CPRE rebrand to focus on the countryside rather than brownfield sites.
A recent press release from the CPRE presented their “eye-catching new look, inspired by the colours and shapes of our countryside”.
CPRE have realised that:
“CPRE can be perceived as negative, and this can put potential supporters off, even if they love the countryside.”
“As a result, you’ll begin to notice a change tone from CPRE, as we focus more on the positive solutions that we have always tried to create. This is underpinned by our new strategic aims – to ‘connect people and countryside’, ‘promote rural life’ and ‘empower communities’ – that your comments helped us develop.”
The Waverley Web wonders if…
Perhaps this will filter down to the Local Group, who can focus on the countryside and the threats to the beautiful Surrey Hills, rather than the borough’s largest Brownfield site, the centre of Waverley’s economic strategy, and now a Garden Village status.
In three short paragraphs, Waverley’s new Deputy Leader has put the kybosh on CPRE and POW’s fantasy of working with the new Waverley Dream Team in order to quash Waverley BC’s requirement to take a share of Woking BC’s unmet housing need.
In less than a month since taking over at Waverley, Councillor Paul Follows has met with Anthony Isaacs and Bob Lies, (CPRE & POW’s head honchos respectively), listened to their arguments, assessed their plan and found it wanting.
No surprises there then!
Whilst the Waverley Web entirely understands the New Broom’s desire to be seen to be listening to the voices of dissent, it didn’t take him long to detect and highlight the holes in the dastardly duo’s argument, which leaks like a colander.
No doubt Messrs Isaacs and Lies won’t take a blind bit of notice of Councillor Follow’s pithy assessment of the risks they are running. Why would they? After all, it’s not their money they’re frittering away on feckless and frivolous arguments. Not on your nelly! It’s ours – the poor, beleaguered Waverley Council Tax Payers’!
And for those of you who are still under the illusion that these bumbling buffoons only have the best interests of the residents of Waverley at heart, let us attempt to reset your perception:
• CPRE & POW claim they are seeking to remove the Woking unmet need number and not quash the whole of the Local Plan.
• The problem with that, as Councillor Follows pointed out in his recent letter to them, is that the Court is highly unlikely to get involved in setting housing numbers.
• The Court of Appeal’s task is simply to consider whether the Inspector and, subsequently, the High Court Judge erred in law in how they applied the Woking unmet need amount to Waverley.
• If the Court of Appeal decides that they did err, it will remit the decision back to an Inspector and the process will begin all over again!
Meanwhile, all reasonable and sensible advice leads to the conclusion that this high stakes strategy carries a very real risk of:
• increasing, not decreasing the future target • strengthening the argument in favour of consenting the planning appeals against Waverley in the short term • increasing the uncertainty that currently surrounds the draft Local Plan as a result of the appeals.
Of course most people – including councillors – are concerned about the housing targets and housing delivery in the Borough but the difference between them and CPRE and POW is that they aren’t engaged in a game of high stakes Russian roulette with other peoples’ money!
Suffice to say if Messrs Isaacs and Lies’ great gamble doesn’t pay off they are going to be as popular in Waverley as skunks that have rolled in fox poo!
The Deputy Waverley leader’s response ( below). The hearing on Monday 24th June will bewebcast here, so pull up a chair and bring some biscuits! The background of the case is on theCourt site here.
The fight to reduce the housing requirement for the whole of Waverley continues!
So here goes another shedload of our council taxpayers’ money going down the proverbial legal eagle’s pan?
Out of the cupboard come all the Rollicking Rumpole’s wigs, as they measure their briefs by the metre in readiness for yet another High Court drama between the Campaign for The Preservation of Rural England, Protect Our Waverley and ‘Your Waverley.’
Yesterday CPRE/ POW were granted leave to appeal from the Court of Appeal against the judgment delivered in November concerning the housing requirement set in Waverley Borough Council’s Local Plan Part 1. That November judgement said that the housing requirement of 590 a year should be maintained, including 83 to cover Woking’s perceived “unmet need”.
So ‘YW’ may have to build 498 fewer homes and no doubt POW/CPRE hope that will rule out Phase 2 at Dunsfold, as it certainly won’t want to stop development on the countryside – will they?
The appeal centres on how a shortfall in housing provision – unmet need – in one borough is allocated to neighbouring boroughs. The clarification of this issue has implications not just for Waverley but for Guildford and across the country. The Right Honourable Lord Justice Singh said:
“I am persuaded by the Appellants skeleton arguments that there is a compelling reason why these two appeals should proceed, namely the general importance of the issues of principle raised.It appears from those skeleton arguments that they have not been considered at the level of the Court of Appeal and it seems to me that they should be.”
This latest appeal comes against the background of two important changes. First, Woking Borough Council has declared that it now has no unmet need. Second, new demographic numbers recently released by the Office for National Statistics imply a much-reduced need for new housing.
Dunsfold resident Bob Lees said“This is great news! It provides Waverley Borough Council with a golden opportunity to significantly reduce the mandatory number of new houses to be built in the Borough over the next 14 years. POW fought against the housing requirement at the Examination of the Plan in the Council Chamber. POW fought again in the High Court. POW will fight in the Court of Appeal.
POW is fighting to protect our Waverley against unneeded development of our towns, of our villages and in our beautiful countryside.”
Well – if you believe that you will believe in fairies! Because this has nothing to do with protecting Waverley – it is all about preventing development on the largest brownfield site in the borough close to the home of Bob Lies, and his running-mate Little Britton who both spitting distance from Dunsfold Park. A development which was .given the go-ahead by the High Court in November. POW is still smarting from this decision
Dunsfold Park is now preparing its Masterplan – which includes 1,800 homes. The First Phase of the total of 2,300 in the Waverley Local Plan.
Remember – you heard it here first. This post will be updated throughout the day.
Dunsfold Deja-vu. The WW has been saying this for a very long time.
IT AIN’T OVER UNTIL…
Sadly we have not yet received an official comment from Protect Our Waverley or the Campaign for the Preservation of Rural England – so instead we have used this as it might just sum up their feelings. Or, of course, they could all be heading for The Supreme Court or The Pope…?
A full report of the Judge’s decision will follow. Including her ruling on whether or not Protect Our Waverley has been awarded a limit on its costs to just £10,000 under the Aarhus Convention legislation – (People for Justice).
The Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (or some parts of it!) has been refused Leave to Appeal by the Judge. It will have to pay £10,000 in costs as it had Aarhus protection.
However, POW has not been quite so fortunate. Its cap on costs was increased by the Judge from £10,000 to £30,000. This still leaves US the Waverley taxpayers with a big hole in their pockets!
LATEST NEWS – THEY AIN’T GIVING UP UNTIL EVEN MORE OF THE TAXPAYERS’ MONEY GOES DOWN THE PAN!! But surely someone somewhere is going to have these people up for vexation litigation. Even the Judge knows nothing now!
The phone lines between Waverley East and West hummed last night as those who attended the first day of the High Court battle between PoW and it’s bosom buddies CPRE versus Waverley Borough Council and the Secretary of State chewed the fat over the wires.
It was Ground Hog Day with all the usual suspects present and correct in Court 76 – the same tired old room in the nether regions of the High Court that hosted the first Hearing earlier in the year. WW just hung on in there…
Cast List La Potts was a resplendent Josephine in a technicolour dream coat boasting colours of the rainbow – red and yellow and green and blue … and put the more conservative Liz-the-Biz, Daniel Bainbridge, Tom Horwood and Paul Fellows in the shade. Although Denise Le Gal, Waverley’s Mayor, did her best to rival La Potts by turning up late in Leopard Print!
Alan & Sarah Ground – still, to their chagrin, of The Old Rectory on The Green. Regular readers will be aware they’ve been trying to flog their Dunsfold pile since March but, sadly for them, there are no takers. That’s what happens when you spend 15 years dissing your neighbours. You’d have thought they’d have realised that given their collaborator in Stop Dunsfold Park New Town (Rupert Howell of Trinity Mirror and Sorry Advertiser fame) has been trying and failing to sell his bigger and better pile, adjacent to the airfield, on and off for years now.
Bob Lies, CEO of Protect our Little Corner, huddled on the back bench next to instructing solicitors.
John Jefferies, a PoW supporter, rocked up late and plonked himself down next to Dunsfold Park’s legal team. Had the boot been on the other foot, you can bet your bottom dollar, PoW would have been hollering ‘Spys in the camp’from the High Court turrets but the Dunsfold Developer clearly couldn’t give a toss.
The Judge, refreshing young – not in the first flush, we understand, but young for a member of the judiciary – was female and clearly mistress of her brief and keen to lose no time in getting the ball rolling.
First up was The Grinch – oops! we mean The Stinch – on behalf of Protect our Little Corner.
Predictably, he had nothing new to say and bored the pants off everyone by harking back – yet again – to 2009 when permission to develop housing at Dunsfold Park was ‘emphatically refused’ because the site was ‘inherently unsustainable’. Oh, change the record do! The world’s moved on since 2009 but, clearly, The Stinch hasn’t. All his harking-back revealed he had nothing new to say and was relying on old arguments that have been repeatedly and soundly rebuffed, thrown out both by Waverley’s Planners and the Secretary of State no less.
By mid-morning, we’re told, even the Judge had had enough and was beginning to bore of his arguments. The Stinch bandied numbers around like confetti as he tried to justify his badly mangled argument which boiled down to PoW’s contention that Inspector Bore had started with the wrong figure in relation to Woking Borough Council’s unmet need and because the figure was wrong he had no business allocating 50% of it to Waverley. The Judge seemed unconvinced, questioning whether The Stinch was trying to argue that a 50:50 split on its own was wrong in law?
PoW looked pained as the Judge sliced and diced The Stinch’s waffle and cut to the chase. They weren’t remotely interested in Waverley’s housing numbers per se, they were simply interested in stopping housing development at Dunsfold Park, at any cost, and if crying foul over housing numbers helped them achieve that goal that was all they cared about, regardless of the outcome for the rest of the Borough which could well end up without the protection of a Local Plan by the time they’re finished!
Then up came Mr Westway on behalf of the Campaign to Protect Rural England – that’s the bunch who’s nationwide cri de coeur is ‘Brownfield first’ everywhere … except at Dunsfold! They’d rather Waverley built all over green fields and greenbelt than laid a single brick on the Borough’s largest brownfield site.
If the Judge was bored by The Stinch, her Clerk’s eyes glazed over listening to Mr Westway. Indeed, so did everyone else, when the Judge livened things up by accusing Mr Westway of ‘trying to argue the inarguable’ and levying ‘very unfair criticism at Inspector Bore’but Mr Westway was unrepentant and well and truly cooked his goose when the Judge explained to him, very gently, that she knew where he was coming from and where he was trying to get to and he really didn’t need to spell out every single syllable of his argument for her as she had – ahem – read her brief! Unfortunately, the Patronising Puppy didn’t take the hint, droning on for another hour. By the end of his oration, the Grounds were dozing on each other’s shoulder, Bob Lies had his head in his hands and those on the opposing side had given up all pretence of polite attention and were busily tapping away on their ipads, catching up on the day job.
Wayne Beglan, for Waverley Borough Council, finally got to his feet mid-afternoon but the main thrust of his argument and that of the Secretary of State and the Dunsfold Developer will have to wait until today.
What of Aarhus we hear you ask? We know many of you are very anxious to know if you, the Waverley Council Tax Payer, will have to pick up Protect our Little Corner’s costs or whether the Judge will rule – as Waverley Borough Council and the Secretary of State contend – they pick up their own. The Judge deferred this decision to the end of the Hearing, at which point we understand Capt’n Bob and his cohort, Chris Britten, rushed for the loos, leaving skid marks in their wake!
Who knows, by this time tomorrow it could be mi casa es su casa! And if that’s the case maybe Messrs Lies and Britten will bugger off and bother some other borough!
Or maybe not, for rumour has it Protect our Little Corner is still being incredibly reticent about the source of its funding and the mutter in the gutter is that’s because another local developer has been funding them in order to knock out Dunsfold Park thus ensuring his own plans to develop other sites elsewhere in the borough – Godalming – stand a better chance of success …
To be continued … gossip and South-West trains willing!!!