NEWLANDS CORNER – A better experience?

Newlands Corner here we come...
Newlands Corner here we come…

OH! what would we do without them. Those well meaning, over paid, highly pensioned Whalleys at Surrey County Council who have decided to give us all a better experience at the famous Surrey beauty spot at Newlands Corner at a cost of  £400,000.

Introducing the dumb idea, Councillor Mark Goodman, cabinet member for Environment and Planning, said the aim was to provide a better experience for everyone.

WHAT!

By introducing parking charges!

£1 up to 60 mins, £2 for for an hour to two hours, £3 for two to three hours and for more than three hours a flat charge just £4. Watch out!  here come the traffic wardens…

Says WW: By the way – if you also want to breathe the fresh clean air, and take in the views, throw SCC  another fiver why don’t you the new pension guru Alan Young is now in charge so no worries there then! 

Remember,  Councillor Goodman, said the aim was to ensure everyone can continue enjoying the Surrey countryside we all value. Ye, thanks for reminding us, to value the Surrey countryside, obviously a great deal more than you do, Waverley residents  have been walking there for years, and many are elderly.  Still never mind they can pop up and enjoy the Royal Surrey County Hospital car park for only slightly more!

OMG! Waverley Borough Council will be reading this blog and charging us for parking at all its beauty sports Devil’s Punchbowl/HankleyCommon/Frensham Ponds….Oops The National Trust is already doing that, but I am sure if it tries hard enough it will find one.

Newlands Corner attracts 550,000 visitors a year and Councillor Goodman and Co want to ensure the facilities there are improved to make The Surrey Wildlife Trust self-sufficient to enable Surrey County Council to gradually remove its funding.  How – we wonder? Perhaps a theme park might be a good idea, what about A Costa Coffee Shop or a Pound Shop.

The first will be a family play trail – what the hell is that all about? The second phase is a new building including a Cafe and Education experience – well that would be great – all Surrey County Councillors should pop along and be educated about what the public in Surrey want from their wide open spaces.

He says: If you can bear to hear it.

“Our ultimate aim is to make countryside sites become self-financing and this is the first stage.” 

YE gods – what’s the second stage? It wouldn’t be making a profit out of the treasured site, would it? Why leave the Surrey Hills untouched, surely you can make a few bob there too.

At least he makes one honest statement: “It is worth also noting there is heavy strain on budgeting from rising demand for adult social care and school places.” 

Ah! so that is what it is all about and there we were thinking that the county council would raise  the council tax.

 

See no evil – hear some evil?

Screen Shot 2015-11-07 at 11.03.47.pngScreen Shot 2015-11-17 at 19.55.43Is it a cunning plan to ensure the public don’t get the full picture of what is going on in the engine room at good ship Waverley?

On the council’s website it advertised the start of Monday’s  Overview& Scrutiny Committee as 7.p.m. It actually started at 6.30 pm! But then going by the drivel that was being churned out, and a chairman that couldn’t move on quickly enough from one of the most important matters to be debated this century to the “averse weather watch,” what did it matter.

Then if you look above to the latest web casts of planning meetings,  the video is faulty but the sound is ok! Actually not ok really because if you can’t see the video you don’t know which of our illustrious borough councillors are saying it – but then why would we want to know …

No Plod for Haslemere!

Haslemere Councillor Jim Edwards is most upset that the town is to lose its policeman. Well Councillor Edwards – join the club – because plods are now in short supply around the borough, and that’s before the planned cuts.

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Councillor Edwards told his colleagues at a meeting of the Overview & Scrutiny Committee that it was:

“beyond the bone”

for the town’s police officer to be withdrawn.

Fear not Councillor Edwards perhaps WBC could release your Leader – Bobby Know-less and put him back on the beat as he may well soon be looking for a new job!  Perhaps not – when he was on the plod…his nickname was:

“THE OLYMPIC TORCH” – Why – because he never went out!

 

Jeremy fiddles… while England burns?

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With a Junior Doctors’ strike looming ever large, this is what Jeremy Hunt MP for SW Surrey has been telling his merry band of followers.

It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly six months since the election – what a busy time it’s been in the ensuing months – but lots of progress made locally. More than 70 people have attended surgery appointments in the period covering a range of topics, concerns and issues. So too have there been a number of visits and meetings throughout the Constituency with schools, hospitals, charities and organisations enabling me to listen, learn and support individuals and groups.

Recently, I co-chaired a further meeting of The Godalming Flood Alleviation Sponsor Group which was very productive resulting in a number of important decisions being agreed by all the stakeholders. It is now agreed the proposed plan of action will be presented (following some final work and research) to residents of Godalming at a Public Consultation meeting in January 2016 – date and venue to follow. In the meantime the Environmental Agency has launched a new website for anyone interested in flooding http://www.gov.uk/floodsdestroy

Elsewhere in the Constituency, I am delighted to confirm that following discussions with South West Trains, they have confirmed that they will provide a further 160 car park spaces at Haslemere station and an additional 180 spaces at Farnham station by the end of 2016. This is excellent news and will go a long way to help alleviate the parking concerns and issues so many of you have raised with me over the last year. The exact specification and design of the structure is to be finalised with the respective local councils but I am delighted that we have made real progress in this important area that affects so many of us using the train network.

Pedestrianisation in Farnham too is making some progress. I enjoyed a very productive meeting with Farnham Mayor and Councillor, Pat Frost, earlier in the year when we agreed on the proposals moving forward. I am pleased that Surrey County Council has confirmed it will run a trial, more details of which will follow. I am hoping we can publish details of this early in the New Year.

In Farnham we can hardly wait!

Meanwhile, there was the Party Conference which afforded me the opportunity and privilege to address attendees and highlight a number of issues. It’s been a busy few months in the Department of Health of course…

We bet it has!  And about to get even busier…

Rubber Band?

Is  our less than Worshipful Mayor of Waverley Towers intent on shooting himself in the foot? Or, does he think he can just “bounce” back from breaking rules in the council’s book?

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WW understands that some at Waverley are less than chuffed at the loose cannon that Mayor Mike Band has become. Perhaps he shouldn’t have taken on the supposed -“uncontroversial” role if he didn’t want to keep his mouth shut.

No – he was determined that his own deadly analysis of the Draft Spatial Strategy – (for our followers the plan of how many homes should be built in the borough and where,) was dropped in front of every councillor at the meeting, even though he wasn’t there. Not too long ago MP Anne Milton did that too!

Seems to WW Mr Mayor, that you have some pretty controversial views. But, given that Chief Planning Officer Matthew Evans (you must work seven days a week in future-according to Councillor Jim Edwards.)  That the Plan making process has to be “evidence, evidence, evidence”, based. Those still awaiting the vital reports from the Transport and Habitats Assessments,  which determine the Spatial Strategy, have to admit  that your final conclusion that everyone in Waverley (except of course the Executive, who make all the decisions,and only pay lip service to the O & S Committee,would find it hard to disagree with: Here’s what he said:

“Given the land availability constraints identified, surely more work should focus on developing a Spatial Strategy which justifies on sustainability grounds, why the Strategic Housing Assessment figures cannot be met”

Well said Mr Mayor, that’s a pretty good counter motion for the 15 December Full Council meeting. But, maybe someone else should propose  it…not you…

Isn’t it blindingly obvious that if the Executive and the Council were to agree the Spatial Strategy in December, they’d be pre-determining Councillors’ future consideration of the evidence?  No change there then – 

Are the party whip bullies really so powerful that they can win a vote even when it’s no more than a simple test of dishonesty and stupidity. Or will the backbenchers be told that if they cannot vote for the Spatial Strategy – don’t turn up for the meeting! After all it won’t be the first time.

By the way Mr Mayor – you say Dunsfold would more likely meet the needs of Horsham residents’ – does that apply to Cranleigh too? Perhaps you should pop over the border one day – see for yourself – Horsham BC is cracking on and meeting its housing need, with thousands of homes already built – and much of the traffic is already going through your patch in Bramley!

Take off your Robe Mr Mayor – and get back on the benches – either that, or shut the hell up and open fetes!

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