An AONB win for Haslemere!

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And a win for Haslemere’s Waverley Councillors!

Plans to build 28 homes in the grounds of a Surrey mansion have been blocked by a High Court judge who backed an inspector’s ruling who backed the Waverley Council decision that the scheme’s impact on an area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB) should be given more weight than the council’s lack of a five-year housing land supply.

Developers Monkhill Limited wanted to convert Longdene House, off Hedghog Lane, Haslemere, from 50 – yes 50 offices into a single luxury home. And, in its extensive parkland, the company proposed the demolition of existing cottages, glasshouses and outbuildings to construct 28 homes.

The site has had a rollercoaster ride – In 2016 the scheme was refused by Waverley, granted at Appeal, and then Waverley won a High Court Challenge against the Appeal, much to the disgust of wealthy landowner Tony Lawson.
In 2018 the developers were back – Waverley officers recommend it for Planning (the site was in the draft LPP2 after all) but was voted down 12 to 8. It was proposed by Cllr Mulliner, and seconded by Cllr Inchbald, that permission be refused on the grounds of material harm to the intrinsic character, beauty and openness of the Countryside beyond the Green Belt, Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Area of Great Landscape Value. Additionally, there were reasons relating to the failure of the applicant to complete a Section 106 agreement to secure agreed contributions. [Meeting minutes] This was brave especially as Waverley had over-ridden the AONB designation on the sloping hill behind Longdene at nearby Sturt Farm.

In the latest appeal decision, the inspector accepted that there was a “significant shortfall” in the available supply of housing land in the area. Waverley only had enough housing sites to last a maximum of 4.6 years, as against the five-year requirement set by the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). He said the development would make a “significant contribution” to meeting local housing needs, including the provision of 10 affordable homes.

The decisive factor, however, was that most of the site lies within the Surrey Hills AONB.

The inspector said the project would have “a significant adverse effect on the character and appearance” of the protected area. Despite some benefits to the local economy, it would “not conserve or enhance the landscape and scenic beauty of the AONB”.

Challenging the inspector’s decision, Monkhill argued that he had misinterpreted and misapplied parts of the NPPF. Due to the council’s failure to meet the five-year housing land target, a “tilted balance” applied in favour of the development.

Dismissing the appeal however, Mr Justice Holgate said the inspector’s exercise of his planning judgment could not be faulted. Monkhill’s complaints were “too legalistic and failed to interpret the NPPF in a practical, straightforward way, capable of being operated by decision-makers up and down the country”.

The NPPF, the judge added, gives AONBs “the highest status of protection” and the inspector was right to give “great weight” to the preservation of the character and appearance of the Surrey Hills. The inspector struck “a simple planning balance” between the benefits of the scheme and the harm it would cause to the landscape and scenic beauty of the area.

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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And – another Tory bites the dust!

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More Tory councillors “Missing in Action, “In just the past 6 months!

That’ is now THREE, yes THREE, conservative councillors for Haslemere/Hindhead who have either resigned or have been disqualified for non-attendance.

Last October, a Hindhead town councillor was disqualified, after attending precisely ZERO meetings in his short-term in office. Now we’ve heard of paper candidates, but this one was obviously of the toilet variety.

Now, a Hindhead borough councillor has been disqualified for non-attendance. If you are a Tory you can put two fingers up to the organisation – and they will make excuses for you?
Also, a Haslemere Surrey County Councillor has resigned, having attended just 14% of his required meetings, in the past 6 months.Screen Shot 2019-03-25 at 11.08.46.png

Also – at an important public meeting in Milford, last week with the Police and Crime Commissioner, THE ONE, but soon we predict, not the ONLY Liberal Democrat councillor attended, together with just one other Waverley borough councillor. A Tory councillor who is not standing for re-election.

So, not a single Tory councillor up for re-election could be bothered to attend an important public meeting on local policing?  In a town which, like others in the borough, is suffering from increasing crime and anti-social behaviour.

Waverley and Surrey’s Conservative councillors have become arrogant and complacent. isn’t it time that we here in the borough of Waverley, voting fodder that we are, demanded more from our councillors? Including ‘GoodRiddance’ in Wonersh who regularly boasts that he slides into Waverley unopposed every year, and then regularly falls asleep.  Sweet Dreams are made of this?

Isn’t it time for a change on May 2nd?

The Haslemere Herald reflects the anger. and so did we in the link above. 

https://www.facebook.com/LibDemHaslemere/photos/a.1838178173167873/2320390308279988?type=3&sfns=mo