Blightwell’s gets yet another bashing – but this time it comes from ‘The Yard’s’ very own developer – Crest Nicholson​.

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Do you think that now even Crest Nicholson is beginning to wish it had never heard of Farnham? And, that Wonersh resident and CN’s Chief Executive Patrick Bergin is hanging his head in shame at his company’s description of the Blightwells scheme!

What is happening to our towns and villages?

 

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Crest Nicholson said recently it expected profits before tax for the year to 31 October to be in the range of £170m/£190m, below its estimate of £204m, which was already below the previous year’s result of £207m.

Its Chief Financial Officer is stepping down from the board leaving the business in the hands of Chairman Stephen Stone and CEO  and Waverley resident Patrick Bergin taking the lead on a new strategy.

 

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Who exactly IS responsible for the Blightwells debacle?

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Here’s what one Farnham resident believes.

Sir,

— While feelings in Farnham, both among residents and the town’s many visitors, reflect a mixture of grief, anger and disbelief that we have allowed the catastrophe that is Brightwells to befall us, should we not reflect upon who exactly is responsible?

I don’t mean those that drew up the scheme in the first place since it was roundly and rightly rejected immediately by the Farnham public. But what about those that continue to support it now that it can be seen to be so completely outdated in concept and design and has proved to be a commercial flop before a single brick has been laid?

Latest in this group is Surrey County Council leader David Hodge, who has at the last minute committed £30 million of our money into dragging the scheme from the scrap heap where it belongs, having failed to raise any interest whatsoever from professional commercial investors?

In terms of council responsibility, it goes without saying that Waverley’s joint planning committee members cannot take all the blame since only eight of its current members actually live in Farnham against 38 that don’t (such is local democracy in our town these days), the latter presumably being only too pleased that schemes such as this don’t take place on their patch.

There are two local public servants, however, that do spring immediately to mind. The Right Hon Jeremy Hunt has maintained a complete and unforgivable silence on what is by far the most massive development ever to take place in Farnham, right in the heart of his constituency, arousing many querulous inquiries as to his motives. Then there is Julia Potts, leader of Waverley Council, who has remained pugnaciously opposed to any criticism of the scheme and immune to the deafening public outcry against it.

For Crest Nicholson’s part. a name familiar to those that attended the 2013 meeting to approve the compulsory purchase and closure of The Marlborough Head pub will be Chris Tinker, the company’s major projects chairman. His evidence’of commercial funding about to be confirmed for the project tipped the Government Inspector in favour of the purchase so allowing the project to proceed, a promise that evaporated as quickly as it had appeared.

Then finally there is Pam Alexander CBE. Ms Alexander is chairman of something called Design Council CABE whose raison d’être is to ensure that developers provide us with decent, appropriate, popular and well-designed schemes. CABE’s website states that “crucial to inclusive design is consultation with user groups, putting people who represent a diversity of age, ability, gender and community at the heart of the design process” and that “the effect (that such schemes) will have on the surrounding landscape and its distinctive historical and cultural context has to be evaluated as do the implications for the area’s circulation patterns, neighbouring activities and property uses. The views and sensitivities of the surrounding community should also be given weight”.

It is impossible to imagine a scheme less in line with the stated aims of CABE or with the needs and aspirations of a community such as Farnham than Crest Nicholson’s monstrous and destructive Brightwells development. One is led to wonder what convinced Ms Alexander to keep her eyes and ears so firmly closed with regard to the scheme during the six-year period to January this year while she was employed by Crest Nicholson as a non executive director on a ‘fee’ of 50,000 per annum, so making a mockery of her position at CABE.

So there we have it, my list of the wanted. Would it not be appropriate to spend the £100,000 pounds promised by Waverley and Crest on ‘public art’ for their scheme on a fitting monument of some kind to these people? Suggestions welcome. For starters, what about an edition of ‘Wanted’ posters to decorate the new East Farnham Wall that now surrounds the site …?

Andrew Jones, Fox Yard, Farnham

 

 

Quelle surprise! The Bats​ have abandoned Blightwells – just in time for demolition​ to begin​?

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The bat population of Brightwells packed their belongings and left … all in the name of progress?

Waverley planners are not bats, they are devious, dishonourable, and don’t even obey their own YES men/women!

Farnham Cinema (GONE), Farnham Theatre (GONE), Open Air Swimming Pool (GONE), Trees (GONE), Tennis Courts (GONE), Bowling Green (GONE), BATS (GONE)

BLIGHTWELLS COTTAGE (GOING, GOING…

All sacrificed on the altar of developer/local authority greed? Will the batty decision made last night see Farnham’s Bats result in the same fate for the fall of this historic town as that predicted if the Ravens leave the Tower of London?

 

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The Ravens of the Tower of London are a group of at least six captive ravens which live at the Tower of London. Their presence is traditionally believed to protect the Crown and the tower; a superstition holds that “if the Tower of London ravens are lost or fly away, the Crown will fall and Britain with it”.

Despite a prediction by Councillor Carole Cockburn of “traffic chaos” – but, all in a good cause – and claims by Farnham Residents Councillor Gerry Hyman that Waverley continues breaking the  law by not carrying out proper environmental, traffic and air quality assessments, it is now full speed ahead, for a development which has been in gestation for over 20 years.

By the way, who did bosh the bats? Set fire to the Ivy at The Redgrave Theatre? Was it Adam or was it Eve?

The demolition of Brightwell’s Cottage, complete with its bats, “which don’t exist” according to CONFIDENTIAL reports, and if they do, will be encouraged to live on boxes up appropriately coloured bat poles, can now proceed unhindered.  In fact, the perfectly phased development will take place at exactly the same time as the demolition of  Farnham’s “most hated building” The Woolmead which is also set to commence this month. From that development alone 80 HGV movements a day are anticipated through Farnham.  The Surrey-based demolition and groundworks specialist Wooldridge Group said: “We are pleased to share with you a new contract awarded to Wooldridge Demolition, in Farnham, Surrey. Multiple commercial and retail units to be cleared for residential properties and more shops. 

So works on the Woolmead will clash with the construction of Waverley Borough Council’s adjacent ‘Brightwells Yard’ development!

Brilliant co-ordinated planning that? Wonder how many more Farnham shops will close?

The 11-week lane closure on the A31 has now begun and the construction of Brightwells’ temporary access bridge. Waverley’s development partner Crest Nicholson estimates more than 200 HGV movements – on average three a day required to undertake the works. Add this to the 80 HGV movements per day Berkeley Homes estimates will be required during the four-month demolition of the nearby Woolmead, with around 2,000 HGV movements in total expected during the initial basement excavation phase of around eight months. Result = chaos?

 Berkeley Homes was granted full planning permission in July to replace The Woolmead, with a new block of 138 apartments (non-affordable) above more than 4,000 square metres of shops and restaurants.

Even throwing a last-minute spanner into the works by suggesting that Crest Nicholson may not legally own, or have a legal interest in the land in Borelli Walk required for the bridge, did not deter the Tory-dominated council from giving the go-ahead by 17 votes to one last night – Wednesday. In fact, Oh Carole suggested the meeting to discuss the issue was a waste of everyone’s time  accusing  a colleague of using ‘delaying tactics.’

However, the committee was forced to concede,  if it was found that the developer did not have a legal interest in the site. Permission would be refused for what officers described “as the minor non-material amendment” to a development which  Leader Julia Potts said was as put a new heart into Farnham Town Centre.

Where exactly is Farnham’s beating heart?

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Why the hell Waverley planning experts couldn’t determine that little legal loophole before the meeting is anyone’s guess? It’s only taken 20 years to get a financial backer for a scheme which has been hoiked around the City and shunned by private investors for so long, it has become as stale as last month’s kippers! And despite the stink kicked up by Farnham people, Surrey County Council and Pension Fund Trustee and WBC councillor Denise Le Gal –  rescued our rotten borough with over £30m of OUR MONEY.

One financially strapped council bales out another?

But fear not Officers including Betty Boot said repeatedly – “we are satisfied” with our recommendation to approve this minor amendment so the bridge can now be constructed from the A31, and, “I am satisfied” we are acting legally, and “I am satisfied” that bat’s don’t exist in Blightwells and, “I am satisfied” with all the Environmental Impact Assessments and the CONFIDENTIAL bat surveys.

 She’s satisfied so that’s ok then, Isn’t it?

Here’s what one of our followers had to say: “Apparently the last look at the Maternity Roost had cobwebs and little to suggest recent occupation – I wonder Why???

It isn’t difficult to scare Bats they are timid gentle creatures …. But they do come back to roost eventually… and something better than those Cr*ppy Bat roosts should have been insisted on regardless of the state of the Maternity Roost in the Cottage.
They simply do not care.

 

Has Hambledon’s Holder’s thrown a hand grenade into the​ future viability of ‘Blightwells Yard’ in Farnham?

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Here’s our sticker book!

And below is one Farnham resident’s thoughts. Brightwells_storecounter

Sir,

– In July this year, the Government published a review of the problems facing retail in town centres. The Grimsey Review Part 2 had a title which said it all: The Vanishing High Street.

For the first time, we have been able to hear something of these concerns expressed openly in the Waverley Council chamber. Last week there was a meeting concerning the borough’s economic strategy, which has been recorded and is available to see on Waverley’s website (Tuesday, September 11’s meeting of customer services and VFMO).

Here’s an excerpt: Has Hambledon’s Holder become a bit bolder or is he just demob happy as he prepares to leave ‘Your Waverley?

Councillor Holder raised several significant issues at the meeting, one of which indirectly is of concern to Farnham. His suggestion was that the chief executive should draw up plans if Surrey County Council should cease to exist and be replaced with four new unitary authorities. We have to question that in such an event, whether Surrey’s demise would place Crest Nicholson Sainsbury’s Brightwells scheme in jeopardy? The Farnham Theatre Association (FTA) understands from Waverley leader, Julia Potts that legal documents have been signed to the effect that Surrey County Council will meet the cost of the retail element of the scheme, once the development is completed.

Possibly to allay Waverley’s fears that its long-cherished Brightwells/East Street scheme might fail, councillor Holder has another plan up his sleeve. He has invited the Chinese Cultural Attache to visit Waverley with the assistance of Mrs Lucia Hunt (wife of our MP). She will address the Chinese delegation in mandarin to explain what Waverley has to offer Chinese tourists. Demonstrably, she will be able to explain that there is a wealth of beautiful scenery and historic architecture, but of course, no public theatre. Councillor Holder’s declared aim is to boost tourism in the borough and to bring visitors to our failing town centres. Could he possibly be considering Farnham with its Brightwells problem and that Chinese money might be the answer to the conundrum?

An open letter of mine was published in the Farnham Herald some weeks ago, which asked for thoughts and ideas about what would be best for Farnham if the retail element of the Brightwells development failed. FTA has always been clear. We propose a combined theatre/cinema operation as the focus for Brightwells (as described in the Farnham Society’s 2016 concept: Brightwells Restored). As the only purpose-built venue of this kind in Waverley, it could attract visitors and tourists to the whole borough, in support of our retail traders. Does anyone have better ideas? If so, please let us hear them!

Anne Cooper, (Farnham Theatre Association chairman), Nutshell Lane, Upper Hale

Waverley Brightwells sticker book launched!

Waverley Web has launched the Blightwells Sticker Book – inspired by the recent article by Julia Potts in ‘Your Waverley’. We’ll keep the book updated every time a store is announced! Isn’t Sainsbury’s already there? And isn’t ASK closing restaurants? 

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We here at WW were inspired by David Quick and his desire to get an answer from Julia Potts following the publication of ‘Your Waverley’ the borough’s very own newsletter – once called ‘Making Waves’ which underwent a makeover as the name was considered inappropriate as it sounded too confrontational!

Because he couldn’t get a pip or a squeak out of Julia Potts he was forced to turn to contact the developer Crest Nicholson direct. So let’s crowdsource the sticker book so we can keep the good people of Farnham updated!

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The Potty one is “so excited” that the redevelopment at Blightwells has begun.

 

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I’m so excited – I almost Pirates of Penzance.

 

We nearly fell off our Web with helpless laughter as we hung suspended in a dark and dusty corner of Farnham this week – and we could hear the chuckles reverberating through the town.

Are we – Waverley taxpayers’ paying good money in council tax for this drivel to be printed by ‘Your Waverley’s’ spin machine called – ‘Your Waverley.’

Because if it was OUR Waverley ‘Your Waverley’ would be listening to the opposition that is rearing its head ever higher to us with the “vibrant new scene”  about to land in our midst!

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• Bridge over the River Wey

Trees have been cleared along the A31 to make way for a new bridge across the River Wey, which will take construction traffic away from the town during the main works starting in 2019. Hoarding will go up around the site in August and there will be traffic management measures on the A3l, reducing to one lane and reducing the speed limit from 50 to 44 miles an hour until Christmas.

• Walk this Wey

To make way for the scheme there are also some planned footpath closures. The footpath that runs behind Dogflud Car Park, between South Street and the Leisure Centre is closed and re-routed. From 6 August until March 2019, Borelli Walk will close so the bridge can be built. New access schemes will be created within the completed scheme.

• New Wey in

Dogflud Car Park will be closed during the construction phase and will be upgraded, along with South Street Car Park, to provide modern accessible and safe parking. Other benefits include an additional £l.4 million to improve traffic flows at key junctions in the town centre, a new park and stride scheme and upgraded public transport infrastructure.

The leader of the Council and Portfolio Holder for Brightwells. Councillor Julia Potts, was so excited she put on her best bonnet and said:

“I am so excited that work has now started to progress the scheme and residents can see that things are happening. Once the hoarding is up and the bridge starts to get built there will be some disruption but I hope that people will see that it will be worth it in the long term. Farnham is desperate for a cinema, new homes and a retail offer”.

What a load of drivel. 

Blightwells here we come!!

And guess where the developer’s money’s going? … To fund improvements to Godalming and Farnham Leisure Centres and build a new £12.7m centre in Cranleigh New Town!

 

WHY? Because there’s an election coming!

 

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We couldn’t have put it better ourselves Neil!

 

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Need a job?

 

 

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How did Waverley Conservatives manage to shrink the Brightwells dividend so much?

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Or Perhaps as an alternative headline as suggested by Farnham’s Laurence Garner in this letter to the brilliant Farnham Herald…and which has been sent to us.

 Council taxpayers ‘royally swindled’

Sir,
On the front page of your July 19 edition, you quote councillor Julia Potts boasting that there was ‘money in the bank’: £3.2 million from Crest Nicholson. Your older readers may recall that when Waverley decided in 2002 to award the contract to Crest Nicholson they boasted that there would be £20 million for the council to spend.
It was on this basis that the council over-rode the wishes of the people – expressed in a public consultation – and awarded the project to Crest Nicholson. Since then the value of the land shrank to eight-and-a-half before finally shrinking mysteriously to three-and-a-half million.
Up until 1973, Brightwells Gardens was the property of the people of Farnham, a pleasant amenity: mature trees, shady lawns with park benches and flower beds, a tennis court, a bowling green, and originally an open-air swimming pool; a pleasant spot in the heart of the town.
This was gifted, in a moment of folly, to WBC. After the agreement with Crest, the garden was deliberately degraded by Waverley to an unsightly slum, the bowling green trashed, the tennis courts wrecked, the gardens neglected before finally being sold to Crest Nicholson. They now have the impudence to call the Brightwells scheme a ‘regeneration’.
Councillor Potts neglected to mention that the £3.2 million must be off-set against the £4 million spent by WBC to buy The Marlborough Head public house and the £3.2 million spent on the Gostrey Centre extension to the Memorial Hall – a project originally to be built by Crest at Brightwells at their expense.
The fact is that the council tax payers of Farnham, and all Waverley, have been royally swindled by WBC, whether by design or through incompetence, it really doesn’t matter.
Laurence Carter, Wykeham Road. Farnham

However, what he omits to say is the council also allowed the Gostrey Centre for the elderly to deteriorate over many years. In fact, if a well-intentioned chef hadn’t reported the disgraceful state of the kitchen to Waverley’s own environmental health officers, it would have been forced to close down much earlier. But allowing it to deteriorate fitted in nicely with ‘Your Waverley’s cunning plans!

Yolande Hesse has written.

Sir,
On the front page of your July 19 edition, you quote councillor Julia Potts boasting that there was ‘money in the bank’: £3.2 million from Crest Nicholson. Your older readers may recall that when Waverley decided in 2002 to award the contract to Crest Nicholson they boasted that there would be £20 million for the council to spend.
It was on this basis that the council over-rode the wishes of the people – expressed in a public consultation – and awarded the project to Crest Nicholson. Since then the value of the land shrank to eight-and-a-half before finally shrinking mysteriously to three-and-a-half million.
Up until 1973, Brightwells Gardens was the property of the people of Farnham, a pleasant amenity: mature trees, shady lawns with park benches and flower beds, a tennis court, a bowling green, and originally an open-air swimming pool; a pleasant spot in the heart of the town.
This was gifted, in a moment of folly, to WBC. After the agreement with Crest, the garden was deliberately degraded by Waverley to an unsightly slum, the bowling green trashed, the tennis courts wrecked, the gardens neglected before finally being sold to Crest Nicholson. They now have the impudence to call the Brightwells scheme a ‘regeneration’.
Councillor Potts neglected to mention that the £3.2 million must be off-set against the £4 million spent by WBC to buy The Marlborough Head public house and the £3.2 million spent on the Gostrey Centre extension to the Memorial Hall – a project originally to be built by Crest at Brightwells at their expense.
The fact is that the council tax payers of Farnham, and all Waverley, have been royally swindled by WBC, whether by design or through incompetence, it really doesn’t matter.
Laurence Carter, Wykeham Road. Farnham

Waverley planners are not bats, they are devious, dishonourable​​, and don’t even obey their own YES men/women!

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BETTY PUTS THE BOOT IN ON BLIGHTWELLS BATS and the Farnham residents who mourn for the town!

Well, Councillors Follows; Townsend; Hyman and Ward are you going to sit back and accept the duplicity of your planning officers, you know, the ones you employ to do the bidding of the elected representatives of the public?

Didn’t you witness the request by your colleagues on the Joint Planning Committee to add a condition to Crest Nicholsons’s Planning application No  Screen Shot 2018-06-25 at 17.53.11.png

A Condition that would protect the bats in the “Maternity Wing” of Blightwells Cottage and anywhere else on the Farnham East Street site? A CONDITION Not an Informative? An informative that just reminds CNS that it is an offence to disturb protected species under the wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 should a protected species be found during the course of the works!

Stop work?!

Wanna bet no bats will be found there?  But if its alright with Bet the Boot – then its all legal and above board… isn’t it?

It’s official – Waverley Planners have gone Bats!

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The Farnham Society turns the spotlight on Blightwells and the town’s future but why airbrush out The Redgrave Theatre!

Has the Farnham Society dropped a brick?

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 The Farnham Society’s recent video about East Street/Brightwells has prompted a response from Anne Cooper, chairman of the Farnham Theatre Association. This e-mail has been forwarded to all the  FTA contacts including the Waverley Web.  Anne urges everyone to view this Youtube video which is about a better future for Farnham. Please make your own comments about the film – not just to refer to Anne Cooper’s response. 

Wherever you live in Waverley – please take five minutes to watch this important film. One of our historic towns is under threat and th bulldozers are moving in!

Dear Farnham Society,

Congratulations on making this film, which will be seen by a very wide
audience. I hope it will bring changes for a better future for Farnham.

However – and you will know what I am about to say – WHY IS THERE NO
MENTION OF THE DESTRUCTION OF THE REDGRAVE AND THE POTENTIAL THAT A
THEATRE CAN BRING TO A TOWN CENTRE? Between the years when Crest
Nicholson’s first planning application appeared in 2006 and its most
recent applications, the loss of the theatre brought in just over half
the total number of the many thousands of objections. FTA led the way in
2006 by standing on the streets with objections to the demolition of the
theatre and people formed queues to sign. The Farnham Herald has a
picture of Jeremy Hunt ppc supporting a placard saying ” Sign here.
Save Your Theatre!” He knew what a popular issue it was.

Recently FTA met Waverley’s CEO Tom Horwood and Julia Potts. Tom
Horwood said he was very well aware that High Streets everywhere are
struggling and that people no longer want to come away from a town
centre with just purchases as they want experiences too. We said that
is why we want a theatre and he agreed.

The film’s silence on the emotive subject of the demolition of the
theatre is blatant. It apes Waverley’s revisionist tendency in trying
to write the Redgrave out of history, as though it never happened.
There seems to be a fear that any mention of a revived Redgrave would
undermine Farnham Maltings. How wrong that is! The Maltings could
expand its operations with access to a purpose-built theatre designed to
attract audiences. Now, that is a future worth contemplating.

With best regards,

Anne Cooper

Farnham Theatre Association Chairman

This Farnham lady wants her brick back!