Surrey housing figures too high – say MP’s fearful of hanging onto their seats?

Surrey MPs in a bid to protect their backsides have told Housing Secretary the county’s housing figures are too high. 

Guildford Borough’s MPs (left to right): Michael Gove (Surrey Heath), Sir Paul Beresford (Mole Valley), Jonathan Lord (Woking) and Angela Richardson (Guildford).

Surrey’s MPs met recently with the Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick and say they have made it “abundantly clear” that the housing figures for Surrey should be reduced. They claim there is…

“a grave danger that bad decisions will be made on the basis of bad data.”

However, it is widely known that Surrey MP’s are acutely aware that their strong Tory base is shrinking. This was emphasised by the county council election resuts in May. This combined with previous borough council elections when former Tory-controlled councils lost control.  The change of allegiance of disenchanted voters has been marked in Waverley and neighbouring boroughs. The proposed changes in the Government’s White paper, which reduces the strength of the local voice still further, whilst forcing yet more housing (little of which is actually “affordable”)  into Green Belt and the countryside is proving increasingly unpopular.

With shrinking majorities and with the Liberal Democrats snapping at their heels Waverley MP’s SW Surrey, Jeremy Hunt and Guildford & Villages, Angela Richardson, are worried,  very worried.

 Publicly, Guildford and villages MP Angela Richardson says she doesn’t believe the Conservatives will lose their grip of the ‘safe seats’ in Surrey. Despite the shock by-election win for the Lib Dems in Buckinghamshire, where she canvassed last month. However, privately she knows her future political fortunes rely on her constituents willingness to accept wholesale development on her patch. There is widespread unease about the number of appeals stacking up on her patch.

The Conservatives’ planning policy reform proposals were cited as a key reason for the result in Chesham and Amersham on June 18 and with development constantly top of the agenda here too, some insist a similar upheaval could be seen the next time Surrey residents vote.

Lib Dem former PMC for Guildford & Villages – who is still Tweeting! Mrs Richardson stopped Tweeting in sympathy for Donald Trump when banned. She has now joined again, saying social media is important during elections.

In Guildford, Lib Dem candidate Zoe Franklin was more than 17,000 votes behind former Conservative MP Anne Milton six years ago. But this margin was slashed to a mere 3,337 two years later when Mrs Richardson triumphed, a trend replicated across various Surrey constituencies.

Mrs Richardson believes the defeat in the traditionally Conservative Buckinghamshire seat will make her party’s top officials listen more closely to the views of MPs on the ground within the home counties.  Privately, she is known to have said she is concerned that if housing quotas earmarked for her constituency are realised, she will be in very big trouble. She says, neither infrastructure nor services ar keeping up with the present growth – let alone a further increase. Post pandemic traffic congestion is rising as more people return to work.

However, Mrs Richardson said:

I am not worried. The by-election result means the party will be listening even more intently to what people like me are saying in places like this, and there is plenty of opportunity for me to make the case to ministers.

“However, the one thing I would do is push back hard against the Lib Dems as in councils across the UK they run, numbers of new houses often exceed the figure required to be built.“They need to be careful not to say one thing to the electorate and do another. They need to be consistent. Everyone accepts we need housing that is affordable in places that are growing.

“If Guildford is dynamic, thriving and has the inward investment, it will create jobs and opportunities and we need to ensure we have houses for those people coming.”

Development is a contentious topic in Cranleigh which falls under Mrs Richardson’s wing. Many residents fume that they are unfairly taking the lion’s share of housing compared to Godalming, Farnham and Haslemere. But Cranleigh and the eastern villages have been earmarked by Surrey County Council as a growth area. They recently kicked out Tory Andrew Povey and replaced him with Lib Dem Liz Townsend. Pictured here yesterday with Waverley’s Leader Paul Follows visiting Cranleigh.

 http://Surrey councils’ new county-wide strategy identifies eight growth areas

However, the New-Zealand born politician who lives in Ewhurst is adamant that as a former Cranleigh parish councillor, she speaks up for their best interests at every opportunity.

She added: “It is simply because they are in the countryside beyond the green belt and haven’t had the protection so, within the Waverley Local Plan, the village was made to absorb housing that was not able to go into large areas of Waverley.

“Cranleigh has taken a big number of development sites but we are not seeing the infrastructure come along with it. That frustrates my constituents the most.

“Dunsfold is in my patch and was meant to be coming through but now it has been delayed, the concern is Waverley will not have the housing numbers to meet the targets set on them by the government.

“Then, the council will be penalised and have to find an additional 20 per cent. The worry is they will come and have a look for space in Cranleigh again, as the other sites are green belt protected.”

So what can be done to protect Cranleigh now? Mrs Richardson insists Waverley should be looking at its own brownfield assets for building such as car parks and offices, especially to replenish social housing stock.

Two of Angela Richardson’s fellow Waverley MP Jeremy Hunt opposed development on the largest brownfield site in the borough of Waverley at Dunsfold. Together with MP Anne Milton they had it called into the Secretary of State – delaying the development for years. It is now up for sale.

 

 

 

 

 

 

More road chaos on its way to th eastern village roads in Waverley?

It’s hot, it’s holiday time and it’s Surrey Highway’s favourite time of year.

Wonersh Parish Council calling all motorists.

Communication from Surrey County Council regarding the closure of the B2128 between Wonersh and Shamley Green next week and the impact upon bus services and routes.

This is to make you aware of the upcoming closure of Cranleigh Road, Wonersh and the impact it will have on some local bus services in your area.
Due to dangerous trees in urgent need of felling, Cranleigh Road, Wonersh will be closed for 3 days from Wednesday 21st July (09:30 – 16:00 only).
As a result of this closure, the Arriva 53/63 will be on diversion between Shalford and Cranleigh during the above hours only. From Shalford, the bus will divert via Christmas Hill/Kings Road/Wonersh Common to Wonersh, and will not serve stops between Shalford and Bramley on the A281 Horsham Road as usual.
From Wonersh it will then travel along The Street/Station Road towards Bramley, serving all stops as usual, albeit on the opposite side of the road from normal. From Bramley, the service will then travel to Cranleigh via the A281 and Elmbridge Road, through Birtley Green, Grafham and Elmbridge Village. It will pick up its normal line of route from Guildford Road in Cranleigh (near to Cranleigh Common).
This diversion will also apply in reverse for the Arriva 53/63 travelling from Cranleigh to Shalford.
Due to this diversion Shamley Green, Stroud Common and Rowly will not be served between 09:30 and 16:00 from Wednesday 21st July for 3 days. We have instead arranged for a free hourly shuttle bus service to be provided to local residents, operating between Shamley Green (starting at the “Nursery Hill” bus stops) and Cranleigh town centre. Passengers wishing to travel towards Guildford can use this service to get to Cranleigh and catch a bus back towards Guildford (such as the Arriva 53/63 and Compass 24 services).
We are aware that Wednesday 21st July is the last day of term at Glebelands School in Cranleigh. As a result, we have asked that the shuttle bus serves the school (via the bus stops on Parsonage Road)  to help children who live in Shamley Green, Stroud Common and Rowly to get back home. We expect to have a copy of the shuttle bus timetable available.
WW:  (Go to the Wonersh PC Facebook Page – far easier than navigating the SCC site as there are dozens of road works all over the Waverley borough.)
We will also update the Surrey County Council website once all the details have been finalised.
I hope you find this information helpful.
Wonersh Parish Council

 

 

 

 

As our phones go ping … we stay in! Is ‘Your Waverley’ shuttering down?

The latest to fall victim as a result of the dreaded ping on the COVID-App is Godalming Leisure Centre. Godalming Leisure lifeguards are all isolating.

Earlier in the week we posted this: Will Waverley residents follow Follows and keep Waverley at the bottom of Surrey’s COVID list?

But in the days since so many shops and businesses have been forced to close, there are now too many to mention, and the situation is changing as we type!  We apologise most sincerely to Godalming’s Naval Club for mentioning that it was closed. It isn’t and has full safety measures in place to ensure its customers remain safe.

However, with rising infection rates, we are hesitant to put up a figure as earlier this week it was rising by 30% in Waverley, higher still in other areas and particularly high in Woking.

Here’s another typical message popping up faster than daisies in our towns and villages across Waverley. 

Looks like ‘Strawberry Fields for ever’ near Milford to boost ‘Your Waverley’s economy.

So that’s OK then? Waverley Planners are satisfied that the benefits of Harry Hall’s application to cover 90 acres in big white plastic polytunnels outweigh the detrimental impact on residents, heritage buildings, and the road network near Milford. So up goes the green light for an industrial-size fruit factory. 

Milford blows a Raspberry – Hitler style.

Fruit farming has been going on here for the past 20 years!

WA/2020/2055: Retention of 20 hectares of polytunnels throughout the year (5.6 hectares heated by heat pumps drawing heat from the on-site reservoir, 14.4 hectares without heating), (located in particular fields identified as acceptable) on Tuesley Farm, Tuesley Lane, Godalming.  40 further hectares of polytunnels to be on-site (in fields identified as acceptable for polytunnels) from 1st April until 31st October; with the retention of hoops on the further 40 hectares of polytunnels (removing the plastic covers only between 1st November and 1st April). 

Owner Harry Hall gave an upbeat take on his fruit farming operations which provided 2% and 3 million tonnes of the country’s blueberries, raspberries and strawberries. Employing 130 Full Time staff and 500 seasonal workers. Consent would increase the growing season and boost production by 15%. Local fruit would reduce the carbon footprint of fruit from overseas.

Councillor Richard Seaborne, whose history reveals loves to build on the Green Belt (unless it is to change the use of a hotel garden and tennis court, into a residential garden tennis court) asked for the application to be considered by the Eastern Area Planning Committee.  The application was deferred in April which resulted in Natural England changing its original objection to support!

It also allowed the Secretary of State to give his seal of approval to the massive proliferation of polytunnels across the Green Belt.  Saying the scheme didn’t need an Environmental Impact Assessment.

Does Robert”Bob The Builder’ Jenrick really want The Tories kicked out at the next general election? 

Though we have to mention that Cranleigh’s Lib Dem councillor Ruth Reed waxed lyrical about the benefits of…

Blueberries on my breakfast cereal and strawberries at Wimbledon!

Looking anything but merry,  Mr Merriweather painted a gloomy picture on behalf of local residents adamantly opposed to living in a world of 90 acres of ugly white plastic and HGV’s from 5 am in the morning until 11 pm thundering through country roads like Station Lane Milford!  But his appeals to stop the expansion from a large to an industrial-sized fruit farming operation fell on some very deaf ears. Councillors listened – but they either didn’t hear or ignored his pleas.

Because the application was approved by 11 votes to two with one abstention.

However, the lone voice of a brave Waverley Tree officer had described the proposed operation to supply 2% of the country’s fruit from an ocean of polytunnels as…

A blot on Waverley’s  landscape.”

But everyone was assured that Surrey County Council Highways was happy there would be no increase in HGV traffic due to the expansion. So everyone slumped back in their seats in the certain knowledge that everyone can always rely on SCC highways to get it right?

However, that didn’t satisfy Alfold’s former Bobby Cllr Kevin Deanus.  A man who knows a thing or two about traffic.

He said the report before them stated…

“HGV’s are delivering to the site – carefully,” to a background of laughter -he said – if I ever see one that is careful – I will let everyone know.”

He didn’t believe enough weight had been given to the impact on the heritage properties around the site. It would spoil the setting of the Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and he didn’t have confidence in experts who always contradicted each other. He believed lorry movements should be restricted, and should not move during school arrival and leaving times. Such restrictions were made at Dunsfold Park on lorry movements, so should be imposed here.

Like Cllr Deanus, the WW has often wondered what this well-rehearsed officers’ statement means:

“The development will cause less than substantial harm!”

Statements made in the officers report that Station Lane would be improved with wider pavements as a result of the Milford Golf Course development visibly upset Cllr Maxine Gail.

There may be an economic benefit for Waverley, but none for the local residents!”

She reminded officers that the golf course development may not go ahead – and was covered by a restrictive covenant.

 

Background.

The application proposes to retain 20ha of polytunnels throughout the year, 5.6ha of which would be heated by pumps drawing heat from the on-site reservoir and 14.4ha unheated. The polytunnels to be heated would be those closest to the on-site reservoir. These fields are those that have been identified as acceptable for year-round coverage.

Permission is also sought for a further 40ha of polytunnels across the site in fields identified as being acceptable. These would be erected on-site between 1st April and 31st October. The plastic sheeting of the polytunnels would be removed between 1st November and 31st March each year, with the legs and hoops remaining.

The application is supported by a Transport Statement by Bellamy Roberts LLP which sets out that the proposal would not result in an increase in vehicular movements during peak times. The proposal would increase the picking season by approximately 2 months but would not impact upon yield at peak times. No material impact on road safety is considered to result.

The following plan shows the proposed extent of polytunnels and their locations across the farm. 

The site description. 

Green Belt – outside of Rural Settlement Area
Area of Great Landscape Value (AGLV)
Adjacent to Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)
Nearby Listed Buildings and Historic Parks and Gardens
Heritage Features
Flood Zones 2 and 3
Nearby SNCI
Ancient Woodland
Ancient Woodland 500m Buffer Z0ne
Wealden Heaths I SPA 5km Buffer Zone
Wealden Heaths I SAC 2km Buffer Zone
Section 106 – original agreement in relation to application WA/2007//1962 with numerous variations since Area of High Archaeological Potential
Footpath 162
Gas Pipe Line

 

Will Waverley residents follow Follows and keep Waverley at the bottom of Surrey’s COVID list?