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

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A few things you need to know about the government’s White Paper called Planning for the Future white paper

In a nutshell – Bob The Builder Jenrick & Co have come up with a cunning plan to make planning easier – for whom we hear you cry? Well, as far as we can see having worked through this 84-page consultation document it is giving more than a shake-up to the present planning system. More like a shake-down for us folks.

 

As far as we can see all those Local Plans and Neighbourhood Plans the towns and villages have been working on for years and years will have to be updated, or rather updated straight to Waverley’s recycling bin. So there’s a few squillions going down the drain again!

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The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has now published its much-anticipated Planning for the Future white paper outlining far-reaching proposed changes to the planning system.

Here at the Waverley Web, we have trawled through the key proposals and points in the 84-page consultation document, which promises more than a major shake-up of the current system of local plans, development management and developer contributions, more like a local government shit show!

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The White Paper says:

1. Local plans would be simplified and focus on identifying three categories of land – “growth areas” that are “suitable for substantial development”; “renewal areas” that are “suitable for development”; and “protected areas”. In “growth areas.” Outline approval would be automatically granted for forms and types of development specified in the plan.

So where in the Waverley Borough has Surrey County Council already dubbed ‘the growth areas?’ Yep – you guessed. Farnham and the Cranleigh Dunsfold Growth corridoor. Now, look at Surrey County Council’s cunning plan for ‘Your Waverley’s’ eastern villages.

Development in renewal areas would “cover existing built areas where smaller-scale development is appropriate”  and could include the “gentle densification” of residential areas, development in town centres, and small sites in and around villages. There would be a “statutory presumption in favour of development” specified in the plan. Protected areas, including green belt, conservation areas and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs), would still be subject to “more stringent” development controls and full planning applications would be required for new schemes.

By gentle densification – we think they mean – higher, closer, less green space, with smaller gardens. Which they all claim will be “more beautiful.’

2. Local plans should be subject to a single and “simplified” statutory “sustainable development” test, replacing the existing “tests of soundness”. This new test “would consider whether the plan contributes to achieving sustainable development in accordance with the policy issued by the secretary of state”, the consultation states. The test could also “become less prescriptive about the need to demonstrate deliverability”.

Great less need to show deliverability! –  There are already £1m homes consented but not yet built. Probably lots more when homes go unsold?

3. Instead of general policies for development, the document says, local plans would be required to set out the site- and area-specific requirements for development, alongside locally-produced design codes. The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) “would become the primary source of policies for development management”.

4. The legal duty to cooperate, which requires local planning authorities to continuously and effectively engage with neighbours on strategic issues such as housing need, “would be removed”. However, it adds that “further consideration will be given to the way in which strategic cross-boundary issues, such as major infrastructure or strategic sites, can be adequately planned for, including the scale at which plans are best prepared in areas with significant strategic challenges”.

Great! So need to work with neighbouring authorities – Waverley now becomes – an island?

5. The government is considering scrapping the five-year housing land supply requirement. The document says its “proposed approach should ensure that enough land is planned for, and with sufficient certainty about its availability for development, to avoid a continuing requirement to be able to demonstrate a five-year supply of land”. However, it proposes to “maintain the housing delivery test and the presumption in favour of sustainable development as part of the new system”.

So, therefore nothing to prohibit development – let Boris’s bulldozers roll?

6. Councils and the Planning Inspectorate would be required through legislation to meet a statutory timetable of no more than 30 months for plan preparation with “sanctions for those who fail to do so”. The average time taken from plan publication to adoption rose from an average of 450 days in 2009 to 815 days in 2019, the paper states, while there is “currently no statutory requirement around timescales for key stages of the plan-making process”.

As quickly as possible – with as little consultation as possible, no doubt?

7. The need for sustainability appraisals alongside plans would be abolished and instead a “simplified process for assessing the environmental impact of plans, which would continue to satisfy the requirements of UK and international law and treaties”.

Laws and treaties on environmental law that have been ignored by local councils – including ‘Your Waverley’ for years!

8. Local plans would need to be “visual and map-based, standardised, based on the latest digital technology and supported by a new standard template”, the document says.

Let’s go digital and rule all those pesky objections out?

9. The planning process would be increasingly digitised, moving from “a process based on documents to a process driven by data”. Local authorities would be helped to use digital tools to support “a new civic engagement process for local plans and decision-making”.

10. Under a proposed new “fast-track for beauty”, proposals for high-quality developments that reflect local character and preferences would benefit from “automatic permission”. New development would be expected to create a “net gain” to areas’ appearance.

Just like the net gain we are currently getting from little boxes, made out of ticky tacky that all look just the same? And, road called Bluebell Lane and Primrose Walk – where neither will ever be seen again?

11. Design codes, which would be expected to be prepared locally, would be made “more binding” on planning decisions. A new body would be established to support the delivery of design codes across the country.

Another Quango you have to be kidding?

12. The standard housing need method would be changed so that the requirement would be “binding” on local planning authorities who would “have to deliver [it] through their local plans”. The new method “would be a means of distributing the national housebuilding target of 300,000 new homes annually”. It says the requirement would be focused on areas where affordability pressure is highest and on brownfield land. It would also have regard to the “size of existing urban settlements” in an area and the “extent of land constraints”.

Areas like Waverley and the growth zones already earmarked – Farnham with a station on the A31, and Cranleigh with few buses, no station and the main A Road from Horsham – which is earmarked for 11,000 new homes.

13. A new ‘single infrastructure levy’ will replace the existing developer contributions system of section 106 agreements and the community infrastructure levy. The government says the new levy will be a nationally-set, flat rate charge and would be based on the final value (or likely sales value) of a development. It says it intends the new levy to raise more revenue than under the current system of developer contributions, and deliver “at least as much” affordable housing, and on-site affordable housing, as at present

14. The new levy could be used to “capture a greater proportion of the land value uplift that occurs through the grant of planning permission, and use this to enhance infrastructure delivery. But such a move “would need to be balanced against risks to development viability”.

15. The scope of the levy “could be extended to capture changes of use through permitted development rights”. Such a move “would allow these developments to better contribute to infrastructure delivery and making development acceptable to the community.

16. Big building sites would be split between developers to accelerate delivery. The government proposes to revise the NPPF to make it clear that masterplans and design codes for sites prepared for substantial development should seek to include a variety of development types from different builders, which would allow more phases to come forward together.

17. Community consultation at the planning application stage is to be “streamlined”. Instead, there would be “a new emphasis on engagement at the plan-making stage”, the document says.

18. The determination of planning applications “should be faster and more certain, with firm deadlines”. The “well-established time limits of eight or 13 weeks for determining an application from validation to decision should be a firm deadline – not an aspiration which can be got around through extensions of time as routinely happens now”.

In other words -no yellow notices on gates or trees warning of development coming to a field near you. No public notices in local papers – papers that rely on the income! Bye-bye – newsprint papers?

19. Applications should be “shorter and more standardised”. There should be just “one key standardised planning statement of no more than 50 pages to justify the development proposals”, the paper proposes.

20. Penalties for councils that fail to determine an application within the statutory time limits could involve “the automatic refund of the planning fee for the application”. Ministers also “want to explore whether some types of applications should be deemed to have been granted planning permission if there has not been a timely determination”.

So the climate of fear begins – read below. Grant permission or else! Local grassroots democracy consigned to the wheelie bins!

21. Where applications are refused and the decision is overturned at appeal, the paper proposes that “applicants will be entitled to an automatic rebate of their planning application fee”.

22. Each local planning authority would be required to have a chief officer for design and place-making.

23. Fees should continue to be set nationally but “cover at least the full cost” of processing applications, “based on clear national benchmarking”. It added that this “should involve the greater regulation of discretionary pre-application charging to ensure it is fair and proportionate”.

24. The costs of operating the planning system should be “principally funded” by developer contributions “rather than the national or local taxpayer”. Currently, the document says, “the cost of development management activities by local planning authorities is to a large extent covered by planning fees”. However, the “cost of preparing local plans and enforcement activities is now largely funded from the local planning authority’s own resources”.

25. The government has promised to “develop a comprehensive resources and skills strategy for the planning sector to support the implementation of our reforms”. Proposals for “improving the resourcing of planning departments” will be published “later this year”, it adds.

26. The paper promises a “deep dive regulatory review to identify and eliminate outdated regulations which increase costs for local planning authorities, especially to the decision-making process”.

27. Councils “should be subject to a new performance framework which ensures continuous improvement across all planning functions from local plans to decision-making and enforcement – and enables early intervention if problems emerge with individual authorities”.

So be warned ‘Your Waverley’ don’t you get above yourself and start thinking you are the planners for your area. Big Brother Boris and ‘Bob The Builder’ Jenrick are in charge from now on!

28. Consultation on the white paper proposals run for 12 weeks until October 29. The suggested changes to local plans, developer contributions and development management “would require primary legislation followed by secondary legislation”. Ministers “would expect new local plans to be in place by the end of the Parliament”.

The WW apologises for the length and breadth of this post.

The Rainbow Alliance now running ‘Your Waverley.’

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Always nice to have the Deputy Leader in the centre!
Can you spot who is really in charge?

The new Rainbow Coalition Executive of Farnham residents, Liberal Democrats, a Green and amazingly a Labour Councillor. In Waverley! Here’s the momentous press release. We say momentous, as for the first time it includes quotes from all Group Leaders!
Apparently, the Leader and Deputy Leader roles will ROTATE every year. Now that’s got our heads spinning!

Farnham Residents – John Ward – Leader (Farnham)
Liberal Democrats – Paul Follows – Deputy Leader (Godalming)
Farnham Residents – Andy Macleod – Planning & Policy Services (Farnham)
Farnham Residents – David Beaman – Health Wellbeing & Culture (Farnham)
Farnham Residents – John Neale – Place Shaping, IT & Customer Services (Farnham)
Liberal Democrats Anne-Marie RosomanHousing and Community Safety (Godalming)
Liberal Democrats – Mark Merryweather – Economic & Community Development (Farnham)
Green Party – Steve WilliamsEnvironment & Sustainability (Godalming)
Labour Party Nick PalmerOperational and Enforcement Services (Godalming)

Liberal Democrats – Chair of Joint Planning – A Cranleigh Lib Dem to be nominated.

We understand the Rainbow Alliance offered an Exec seat to the Tories, but they declined. They liked the idea of 4 more years playing childish opposition politics rather than grown up co-operation.

Here at the Waverley Web, we are seriously impressed with some of the new intake, Labour’s Nick Palmer was MP for Broxtowe in Nottinghamshire (1997 – 2010) before losing to Anna Soubry, with plenty PPS experience in the Dept for Environment, Dept of Trade and Industry and Business. We believe he currently works for Compassion for World Farming in Godalming.

The Green’s Steve Williams was a former Labour activist, expelled from the party (one of the Godalming 3) for supporting Dr Louise Irvine in the General Elections. He seems to be chair of The South West Surrey Compass, the brains behind the cross-party campaigning which has eventually been so effective in sweeping away the Tories. Their catchphrase is:
9781916489905“Southwest Surrey Compass is part of a national organisation which aims to be ‘the home for everyone who wants to be part of a much more equal, democratic and sustainable future’.

Steve Williams is a co-editor of the book ‘A New Way of Doing Politics’ alongside Louise Irvine, Susan Ryland and Penny Rivers. Available in all good Waterstones here!

 

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YES, WE CAN. 

 

 

 

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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Will Frensham, Dockenfield & Tilford go to – Potts?

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Results coming in. Wipe-out in Farnham by Farnham Residents and two Lib Dems except for one Tory.

Recount in Cranleigh East and Haslemere.

Election results revealed for most of the country – so why are we still waiting for ‘little old Waverley?

Guildford Borough Council Leader Paul Spooner retains his Tory seat by only 36 votes. Guildford Residents gaining seats.

Verification complete – Counting begins.

Turnout figures at the bottom of the post.

Denise Le-Gal The Mayor of Waverley has left the count in disgust in a black Mercedes after realising it was all over bar the shouting for her. In Farnham Hale and Heath End.

Screen Shot 2019-05-03 at 12.25.19.pngAs one of the most controversial electoral counts ever held in Waverley begins this morning the question posed by many of our followers is?

Will ‘Your Waverley’s Leader, parachuted over from her unsafe seat in Farnham into safe FD & Tilford,  cunning plan work?

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As Liberal Democrats, The Greens and Independents make huge gains across the country overnight, could  Labour candidate Natasha Fletcher and/or Green candidate Susan Ryland, bring the Potty one down to earth with a bump?

The count is now taking place at The Edge Leisure Centre. Fearful Tories who have watched both theirs and Labour seats crash and burn overnight are shrugging off the national picture in True Blue Waverley.

The results are expected to be announced mid-afternoon to-day Friday.

The scourge of voting paper chaos continued, with confusion over how many candidates the residents of Witley & Hambledon could vote for. Not another mistake by the printers?

Fuming Cranleigh voters and candidates, watched a Thames Water Road Closure Sign go up on the A281 junction with Wildwood Lane and on the Cranleigh High Street end of Knowle Lane. This completely blocked off vehicular access to the Cranleigh West Polling Station at Snoxhall from mid-afternoon!

Cranleigh residents, well-used to watching pipes burst and flooding local roads, trudged across the recreation ground to get to the station. However, one told us with a “little nouse,” Thames Water could have put closure signs much further up Knowle Lane, as the burst was nearer the Wildwood end. 

Over here in Farnham, Tory candidate Sam Pritchard, who lives in Godalming was tearing his hair out from the roots because Firgrove voters were accusing him of conning them, as he actually lives in Godalming.

 In Alfold, voters were busy threatening to tear up their voting slips, which they hadn’t received because the seat was uncontested. So Alfold’s Bobby – Kevin Deanus is home and dry. With a new Protect our Waverley parish councillor – Little Britton, still smarting from his failure to stop Gordon Murray Designs setting up shop on the airfield, is preparing his ammunition to fire at the consented Dunsfold development. All seats were uncontested – in “Happy Valley.”

Could these petrol heads soon be on their way to Dunsfold? Not if -some of the neighbours – have anything to do with it?

But in nearby “Nappy Valley,” it could be Good News Day for the Bramley Babes, now By-Pass Byham has thrown in the sponge. Because Cranleigh’s Digger Driver Stuart Stennett, thrown out by the Tory branch in Cranleigh has already put his gear in place to build that long-awaited A281 By-Pass?stennett_digger

We have to say thank you to all these politicians for providing us with so many opportunities to lampoon them over the past four years.

May the counting begin.

 

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It cannot be true – can it? Another Tory CHINO – who wants to join ‘Your Waverley.’

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 It appears from her personal FB profile that Kirsty Walden the prospective Conservative candidate for Waverley’s Godalming Central and Ockford Ward is – so excited – because she is soon to start a 6-month secondment in Brussels.

Obviously, this could be a misunderstanding and she never meant to imply the relocation was to Brussels (perhaps the photo was posted in Brussels but shows their London office?) but surely if true, she should clarify to voters just how she intends to represent her ward from Belgium?

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Perhaps she will be another one of Denise Le Gal’s CHINOS who she laughingly described as – “Councillors Here in Name only,” and of whom she is so proud? You can watch her here by clicking on the link below.

Waverley Mayor has the GALL to joke about councillor non-attendance

Here’s Kirsty & her running mate (David Cameron lookalike) Tristan Hopper advertising Greggs Bakery!Screen Shot 2019-04-29 at 20.39.28.png

Paul Follows chats to Waverley​ electors.

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What do we want? Councillors who turn up for meetings. Councillors who are – not one of or are amused by the term  – ‘CHINOS’ – ‘Councillors Here In Name Only.’

OR Councillors who are admitting they are “paper candidates” who have been dragooned into standing.

When do we want it? NOW.

Vote Cllr. Paul Follows – Godalming Central & Ockford – May 2nd 2019

One of the ‘fun’ things about elections – having to record election videos!

We have several about to be sent around soon – but as the only Liberal Democrat sitting councillor, I have first pick on what I wanted to talk about.

CHANGING THE COUNCILLORS JOB DESCRIPTION.

  • That means being there for residents.

listening to residents showing up for meetings and actually making a meaningful contribution on behalf of the people I represent.

It is something I am incredibly honoured to have been doing for almost two years now – and as you will see, something we expect from all our candidates.

And PS. Yes maybe one day I will stop blinking and randomly nodding during videos- but apparently, it’s not today!

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How ‘local’ is ‘local’ for the TT’s?

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Pictured below is the Conservative leaflet for Farnham Firgrove, plus an extract from page one where the  Tory Tossers (TT’s)  claim to:-

“both live locally and enjoy working together to protect and enhance the special nature of the area they both live in.”

They clearly have no shame. Sam lives in Godalming.

Why are they promoting the Bourne instead of Firgrove?

Simon is a bit of a career politician, having been a Tory Councillor in Elmbridge (Esher) and Surrey Heath (Camberley) before moving to the Bourne in 2016. So he will he will hang his hat wherever it suits.

They don’t ‘work together’, but it seems they did meet up once to take advantage of the nice Bourne Conservation Group folk, when a Party photographer happened to be around.Farnham Firgrove Con Leaflet1, p2.jpgFarnham Firgrove Con Leaflet1, p1.jpg

‘Your Waverley’ says auf Wiedersehen​ to another yet another absentee landlord of a Farnham seat.

Oh dear! Is a Godalming councillor being brought in by residents to fight Farnham’s corner?​

Would you buy a used car from these idiots let alone let them run our borough?

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Godalming Conservatives failed to check the cropping on their candid photo in Godalming’s Crown Court yesterday. 

Eagle-eyed observers will be giving the thumbs up to the excellent photobombing by Green Party South East Press Officer Sam Peters. Pictured here on the right giving his expression of support. 

And when they Conservatives posted the photo into the local Community Group it quickly went viral with over 135 hilarious comments!

Screen Shot 2019-04-14 at 11.40.17.pngAnd it gets better here is a post we made earlier as Conservatives advertise Greggs Super Sausage Rolls. 

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‘Your Waverley’ says auf Wiedersehen​ to another yet another absentee landlord of a Farnham seat.

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Here’s yet another ‘CHINO’ who Mayor Denise Le Gal, fondly refers to as

  ‘Councillors Here in Name Only.’

stephenhillattendanceThey just keep on coming, don’t they? Councillors who for the past four years have only rocked up on a few occasions. But, have managed to bank their allowances, free car-parking badge and other council perks!

Let’s hope the new occupant of Farnham’s Moor Park seat left by the ‘very retiring’ Cllr Hill, who failed miserably to represent residents, makes a better job of things?

touchoffrostA Touch of Frost is on the run from her Wrecclesham & Rowledge seat – so she can continue to spew forth what her name suggests, – ‘A Touch of Frost,’ alongside her Tory running-mate Rashida Nasir. But, having thrown their hats into the ring, this undynamic duo might find they have a fight on their hands, after Cllr Hill’s dismal attendance record.

Farnham Residents’ candidates are Andy MacLeod, who after a great showing took the Surrey County Council Farnham Central seat received a nasty case of Frostbite from his opponent pictured.  He is joined by former Waverley employee and Union Rep Michaela Martin. Oh Lordy, lordy – let’s hope Frost and Martin don’t end up going head to head at Waverley Towers!?

Will the residents of the Frensham, Dockenfield and Tilford Ward say – take me to my leader?

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Giving up the seat for Farnham’s Upper Hale Ward was a wrench for ‘Your Waverley’s council leader Julia Potts. She leaves the ward she has represented at ‘Your Waverley’ for the past eight years with – “a heavy heart.”

Nothing to do with being fearful that she needed a much safer seat in True, blue Tory Tilford – no – of course not – and the Waverley Web’s true identity is Mary Poppins! And Protect Our Waverley wants to stop development in the borough, and not just at Dunsfold Park!

She also says in the Herald’s new tabloid edition that she is giving up her Farnham Town Council seat so that she can concentrate on with being Leader of Waverley Borough Council? The typical arrogance we have come to expect. A little more humility would not come amiss Potty One.

If you were so confident of your popularity then why not stay loyal to the residents of Upper Hale? 

Let’s hope you get the soft landing you are so confident of receiving from the residents of your new hunting ground?

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Julia Potts getting ready to land in her newly acquired ward. Others too are being shuffled and set down like early Spring cuckoos in other ward’s nests. The bid to keep control of ‘Your Waverley’ is on.

 

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Is it a bird? Is it a bee? No, it’s Potty parachuting into Tilford.