KA-POW!

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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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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. 

 

 

 

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.