Will ‘Your Waverley’ soon join Guildford’ Borough Council?

Here’s what the Waverley Web said two years ago might happen if changes are not introduced?

Is that a Merger we see Coming on?

As cash-strapped councils across the country grapple with diminishing funds and more onerous responsibilities – mergers and takeovers of local authorities have become inevitable.

Waverley’s Rainbow Coalition together with the Tories has been talking to Guildford Borough Council ever since Surrey County Council indicated Pre-Pandemic that it wanted to create one behemoth unitary authority covering the whole county. Ditching 11 borough & districts en route to creating one giant authority. An outfit that would be responsible for everything from planning to pavements; schools to services; and highways to hedges.

Could we all soon be saying – Bye, bye to ‘ Your Waverley?

Bye Bye ‘ Your Waverley’ Hello ‘ Surrey?’

Is Surrey’s Leaders bid for a Unitary Authority crashing and burning.

 The mutter in Waverley has been growing for the past few weeks. Heightened after a private councillor briefing earlier this week.  There was a visible drop in temperature on Tuesday when Cllr Stephen Mulliner – the newly appointed Leader of the Conservative Group heard, judging by his demeanour presumably for the first time,  just how fast Waverley’s train was travelling!  He was quick to convey that so far, he was not on board.

The Executive and a few other councillors heard Cllr Paul Follows, taking his role as Council Leader for the first time, speak of a “journey” towards collaboration with Guildford Borough Council.  Subsequently, followed by what looked less like a collaboration and more like a merger?

Have you seen First Dates on Channel 4? Imagine the two council leaders going on date to talk about mergers…
They almost look identical! Paul Follows (Liberal Democrat)  and Joss Bigmore, Residents For Guildford & Villages. Want to bet on these two smart guys making a success out of the Tory Government’s failure to properly fund local authorities?

After asking officers and staff to leave both the Chamber and Zoom, we are unsure quite why as they could listen in on the public webcast – Cllr Follows outlined the Executive’s vision. Eliminating one by one most of the seven options on papers before them.  

 Cllr Mulliner said savings that could be achieved jointly-   1.4m p.a. on gross spending of a combined  90m + budget was, “disappointing.” He claimed savings of £500,000 p.a. would not be sufficient to solve Waverley’s financial problems let alone GBC’s which were even larger,   achieving only one-third of what Guildford needed to find. He also doubted that the savings proposed would help Waverley’s medium-term financial strategy.

Farnham Residents’ Cllr Jerry Hyman said the move could provoke a lot of upset and upheaval for both councillors and staff. 

“Where will we go for meetings? Will the savings be enough to justify all the work that is involved? I hope this isn’t just something to wave in the face of Surrey,  because it wants one big unitary authority?

Cllr Follows said there was a risk of action and risk of inaction. The option of doing nothing was – unacceptable.

We need to do something, if not there will be localised cuts to services.  Collaboration could mean improvements to services in both Guildford and Waverley.”

He argued there was more to collaboration than just making savings, collaboration would provide opportunities for both authorities to do more,  together.

Finance portfolio holder Cllr Mark Merriweather said councillors had a responsibility, not to: 

“speculate or to scaremonger. I was disappointed, but not surprised, that the preliminary tentative analysis has been underwhelming, as Cllr Mulliner described it the other night.  The whole purpose is to research, do due diligence and discovery to inform the decision.  The savings proposed could be the largest single contribution towards – closing the gap.”

Sounded more like the train is leaving or has already left the Waverley station?


Cllr Follows responded by saying that the Full Council could, accept the recommendation or amend it as it wished. He reminded everyone that the Executive was a policy-making body and its responsibility was to lead the policy and direction of the council, which was exactly what the recommendation does. He apologised for not having information from South East Employers until this meeting, but more information would follow.

Cllr Hyman asked if the subject would be aired at an Overview & Scrutiny Committee and Cllr Follows said an Extraordinary meeting would be held next week, which he and Cllr Merriweather would attend.

Some residents of Waverley believe this initiative is long overdue. Previous Tory administrations have promised to reduce costs, including reducing the number of councillors, but did nothing. At the same time, it awarded themselves a 95% increase in their allowances.   

At one time it even allowed a Chief Executive Officer to send £10,000  of taxpayers’ money up in flames when she sponsored a charity pop concert. We could go on… 

Here’s the RECOMMENDATION: That will go before the Full Council on July 6th.

The meeting was then closed to the public to consider a PROPERTY MATTER.  Not we might add,  disposing of Waverley Towers and taking flight!


The predecessor of Waverley Borough Council was the Hambledon Rural District Council which operated from 1894 until 1974. Guildford Urban and Guildford Rural merged to form Guildford Borough Council in 974.

 

 

 

 

‘Your Waverley’ will ask residents – To ‘Take The Jump.’

Guess what came just moments after …  ‘Your Waverley’ agreed its new Mental Health & Suicide Strategies at last night’s Executive?

A proposal to join the ‘Take The Jump’ Campaign.

Then … hard on its heels the EXECUTIVE – (Waverley’s portfolio heads) agreed – ‘To Take The Jump’ actually – more like a ‘Giant Leap’ and recommend joining forces with Guildford Borough Council. Including sharing offices, staff, and functions. Is that the sound of rapidly approaching redundancies we hear?? The Full Council will have the final say on July 6… (post to follow).

The Take the JUMP Campaign (TTJ)based on the findings of recent independent research “The Future of Urban Consumption in a 1.5°c World”, is a study carried out by the University of Leeds School of Earth and Environment, C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, and Arup.

The research determined how global emissions must be reduced to ensure global warming is kept to international agreed safe levels of 1.5°c. It explores the impact that urban consumption has on global greenhouse gas emissions and assesses what individuals, businesses, and governments can do to reduce consumption-based emissions within cities and beyond.  

Er, just a thought? Has anyone had this conversation with China or India or a dozen other countries we could mention?

The research led to the creation of “TTJ” by founders Tom Bailey, Ben Hewitt, and Tom Edmonds who have 15 volunteers working on Social Media, JUMP Community Outreach, and Systems.

Waverley Officers asked to carry out due diligence on the company, found that as a new organisation it awaited charitable status. There was no background information available on the company’s governance and/or structure. 
But never mind, that hasn’t stopped the council’s EXECUTIVE agreeing to recommend to the Full Council  that  Waverley residents be encouraged to ‘Take The Jump?’  

 

Despite the fact that Farnham Residents Cllr Jerry Hyman said he was:

“Ashamed to be a part of a council that is bringing this in front of us – Is this a dream world? Is this a joke, he asked?”

The initiative would encourage organisations within the public, private and voluntary sectors in Waverley to roll out a ‘Take the Jump’ seminar to their employees/members and encourage them to promote the National ‘TTJ’ launched in June. It would then run an awareness-raising campaign to inform Waverley staff and councillors. Following which they would be invited to make at least one shift in the way that they eat, travel and shop.

What we, at the Waverley Web want to know is how much it’s going to cost the Council Tax Payer to roll out this promotion and run an awareness-raising campaign … or has ‘Your Waverley’ discovered a magic money tree within the grounds of The Burys that it’s not letting on about?!

Apparently The Jump – who in God’s name came up with such a ridiculous name which in these angst-ridden times will have mental health charities all over the country up in arms?! – supports the evidence that whilst the government maintains responsibility for making strategic and potentially radical changes to reduce the impact of climate change, individuals and communities could make a difference by making just SIX shifts in behaviour while still living a fulfilled life. Ye Gods, will these do-gooders never give up haranguing us?

The six shifts suggested for your behavioural change are outlined below:

Take a deep breath (it is still allowed – unless of course, you live near Farnham Town Centre where it is ill-advised due to the toxic fumes from stationary traffic!) Because we will say this… only once!

 
1. End clutter: Keep products for at least 7 years

That’s easy. All we need to do is give up importing all Chinese products and begin manufacturing our own products here in the UK again. Oops!  We forgot!  We have no manufacturing base in the UK anymore and, even if we did, we can’t export our own products because we’ve left the EU and they won’t let us.  

On the plus side: no more dodgy Chinese kettles; Chinese garden furniture (that is even worse to assemble than an IKEA wardrobe!) we could go on and on and on … but you get the gist!

2. Eat healthy: Move over to a plant-based diet.  No waste, healthy amount

Er, what about our farmers?  All very well for the arable farmers but what about pastoral farming? It will be dead in the water – excuse the pun!  Meanwhile, no doubt we’ll continue to import lamb and beef from Australia and the Far East.   Is Take The Jump a joke – in very poor taste – about the suicide rates amongst farmers, who are 46% more likely than workers in other industries to take their own lives?

NB: Food miles calculator. As the crow flies it’s 10,554 miles if you import beef from Australia to the UK, so how does that equate with the Green Agenda?

3. Holiday local: Only one flight every three years.

So we all get out our bucket and spades and drive down to Cornwall and Devon – where we’re not wanted and the locals mutter under their breath about Emmets & Grockles and Covid. Insulting or what?  Still, it beats being called a Gringo or a Frangi! Or we could go to our very own Frensham Ponds and contribute to the traffic chaos and the litter mountain there?

4. Dress fresh: Only three new items of clothing a year.

There’s nothing fresh about only buying three new items of clothing per year!  Are we allowed to buy a pair of socks and a pair of pants or does that count as four items?  And we thought it was only the French who wore their undies two days in a row! Still, no problem for Cllr |Andy Macleod he says he has enough clothes to last him the rest of his life.

5. Travel Well:  

Eschew personal vehicles. If you must travel by car you should switch to an electric vehicle.

Yep!   You need to trade in your 1992 Nissan Micra and get on your bike or, if you really, really, really must have a car you can invest in a new electric Nissan Leaf – the cheapest electric car on the market at a mere £29,790! (Including a £2,500 government incentive).   No problem!  We’ll take two on the ‘never-never’,  Simples!

6. Change the system:


Make at least one life shift to change the system – this could be changing your energy provider to a green supplier or reducing your household emissions.

At last, something we can all do without too much hassle: STOP FARTING!  Although that could be challenging for those who’ve moved to a plant-based diet! 

So, the recommendation was AGREED – but not without dissent.  
That the Executive supports the ‘Take the Jump’ campaign and that Waverley residents be encouraged to ‘Take the Jump.’  Those organisations within the public, private and voluntary sectors operating in Waverley. be encouraged to roll out the ‘Take the Jump’ seminar to their employees/ members.
Here at the Waverley Web, we have a much better idea.  We’d tell Waverley BC to take a running jump and stop wasting Council Tax Payer’s hard-earned dosh on Nanny State-type initiatives pointing out the flaming obvious. 
We all know civil servants are encouraged to think the British public are stupid and can’t work out anything for themselves but, given the country is facing the biggest deficit since the second world war (the debts of which we’ve only just paid off some 77 years later!), we’d rather they spent our money on the elderly, the young,  the deprived and the vulnerable in the Borough rather than teaching us how to suck eggs!

As so eloquently said by Cllr Kika Mirylees :

“I believe the general public may say – Who the hell do they think they are patronising us. I fear they may find this alien to them and say Oh My God is this really what Waverley is recommending?’

However, we should point out that Cllr Mirylees, voted for the recommendation. We apologise to her for not pointing this out in our earlier post.

 

https://modgov.waverley.gov.uk/documents/s41328/210622%20Take%20the%20Jump%20final.pdf

T=10https://modgov.waverley.gov.uk/documents/g3864/Public%20reports%20pack%2022nd-Jun-2021%2018.00%20Executive.pdf?T=10

TAKE THE JUMP (Pages 95 – 100)

Every picture tells a different story in ‘Your Waverley.’

Here’s a brief update on the changes that we have implemented to grass cutting across the borough as part of No Mow May and our plan to continue to allow wildflowers to thrive in many of our parks, open spaces and roadside verges.
Throughout May we continued to cut our sports pitches, playgrounds and senior living housing sites. As we moved into June we resumed grass cutting at housing sites with communal gardens, increased the area of cut grass in some of our parks and resumed cutting in our cemetery and closed churchyards. Many of the rural verges that we cut on behalf of Surrey County Council are only due to their first cut in June and our contractors have been working through these sites and dealing with any issues that were reported by residents.
The grass on either side of paths through many of our parks and amenity areas has been cut to keep the paths clear and help with social distancing. As part of the changes to our grass cutting regime, we are keeping a record of all of the feedback we receive which is enabling us to understand how different sites are used by residents and visitors, in turn, will allow us to work with our contractors to adapt our revised grass cutting to suit these uses.
As I have mentioned previously, if you have any questions or comments please share them with Waverley’s officers via parks&countryside@waverley.gov.uk so that we can answer any questions and add them to our records. We will be using the feedback received this year to help us to plan for next year, enabling us to identify which sites would benefit from a change to their grass cutting regime and which require a more flexible approach to maintenance depending on their use by residents, or to accommodate events.
We have also begun the first spray of a non-glyphosate weed killer in our parks and on Surrey County Council highway sites at four points across the borough, this extends the trial that we started last year as part of our pledge to reduce the use of pesticides and we will be monitoring this throughout the year.
Here are some pictures of my no-mow May grass! Hoping for more flowers next year.

Claire Clarke

Thanks for the info Liz, so good to see a more flexible approach to grass cutting. Longer grass & wildflowers are so beneficial to wildlife that badly needs help & so much more attractive for us too …. what’s not to like! 👍Not quite so happy in Godalming though?😊
Latest Update on A281 Roadworks. From Andy Webb on Cranleigh Community Board.

ROADWORKS ON A281 UPDATE.
Due to the rainfall, the Surrey Highways team were unable to carry out anticipated works on the A281 in recent days. To make up for the lost working time on Thursday night, there will be night works on Monday 21st June, then no works on Tuesday in order for the team to rest and get back on day time schedule ready to recommence day works on Wednesday 23 June. You will be kept updated if for any reason they are unable to work tonight.
Timings will be as follows and the advanced warning signs will be updated:
Road closed:
18 – 21 June from 8 pm – 6:30 am
23 June – 7 July from 9:30 am – 2:30 pm

Jury is out in ‘Your Waverley’ on No Mow May…June…?

 

NO MOW MAY is now LET IT BLOOM JUNE – HOW’S ABOUT STREAMING and SMARTING BY JULY?

And no, we’re not talking Fifty Shades – we’re so over E L James & Christian Grey!  The Jury is out  on TO MOW OR NOT TO MOW the parks and open spaces in ‘Your Waverley.’

A bit like Marmite – you either love watching the Borough’s parks, open spaces and verges being left uncut to bloom …  or, you hate not being able to get a clear view of oncoming traffic at junctions – and sneezing all the way to the chemist, with streaming eyes, trying to pick up a packet of antihistamine.  

One sceptic in our ranks believes it’s just a ploy to save money – perish the thought!

Here at the Waverley Web, the environmentalists among us love seeing poppies and daisies but are also incredibly concerned that Ragwort is running rampant.

Although the plant provides a sea of gold along verges it contains toxins called pyrrolizidine alkaloids. These, in sufficient quantities, can cause liver poisoning in horses and livestock. It is a cumulative poison that eventually leads to the rapid onset of symptoms before death.

What is the law relating to Ragwort?

Under the Weeds Act 1959 (WA 1959), Ragwort is classified as an ‘injurious weed’. If Ragwort is growing on land that you occupy, the Secretary of State has the power under the Act to serve a written notice on you requiring you to take such action as may be necessary to prevent the Ragwort from spreading, within the time specified in the notice.

The rest of us – with streaming eyes and runny noses – cannot wait until the mowers are out and the pollen settles. We thought it was only for a month, but on the 19th of June, we haven’t spotted any tractors mowing – have you? If it continues much longer the verges will be meeting each other and we’ll all need to be driving 4x4s to – or combine harvesters – to plough our way around the Borough! As for our lawns, we tried locking up the mower but, now after all the rain, we need Aidan Turner – with his ripped chest and muscular abs -in Poldark mode, scything our lawns!  Pass me a fan someone, I’ve come over all hot and bothered – or is it just another hot flush?!

Waverley Borough Council joined the ‘No Mow May’ challenge,  organised by wild plant conservation charity Plantlife which encourages people to say no to mowing during the month.

In addition, and as part of the Council’s pesticide policy and action plan, there will be manual removal of weeds from hard surfaces, playgrounds and other areas rather than the use of a herbicide.  Er, has anyone told the Council Tax Payers of the Borough about this heavy reliance on manual labour?

Councillor Liz Townsend, Waverley Borough Council’s Portfolio Holder for Economic Development, Parks & Leisure, said: 

“As a council working towards becoming carbon-neutral by 2030, one of our pledges was to review our grass cutting regime and promote rewilding, so we fully support this fantastic initiative.  It will give our green spaces time to flourish and boost the numbers of wildflowers that provide valuable food for pollinators.  

“Everyone can get involved, whether that is locking up the mower for the month, or just leaving a patch of lawn uncut.”

Waverley Borough Council has already enhanced a number of areas over the past year, including increasing meadow and wildflower areas to over 183,000 mto improve biodiversity and help pollinators –  that’s over 45 acres or 24 football pitches or 146 Olympic size swimming pools, it’s bigger than the grounds of Buckingham Palace and has the potential to be home to millions of insects.

The Council has also put in place a reduction in the number of pesticides used, with a trial of non-pesticide weed control having been started last year in some areas of the Borough. In addition, the council’s grounds maintenance contractor, Continental Landscapes Ltd, (We have to ask if the Council considers it entirely PC to be employing a company called ‘Continental Landscapes’, following Brexit?  What’s wrong with good old Blightly in Bloom?)  took delivery of three new electric vehicles at its Waverley depot last year, meaning lower vehicle emissions and less noise when undertaking the maintenance.  All grass cuttings and prunings are composted and used on Council sites, with the surplus offered to local allotments and community gardens. 

For more information about the ‘No Mow May’ challenge and to find out how you can get involved, visit the Plantlife website.

NB.  To hire Aidan Turner and his scythe, call his agent – not The Waverley Web!

 

 

Britain’s Council Tax Burden … going up – Taxpayers Alliance.

 

You can look up all the Band D Council Tax costs across the country including all the boroughs around ‘Your Waverley’ including Guildford and `Mole Valley – together with the average house prices. Makes interesting reading.

Not content with one media hit on GB News The Taxpayers’ Alliance we nabbed a second – as it analysed the affordability of council tax bills when compared to average income and house prices across local authorities. Millions of us bear the council tax burden but some households are hit much harder than others. Some less affluent areas face a higher council tax burden than many wealthy metropolitan London boroughs.

For example, Blackpool has the lowest average earnings in the UK at £19,808 but charges £1,998 per year in council tax on average – 10 per cent of the average salary. On the other side of the coin, Islington in north London has the highest earnings at £41,329, but charges £1,640 in council tax, making it the fifth lowest council tax burden.

Though council tax is paid from our incomes, as our interactive heat maps clearly show, differences were seen when comparing council tax bills and local house prices. While households pay on average 0.81 per cent of their house price in council tax, some areas such as Hyndburn saw this rise as high as 2.18 per cent of the average house price.