours speaking to neighbours they have lived near to for years, but to whom they have never actually spoken. Telephone calls to long, almost forgotten friends and relatives, given the oxygen of contact after many years.  Facetime, Skype, Houseparty and Zoom are bringing people together all over the world.
People are now regularly partying on-line, holding dinner parties in their own homes, without the gas-guzzling travel or the need for a named driver. Vegetable growing has become the new must-do hobby, and baking is going through a revolution as you can see from the delightful Facebook message we have included below.  To all the Camilla Sophy’s, whoever and wherever you are – little things really do mean a lot. When this vicious epidemic is over let’s start a different epidemic – a Tsunami 2020  –  of caring and kindness?

The other day an elderly lady from across the road knocked to say how lovely the rainbows were in our windows. Later that day we left her a banana loaf and a note with my number in case she needed anything. This morning she rang me as she was lonely as her dog had to be put to sleep on Friday 😢 We had never spoken before lockdown even though we can see each other from our houses, and yet she rang me for someone to chat to. I feel so happy that she did that and I could help her today in some small way. I’m not posting this for praise or any of that, just to show the small things we can do in this time and you just don’t know how it could help someone. Be kind ❤️

Thank you message from Paul Follows

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A Big Thank you from the new boy that saw him land the second biggest surge in Lib Dem votes in the country!

See the South West Surrey Surge below. Think what it might have been if Dumber hadn’t promised to revoke Article 50! Mistake… Big Mistake!

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Leader of Godalming Town Council & Deputy Leader of Waverley Borough Council, says Thank you and wishes everyone in Waverley a Very Happy Christmas.

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You can hear Cllr Follows message by clicking on the Twitter link in blue below.

 

Election predictions for Guildford and South West Surrey

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In Guildford it could go either way, in South West Surrey there could be a big upset if the great and good stay at home. There is everything to play for.

Yougov predict:
Guildford: Small Conservative win
South West Surrey: Hugely reduced Conservative Majority
Cratus predict: 
Guildford:  Liberal Democrat win
South West Surrey: Conservative hold

Boris predicts: “If the price of loyalty is losing Guildford, then so be it”

 

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Political lobbying company Cratus have called Guildford for the Lib Dems (see their analysis below) and SW Surrey for Jeremy Hunt (no surprise there then). We checked out their team, and were surprised to see former Conservative Minister Stephen Dorell amongst the team, and also surprised to see him urging voters to support Paul Follows! Has he recognised that Mr Follows is a “man of the people” who doesn’t drive a car, let alone an expensive car, uses public transport – when it can be found, isn’t a homeowner at 33 years-old – let alone a Buy to Let landlord with a shedload of homes. And guess what, in addition to his public role – he works and is on PAYE! 
And then we did a double-take to see who the other political heavyweight on the team were other than former Waverley Leader Julia Potts!
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Stephen Dorrell 1

Here are the Associates of Cratus Communications who made the predictions above. Julia potts top row far left is the former leader of Waverley Borough Council.

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We prefer to stick to our friend’s suggestions for voting, and for this, we turn to former Waverley Councillor and local Planning Lawyer Adam Taylor-Smith, who may be supporting Jeremy Hunt, but seems to be urging us to vote Labour rather than Lib Dem this time. Does this mean things are even closer than we think?

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It cannot be true? Is the public following Follows?

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If I’m not careful that young upstart who is leading Waverley Borough Council may be stepping into my well-worn shoes. Shoes that are far too big for him to fill? After all, I am a sitting tenant in the SW Surrey seat. I am an entrepreneur, former Secretary of State for Health, Foreign Secretary, local Landlord,  etc… 

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Ok, so I am 33, I studied at the University of Surrey live in Godalming and lead the Town Council and deputy leader of Waverley Council.  I commute to Guildford to work for BAE Systems Applied Intelligence on Surrey research park (covering Standards, legal compliance and ethical conduct).  I enjoy travelling, cricket and ice hockey and I am a Tenor in the Guildford Choral Society.
As an aside, another motivation for my getting into politics has been my parents. My father is a retired soldier and my mother is an HLTA at a Guildford School. Both have had cancer in the last 5 years and survived – largely due to fantastic NHS staff –  and so access to these services and providing for health services locally is a big deal for me personally. Equally an affinity for the teaching and defence professions is something built into me.

As the Hustings in Farnham follow-on from Charterhouse – is the South West Surrey seat is beginning to look just a little shaky?

Unfortunately, the Waverley Web couldn’t attend the event at The Farnham Maltings, because football and football practice got in the way! Oh, well – boys will be boys.

However, suffice to say our inbox has been groaning under the weight of congratulatory messages from some of those who attended. It cannot have been attended by only members of The Green Party and the Liberal Democrats, can it? Surely not. We would love to hear from the local Tories to give their spin on all things General Election SWS 2019? Don’t be shy.

Claire Mathes wrote saying – Dear Waverley Web.
The warmth in the room towards Paul Follows was palpable. What helps though is that he has a recent proven track record at Waverley Borough and Godalming Town Council of doing what he says he’s going to do, obviously you’d think, but a thing that has been sorely lacking in previous administrations. He is well-informed at ground level and clearly cares deeply about the people who live and work in the area.
Jeremy, I’m afraid, just looked a little clueless.
Teresa Burton-Brown
I went to my first election hustings yesterday, in Farnham. It was very well attended.
Our sitting MP (Jeremy Hunt) looked surprised and uncomfortable to be attacked on his record on the environment, the NHS, education and Brexit. He seemed completely out of touch. For example, when asked what he would do about the climate emergency in this constituency, he replied that he had just put in an order for his own electric car (!)
 Paul David Follows as the Lib Dem/Remain Alliance candidate talked about food banks, affordable housing, proper pay for proper jobs, public transport and his efforts on the council to improve air quality.
He was very impressive and certainly has my vote.
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