It’s official – Waverley Planners have gone Bats!

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Crest Nicholson get Licence to Kill…bats!  And if you link into the comments box – you can hear the debate which was very kindly sent to us here at the WW by Mushroom Management. Presumably, because they (WBC) keep most people in the dark and throw a bucket of sh*t over them?

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Potty & Co go batty! 


Lies, damned lies, and no proper statistics – for the endangered bat population of 
Blightwells, Farnham’s infamous multi-million-pound development in East Street.

Easing into her new role as part of the England Team and with Nikes at the ready, Chief Planning Officer put the boot in on councillors  in readiness for her World Cup debut, when they dared to ask too many questions and took more than their allotted four minutes on Crest Nicholsons’s planning application to mitigate the loss of habitat and “protect” the Blightwells bat population.

Whilst everyone is aware from previous surveys that there are bats in the Redgrave Theatre, the Blightwells Cottage, The Marlborough Head, and elsewhere on the site all either demolished or awaiting the swinging ball,  – there is to be NO MITIGATION – for the loss of the Maternity Roost, NO BAT HOUSE, as previously agreed with Crest Nicholson just a handful of aluminium poles stuck up around the site with  bat boxes on the top!

There will be no bat houses to replace the maternity roost despite calls from rebellious councillors  Farnham Residents’  Jerry Hyman and John Ward, Paul “fearsome” Follows, and  Cranleigh Tory Liz Townsend,  who was sitting on the Joint Planning Committee for the first time and who might just have to watch her seat!  Disobeying Betty Boot on your first outing!

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 Watch out Liz, or we might have to start referring to Cranleigh’s ‘Liz as the Biz.”

There were some lovely quotes from councillors:- here’s just a few to make you smile.

“If we go ahead and grant this… it could be A LICENCE TO KILL – BATS!

Godalming’s Paul Follows: “Isn’t it an offence to disrupt or injure roosting bats.”

Cranleigh’s Liz Townsend: ‘How will the bats survive if the Blightwells Cottage is demolished?”

Anna James (Chiddingfold): “I’m quite happy to grant this application as it stands.” In other words Bug**r the Bats!

John Ward (Farnham)If we don’t have a maternity wing- we may not have any more little bats.”OH! and I object to the Chairman asking us at the start of this meeting to “curtail the debate.”

Jerry Hyman (Farnham) “It’s not rocket science if  they, (the developers and the planning officers) don’t care about endangered species, and the environment – what do they care about?”

You may well ask – WWethinks … letting developers do whatever they like?

Planning Officer: “Natural England has issued a licence, and under the terms of that licence the developer cannot damage bats. Followed by: “Natural England have not actually assessed it?”

Screen Shot 2018-06-14 at 20.17.48.pngBetty Boot: Then dons her steel toecap Nike’s saying:”We are quite confident about our recommendation to approve this application because it is sound. and… In the big scheme of things, this is an insignificant matter”

Insignificant matter?

Here’s what many Farnam people think!

Screen Shot 2018-06-14 at 19.22.07.pngAnd… didn’t our Betty do well last night in her first World Cup game against Tunisia? But, she gets a lot more practice than most of the team, she puts the boot in on a daily basis. 

However, we have just heard from one of her fans, that it isn’t her fault – she is just doing her Master/Mistresses bidding!

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Where will Waverley members be watching the World Cup in Farnham?

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Marlborough Head East Street June 2014

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Marlborough Head 2018

We are grateful for these photos from Martin Gardiner and John Spackman in Farnham for pointing out the irony. Where once there was a thriving community pub on East Street, now there is a boarded up, fenced off shell. Never before has the ‘Blightwells’ development been so aptly named!

Where will we watch the Russian held World Cup now? Answers to Waverley, please! Spasibo!

We’ve heard it on the grapevine, that Liz the Biz or Betty Boot as she is fondly known – (remember staff and councillors have been warned not to refer to the Chief Planning Officer by this name!!) – has donned her brand new Nike football boots, to take part in the English line-up for the World Cup. Apparently, she has put the bover boot in so many times to give rebellious Waverley concillors a good kicking, that England Manager Gareth Southgate, is putting her on first reserve in the attack. Watch out Tunisia!

Please Waverley, tell us you haven’t gambled a £17m black hole like Surrey Heath!

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closingdownSurrey Heath Council recently spent £17.6m buying the freehold of the Camberley House of Fraser building. The money was completely borrowed from the Government’s Public Works scheme – so they didn’t even have the money themselves! Casino gambling at it’s best.

THIS WEEK HOUSE OF FRASER PULLED THE PLUG ON ITS CAMBERLEY STORE – serving a CVA on the council no less!

The Council said: “By acquiring the freehold of this site, Surrey Heath did so as part of the wider regeneration of its town and not as an investment. The store has suffered from under-investment over the years and the Council was in discussion with them to address this. Whilst these discussions are still ongoing, their own reinvestment proposals are dependent on a formal CVA and their position on legacy stores.”

This is the massive ANCHOR store for Camberley – not something easily re-let – or even turned into flats in the current climate!

We know Waverley Borough and Surrey County Councils have invested in the disastrous Blightwells in Farnham, and we know Waverley agreed to borrow £30million to buy some commercial property early in the year. Surely this is a risk too far?

Isn’t it time to come clean Waverley and publish a list of whats going on? After all if we suddenly all have a half share in a shopping centre in Runcorn, perhaps there will be more incentive for us to visit!!

WW sees trouble ahead?

How refreshing to see Godalming’s new boy on Waverley’s block speaking up on our behalf, and asking questions.  However, watch out boyo, we foresee trouble ahead – ask Farnham Residents’ councillor Jerry Hyman, who we understand from an officer, has been brought before the standards board on more than one occasion for asking too many questions? 

Despite being outnumbered, outflanked by heavyweight tories unused to being Screen Shot 2018-01-17 at 19.45.34.pngchallenged, and a rather intimidating veiled rebuke from Mistress Betsy at the Joint Planning Committee meeting last week, Paul Follows the Liberal Democrat Councillor for (Godalming Central & Ockford) didn’t turn a hair of his meticulously coiffed young head as he challenged the  council’s decision-making process. He wanted to know why the controversial Blightwells redevelopment wasn’t getting anywhere! A scheme – which was,  “going on when I was at secondary school”.  Did anyone laugh? No way Jose!

Confidence exudes from this young man, and long may it be so, – here’s his profile for the by-election just before Christmas Ding, Dong the fight’s begun to win Godalming’s By-Election. Part 1.Lib Dems.

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Wow! his work covers standards, legal compliance, and ethical conduct! If that’s the case then he’s in for a field day at ‘Your Waverley’ and we hate to think what he might uncover when he digs into the latest shenanigans in his new role  at Godalming Town Council!   Dare we suggest he starts looking into why the Clerk left?  How much she was actually paid?  Not quite the £30,000  which appears in the annual accounts?  

No surprise to us here at the Waverley Web to hear that some parish clerks around the borough are being bullied – except of course the ‘crystal tips’ clerk of most of the councils in the East – Dunsfold/Hascombe/Alfold/Loxwood who appears to run the show on councillors’ behalf! 

Perhaps  Councillor Follows will delve into why Councillor Anne Bott (now Town Mayor following the sudden resignation of Mayor Simon Thornton) is allowed a conflict of interest as she is employed by The Surrey & Sussex Association of Local Councils) funded, in part, by Godalming Town Council. Of course, most of us realise parish councils are no longer the autonomous parochial bodies they once were! They are now controlled by Conservative dominated Waverley, which is, in turn, controlled by South West Surrey and Guildford and Cranleigh Conservative Association.

So, Councillor Paul Follows,  we look forward with some trepidation to watching your progress over the coming year. But, be warned, if you rattle their cages too often your opponents will stack everything up against you next May!  But then you don’t appear to be a guy who scares easily!

 

They cannot make the Farnham Herald’s letters page big enough to take the complaints against ‘Your Waverley.’

Buy that Great Farnham Newspaper and read it!  

Here at the Waverley Web we want the whole borough to be aware of the Balls Up Of  Blightwells – about to be built on Flood Zone 3 in East Street, Farnham.

 

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Listen to Pottymouth, no we didn’t say Portsmouth!

gonetopottsHere’s a letter we have received at the Waverley Web from Jim Duffy a local architect about… yes you guessed! “The slow motion car crash” about to happen with the ‘Brightwells, Farnham -Retail Investment Risk Assessment’ Not that the one sitting in the Giant Chamber pot will take any notice!

And… listen very carefully to the interview with the BBC! 
We have!  And, Pottymouth says, quite clearly,  that they have just had a Judicial Review and were successful. ..   Let us assure everyone in the borough of Waverley.

There has not been a JR and so she lies – and lies! 

Dear Surrey County Councillors
Please see this link for an interview yesterday with me on BBC Radio Surrey, including a response by Waverley Councillor Julia Potts and a statement by SCC

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04tllk1 BBC Surrey – Breakfast on BBC Surrey, 17/03/201

Click on the picture of the presenters and a slider appears. Move slider to 1.39:40
In the interview you can hear how narrow but important the focus of my critique is. It is all about the unit shops rather than the restaurants, cinema, food store or housing. These other uses are much less location-sensitive and should be fine. These are my two main concerns:

1.Off-Pitch location
My contention, based on considerable experience and market knowledge, is that this location is completely “off-pitch” for mainstream retail and it can’t be fixed. Ms Potts doesn’t respond at all to this point.

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This isn’t true for retailers who have no re-generation agenda. They simply want the best available shop in the position of highest footfall. This isn’t East Street and never will be. Despite Ms Potts claims, a  new Cinema, restaurants and food store will not provide sufficient new daytime footfall to “anchor” the new comparison-goods unit shops. A smallish scheme, such as this, would only work as a well-connected extension to the existing “prime pitch”. The reality is that the Brightwells site suffers badly from being across a busy traffic junction and in the middle of a secondary shopping area with an existing high vacancy rate.

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2. SCC’s high-risk gamble with public money
Surrey County Council has chosen to invest in a scheme that has been passed over for 15 years by all the top industry investors. Doesn’t this fact alone tell you this is unwise and carries a very high risk? Its desire to invest in Surrey towns is laudable but not by taking on an un-viable scheme that the market has so firmly rejected?

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It seems that over 70% of the rent that is required to support the £30m commercial investment is dependent on letting the unit shops to leading multiples at very high rental levels, relative to the adjacent East Street pitch. When this doesn’t happen the value of the investment will plummet by at least this percentage.
The normal practice for such investments is for the developer to take the up-front risk. He does need to secure the end investor in principle. This enables the developer to obtain bank finance to build and let the scheme. However,the long-term investor gets a ready-made income on long leases – at or close to 100% let . The investor has a monitoring role during construction but doesn’t pay anything until letting is finalized.

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According to press reports, only 30% of the space needs to be let before the investment goes final. Apparently this threshold has already been reached with the Cinema, Restaurants and Food Store. This strongly suggests that SCC will have to make a full commitment to the investment with not a single unit shop let. Its development partners will be relatively secure but SCC is  therefore taking a huge gamble with public money!

With a new retail development, where retailers “hunt in packs”, it is pretty well all or nothing. I think the chances of leading retailers agreeing en-mass to go here are close to zero. My prediction is that it will open with twenty-two empty units with hoardings. This is going to be a big problem.
Councillors. Please pause now until you have a full understanding of these issues. You seem to be sleep-walking into a financial disaster. Nothing can now stop you but your own good judgement.
I’ve sent a similar e-mail to Waverley Borough Councillors.

Kind regards
Jim Duffy
Director

jduffy@addarchitects.co.uk

It’s finally happened – She’s Gone to Potts!

WE’RE GOING SLIGHTLY MAD – BUT WE ARE NOT THE ONLY ONES!

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What exactly is our  disingenuous  Leader of ‘Your Waverley’ on about? – She speaks triumphantly  of the recent High Court’s judgement on the Farnham Five’s Fight  as if it were  some sort of endorsement of ‘YW’s toxic partnership with Crest Nicholson and the merit of redeveloping Blightwells/ East Street Farnham.

We here at the Waverley Web thought we had gone – slightly mad when we heard her gloating about their success.  She actually had the bare faced cheek to speak  publicly of a judge who, she said, had made the ‘right decision for Farnham! For God’s sake woman, what does the judge know, or even want to know about redeveloping Farnham? His ruling was not about ” development in Farnham” it was about HIS, yes  HIS, interpretation of the law. And we don’t want to say too much about his interpretation  do we as he might stamp on us!!! UGH!!

“If you want to live and thrive let a spider run alive!!animated-spider-image-0157

YOU CHALLENGED  THE FARNHAM FIVE RIGHT TO HAVE   THEIR CASE HEARD? GOT IT!

Your gloating just  continues to alienate, even those Farnham residents, who actually support the scheme, by your preposterous, and ever more cynical misrepresentation of the facts.

It is quite simple – the judge, accepted Waverley’s argument that the claimants had no standing in law to have their case heard. Got it! – he ruled out their request to HAVE THE CASE HEARD. Why? Because – “they had no direct commercial or financial interest in the matter.” That’s WHY! The fact that another judge had come to a different conclusion in a Wincheser issue  just goes to show-  different Judge – different decision – the Law is an Ass!

So let’s face it Councillor Potts all you and Your Council have achieved is to evade any possibility of your shenanigans (we will call them that rather any stronger accusations) being examined in the cold harsh light of day in public at a Judicial Review. So all your nasty little secrets remain just that… unless of course… the WW knows different!

  • To retain some credibility, honesty and transparency in the eyes of the public. Produce the letter that was handed over to the Inspector at the Compulsory purchase Inquiry on the Marlborough Head? You know the letter that you prevented your democratically elected councillors from seeing? The one that gave the name of the funder – that you didn’t have in place – did you?

But the facts remain – You have given away Farnham land that was assigned a minimum value for ‘Your Waverley’ of £8.76million in 2003 but which is worth only £3.19m now!

What a great shame for Farnham residents and the rest of the Waverley borough that you were not given an opportunity to explain Why? at a Judicial Review?

Waverley triumphant!

We here at the Waverley Web – and quite a few others, judging by the e-mails we received at  mailto:contact@waverleyweb.org – didn’t actually find ‘Your Waverley’s’ triumphalism  over its David & Goliath win over Farnham’s Famous Five very edifying. As you will no doubt gather, neither did one of our  contributors pictured here!

We have in the past few hours received this Press Release from the Farnham Five and will post on this separately at a future date. Press Release on Ruling [4]

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However, its  Pyrrhic  victory over Farnham’s Fearless Ones may not boost their reputation in the eyes of all Waverley’s residents and it could, like Pyrrhus, suffer heavy losses ! 

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Just to recap – “Your Waverley” and its NBF – Crest Nicholson – joined forces and engaged top barristers – after being told by council members … ‘win and it doesn’t matter how much it costs’ to prevent  a bunch of pensioners even getting to a Judicial Review of the Blightwells Saga.

Of course it didn’t matter how much it cost did it? Because ‘Your Waverley”  was using our money to defend  a challenge brought by residents with their own,, and other Farnham residents’  money. So we make that paying twice! Or is that conclusion due to our heightened sense of humour?

Remember …  what ‘YW’ and its New Best Friend ‘CN” actually won, was merely the right to stop  FFFF’s – even getting to a Judicial Review because the Judge ruled out their right to challenge. (Well he would wouldn’t he – don’t want the voting fodder all over the country getting above themselves and actually believing they can challenge authority – do we? Whatever next! Anyone would think this was Cameron’s BIG SOCIETY!

 Oh! and before Gone to Potts (YW’s leader) goes on record humming and hahhing about how the challenge has delayed the East Street/Blightwells re-development – maybe she should look closer to home.

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So the  regeneration goes ahead . However –  before “YW” and its ‘NBF’ get too complacent about their bully boy tactics perhaps they should read the letter and article below which was sent to us by a Farnham architect with 30 years experience in retail development.

And, perhaps ‘Your Waverley” should consider this. – The problem with being a bully is that on the flip side of that particular coin, you’ll find the imprint of a coward!

Only time will tell if ‘Your Waverley – and its NBF – are heading for the slow motion car crash that many are predicting!  

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Will Farnham’s Fearless, Famous Five get their days in Court?

AS IT WILL SOON BE…

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Of course if “Your Waverley” hadn’t challenged the people’s right to a Judicial Review it would have probably been well under way by now…

Instead the town is in a sort of limbo… as the clock ticks awaiting the Court’s decision on the preliminary hearing to prove the claimant’s legal status. So the question on everyone’s lips is – “will  Farnham’s Famous Fearless Five” fall at the first fence – or – will they take the massive leap that will see them over the fence to stand face to face with local authority and developer giants at a Judicial Review.

Of course it could be a waste of the council taxpayers money – but “Your Waverley” couldn’t give a damn about that – after all there’s plenty more dosh  where that came from … isn’t there?

But the delay is not all bad for the angry and frustrated people of Farnham is it? Because although the perpetrators of the fight reached their target for its funding in just two months – others elsewhere in the borough are watching Farnham’s Fight – ready to pitch in with more!

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Because thanks to the Farnham Herald and the Waverley Web everyone in the borough can read all about it!

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 Because this is not just Farnham’s fight – it is the people of Waverley’s fight too.

 

 

 

 

Because:

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Here are the men and women who have had the guts to stand up for Farnham against the might of “Your Waverley” and its New Best Friend – Crest Nicholson.

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