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Do you want Boris’s boots all over ‘Your Waverley’s’ Great Crested Newts?

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Boris ‘the bulldozer’ Johnson says newts are a drag on the UK’s economy.

Here’s why he’s wrong

Last week the PM claimed conservation causes construction delays – but newts are not the pantomime villains developers’ some would have us believe. Many developers are just as concerned about the environment as we are, if not more so!

We have examples here in Waverley where developers have gone beyond the brief, to ensure wildlife is  unharmed. However, there are others who have desecrated both wildlife and habitat and have gone unchallenged! Felling ancient woodland and drowning badgers are just two!  

 

An adult male great crested newt
 No pantomime villain … an adult male great crested newt. Photograph: James Grundy/Freshwater Habitats Trust/PA

Lingering in the shallows of a south Norfolk pond, voracious amphibians rest ahead of a night gorging on slugs, worms and insects. The pool network, long grasses and shrubs in Silfield newt reserve are a perfect habitat for the great crested newt. Boris’s latest pantomime villain.

The UK’s largest newt takes its name from the striking, jagged crest that males display in the spring breeding season. It is a protected species under British law, thanks to the EU Habitats Directive, which the prime minister’s father, Stanley Johnson, had a key role in creating. Despite that, its numbers have declined rapidly over the past 60 years.

An unlimited fine and up to six months in prison await anyone found guilty of disturbing the newt’s resting places and breeding sites or taking their eggs, yet the Local Government Association says it is not aware of any evidence to suggest “newt-counting” is causing delays to housing developments in England and Wales. We can recount a couple of instances in Waverley, but nothing that caused delays.

“Great crested newts have become the comedy pantomime villain of nature conservation,” says Jeremy Biggs, director of the Freshwater Habitats Trust.

An obligation by developers.

Developers are obliged to take care of great crested newts if the amphibians are believed to be on-site or nearby under rules overseen by Natural England. Until the last few years, protecting the amphibians when their habitats were being destroyed by developments centred on catching and counting them and moving them to compensation ponds.

Great crested newts were mentioned eight times in Sajid Javid’s https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/590463/Fixing_our_broken_housing_market_-_accessible_version.pdf

Fixing Our Broken Housing Market, published in 2017 under Theresa May’s government. The paper criticised the “excessive bureaucracy” involved in their protection.

But a fresh approach to the conservation of great crested newts by Natural England and the use of new technologies when surveying habitats, such as DNA analysis and even, in the case of one water company the use of a springer spaniel trained to detect amphibians has rapidly reduced delays. the use of a springer spaniel trained

 

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 ❤️

Jeremy solves Farnham’s Air Pollution with… more meetings!

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Congratulations for FINALLY meeting a Council Leader Jeremy! Even if he was a friendly Conservative, dropping in to your Constituency office for a cosy cup of tea. And between you you’ve agreed to get all the Stakeholders together for a Masterplan. EH?? Eh??

Isn’t that what you have been promising Farnham ay EVERY ELECTION since 2005 young man? Here’s your leaflet from  – wait for it – wait for it…

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Aha! let’s look at No. 6 – “A Traffic Plan for Farnham:” Jeremy is working closely with local councillors and campaigners to develop a pedestrianisation plan for Farnham that is practical and viable.”

And 14 very painful and lung congested years later, that’s the best plan you can come up with – again!

And lets politely ignore the ‘Success’ you claimed for fighting Dunsfold New Town at No.3!

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Dunsfold Garden Villge Coming soon – but thanks to Jeremy  Three years later than planned. And then only after shedloads of money down Waverley’s drain. –  Due to his intervention – 600/700 fewer homes built on the brownfield site- which now threatens the borough’s 5-year land supply and the loss of yet more countryside! Thanks Jeremy.

 

 

Grab the Ark in Waverley-Updated.

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Storm / Flooding Update (PM 17/02)

Two flood warnings remain in Waverley: River Wey at Elstead and Eashing; River Wey at Godalming. River levels remain high and will continue to be monitored.

– Flood barriers will remain on Catteshall Road until at least Wednesday (but it will be when the EA are happy it’s safe to). So please continue to use the access from the other end of Catteshall Lane for that part of Godalming.

The barriers functioned as designed and I think without them the houses there would almost certainly have flooded.

– the allotments in that area have been under water and I’ll be seeking updates as to next steps there. Likewise borough staff will be looking to see if the existence of the barrier at Catteshall has in any way raised the flood risk further up (e.g. at the Almshouses).

I would like to take this opportunity to to thank the Town and parish council teams across the borough. WBC officers who have been managing this situation and working with the EA and SCC (it has been WBC officers keeping the councillors up to date). Lots of people dealing with fallen trees and other issues quickly and professionally too. Our WBC Comms team, resilience and sustainability managers have also been indispensable over the weekend and today (many working some silly hours in the process!)

Residents have been fantastic at getting us information about what is going on. I also want to thank the councillors I have been in contact with over the weekend, right across Waverley that have been on the phone and text to me, on social media and in general dealing with residents queries.

The Borough Council will conduct a lessons learnt excercise (standard practice). So please let me know if you have any feedback you would like to add. I have raised a few points myself (one being – why is it GBC provide sandbags when WBC does not).

Cllr Paul Follows
Deputy Leader, Waverley Borough Council
Godalming Central and Ockford Ward

 

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Elmbridge Road in Cranleigh where Thakeham Homes fought tirelessly, with the help of Waverley planning officers,  to build homes in the flood plains – and won against  massive local opposition. Homes that cannot get insurance? Look at that massive moat in this video!

Watch right to the end of this (or scroll to 4min 25), as 3 cars almost collide, and cause a wave over the windscreen of the third car. Remember its hard enough to pass oncoming traffic without floods on Elmbridge Road. Idiots!


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Broadbridge Heath Shalford: Which Guildford Borough Council intends to take out of the Green Belt – so it can build more homes.86489088_585070188748965_1971811140472143872_o

Mill Lane Godalming (road goes toward station) Where developers want to build a Care Home – against local opposition including the Town Council. 

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Lower Weyburn Lane, Badshot Lea – where parking is for permit holders only!

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Horsham Road, Ellens Green: Where developers are lining up to build more homes.

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And finally in Catteshall, Godalming, after £5 Million flood defences installed and flood barriers erected today- nothing, nada!

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*** Update*** Looks like Godalming’s flood defences have worked. They have saved the allotments!! Thanks Tim Trout for the Drone Photo

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Whatever the weather – the dog must find a tree?

 

Brightwells VR Walkthrough

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Bless old Waverley for giving the Art College a project.

Yep –  get a student to visualise the town square once it’s built? It is not exactly full of people, is it?

You can watch it here if the Christmas viewing isn’t up to much.

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Is it any wonder Farnham Town Council has taken over responsibility from Waverley Borough Council for all our town parks. It is called – control!

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Jeremy Hunt on the Farnham campaign trail?

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WATCH OUT THERE’S AN ELECTION ABOUT?

Now no longer a Minister, Our Jeremy has remembered where his constituency is and is giving it a bit of a polish just in case there is an early general election and he can have another go at the top job?

Although didn’t he say something about he hoped our Boris was enjoying the job of PM as much he was enjoying NOT doing the job?

However we aren’t really cynics – we are delighted to see somebody – anybody – champion the cause of Air Pollution in Farnham. Even though Farnham residents have been choking on fumes for years.  

Perhaps Gerry Hyman, the Farnham Residents’ councillor for Firgrove Ward who has been working and worrying officers’ on the issue for years, should have been on that walk with Mr. Hunt?
Have a watch:

PS.

Has the MP found time to meet with the new Leaders of Waverley Borough Council yet? We heard numerous meetings have been cancelled because he has been so busy? Perhaps dealing with Farnham’s traffic problems?

Crest proud of its Blightwells progress? But what about its drone licence? Is it making its own rules…again?

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Crest has just released a drone video showing the progress made of flattening East Street. We’ve taken some screenshots too, so you can quickly get a birdseye view.

Meanies that we are – with a little help from one of our Farnham friends – we respectfully ask Crest Nicholson?
It’s interesting to see Crest Nicholson’s aerial footage on the web. This footage was filmed by a drone that was flying illegally over public spaces. If the pilot has a  licence then the CAA will impose a fine on the pilot. If the pilot does not have a licence then they will still be fined and encouraged to take part in the CAA drone training program.

Here are the CAA guidelines on drone usage – might we suggest that Crest Nicholson take note! https://www.caa.co.uk/Consumers/Unmanned-aircraft/General-guidance/Reporting-misuse-of-a-unmanned-aircraft-and-drones/

 

 

We here at the Waverley Web are also keen to update our Brightwells sticker book of new shops coming to the development. We’ve checked on the development website, but there is no more news. They say:

Current retailers legally committed to Brightwells Yard are Marks & Spencer Simply Food, Ask, Seasalt and Reel Cinemas.

Given the early phase of the development, this is an ordinary level of lettings, and Crest Nicholson will be using the successful marketing strategy they have used on commercial aspects of many developments elsewhere to fill the units over time.

We have however updated our sticker book to reflect Surrey’s long lease land investment in the commercial rental contract, which takes the pressure off Waverley.

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Fancy a bit of a battle in Farnham?

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Not the usual battle of the political kind – at least not yet anyway.

You may be able to help with the Farnham Society’s production of the Battle of Moor Park?

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They are looking to put on two performances on Sat 14th Sept in situ behind the Shepherd and Flock pub.

Diane Bradbury will be directing along with her daughter who states they are both amateurs but do have experience of directing musicals and plays for a local society.

They need people to take on small speaking parts and just to be crowd members. The production will probably involve the audience to a degree.

If you would like to know any more then please contact Diane Bradbury – dpmbrads@yahoo.co.uk

For the uninitiated, the  Siege of Moor Park took place in 1897 when a huge mob turned up at Moor Park Lodge, objecting to the owners of the lodge obstructing a legal right of way across their land.

Historian Rosemary Wisbey has written a script for a 15-minute pantomime style re-enactment of the riots caused after the owners of Moor Park Lodge barred the gates to their estate, and the Farnham Society’s heritage team has secured permission from the present owner of Moor Park Lodge.

The National Trust’s theme for its heritage open days is:

“People Power.”

Something, perhaps that will strike a chord with the townsfolk of Cranleigh and Villages who are about to embark on their own take on  – ‘People Power.’ They have just voted to take their own stand for something they believe passionately about?

 

The new face of ‘Your Waverley.

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As the dust settles on our ballot papers. The Farnham Residents, Liberal Democrats, The Greens,  Independent, and Labour in Waverley, are all filling the borough’s bottle banks.

So what of the Conservatives? Is Julia Potts tearing her hair out at the thought of facing four years in opposition?

No way, not the PottyOne we know. She will be setting out her stall before the ballot papers are cold and packed away. Just in case, that odd vote is found that could send Hindhead’s Peter Isherwood heading for the exit. He who has won his Hindhead seat on something resembling the flick of a coin! What a way to secure a seat? The WW  team hope he never graces a seat at the top table again!

Let us all hope that the Tories, after such a punishing smack, resist the excuse of blaming their Tory masters. But, instead take a good hard look at why the roll call of ousted colleagues is so long, in true blue Waverley:-

Pat Frost, Mike Hodge, Denise LeGal, Chris Storey, Wyatt Ramsdale, Nick Williams, Ross Welland, Ged Hall, Stewart Stennett, Jim Edwards, Carole King Tom Martin, Andrew Bolton, Rashida Nasir, Liz Wheatley, and more all GONE

Godalming’s Peter Martin only just hung in, Isherwood was pulled from the hat and Julia Potts herself only scraped in coming 2nd to her Tory partner. And, she had dumped her previous Farnham ward, which she would have surely lost to Farnham Residents. Farnham unceremoniously dumped her deputy leader Ged Hall, who had fallen on his sword,  giving up his Tilford seat to his leader.  No greater for his love hath no man for his leader than sacrificing his seat? Definitely no cause to let the red wine flow?

But some fine Tory councillors live to see another day – Kevin Deanus – uncontested and the indomitable Liz Townsend among them. She, and he will be carrying Cranleigh and Alfold’s banners regardless of the council make-up

There was much spluttering about 2 Labour successes, Labour in Waverley!!!

So here is a timely reminder. They follow in the distinguished footsteps of two of the finest councillors ‘YW’ has known. The late Harold and Elsie Denningberg. Harold was awarded the Freedom of the Borough – an honour achieved by few.

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What an achievement to see The Green Party in evidence at last. They take their places just as a landmark 1,800-page report hits the streets revealing one million species are at risk. More than at any time in Human History.

The United Nations report paints an alarming picture of species extinctions, declines in wildlife and habitat loss. And we must not forget the Independent. Well, done Jack Lee even your opponent Rosaleen Egan (UKIP) voted for you.

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Watch out Ms Potts – there’s a new species, on the prowl.  How are you going to shut up the man who has fought against the environmental damage which ‘YW” has ignored for so long?

Jerry Hyman, the member for Farnham’s Figrove will now be accompanied by a phalanx of Fifteen Farnham Residents’ from the length and breadth of Farnham. With the added bonus of  Farnham Residents holding power in the Town Council.

Last but certainly not least – Paul Follows, the man who has worked tirelessly to change the political face of Godalming. It was almost unimaginable when a young fresh-faced Paul Follows stepped across the hallowed threshold of Waverley Towers, just 18 months ago. It took only weeks for him to suss out there was much to be done out, both there and at the Town Council. Now, with the Bots booted, along with many other Tories- there could be a very stiff broom sweeping through both the town council and ‘YW.’

Cllr Follows a very media-savvy professional, didn’t play dirty, he played a highly intelligent and fair campaign. Even ensuring the Lib Dems and Greens stepped down for an Independent in Haslemere; the Greens and Lib Dems delivering each other’s leaflets. For his Herculean efforts, and his spirit of co-operation he has earned the respect of all. Now he will be rewarded when he takes his place alongside thirteen of his Lib Dem colleagues on Tuesday 21st May.

Godalming shows us all how political campaigning should be conducted.

NEXT STOP. INTERESTING TIMES?

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