Now here’s a bright idea to solve the blight on Farnham’s Brightwells?

Last year ‘Your Waverley’ announced that the future of Farnham Museum and Woolmer House, the town’s Grade-1-listed building, was in doubt.

So how about filling all those vacant retail shops in Blightwells Yard with a Farnham Museum?

 

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Waverley Executive Portfolio Holder Cllr Mark Merryweather looked sombre as he told the Full Council last year that the treasured property (above) needed an estimated £1.1m spent on repairs. An options appraisal commissioned by the council had been unsuccessful in acquiring grants despite pursuing every possible funding stream.

The WW heard from  Farnham resident Clifford Jones saying.

In early November 2021, there were just six contractors on second fix work at Brightwells and one commented it didn’t look as if anyone was in a hurry to finish any of it. Why would anyone be? The World had moved on long before the first concrete had been poured.”

David WyldeAnother Farnham resident David Wylde said on his recent visit to Sainsbury’s through Cambridge Place, he asked workers when they believed Blightwlls would be finished?

 

Workman 1:  Two or three years; the buyers of apartments in the completed block that butts onto Cambridge Place were due to move in last October, but can’t because there is no water or electricity.”

Workman 2:

“Five years,” he said very assertively!

Workman 3:

“2025” (three years time) “and they’ll have to drive it along, because there’s still a lot to do.”

Crest Nicholson: Whose mouth has always been bigger than its trousers, according to Mr Wylde.

has taken five months not to tell us how many retail options have been taken up.”

However: Andy Macleod gave this update to ‘Your Waverley’s’ Executive last week. Blightwells coming to Farnham sometime, anytime – whenever?

In the meantime, Mr Jones has his cunning plan.
He believes moving the Farnham Museum and other public facilities into the empty Blightwells units would take the town forward. Why? Because it’s cheaper for the council to say it will use the space themselves and effectively have built new facilities for the community. Then write off the debt over an extremely long repayment plan.

He would rest control from The Farnham Maltings at the earliest opportunity. Put the collection into the hands of the Town Council. Form a charitable trust that will rent the collection from the Town Council for a nominal sum and move it into Brightwells.

 The debtor retail can be swallowed if the Council uses the space. I realise this sounds simplistic, but sometimes it’s better to think that way rather than the highly professional peple who  seem to have created this disaster. If  the Museum and Library were moved to Blightwells you have two valuable assets , ideal for conversion into residential to sell?

Then there are the numerous social and charitable institutions that if housed together, sharing space,  would offer a central administrative hub for their activities. Thus cutting costs.

You can fill Brightwells, cut the debt and give Farnham residents something they can be proud of.

Let us be frank. Farnham retail is hanging on by a thread. Car parking charges are withering custom away. People have less spending power. The public infrastructure needs updating to modern standards; Surrey County Council’s  ineptitude plays right into Farnham’s hands.

Let’s see if, just for once, some good can come out of the mire.

Both the present and former council administrations have battled with the problem of how to fund essential works to the important public building, operated by Farnham Maltings, to ensure it remained in good condition.

Looking visibly sad, Cllr Merryweather said:

Here in Waverley, we believe that Woolmer House and the Museum are essential assets, and the museum is giving sterling service. Specialist repairs, including fees and VAT amounting to around £1.2m, and the added threat of inflationary pressure presently hitting the building profession, would further impact the rising building costs.

He warned: “Waverley borough council does not have the funds or capacity to fund the whole thing alone – we  have to look for third party grants.”

The WW also understands from Farnham mutterings that the Museums collection is in a dire state. We will be revealing more in future posts.

It’s official! Building on flood plains in ‘Your Waverley’ will be banned by the Government.

Talk about shutting the door after the horse has bolted!

George Eustace,  The Secretary of State for Environment has warned that:

“Climate change is heightening the threat of deluges destroying homes.”

Funny that! We all knew that yonks ago.  The residents over there in Cranleigh including the Cranleigh Civic Society warned that building on the flood plains of the eastern village was just storing up trouble for the future. In fact, the group that speaks up on behalf of the people of Cranleigh took a vote of NO CONFIDENCE  in Waverley Borough Council in May 2017. CROSS OF CRANLEIGH JUST GOT A WHOLE LOT CROSSER …

Perhaps that Vote of NO CONFIDENCE fell on deaf ears?

Here’s just one of the sites that Thakeham Homes. A developer that was actually afforded the unprecedented honour of joining planning officers around the Waverley Towers council chamber staff table, to speak up for and receive its planning consent. 

You can see where building work has started and where now the new homes stand.

However, no surprise here: Thakeham Homes sold the site on to another developer as soon as it received planning consent! It is now aptly named – “Willow Brook.”

Thakeham’s thuggery set to reap rich rewards.

‘ Your Waverley’ make a site visit to Thakeham Homes proposed new development on a floodplain in Cranleigh.

No worries though. The Government has set aside £860million for 1,000 flood defence schemes as part of a package of measures to protect homes, businesses and infrastructure!

Update on The Berkeley Bunnies Woolmead sell-off.

Yesterday we reported that the hoardings around the controversial Woolmead development in East Street Farnham were getting a much-deserved spring clean as the Berkeley Group’s telephone number and contact detail were being removed.

Now after a good showing by Berkeley’s at the recent public inquiry, and according to observers, “a pretty poor showing by Waverley Planners,” it looks as though the Berkeley Boys might be burrowing elsewhere. Instead of providing plenty of car parking spaces for its long-awaited housing development, It appears there is now a strong possibility the site will be flogged off once they have won their planning appeal.

Is ‘ Your Waverley’ damned if they do – and damned if they don’t allow Berkeleys to cut car parking at The Woolmead?

Not satisfied with getting away with providing NO affordable housing in the East Street development, or off-site affordable housing either, the BB’s now want to drop 61 car of the promised 141 parking spaces in the basement car park. But has thrown a crumb of comfort Waverley’s way by offering 30 12-month season tickets for council-owned car parks – thereby reducing parking for Farnham’s residents!

Why? OH, Why? We hear you cry?

SIMPLES…

Because the developer claimed the scheme was no longer viable – and that was long before the Coronavirus was even a little gleam in the eye of a Wahun bat, let alone toasted and roasted for a Chinamans’ lunch!

After all – as the BB’s said at the planning committee – there’s plenty of parking spaces elsewhere in Farnham – and there’s public transport. Or how about getting on your bike?

Well, perhaps it is Berkeley’s that is preparing to ride off into the sunset, once it has a consent tucked under its belt? Because it is believed that land agents Aston Meadis is in discussions with the owners and a developer client for the site owned by Berkeleys since 2016.

Is it any wonder that ‘Your Waverley’ has a housing land supply problem? What is it about our borough that appears to be so off-putting to wannabe developers who want to build on brownfield sites? Perhaps we just want them all over our greenfields instead?

TRINITY COLLEGE TAKES FLIGHT FROM DUNSFOLD!

This outfit has been struggling for 15 years to get housing off the ground in some form or another on the largest brownfield site in Waverley. Is Berkeley’s joining the Trinity College Club in offloading land in Waverley, because it just can’t stand any more angst?

Are The Woolmead hoardings in Farnham getting a Spring clean?

Will the sale of Dunsfold Park open the door to unwanted development right across Waverley?

This Annual Record from The Trinity College featured below gave us a good laugh here at the Waverley Web.

Here’s John Ward the Leader of “Your Waverley’ making his shock announcement and our post yesterday: TRINITY COLLEGE TAKES FLIGHT FROM DUNSFOLD!

Then we have this in the Farnham Herald which highlights the threat to Farnham and all the other towns and villages in Waverley. Both Farnham and the eastern villages in and around  Cranleigh are particularly vulnerable.

 

https://www.farnhamherald.com/article.cfm?

id=140592&headline=Dunsfold%20Park%20to%20be%20sold%20again%20%E2%80%93%20opening%20door%20to%20unwanted%20development%20in%20Waverley&sectionIs=&searchyear=2021&cat=Planning

Is it Farnham’s fault that homes are being dumped on the east of Waverley?

Waverley
Will  another Neighbourhood Plan hit Waverley’s wheelie bin?
It’s official Your Waverley has no five – year housing supply.
Planning officer Beth Howland  told the Eastern Area Planning Committee this week that at a recent Farham Public Inquiry the council had been forced to concede that it did not have a 5.3-year housing supply – but had 4.99 -years.
Clip Here:
Pretty crucial information for a Government Inspector to chew over during an appeal hearing against the council’s refusal of 140 homes at Weybourne Lane, in Badshot Lea?
As we here at the Waverley Web said in this recent post, if the  Inspector allows Bewley Homes to develop land in Badshot Lea it will send an Exocet missile through Farnham’s Neighbourhood Plan and could herald open season for other developers to build in Farnham and elsewhere. Particularly in the eastern villages of Alfold and Cranleigh in particular.
Yesterday we received this comment from Alfold resident Denise Wordsworth – someone who keeps a close eye on Waverley’s Planning ball.

So long as the vast majority of Waverley Residents live in Farnham 32%, Godalming 18% and Haslemere 14% Compared to Cranleigh at 9% it was always inevitable that Dunsfold Park would end up being largest Egg in the Local Plan Basket and we all know the saying about putting all your Eggs in one basket!

Developers insist Waverley cannot meet their 5 Year Housing Plan and it appears from last night’s Eastern Planning meeting that we no longer have 5.3 years but 4.99 years… and so these developers, who think we have about a 3.5 Year plan, will carry on trying to load more and more Housing in the Eastern villages due to the lack of Greenbelt, AONB, SANGS, SPAs and all the other protections that are afforded across the rest of the Borough.

Countryside Beyond the Greenbelt means little to the Inspectors, and the fact that this particular site was only Partially PDL – was also not considered to be important.

There are no Sustainable methods of Transport here.. and you can stick Travel Plans in and talk about Car sharing and the Hourly Bus service (HELLO??) until the cows come home (if there are any left) 78 Homes will generate at least 140 new journeys AM & PM daily onto the A281. The Garden centre did NOT and was used mainly on weekends and afternoons, as no-one went there during the rush hours.

New residents will be highly reliant on cars to get to shops, schools, medical centres etc and they will travel to Cranleigh (if they can get in) Guildford and Horsham, putting more strain on the A281.