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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.

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.

Staying safe in Godalming with the help of town leaders.

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Traffic restrictions  have changed in Godalming High Street. 

In line with Government Guidance on social distancing, reopening of high streets, representations from residents and other evidence collected by Godalming Town Council, the operating times of the restrictions will now be 10.30 am – 3.30 pm Monday – Saturday.

Blue Badge Holders will have normal access and will be able to park in the restricted areas before 10.30 am and after 3.30 pm. Crown Court Car Park, South Street Car Park and Queen Street Car Parks all have parking for vehicles with Blue Badges.

Please note access for emergency vehicles will be maintained at all times. For more information visit https://godalming-tc.gov.uk/social-distancing-high-street-traffic-restrictions/

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 ❤️

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?

 

The fightback​ has begun to deal with anti-social behavior – “and make Farncombe great again.”

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 Take two determined local councillors’ – a good helping of local residents – and the police – mix them together and what do you get? The start of a concerted effort to fight back against the anti-social behavior of a minority of Farncombe youngsters. Let’s face it – what is happening in Farncombe is happening all around Waverley’s towns and villages.

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Here at the Waverley Web, we have heard from dozens of other town and village folk, particularly the elderly, who are now fearful of leaving their homes at night.

Now a meeting – chaired by Godalming Councillor Penny Rivers – has brought one local situation to a head – and work is underway to engage with, both young people and the statutory authorities to make Farncombe, Fit and Fab again.

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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.

jerrywithtapeonhisface

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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