Say Waverley’s Opposition groups and parties.
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
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!
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?
This cosy little get-together was almost inaudible , nobody was named, (no names – no pack-drill, as they used to say to us in the army), and the sound reception was awful. The only plus – web watchers were able to see the whole meeting which is more than can be said for most webcasts at Waverley Towers these days. Did they buy the new equipment on E-Bay? It has not gone unnoticed here at the Waverley Web that the committees set up to ensure backbenchers get a chance to apply the essential checks and balances that are required for good governance, were poked away in a committee room with no web casting throughout the summer. Thankfully, Incy Wincy hanging in the dark and dusty corners, was able listen in. Heaven help us when they start clening properly!
If ‘Your Waverley’ can’t sort out the basics, how is it going to set up an investment company which aspires to invest up to £250 million of our money! Still WW gives them ten out of ten for trying.
So forgive us, as we attempt here to pick out the bones of the latest Overview & Scrutiny meeting.
Firstly, for background: ‘Your Waverley’ decided in July to create a property company to invest ‘our money’ in residential and commercial property. OK so far? The rationale is to bridge the gap in the council’s deteriorating finances. If it doesn’t do something it will be £2.8m in the red in three years and then … bankrupt.
Chairman John Williamson said “the [committee] is picking over the bones whilst the animal is dying.. if we continue with what we are doing we are going to end up bankrupt” 1:57.20 in the clip above.
Many councils are well ahead of Waverley in playing the Casino game. Surrey County Council has invested £300/400 million on various ventures for a 1% return. Yippee – let’s all go down to Bet Fred with our winnings.
Surrey and Waverley Councillor Peter Martin said Waverley is suffering similar problems to the county council: ‘At Surrey first we cut out the fat, then the muscle and now we are now down to the bone.’ “I have no magical ideas. – the situation we are in is shocking it appears Surrey’s the victim and it is quite preposterous – we have to put up council tax by 6% just to stand still or find more savings – it’s OUTRAGEOUS and we have told the Government – UP WITH THIS, WE WILL NOT PUT.’
Negative Rate Support Grant – Surrey MP and chancellor Phillip Hammond is not only scrapping the central government grant to councils – he is asking for cash back of £800,000 from Waverley. Whilst Peter Martin says Surrey has lobbied the Surrey Tory MPs who all say that’s terrible, they won’t do anything about it.
Well, how mean is that! Because, if they won’t listen to a true blue Tory – why would they listen to us!
Nothing to worry about there then!
Jaws dropped when Councillor Nick Holder mentioned that Surrey County Council had invested THREE BILLION POUNDS IN PROPERTY AROUND THE COUNTRY, a figure that was quickly scotched by Waverley and SCC Councillor Peter Martin who said it was only between £3 – £400 million which was, currently producing an income of 1%. Phew!
Before appointing external specialists and external advisors, the Overview & Scrutiny Committee was asked to agree the way forward.
Councillor Peter Martin saw no reason for a Business Plan – as the most important thing was to just ‘borrow cheap to invest.’ Councillor Ged Hall suggested ‘if the right thing comes up, we’ll snap it up.’ Perhaps they should remember this banner headline.
Councillors John Gray, Stephen Mulliner and Mike Band, John Williamson were far more circumspect believing A business plan was essential and saying they had some ‘very real concerns’ about the current economic climate, suggesting investments should be mostly local, where local knowledge could prove invaluable.
Councillor Holder suggested others should follow the lead of Godalming Town Council and raise more income themselves. It had borrowed from the Public Works Board (what they themselves were suggesting earlier in Item 1 on the Agenda ) to fund the rebuilding and extension of the Wilfred Noyce Hall as they were making a profit out of it. When he started reeling off figures he was reminded by Chairman John Wilkinson ‘not to read out the legal bits as the meeting was being webcast.’ Worry not Councillor W – it was practically impossible to hear the illegal legal bits!!
‘When we switch over later I’ll come back to it said Solicitor Daniel Bainbridge’.
Perhaps the WW should mention that making a profit on the approximate £900,000 investment is not entirely true. Bearing in mind the low interest rates and increase in council tax, tax payers over time are expected to pay off the loan over 20 years.
Stephen Mulliner cautioned – everyone, that if the properties purchased remained empty, they would still have to pay council tax to someone and issued another warning about Waverley’s parlous state.
The Chairman said this was the biggest decision WBC would make for a decade, and it was essential both governance and all the necessary checks and balances were in place. The Committee agreed to tell its Executive it had not provided it with enough detail.
Sadly, unlike Farnham, there was no Residents’ Group standing in the recent county council elections in the East of Waverley.
Despite one of the most acrimonious internal fights being played within the Guildford Conservative Association to oust the sitting councillor – Alan Young, there was no Independent voice to capitalise on the opportunity this presented.
The mutter in the Ewhurst gutter confirms that it was Matron Milton , and friends, who worked to kick out the ‘popular’ Mr Young, (one of his supporter’s words, not ours!) He wanted to continue representing the Eastern villages along with his wife Victoria, known locally as Queen Vic. Who incidentally was voted back in the Eastern villages, by opposing development at Dunsfold and supporting development in Cranleigh and Ewhurst!
However, after blood was spent and venom disgorged in bucket loads the chosen one – Andrew Povey – a former Leader of Surrey County Council, romped home after trousering 2,098 votes, a thousand more than his nearest rival Lib Dem Richard Cole. He now sits among many of the colleagues who took a vote of no confidence in his leadership six years ago and threw him out!
Ah well! All’s fair in the world of backstabbing POLITICS, and who better to get to grips with SCC’s Leader Hodge the bodge than his old adversary? Do we see blood spilled at County Towers?
However in Farnham it was a very different story. The Residents’ Group had plenty to smile about. Having pushed the voting fodder around for years, the townsfolk bit back at “Your Waverley” and “Your County Council’ and threw out two Tory councillors, and only narrowly avoided bagging a third seat.
`Now, we hear on the Waverley grapevine that the rumblings in the East at the way townsfolk there have, and continue to be, treated by ‘YW’ has reached a roar!
When folk turn out for the a public meeting called by the Civic Society on Thursday 25th May there may be another residents army preparing to march into the 2018 Waverley Borough Council elections.
WHY? Because voters feel they can no longer influence decisions, and are fed up with being patronised and ignored.
But in Farnham – they have already voted with their feet and they won!
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 
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 !
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.
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!
They’ll do it their way.
Following the unedifying great big row that has been going on over there in the East of Waverley – we’ve been thinking about the huge role politics now plays in local government at its grass-roots.
In happier times – local parish councils and borough councils consisted of a bunch of incredibly dedicated local people who wanted to donate their time to making a difference to the communities in which they were proud to live and serve.
We are asking ourselves here at the Waverley Web… “What actual purpose do national parties serve on our local parish/borough and town councils?”
Let’s take a look at what they do – because their powers and functions are really quite limited – and said powers are reducing with every day passing day.
At National Level – then yes, we agree, political parties are part of our democracy – twas ever so – but locally? Politics with a big P should be dumped and soon. It is, quite simply, unhealthy – particularly for the poor old voting fodder. What possible purpose do national parties serve on local councils?
‘Your Waverley’ has, for many years, been controlled by the Conservative party. The borough is made up of 29 wards with 57 seats.
The Tories hold 51; Farnham Residents 5; and there is just ONE Independent. Until last year it was, pretty much 100% Tory controlled – but thankfully Farnham Residents have created a small chink by scaling the walls into Waverley Towers!
That cannot be right it is unhealthy. No checks, no balances, just – We’ll Do It Our Way!
Councillors are elected for four years to decide how the council should carry out its various functions and duties They should represent the wider public interest as well as individuals living within the ward in which they serve.
When it comes to voting at ‘Your Waverley,” the other parties are largely an irrelevance and they are treated as such. Watch a few webcasts and see for yourselves how disgracefully Farnham Resident councillors are treated. Lesser mortals could wither and die from Fat Prost’s finger of ice! We disrespectfully suggest – it’s time this woman stepped aside?
The Conservatives can carry any vote they wish subject only to the proviso that they vote together.Which they almost always, do!
The council’s largest function is planning policy. (It has no power over transport and education which are decided by Surrey County Council or over matters such as defence, foreign policy or taxation which are dealt with at Westminster.)
Its planning role is to apply a set of Government rules and guidelines called the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), in a non-political way. The vital ingredients that qualify councillors to make these decisions are diligence; getting to grips with the facts (which requires quite some reading,) fair-mindedness, and a sense of responsibility to ALL Waverley’s residents.
Sadly ‘Your Waverley’s’ Conservatives cannot claim these qualities. Having a large majority, in fact, allows members of the majority to be lazy or, in the case of the Joint Planning Committee – don’t bother to turn up! Most of the more important decisions are taken behind closed doors in the committee rooms, away from prying eyes.
Lets’ face it – the debates – just a handful of us watch on the webcast , if it is working, are just a little bit of theatre to placate the voting fodder and where individual councillors can tow the ‘party line’ rather than form their own opinion.
The most important job of an elected assembly is to scrutinise the work of Executive and the full-time council officials. Scrutiny is an essential part of the checks and balances in government. Even they recognise they haven’t performed that duty properly. That’s illustrated by the failure to scrutinise numerous issues – that is until Farnham residents turned up!
Another core function of the council is to maintain standards in public life. The “Don’t Mention The Fraud” cover up perpetrated by Waverley’s head honchos, and which could have affected the 2015 local elections – is quite simply a disgrace.
Neither have Waverley Conservative councillors done a half-decent job of implementing a new local plan. Work began in 2009. Two Daft Local Plans have failed and after spending millions – a new 2017 Local Plan in 2017 – still remains to be examined, and following a decision by the Secretary of State to call it in – now contains a huge hole!
Some argue that Waverley/ Guildford Borough and Surrey County Councils all Tory controlled, have greater access to, and influence at, county and national government and at agencies such as Highways England or Natural England because it is controlled by the Conservatives. Now the blue on blue rows are escalating over that ‘memorandum of understanding’ between ‘Your Surrey” and the Government – that’s another fine mess they have got us into?
There are some very troubling questions about of independence and impartiality among Conservatives in Waverley. Some and we stress, some are using their party as an instrument of political power rather than as a means to represent the interests of the people they are there to serve.
Isn’t it high time that residents took back control of their councils by voting for individuals who will represent THEM rather than those who are SERVING THEIR POLITICAL AMBITIONS AND THEIR POLITICAL MASTERS ?