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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Surrey’s Fly Tipping Horror

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Here’s what County Hall could look like in the future?


Just as residents reel from Surrey County Council’s shock announcement that it wants to close Recycling Centres around the county including  Cranleigh & Farnham – here’s a clip on what reduced recycling already looks like in the county:

The Council is “consulting” on permanently closing between four and six CRC’s.  Farnham is on the list – so is Cranleigh; Bagshot; Dorking; Lyne (Chertsey) and Warlingham. 

Residents in Farnham are foaming at the mouth saying they will be forced to travel to Witley or over the border into Hampshire. Cranleigh people are already travelling into Horsham across the West Sussex County boundary as their site is only open at weekends and is causing traffic chaos in Elmbridge Road.

 

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Cranleigh people are arguing their County Councillors to step up to the Mark. By the way, has anyone seen their Little Povey?mylittlepovey2 

 

 

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A Waverley Liberal and a Tory unite.

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paul_carole_farnham.jpgIt took an unlikely duo of a Godalming Liberal Democrat and a Farnham Conservative to overthrow officer approval for a development that reduced the number of affordable homes by 5 at Green Lane Farm, Badshot Lea in Farnham last night.

It might have been a sight to behold as Councillor Paul Follows proposed rejection of the scheme seconded by Carole Cockburn – except of course the webcast went down…again…and again throughout the debate.

However, the vote was still narrow – won by just 9 votes to 7.

The developer was asked to reduce their affordable housing contribution from 40% – agreed at the time of Waverley’s draft Local Plan in June 2016. Since then Waverley Tories took it upon themselves to change their draft plan down to 30% affordable housing with the aim of asking for greater S106 contributions for infrastructure – that is of course when they can remember to ask for them!
The developer had already taken account of the policy when purchasing the land beyond the greenbelt claiming  ‘exceptional circumstances’ to gain consent for 45 homes  – granted at appeal. It now wants to change the housing mix by adding several larger detached homes and tacking on a load of conservatories. It is believed, this would add over £1-1.5million to the developer’s profits by permitting the changes.
Changes that the officers were quite happy to rubber stamp with the support of seven Tories. 

Pity Farnham Councillor Chris Storey was prevented by the borough solicitor from reading out an -email sent a planning officer? 

He said “We are well used as members of this planning committee to being threatened with appeals by developers. But perhaps my fellow councillors would like me to read out an e-mail sent by this developer…

… when he was suddenly stopped in his tracks by the solicitor saying “It would not be sensible to do so.”

Why?

If developers are using threatening behaviour to councillors or officers, why shouldn’t the public be told?

This Inspector’s decision was deeply unpopular with councillors and officers alike, but none more so than for  Councillor Carole Cockburn who had walked every inch of Farnham with colleagues to devise Farnham’s Adopted Neighbourhood Plan. A plan which had been well-supported by the residents of Weybourne and Badshot Lea, and whose views had now been trashed by a Government Inspector – and not by Waverley.

She said “The people who live there will soon see for themselves how much the place “STINKS – IT JUST STINKS!” The band sits between the sewage works and the rugby field. Funny that! She was quite happy to consent to a similar site on a floodplain adjacent to a sewage treatment works in Cranleigh!

However, a man who can always be relied upon to stick up his mitt, that is of course if he’s awake! Councillor Michael Goodridge – who said his colleagues should set aside the “emotional baggage of fewer affordable homes and grant the application.”

Now let’s see this developer get this through at appeal too!

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.

 

Yes, Mr Wylde of Farnham – how WILL ‘Your Waverley’ meet its challenges?

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Probably by continuing to ignore you, us here at the Waverley Web, and every other bit of voting fodder?

But at least the WW has been mentioned in your despatches!

 Someone has unmasked you as being -THE Waverley Web.

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David Wylde (left, of the Farnham Five at the High Court) is not the only one to question the honesty, transparency and its claim to ‘use its resources wisely.’   in Waverley Borough Council’s Mission Statement.

This is his recent letter to The Farnham Herald letters page…

Sir,
– In the last year or so, every national press article I can find and every media interview I have heard about the High Street has put across the same message – restaurants and retail are in crisis and the best solution is to offer leisure and entertainment attractions to draw in the punters – shopping and eating are no longer enough.

The relentless onward advance of internet shopping is the white-elephant-in-the-room for East Street, with the added problem that the Woolmead development, with 11 outlets lying along Farnham’s main street, is due on stream before its rival on the other side of the road, a scheme that lies down a straggling narrow alley off the beaten track and which has struggled unavailingly for five years to fill more than two of its 24 retail and eight restaurant outlets. A six-screen cinema with seats for 750 doesn’t help. The Woolmead getting in first will make it even harder than before to attract retailers.

May I invite the leader of Waverley, courtesy of the letters page of The Herald, to tell us how the council plans to confront this challenge? Does it have creative ideas for providing replacement community assets, if and when, as seems ever more likely, restaurants and retail falter? Or does it believe that, uniquely across the country, it can buck this trend? If so, what is the hard evidence, as opposed to the wishful thinking?
If you ring Waverley and ask what the weather is like in Godalming, the answer is likely to be based on the assumption that it is a secret (unfair to the excellent reception staff at the council, but I hope you get the drift) so it is hardly likely Waverley will tell the likes of me, or the likes of you for that matter, who owns the leases. I find out what I can where I can, often from a wonderful blog called

Waverley Web (see below).

In this instance, I have gathered CNS has ducked out and has left the headache of unproductive leases to Waverley and/or Surrey.
If I was the portfolio holder for Surrey, I would be seriously worried about putting big dollops of money into what is little more than a bunch of shops with flats on top and dubious prospects. The scheme was old fashioned and outdated then. It is antediluvian now. Are not we, whose taxes will pick up the tab, at the very least entitled to know Waverley is taking proper precautions to protect our interests and our pockets in challenging times, by doing good contingency planning? It would be worrying indeed if the council was burying its head in the sand.
If Waverley is tempted to argue that it would undermine its sales pitch to potential retailers to publicly prepare for the opposite outcome to the one it is hoping for, have a look for a moment at the national scene, where the government is in the process of producing public contingency plans for an outcome – no deal – which is the opposite of its official policy, the Chequers proposals. Its contingency planning seems to have been generally accepted as good sense and good practice; were Waverley to do the equivalent, I suggest the reaction would be the same.

The world of retail is changing radically and forever, so we need a council that will change and adapt to meet its challenges and we need to know, too, the people who govern us can do so in a far-seeing and proactive way.
What do you see ahead, Miss Potts, and what do you plan?
What is your Plan B? If we are wondering whether or not to elect you, we will also need to know if you will measure up?

The by-line of Waverley Web is:
“Oh what a tangled web we weave,
when first we practice to deceive”.
Its aim is to expose deceit and concealment and celebrate honesty and transparency. It does so vigorously, scurrilously, colourfully and with glee and is hugely entertaining. To sign up, http://waverleyweb.org

David Wylde, St James Terrace, Farnham

They seek him here… they seek him there?

 

Bewley Homes gallops into Farnham and rides roughshod all over ‘Your Waverley.’

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Now the WW has to apologise too. It was Bewley  Homes that did it their way – and not Bellway Homes. Perhaps one day soon we will all be able to watch and HEAR – the webcast of Waverley meetings? 

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Dig, dig, dig – the whole day through! Dig, dig, dig, dig Ancient Woodland too!

THE CHEEKY DEVILS ADMIT AND APOLOGISE FOR DRIVING A COACH AND HORSES THROUGH PROTECTIVE POLICIES, INCLUDING:

 DEMOLISHING TREES COVERED BY PRESERVATION ORDERS (TPO’s)!

BUILDING A PUMPING STATION WITHIN THE PROHIBITED 15 METRES PROTECTED BUFFER ZONE OF ANCIENT WOODLAND.

AND

FELLING OR  DAMAGING A ROW OF MATURE SCOTS PINES ON THE SITE FRONTAGE!

So it could build 72 homes, 26 “affordable” – whatever that means – on land of Great Landscape Value at the Garden Style Nursery, in Wrecclesham near Farnham.

“Shocking,” Disgraceful; “appalling,” “amazing,” “criminal” ” treating the Waverley Borough like somewhere in the Wild West were just a few of the descriptions given to the misdemeanours of the “illegal” acts of vandalism carried out by one of the Nation’s largest house=builders!

Surprise- surprise – isn’t that the same housebuilder that committed exactly the same little misdemeanour in Cranleigh last Winter? Building too close to Ancient Woodland – moving badger sets, digging new holes for badgers who were later found – drowned dead!! God knows what Bramley’s Dotty Dardak would have to say about that!! No that was Bellway.

 Fear not, despite all the protestations –  Steven Strenwith? – Bewley Homes’ Land Director, or not, in this particular case, apologised to Councillors and officers for the errors in construction – but failed to mention the good citizens of Wrecclesham who have to live with his mistakes.  He said his company had a fine reputation for quality housebuilding, rabbit, rabbit, won’t be many of them left either, and it would all be alright on the night – or words to that effect.

 Officers waxed lyrical how the developer would be making amends by putting in trees to “mitigate” the harm, and Farnham’s Carole Cockburn after a minor rant,  said the developer had improved the site layout by adding another seven homes, so should be supported!

Ah well! That’s alright then! Isn’t it?

After a load of councillors followed Godalming’s Follows footsteps with furious rants, and Cranleigh’s Liz Townsend suggested the developer should not be allowed to ride roughshod over Waverley’s well tried and tested planning laws, it looked as though the application might be deferred or even REFUSED! Despite the principle of development being established when outline permission was granted last year!

WOW, not really? They couldn’t, could they?

Then Oh! Carole – reached into her big knickers for her big stick and began beating her colleagues into submission.  If permission was refused the developer could build the four-bedroom homes already granted and not the extra 7 semi-detached properties now offered.

So there you are! The principal of a Developer, who ignores the law on TPO’s, and strict laws that protect Ancient Woodland – a criminal offence, but offers an ineffectual apology,  has to be dragged kicking and screaming by officers into “mitigating” the offence by planting replacement trees,  has now been established!

After watching this shambolic meeting the WW was ashamed… and so were many others. We witnessed our Senior Planning Committee Chaired by Peter Isherwood – who should have been dumped after he rubbished the villages of Ewhurst and Cranleigh, but continues undeterred, to wreck our lovely borough! Is there anything now that is sacred in this rotten borough of Waverley?

We haven’t even mentioned Councillor Gerry Hyman’s continuous claim that Waverley consistently flouts European environmental Law by not providing the Appropriate Assessments required for Farnham’s Special Protection Areas. Accusations that ‘YW’ rubbish, and refuse to show evidence that AA’s have been carried out- including “bird numbers?”

When pressed officers said they “could” seek enforcement of the developers’ illegal actions, but that was  “A CONFIDENTIAL MATTER’ – so confidential no doubt, that it will never be heard of again!

But the WW will be watching carefully. We are still waiting for a report on the Police findings on the council’s false Air Quality Data Report?

Hang your heads in shame Waverley Borough Council for allowing developers to trash Ancient Woodland – woodland that is over 600 years old. It is no excuse that you cannot monitor developments!

Hang your heads in shame Bewley Homes, and we ask? How can these people ever be trusted to build in this borough again!!

Oh! and by the way- forget all that mock outrage. There were 12 votes in favour – two against and one abstention.

Presumably, two councillors who oppose such criminal behaviour Councillor Follows and Townsend – and one Councill Hyman –  who couldn’t even acknowledge an ‘illegal application!’ Our apologies if we have it wrong – because the cameras are turned away from the committee during voting! Wonder why?

 

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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Another 462 houses for Farnham?

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 Farnham Town Council has launched its public consultation on potential new housing sites in Farnham. They have to find at least another 450 houses over the next 15 years to comply with the revised Waverley Plan Part 1.
(Unless the current Judicial Review to the Plan reduces Waverley’s allocation of Woking’s unmet need – which could be as little as – oh – about 450!)

Here’s the map of Farnham showing the proposed new housing sites (all on brownfield) and their capacities. The other coloured sites are ones identified by Farnham in their previous 2017 Neighbourhood Plan.

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Here is the breakdown of those sites – you can respond to Farnham’s consultation here.

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At first glance, all we can say is well done for finding enough Brownfield sites and all within the built-up area boundary. It’s a shame the roads are so terrible that you can’t accommodate Cranleigh and the eastern villages allocation too!

Now we all know why ‘YW’ wanted to move its training services into the Memorial Hall.

Read more from the Farnham Herald here: IMG_2913.JPG