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New Farnham car park – down by the riverside

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A temporary car park that floods; was built without planning permission, by ‘Your Waverley’ on land owned by ‘Your Waverley’ and dubbed by ‘Your Waverley’ as a park and stride into the Town of Farnham – and is more like a park and bike – has been given the go-ahead by ‘Your Waverley’s’ planners.

Riverside 3 Car Park in Mike Hawthorne Drive (WA/2019/2097 for the retention and permanent use of the car park was agreed by the Western Planning Committee.

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Surrey County Council said it had a full understanding of the environmental effects of the scheme and had no objection to the area becoming a permanent car park.

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‘Bob The Builder’ Jenrick keeps Shtum on unbuilt homes?

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When the BBC asked ‘Bob The Builder’ Jenrick today what he intended to do about the 1m homes already consented but not built,  he stayed Shtum.

Now we ask MP’s Jeremy Hunt and Angela Richardson? Do you also intend to stay silent on the subject? If so, WHY? Because many of those consented homes are in Waverley, and on your patch!

And Angie’s patch is under threat because Surrey County Council has its beady eye on Cranleigh!  If The Government gets its way, which it will – Cranleigh’s floodgates will literally, be opened. Now, look at Surrey County Council’s cunning plan for ‘Your Waverley’s’ eastern villages.

More than a million homes granted planning permission in the past decade have not yet been built, according to new analysis by the Local Government Association.

It is time to make developers pay for delays.

 

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This is more likely to be the reason why 1m homes remain unbuilt? Many developers are asking to reduce the number of affordable homes too!

Latest figures show that 2,564,600 units have been granted planning permission by councils since 2009/10 while only 1,530,680 have been completed.

The number of planning permissions granted for new homes has almost doubled since 2012/13 with councils approving 9 in 10 applications. But according to ‘Bob’ that’s not enough and great swathes of the countryside must now go under concrete, to provide jobs for the building industry?

While in some cases there is  a time lag between permission being granted and homes being built, new build completions have only increased by half as much in that time. 

Alongside the Government, councils have recognised the shortage of housing and the need to build more homes.

In Waverley’s case thousands of new homes have been consented and one major new garden village on a brownfield site at Dunsfold aerodrome. where 2,600 new homes are planned. 

However, the backlog of unbuilt homes shows the planning system is not a barrier to house building. The Local Government Association has called  on the Government to use its  planning white paper to give councils powers to take action on unbuilt land which has planning permission.

This includes making it easier to compulsory purchase land where homes remain unbuilt, and to be able to charge developers full council tax for every unbuilt development from the point that the original planning permission expires.

With the right powers and funding, the LGA said councils can play a leading role in helping the Government tackle the national housing shortage.

As part of its submission to the Treasury ahead of next month’s Budget, the LGA is also calling for the Government to reform Right to Buy, by allowing councils to keep all of the receipts of homes sold under RTB to replace them and to have the flexibility to set discounts locally.

Cllr David Renard, LGA housing spokesman, said:

“The planning system is not a barrier to house building. The number of homes granted planning permission has far outpaced the number of homes being built.

”No-one can live in a planning permission, or a half-built house where work on a site has begun but not been completed.

“Councils need powers to tackle our housing backlog and step in where a site with planning permission lies dormant and house building has stalled.

“If we are to solve our housing shortage, councils need to be able to get building again and resume their role as major builders of affordable homes.

“It is also vital that the planning process is protected, so that councils and communities can ensure we realise the Government’s ambition of building beautiful homes, which includes the necessary infrastructure and affordable housing.”

 

The figures analysed by the LGA are government data available here
Permissions and completions

2009/10

2010/11

2011/2012

2012/13

2013/14

2014/15

2015/16

2016/17

2017/18

2018/19

Total

Planning Permissions (units)

176,900

173,900

192,400

198,800

240,000

261,900

264,700

313,700

380,500

361,800

2,564,600

Completions

124,200

117,700

128,160

118,540

130,340

155,080

163,940

183,570

195,290

213,860

1,530,680

 

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 ❤️

KA-POW!

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paul_highcourt

In three short paragraphs, Waverley’s new Deputy Leader has put the kybosh on CPRE and POW’s fantasy of working with the new Waverley Dream Team in order to quash Waverley BC’s requirement to take a share of Woking BC’s unmet housing need.

In less than a month since taking over at Waverley, Councillor Paul Follows has met with Anthony Isaacs and Bob Lies, (CPRE & POW’s head honchos respectively), listened to their arguments, assessed their plan and found it wanting.

No surprises there then!

Whilst the Waverley Web entirely understands the New Broom’s desire to be seen to be listening to the voices of dissent, it didn’t take him long to detect and highlight the holes in the dastardly duo’s argument, which leaks like a colander.

No doubt Messrs Isaacs and Lies won’t take a blind bit of notice of Councillor Follow’s pithy assessment of the risks they are running. Why would they? After all, it’s not their money they’re frittering away on feckless and frivolous arguments. Not on your nelly! It’s ours – the poor, beleaguered Waverley Council Tax Payers’!

And for those of you who are still under the illusion that these bumbling buffoons only have the best interests of the residents of Waverley at heart, let us attempt to reset your perception:

• CPRE & POW claim they are seeking to remove the Woking unmet need number and not quash the whole of the Local Plan.

• The problem with that, as Councillor Follows pointed out in his recent letter to them, is that the Court is highly unlikely to get involved in setting housing numbers.

• The Court of Appeal’s task is simply to consider whether the Inspector and, subsequently, the High Court Judge erred in law in how they applied the Woking unmet need amount to Waverley.

• If the Court of Appeal decides that they did err, it will remit the decision back to an Inspector and the process will begin all over again!

Meanwhile, all reasonable and sensible advice leads to the conclusion that this high stakes strategy carries a very real risk of:

• increasing, not decreasing the future target
• strengthening the argument in favour of consenting the planning appeals against Waverley in the short term
• increasing the uncertainty that currently surrounds the draft Local Plan as a result of the appeals.

Of course most people – including councillors – are concerned about the housing targets and housing delivery in the Borough but the difference between them and CPRE and POW is that they aren’t engaged in a game of high stakes Russian roulette with other peoples’ money!

Suffice to say if Messrs Isaacs and Lies’ great gamble doesn’t pay off they are going to be as popular in Waverley as skunks that have rolled in fox poo!

The Deputy Waverley leader’s response ( below). 
The hearing on Monday 24th June will be webcast here, so pull up a chair and bring some biscuits! The background of the case is on the Court site here.

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Labour has arrived in ‘Your Waverley’ – how did they do it?

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Sometimes we here at the Waverley Web think everyone elsewhere in the country believes Surrey residents all live in multi-million-pound properties, play bridge and drink gin & tonics by the bucketful – some do – but many don’t.

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 Former MP Nick Palmer recently secured the seat for Binscombe in Godalming, along with one of his colleagues. He tells us below why, and how, he achieved his aim. 

He says Labour in Surrey! Nothing strange about that…

Since I was elected as Waverley Labour councillor for Binscombe with George Wilson and subsequently joined the Borough Executive, I’ve talked to plenty of non-Labour people, who were not so much horrified as bemused, rather as though Waverley now had a representative from House of Stark. It’s 17 years since we had Labour councillors here, and I’m not sure we’ve ever had Labour Executive members. I’ve met a number of people who say they would have voted Labour but didn’t think we had a chance. “This is Surrey! It’s the stockbroker belt. How did you do it?”

Well, two things.

First, the belief that society should be mutually supportive is somewhere in every human heart, whether we live in a £10m mansion in Surrey or a desperate tenement in Glasgow (and over the years I’ve canvassed both). Life is short and precious, and it makes sense to spend some of it trying to help each other get the most out of it. That’s the fundamental theme of Labour, regardless of where we live. We need to keep that flame of idealism and optimism flaring afresh even in difficult times. More of our lives than we like to think is governed by chance – you and I are just a stroke away from depending on social care, a corporate decision away from losing our jobs, a bad council policy away from ruining our children’s school. Socialism is essentially collective insurance – if we do well, we help out; when things go wrong, we’re helped. It makes sense, even if you’re doing well – because you actually don’t want the world around you to be dark and full of terrors.

Labour has something to prove in Waverley: that we work hard and effectively for ordinary people.

Second, if we accept the principle, we need to try to make it a reality. Naturally, that’s a bit easier if we live in Manchester than in Surrey, but that merely means we try harder. During the local elections, we canvassed every home in Binscombe. Nobody else bothered. That doesn’t mean they were bad candidates: they put forward their views in leaflets and let people decide, and that’s fair enough. But Labour has something to prove in Waverley: that we work hard and effectively for ordinary people. And without being nasty about past council majorities, it does strike us that a little fresh energy and commitment is not a bad thing.

I’m not a fanatic about politics – I socialise, pursue a full-time managerial job, play poker, write books about board games, enjoy life. But I do think that a life worth living should contain a chunk of effort to make the world around us a better place, with more compassion at home and more solidarity globally. Labour doesn’t always get it right (Iraq! PFI!), but its virtue is consistency: a steady dedication to do our best to make life a little better and more hopeful for everyone – not just those who have rolled a double six in the snakes and ladders of our puzzling world.

I was an MP for Broxtowe for 13 years, the only Labour MP the seat has ever had, and when I moved to Surrey it was natural to keep going. The local Labour Party is thriving with the largest membership for many years, and I hope that many Waverley Web readers will join. Living in Surrey doesn’t mean that you give up on working for social justice. It just makes it more fun when you win. And then, of course, you’ve got to show that it really makes a difference. Watch this space!

PS  “If people want to join Nick’s email list for updates, he’s on nickmp1@aol.com.” He is trying to build up a borough-wide list of people to keep updated on what’s happening – not a party political thing.”

Nick Palmer is vice-chair of Surrey SW Labour Party. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nick_Palmer

WW thinks Labour also had a little help from its friends.  Surely the Compass political Alliance had something to do with it?! No Lib Dem or Greens stood in this ward.

A little more about one of our new Waverley councillors. We would like to hear from more?

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Watch this space.

The Rainbow Alliance now running ‘Your Waverley.’

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rainbowexec

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!

 

compass

YES, WE CAN. 

 

 

 

You are all invited to run ‘Your Waverley.’

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The cross-party Rainbow Alliance of Labour, Greens, Lib Dems and Farnham Residents’ met to raise a glass and then get down to hard work writing the new policies for running Your Waverley. And yes, anybody could be involved. You don’t need to be a paid-up party member to be involved and shape your new council.

Crazy bonkers stuff? Different – yes – crazy no! Will this herald the changes we have all been waiting for? 

Just look at this fun-packed agenda from last Saturday below:

A Working Agreement for Waverley:
With Waverley Borough Councillors

Andy Macleod, Farnham Residents

Paul Follows, Liberal Democrats

Steve Williams, Green Party

Nick Palmer, Labour Party

Plus contributions from other Waverley Councillors: Farnham Residents, Liberal Democrats, Green Party, Labour Party, Independents on their personal election story and key priorities.

11.15am Replenish your coffee and…

Group Discussions: Key Issues

• The Way Forward for Waverley
What are the key borough-wide issues that should be priorities for SWS Compass?

How do we support and inform our borough councillors?

• An Agenda for Godalming
What are the key issues for Godalming?

How do we support and inform our Town Councillors?

• An Agenda for Haslemere
What are the key issues for Haslemere?

How do we support and inform our Town Councillors?

• An Agenda for Farnham
What are the key issues for Farnham? How should progressives work with and through the Farnham Residents?

• The Godalming Compass
Looking ahead to the next edition of our magazine – said by some to have laid the groundwork for the progressive victories in Godalming.

12.00pm Feedback from Groups (5 mins each)

12.30pm Notices: Future Events – Planning

We look forward to seeing these discussions in the Council chamber next week! Indeed it must be the first time WW has had to tag The Labour Party as relevant in South West Surrey!

Just one criticism. Well, they did say everyone could help run Waverley!

We are well-aware Cranleigh – dubbed by the Tories as – “Poor Old Cranleigh,” is not considered to be a town. However, surely the wannabe new town, which is predicted to have another five thousand new homes within and nearby its conurbation should have its place on the new administration’s Agenda? The eastern villages have been the dumping ground for new homes for long enough.

Now a major developer is unloading further phases of its development sites to housing associations because they cannot sell homes already built. Why? Because the eastern villagers are being swamped with new homes. Homes built on flood plains.

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