Is this how to acquire planning permission if you are/or were a legal officer at ‘Your Waverley​?

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The actual application under discussion begins at 1 hour 18mins as ‘Your Waverley’ streams meetings for hours before meetings take place.  A previous application which included permission for a new building in the garden was allowed earlier. Just listen to what the objectors have to say.

https://youtu.be/hIDmZ0D6rj4

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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Was ‘Your Waverley’ entertained by Charterhouse School – just days before planners recommend its scheme to remove​ yet more Godalming’s Green Belt?

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Could the playing fields of England soon be buried under another pile of bricks and concrete?

We have heard from a number of Godalming residents including John Mair and Steve that they are not entirely happy that ‘Your Waverley’ councillors are being ‘entertained’ by Charterhouse School. Not sure whether it is tea and biccies or drinks and nibbles – however, we digress. Suffice to say – the hard sell is on…?

With a planning officer’s recommendation to approve building shedloads of student and staff accommodation breaching yet even more green belt in Godalming, should councillors be getting up close and personal with the influential applicant. An applicant who may be just days away from –  tucking a planning consent for more student and staff accommodation under its belt?  The top public school which boasts the wannabe Prime Minister amongst its alumni? –

John & Steve think probably not.

But Deputy Leader Paul Follows, standing in for Waverley’s new Leader John Ward who is on a slow boat to ….? Is going along for the ride., for the reasons he sets out below. 

Says John Mair:

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Just perfect timing eh! Cllr Follows? Surely not – just a coincidence we are sure?

At a meeting of Godalming Town Council earlier this week, at which there was a large public attendance – councillors voted by 7 votes to 4 to object to the application. Residents believe this development is only the start of a great deal more development planned by the school on the Broom & Leas site in Godalming. 

 

Radio Ga Gal speaks up for Our Jeremy as he fights to cling onto the greasy pole?

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National Radio are clearly phoning round local Conservative Associations for comment on leadership and any swivel-eyed loons that are left to vote for them…
Here’s the audio!

Chairman of SW Surrey Conservative Association Denise Le Gal, who was recently ousted from her Farnham seat on Waverley Borough Council takes part in a radio phone-in to speak up for Prime-Minister contender The Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP for SW Surrey. 

She argues Hunt speaks up for the 48% of those who voted to remain in the European Union and is confident he can do the deal.

Ms Le Gal said at a public event after the Referendum that she had urged her children to hang on tight to their Canadian passports, just in case they wanted to leave the country.

During numerous interviews this week Jeremy Hunt claims he is an MP in a marginal constituency!

 

 

At last, the CPRE has come up fighting for a town in Waverley.

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Support claims for a Haslemere development are just ‘greenwash’ claims The Campaign for The Preservation of Rural England.

DEVELOPERS eager to build up to 180 new homes in a Haslemere Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) are under fire for ‘greenwash.’

Redwood property developers have recently concluded a public consultation on pre-application plans to increase the draft site allocation in Waverley Borough Council’s Local Plan part two from 50 houses to 180 at Red Court Estate in Scotland Lane.

No surprise there then?

Part Two of the Local Plan was pulled by the former administration before the elections – for more work to be carried out, mainly due to the uproar over sites included in the plan in Haslemere. The draft Part Two is expected to be considered by Waverley’s Overview & Scrutiny Committee in September then goes forward for adoption by Full Council in November for publication in March 2020 and adoption in November 2020!

But supporting statements to promote the Haslemere scheme have angered local residents, and organisations, including Haslemere Town Council, for implying they are in favour of the proposals.

Responding, Redwood said: “We sincerely apologise if any inference of support has been mistakenly aligned with any local community members or groups.”

First to publicly object in a letter to the Haslemere Herald on May 30, was the town’s eight-strong confederation of schools, which stressed it remained officially neutral.

Haslemere Town Council and neighbourhood plan group Haslemere Vision have now gone public to deny they have endorsed pre-application housing proposals. The Waverley District of the Surrey branch of Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has also denied suggestions it supports the scheme.

Surrey CPRE director Andy Smith said: “This is a prime example of ‘green wash’ whereby developers pretend that their schemes are environmentally sustainable when in reality they are anything but.”

Anthony Isaacs, CPRE Waverley District chairman added: “The developers of Red Court claim in their literature that the proposals to build 180 houses on green fields designated as an area of great landscape value and/or within the Surrey Hills AONB ‘conform and align absolutely’ with CPRE policies on access to National Parks and AONBs.

“Most emphatically we do not share that view.”

Note : The CPRE and POW ( Protect Our Waverley Campaign Limited) will appear in the High Court on Monday as they have appealed the elements of the 5 November 2018 decision relating to Policy ALH1 of Local Plan Part 1, and its allocation by the Local Plan Inspector to allocate the borough 50% of Woking’s unmet housing need.

  •  The application to appeal had been allowed on the grounds of importance of the principle, and the grounds for appeal was a novel argument not previously considered at the Court of Appeal and was not in itself an indication of the likely outcome of the appeal.

You couldn’t Adam and Eve it could you. Duplicitous Hunt at it again. Wasn’t it JH and Anne Milton who called in the Dunsfold Park Application. The very same application on the largest brownfield site in the borough that was eventually approved by Sajid Javid, and then contents by the CPRE & POW in the High Court – again – and again…

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Is there trouble at Farnham’s Mill?

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Just one month into ‘Your Waverley’s new administration and as they say in Yorkshire ‘There’s trouble at Mill.”

juliapottsparachuteNo sooner had former leader Julia Potts unhitched her harness and settled into her new seat at Dockenfield Tilford, and Frensham, than the sparks, started flying within the Farnham Residents’ Group. The very same group that claimed it was changing the face of Farnham, by supposedly kicking out the Tories and taking out Politics with a big …

P?

Is the group that prides itself on being ‘non- political’ already showing signs of being just as political as all the rest of the political parties that have held power at Waverley Towers? We hope not.

With John Ward a former Pi**ed off Tory at its helm, it certainly appears so. The pompous, bumptious, self-important John Ward, whose records show only månaged to attend about half his Waverley meetings last year, and even then spent most of his time Screen Shot 2019-06-17 at 11.51.11.pngdealing with his phone messages, has, no doubt,  already brought a smile to the Potty One’s face.

In his efforts to ‘take over Farnham Town Council as its Mayor; Waverley Borough Council as its leader’ and the Farnham Residents’ as its Chairman – JW appears to have let a little success go to his head? Or, is it to his wallet?

It is fairly obvious to all Waverley Web readers that the man who founded Farnham Residents’ has been thrown overboard from the Good Ship Ward? Could it possibly be that Cllr Jerry Hyman,  has spoken out too often on the environmental concerns that dog Farnham – its air quality issues – the Blightwells fiasco – the harm being carried out in Waverley’s name to the Special Protection Areas of which Farnham so jealously guards and of which it is so proud?

Let us all hope not for our good town’s sake? Because the man who over-turned the large scale voluntary transfer of Waverley’s council housing stock of which “YW” is now so proud, deserves recognition, not retribution. The man who founded Farnham Residents’ who actually rocks up at meetings, has ably chaired them, and speaks up for the whole borough of Waverley and not just Farnham – hasn’t even received a crumb at John Wards’s round table. In fact, it looks to us here at the WW that Excalibur has been thrust in his back?

Or was John Ward a Tory plant – perhaps destroying a party from within is much easier than from without?

He didn’t even manage to turn up for the first Western Area Planning Committee – sending his apologies – again…

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2007 – 2016 Served as a Conservative.

 

Will Waverley’s leisure centres soon get a facelift?

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Godalming Leisure Centre

On Tuesday the New Guard at ‘Your Waverley’  will discuss possible improvements to Godalming and Farnham Leisure Centres.

This could include 35 new places in Godalming’s  gym, a second dance studio and improved changing facilities, as well as improved parking;

Here in Farnham, the children’s facilities could be improved, with a larger café and a “clip and climb” feature. The centres are run under contract and it is anticipated that the investment will be recovered by increased revenue.

“If the figures work out satisfactorily, I’m in favour of this,” said Nick Palmer who was recently elected to serve the Busbridge Ward, saying he believes it is part of the general commitment to healthy living in Waverley which should be part of the Council’s priorities.

He told residents that the current facilities are well-used and sometimes quite crowded, and the increasing population in the area will add to demand. “If it will all pay for itself within a reasonable period, it looks a win-win proposition. However, I’m not a user of the facilities myself (the phrase “lazy slug” springs to mind), so I wanted to check with residents if they believe the above improvements sound the right priorities for the centres?”

Great isn’t it. Waverley Councillors New Brooms are actually asking residents what they want, and are already regularly communicating with them, and that includes the Waverley Web.

The residents of Cranleigh are living in hope that they too are to get their promised £14m new Leisure Centre. A centre which is now showing signs of age, despite being refurbished some years ago at great expense.
This too is on Tuesday’s Agenda with a view to progressing the studies which were started under the old administration. But the scheme for a new centre in Village Way hasn’t come to the boil yet – but the new Executive is going to consider asking officers to continue to develop a detailed proposal for the centre’s renewal.

 

 

The latest load of nonsense from the CPRE.

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You know the one – Campaign for The Preservation of Rural England? The outfit that has been granted leave to Appeal against the High Court Judge’s decision to allow the Local Plan Part 1 to properly get off the starting blocks?

Today’s edition of you couldn’t make it up comes from Crispin Truman, Chief Executive of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE). Saying he wants more affordable homes, preferably on brownfield sites. Maybe, if he’s so worried about the lack of affordable housing in rural areas,  he should speak to his minions at CPRE Surrey and tell them to stop opposing housing on brownfield sites!

In the meantime more and more and even more applications are pouring in from developers eager to build over OUR  countryside in Waverley.

Be careful what you wish for!

Ms Smyth, whilst we always welcome your erudite and learned comments on the post above, unfortunately, the references to policy and legalise are a bit – well, to be honest, a lot! – above our pay grade and we’d really appreciate it if you could explain the points you are making in terms that we laymen can easily understand.

In the meantime, if anyone knows the answer to the question in your final para about Dunsfold Park, please can they tell us because we really need and want to know. Frankly, the thought of DP Phase II not going ahead and yet more of  Farnham. Godalming, Haslemere and Cranleigh and everywhere in between being concreted over have us running for the hills … because let’s face it, that’s the only place the developers won’t be building if DP Phase II gets thrown out with CPRE/POW’s dirty bathwater! Never mind all the rain we’ve been experiencing over the past week … it will be raining concrete in  Farnham and the other towns and villages if that comes to pass!!!

Help us if you can, we’re feeling down
And we do appreciate you being round
Help us get our feet back on the ground
Won’t you please, please help us …

Frustrated railway passengers slam changes to Godawfulming’s railway station.

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There was a great deal of angst and much discussion about controversial changes to Godalming’s Listed Railway Station recently when ‘Your Waverley’s’ central planning committee met. However it appeared, but there was damn all anyone could do about these and future proposed changes.

Fact is, it appears British Rail can do more-or-less whatever it likes to the Grade 11 listed building under its permitted development rights.

According to council planning officers, the railways companies have more rights than the rest of us.

The scheme under consideration was for Listed building consent for internal and external alterations to provide altered level at the side access door, CCTV and remotely controlled door lock at Godalming Railway Station, Station Approach, Godalming.   However, this is only part of a more complex scheme for the station which was not under discussion by the new Central Area Planning Committee… Chaired by Cllr Richard Cole.

 

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Although officers recommended approval – and councillors agreed to grant the application – they made their concerns over some of the future proposed changes loud and clear.

They didn’t like the idea of bollards being erected in front of the station – in regular use by passengers as a drop-off point, despite officers assurances that extra spaces would be provided in the nearby car park!

For completeness, the SWR has given fuller details of future works that fall outside the scope of this application but will be carried out later. These include:

  • Installation of a glass and aluminium/steel enclosure with roller shutter on platform 2 to the side of the existing side entrance;

 

  • Installation of three automatic ticket gates, one wide aisle, Station Control unit intercom receiver; customer information screen and heater; Relocation of two ticket vending machines with new canopy and repair of tarmacadam floor;

 

  • Removal of the telephone box and make good tarmacadam floor; Removal of two passenger validators;
    Removal of modern galvanised steel fencing and gate; Relocation of lighting column and station sign;

 

  • New bollards to provide a protected walkway between enclosure and station building;  Thus preventing drop-offs.

 

But it is the closure of the unpaid entry on Platform 1 that is causing such consternation for Godalming’s travelling public.

Entry will be prevented by the installation of steel fencing with intercome receivers.

Residents claim there will be insufficient ticket barriers inside the ticket hall and restricting access to Platform 1 will cause problems for existing rail users, and the new residents of Aaron’s Hill when that new development takes place. 

So there you have it, folks! – It looks like Godalming’s railway passengers who come from all over the Eastern villages might just find life a tad more difficult than it already is. However, Waverley’s new central planning committee members want officers to write to SWR outlining everyone’s concerns. Here’s what one traveller had to say…Screen Shot 2019-06-14 at 19.28.47.png

As mature trees face the chop in ‘Your Waverley,’ here’s what others are doing to​ stop the rape of precious woodlands.

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In 2018, a leafy suburb in north-east England became a scene of devastation. Now Michael and Angela Green are leading a fight to prevent further destruction of their local parkland.

Read this and take heart, if you fear for the woodland trees where you live in and around the borough of Waverley. Because our planning officers are turning a blind eye to numerous breaches of conditions, including those imposed on ancient woodland, and trees covered by Preservation Orders. Particularly those butchered by developers in Farnham.

Recently Surrey County Council was forced to abandon a council meeting and meet elsewhere when 35 climate activists sang Police’s number one hit song: “Every Breath You Take.” 

 

They had been protesting outside the county hall as councillors arrived earlier that morning handing out flowers and letters to members asking them to “act now”.

They were singing the line “I’ll be watching you” repeatedly as they walked out.

Extinction Rebellion was asking the council to do three things: to declare a climate emergency; to divest its pension fund from the fossil fuel industry, and to refuse drilling licenses for oil companies in the county. One of which affects the Waverley village of Dunsfold.

Council leader Tim Oliver told councillors before the singing that he is setting up a working group to develop an environmental charter to include climate change issues. “As a county council we are clear as to our responsibility to our environment. 

“This group will also review the causes of traffic congestion which we know has a significant impact on air quality.

“I’m sure they will want to engage extensively with external organisations as they draw up a deliverable charter. Let’s see what we can do together to make a positive impact in this area.”

Speaking after the meeting, activist Chris Neill, from Godalming, said: “We were pleased that many of the councillors engaged with us outside the chamber and spoke positively, recognising Surrey County Council needs to do much more to address climate breakdown.

“However, it’s clear that they are not acting with the urgency that is required. We really don’t want to disrupt meetings but we have to do what’s necessary to draw attention to this very serious situation”

Claire Matthes, a mother from Haslemere taking part in the protest, said: “It goes against my personality to disrupt formal meetings but the times demand it.”

Meanwhile in County Durham “We call the events of February 2018 ‘The Happenings'” says Michael Green. “It was a surreal and shocking moment for us. Nothing like this had ever happened before.”

His voice shaking, Michael (a resident of Darlington, County Durham) is talking about the day in 2018 he went for a run and came across a scene of devastation. A beloved grove of mature trees in his home town had been cut down.

In a matter of days over 200 established native British trees, including beech, oak and ash, were felled to make way for new housing development.

Devastation caused by tree felling in Blackwell, Darlington

Michael shared his story at Darlington Groundswell,one of Friends of the Earth’s climate action events. 

“It looked like a hurricane had struck. I was so distressed I came home and went straight to bed,” says Michael. “I couldn’t bear to tell my wife Angela.”

Native British trees are home to wildlife

The grove of trees was on the site of a former golf course, itself on medieval farmland, in the Blackwell area of town. As long as anyone can remember they marked the tranquil entrance to this historic market town.

The trees were felled during the ‘Beast from the East’ snowstorm when temperatures hit lows of minus 6oc.

Mature beech trees in Darlington were cut down to make way for executive homes

Does this scene remind the residents of Cranleigh of anywhere in particular? Or those living in Haslemere and Farnham?

Local people told how owls screeched through the night for a week, presumably unable to find their nests, and that a colony of hibernating great-crested newts almost certainly perished.

Ancient hedgerows and a well-loved woodland path were lost, and two ponds badly disturbed. 

That happened here in Waverley too – and the former Chief Planning Officer remarked – “they can always be replanted!”

Why trees are important

This tragedy for Blackwell’s residents shows how ideas of past and future can clash in communities across the country. And, it is happening to trees and hedgerows across our borough of Waverley.

The Georgian parkland surrounding the Blackwell Grange hotel – once the seat of the Baronetcy of the Havelock-Allans – has barely changed since the 18th century. But in 2012, news emerged that Darlington Borough Council had earmarked the former golf club site and part of the Hotel’s parkland for executive housing development.

One councillor in the community called the development “progress”.

Yet the woodland was cherished by locals precisely because it hadn’t changed. “We love the meadows and the parkland because they are timeless; the connectivity between these ancient green spaces, past generations and the present community is truly tangible,” says Michael.

We saw a community in crisis. A community which was bereaved.

Why we need trees in our lives

The Council ran a consultation in 2015 with some local residents, and planning permission was granted.

However, Michael and his fellow campaigners from the #LoveDarloTrees network say that the planned scale of the destruction of the woodlands was not made clear enough.

The group is also disappointed that the consultation excluded residents living on the opposite side of the road.

How often have we seen this in Waverley? Too frequently. 

Michael and Angela Green talk to protestors against tree felling

Of course, it’s too late for the felled trees. Many local residents have changed their daily routes to avoid having to repeatedly see the devastation.

And the story doesn’t end there. Darlington Borough Council still plans to open up the remaining historic parkland for development. 

Georgian parkland surrounding Blackwell Grange in Darlington is under threat from housing

This area has a wild woodland, a pond, a grove of ancient lime trees and a ‘ha-ha’, a type of sunken fence which was used in 18th-century landscaping. A listed red brick wall runs along the northern limit of this parkland. 

But the #LoveDarloTrees network is determined not to lose this cherished green space.

Save the Trees

The group has carried out an ethnographic study to understand how local people feel about their community green spaces. They’ve continued to tie green ribbons and posters to trees, and the community has held a number of protests.

The group has even managed to track down Sir Mark Antony Havelock-Allan QC, the 5th Baronet of the family who once lived in the Blackwell Grange. Sir Mark has thrown his support behind the campaign to protect the parkland.

Friends of the Earth Darlington supports #LoveDarloTrees protest

Michael and Angela believe the loss has brought people together more than ever before in defence of a beloved landscape.“Residents have become rebels, voters to vandals,” laughs Michael.

#LoveDarloTrees is now campaigning for the remaining parkland to be turned into a permanently protected natural park for the whole town.

Celebrating Earthmovers

Michael and Angela’s efforts to save the remaining parkland were recognised with an award at Friends of the Earth’s Earthmovers ceremony in May 2019. The ceremony was held at Darlington Groundswell, Friends of the Earth’s regional climate action event.

Michael and Angela Green were awarded the David Gladwell prize for their tree campaign

Organised by Friends of the Earth and supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery , Earthmovers Awards recognise the inspiring work of local environmental groups in their communities.

If you’re inspired by Michael and Angela’s work and would like to campaign for urgent action on matters related to your local environment, why not consider joining one of our new Climate Action groups?

 

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