Ya, boo politics is alive and well at ‘Your Waverley.’
Pi**ed off Tories are clamouring to have their say both in the press and on social media about the fracas at Western Planning where a controversial development in Haslemere was given the go-ahead by their colleagues.
The decision to save an area of Great Landscape Value and seek sites elsewhere went down like a nasty dose of COVID with the Tories – who argued it was high time that Haslemere residents took their share of the build, build, and build more, brigade. They sited all those other green fields lost in – Farnham, Badshot Lea, Cranleigh, Ewhurst and the village dubbed by councillors as “poor little old Alfold.” A village on the Surrey Sussex border that has provided well over its quota of housing.
The Tories are heartily sick of the Rainbow Coalition hogging social media. Guildford & Villages MP Angela Richardson claimed after the county council election losses that the Tories were losing out in elections due to opposition parties reigning supreme in cyberspace.
The Haslemere fracas was the ideal platform for the Tories to fight back. They now predict an appeal by the developers due to the lack of robust, or any, planning reasons for refusal.
Here’s Alfold’s contribution so far. A village with no school, a village shop, little public transport and eight miles, WW guess, from Milford Station!
A meeting between village leaders a Cranleigh Charity and Waverley Planners will soon take place.
Now the generous folks of the eastern villages who dug deep into their pockets to fund a new replacement hospital find themselves 20 years later with no money left in the kitty, and a green field with no planning consents.
Apologies to the Cranleigh Community Group which we referred to as the Cranleigh Community Board in our early morning posting. That was a previous social media site that died a death and disappeared one night. Mainly due to adverse comments about CVHT.
They no longer need or want a replacement hospital after it became mired in controversy after it morphed into a huge private nursing home. After two decades of – no show – villagers are now urging the health authorities to provide a spanking new Urgent Treatment Centre to service Cranleigh and Villages. The services they need and want to be provided from the old cottage hospital. This much-loved and publicly-funded building in the high street adjacent to the Village Way public car park is now home to a variety of services. These include:
X-Ray – Ultrasounds – Maternity – Physiotherapy – Phlebotomy – Outpatient Clinics and more.
All are attributed to the hard work and dedication of the League of Friends – headed by its stalwart Chairman Dianne Davies known to many as “the Welsh wizard.”
Building on those core services has been an ambition of the League, which includes some Cranleigh GP’s, for many years. A Charity – that has no association with the Cranleigh Village Health Trust.
The League’s bid for an Acute Treatment Centre has the backing of Cranleigh’s leading and well-respected Facebook Cranleigh Community Group headed by Andy Webb, whose mother worked at the hospital in its heyday.
It was the CCB’s tireless efforts in securing both petitions and many hundreds of objection letters that prompted Waverley ~Planners to refuse Cranleigh Village Hospital now Health Trust’s latest planning application. This was for a private nursing home with community beds and residential accommodation.
However, the public are now fearful of what the charity intends to do with the controversial piece of land it still owns?
Now Mr Webb and his numerous followers need help to secure a long-held dream to take the old hospital into the future with up-to-date services for a growing community. Cranleigh GP’s boast a 17,000 patient list which can only grow like Topsy due to a massive building programme in the area.
He says: WE NEED YOUR HELP
Cranleigh Village Hospital League Of Friends and Cranleigh Village Hospital Campaign Group need your help.
As you may be aware, the Campaign Group was originally set up to campaign for the return of a minor injury clinic in the village hospital.
We are now campaigning for an Acute Treatment Centre (ATC) which is one step up from a minor injury clinic.
Please could you comment as to why you think this will be beneficial to Cranleigh and your experiences of having to visit Guildford Hospital for something that could of been dealt with in a local Acute Treatment Centre.
We need as much feedback as possible please as this could help with bringing this facility back to Cranleigh.
Comments have poured into social media over many months. But there is some concern in the group that Cranleigh Parish Council, who once owned the land, have agreed to talks with Waverley Planners and the Charity to determine the future of the former playing fields off Knowle Lane.
They want to know why a member of the influential Campaign Group hasn’t been included in the ‘private talks? The parish council maintains it IS the public and will fearlessly defend the public interest. As it claims, it always has and is neither responsible nor culpable for the mistakes made by previous holders of the office.
However, John Winser a vociferous opponent of the previous CVHT scheme asks.
“How can a transparent process start with a meeting in private? Its somewhat like CVHT’s public meetings that we are welcome to attend but are never told where or when they are. Give the distrust of this community it seems like madness. I cannot comprehend it!
Perhaps someone can explain to me how a transparent public process starts with a private meeting?”
Some now believe traffic congestion and population growth make the ACT facility a necessity and not a luxury.
This has become an essential part of essential infrastructure now, surely?
An absolute necessity for our village, given the significant increase in the local population irrespective of age etc. It would also be a huge help in relieving pressure from the RSCH in their A and E department.
When husband (80) came back from a Cranleigh supermarket with a nasty ragged cut on his shin, I rang 111, who said a doctor would ring back. 2 hours later I tried Cranleigh Pharmacy, and the lovely pharmacist said he’d be able to deal with it, but wouldn’t be allowed to. So we drove to RSCH A&E. When I apologised to the nurse who sorted out the cut, she said ‘pre-tibial lacerations in older people can lead to problems unless properly treated, so please don’t apologise’. A Cranleigh ATC would have avoided bothering Guildford’s busy Emergency department. This is even more important for people who don’t drive. A kind neighbour would probably give a lift to Cranleigh, but a 3-hour trip to Guildford is above and beyond.
Jan B Williams
I think this facility is essential to Cranleigh.When we first came to live here the village hospital was a godsend to us,with 3 young boys it was great not to trek to the R/S every time the had an injury.With the growing population now here having to travel with small children to Guildford and the difficult with the parking, having the facility on your doorstep is ideal.
So the controversy continues…?
Waverley Leader Paul Follows has the last word. Saying the public ARE represented by their elected councillors, and there will come a point when the consultation will follow as the next step.
“Distrust of CVHT is one thing, but distrust of CPC in its current incarnation, I would find difficult to agree with as they are beyond reproach. But taking a step back for a moment – the whole issue with CVHT does cause everyone (including me) to have an emotive response.”
He added that part of the point of representative democracy, at all levels, means it is impractical to have public participation in everything in full view all the time.
This is the stash of drugs picked up by a one-year-old toddler out for a walk in the park.
Wouldn’t Jack Phillips be turning in his watery grave if he knew that this stash was found next to the kiddies swings – where it could have killed, or seriously injured a child!
Where better to dump your drugs than in the Memorial Garden dedicated to a hero of the Titanic!
Jack Phillips, the wireless operator who died at his post whilst sending SOS signals on that fateful night of 14 April 1912 when The Titanic sank in the fateful collision with an iceberg.
The Jack Phillips Memorial Cloister garden designed by Gertrude Jekyll, with its magnificent brick cloister 80 feet square designed by Hugh Thackeray Turner, was laid out, built and opened exactly two years to the day after the sinking of the Titanic. The memorial is situated between the River Wey and Godalming Parish Church in the Phillips Memorial Park.
The Phillips Memorial Cloister. Photographs courtesy of John Young.
Within the cloister, the Wireless and Telegraph Company commissioned and had erected a memorial stone tablet to the perpetual honour of this brave man,
Memorial Stone Tablet, Godalming Museum Collection
Phillips family grave (photograph by John Young)
On the 90th anniversary of the loss of the Titanic, in April 2002, Godalming Town Council refurbished the Phillips family grave of Jack’s father, George, and his mother, Ann, and twin sisters, Elsie and Ethel, in the Nightingale Cemetery, Deanery Road. In the centre of a six-foot square curb all in white marble, is an obelisk in the shape of an iceberg, a fitting memorial to Godalming hero Jack Phillips.
During one of the most ill-tempered planning meetings, the Waverley Web has ever witnessed, it became apparent that Haslemere is not only full of NIMBY’s (Not in my backyard) but BANANA’S. (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone – in Haslemere!) Ok, ok we used a bit of poetic licence! But you get the gist.
Tempers rose higher than the stifling temperature inside Waverley Towers last night as councillors grappled with a controversial scheme proposed by Winchester based developer – Alfred Homes. It wants to build 50 two/three and four-bed homes at Red Court in Scotland Lane, 15 of which are “affordable.”
Did the Western Planning Committee give the scheme the green light?
A big Fat NO, despite being unable to come up with any plausible PLANNING reasons. They left it to the council’s officers to figure it out for themselves having. REFUSED the scheme by 5 votes to seven with two abstentions.
Is that an appeal – with costs awarded against ‘Your Waverley’ we see coming on?
Despite giving colleagues a piece of her mind about the borough’s duty, and the duty of individual towns and villages to identify sites for development, Farnham’s Cllr Carole Cockburn may just as well have saved her valuable breath.
Parts of Farnham’s countryside are being developed faster than you can say the word concrete. The same applied to Cranleigh, Godalming, Farnham and small villages like Alfold cried the experienced councillor recently awarded a BEM for masterminding Farnham’s Neighbourhood Plan.
“We are here to make decisions for the whole borough of Waverley all 130 thousand people -not just one part of it. Everyone has to take their fair share of development and with 990 homes earmarked for Haslemere, it hasn’t got anywhere near meeting its allocation. What about the 2,000in the countryside in Cranleigh 400 in the countryside in the village of Alfold and as for Dunsfold and Farnham, thousands more!
We, and they, didn’t want to lose our green fields either, but our Neighbourhood plan earmarked sites, unlike Haslemere! We might as well say – goodbye to Weybourne and Badshot Lea!”
Earlier the Agent acting for the developer said Haslemere’s had so far met only just over 200 of its allocation of 990 homes.
Alfold with only just over 400 households is already providing twice as many as Haslemere and three appeals in the pipeline for many hundreds more! But then their little voice is not quite as loud as those in Haslemere!
Some councillors said they didn’t want to be pilloried for granting permission for development adjacent to homes already built in AGLV (Area of Great ~Landscape Value.)
Blame the Conservative Government – they cried. They want to bury the South East of England under homes we don’t want or need. Write to your MP’s they cried.
Cllr Simon Dear rubbished the validity of the deluge of objection letters to a low-density scheme adjacent to nearby homes, with decent gardens and outside space that was near the town centre of Haslemere and only 20 mins from the railway station.
He said they came from addresses from as far afield as Pontypool to Petworth, Glasgow to Bournemouth, Birmingham and Bognor. He called it a contrived opposition operation in deceit and exaggeration.
Chairman David Beaman said residents had made accusations that a decision to GRANT was a ‘done deal.’
Oh, dear! There’s nothing like an Englishman’s defence of his castle – especially if you live in Scotland Lane and Scotland Close, Haslemere.
Public speakers and Haslemere councillors claimed there we other more suitable sites on which to build.
Chief planning Officer Zac Ellwood said whilst every effort was made to represent public opinion, he warned, that councillors were there to determine this particular application, not listen to arguments put forward for alternative sites.
It was the opinion of planning officers that the harm was outweighed by the benefits. The scheme was sustainable, met all planning policies in the NPPF including the most recent additions received today. He reiterated officers concerns over Waverley’s lack of a five-year housing land supply. (It stands currently at 4.26) The argument of the lack of water supply could not be challenged as Thames Water had raised no objection. No objection from Natural England or Surrey Highways.
However, Waverley Mayor and Haslemere town councillor John Robini told his colleagues:
“You shouldn’t be afraid of appeals – we don’t want expensive housing for commuters. We have to hang on to our precious and dwindling number of greenfield sites.”
Presumably, he meant as long as they are in Haslemere? Bugger the rest of the borough!
Farnham Residents’ Cllr Jerry Hyman made the argument for refusing the application on the grounds of the lack of an Appropriate Assessment and the effects of the Special Protection Area on the Wealden Heath 5m from the site. He said the officers did not have an AA? – They said they did! He said they didn’t, they said they did! At which point we are not sure who had the hot flush. Cllr Carole or Officer Zac? Suffice to say – all were the colour purple!
Farnham Residents’ Cllr Kika Mirylees clip.
The WW has to admit to losing the will to live while councillors wrangled over trying to find enough reason for the officers to have any defence whatsoever, for, not IF, but WHEN, the application goes to appeal.
Said poor old Zac.
“To be blunt – you must provide us with your reasons for refusal – we are working blind here. Just give us your clear reasons.”
At which point – we left the webcast and let them all fight out between themselves to come up with some VALID planning reasons that they simply couldn’t find.
Comment on the decision from Waverley’s Leader Paul Follows.
Cllr. Paul David Follows
Red Court application in #Haslemere is REFUSED by the Western Pla. of WBC – a great victory for residents, progressive councillors and the community at large. Brownfield over green should ALWAYS be preferred. Guess what – the only people that voted for it were the local Tories.
And there we were here at the Waverley Web actually believing that Planning came before Politics?