Surrey housing figures too high – say MP’s fearful of hanging onto their seats?

Surrey MPs in a bid to protect their backsides have told Housing Secretary the county’s housing figures are too high. 

Guildford Borough’s MPs (left to right): Michael Gove (Surrey Heath), Sir Paul Beresford (Mole Valley), Jonathan Lord (Woking) and Angela Richardson (Guildford).

Surrey’s MPs met recently with the Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick and say they have made it “abundantly clear” that the housing figures for Surrey should be reduced. They claim there is…

“a grave danger that bad decisions will be made on the basis of bad data.”

However, it is widely known that Surrey MP’s are acutely aware that their strong Tory base is shrinking. This was emphasised by the county council election resuts in May. This combined with previous borough council elections when former Tory-controlled councils lost control.  The change of allegiance of disenchanted voters has been marked in Waverley and neighbouring boroughs. The proposed changes in the Government’s White paper, which reduces the strength of the local voice still further, whilst forcing yet more housing (little of which is actually “affordable”)  into Green Belt and the countryside is proving increasingly unpopular.

With shrinking majorities and with the Liberal Democrats snapping at their heels Waverley MP’s SW Surrey, Jeremy Hunt and Guildford & Villages, Angela Richardson, are worried,  very worried.

 Publicly, Guildford and villages MP Angela Richardson says she doesn’t believe the Conservatives will lose their grip of the ‘safe seats’ in Surrey. Despite the shock by-election win for the Lib Dems in Buckinghamshire, where she canvassed last month. However, privately she knows her future political fortunes rely on her constituents willingness to accept wholesale development on her patch. There is widespread unease about the number of appeals stacking up on her patch.

The Conservatives’ planning policy reform proposals were cited as a key reason for the result in Chesham and Amersham on June 18 and with development constantly top of the agenda here too, some insist a similar upheaval could be seen the next time Surrey residents vote.

Lib Dem former PMC for Guildford & Villages – who is still Tweeting! Mrs Richardson stopped Tweeting in sympathy for Donald Trump when banned. She has now joined again, saying social media is important during elections.

In Guildford, Lib Dem candidate Zoe Franklin was more than 17,000 votes behind former Conservative MP Anne Milton six years ago. But this margin was slashed to a mere 3,337 two years later when Mrs Richardson triumphed, a trend replicated across various Surrey constituencies.

Mrs Richardson believes the defeat in the traditionally Conservative Buckinghamshire seat will make her party’s top officials listen more closely to the views of MPs on the ground within the home counties.  Privately, she is known to have said she is concerned that if housing quotas earmarked for her constituency are realised, she will be in very big trouble. She says, neither infrastructure nor services ar keeping up with the present growth – let alone a further increase. Post pandemic traffic congestion is rising as more people return to work.

However, Mrs Richardson said:

I am not worried. The by-election result means the party will be listening even more intently to what people like me are saying in places like this, and there is plenty of opportunity for me to make the case to ministers.

“However, the one thing I would do is push back hard against the Lib Dems as in councils across the UK they run, numbers of new houses often exceed the figure required to be built.“They need to be careful not to say one thing to the electorate and do another. They need to be consistent. Everyone accepts we need housing that is affordable in places that are growing.

“If Guildford is dynamic, thriving and has the inward investment, it will create jobs and opportunities and we need to ensure we have houses for those people coming.”

Development is a contentious topic in Cranleigh which falls under Mrs Richardson’s wing. Many residents fume that they are unfairly taking the lion’s share of housing compared to Godalming, Farnham and Haslemere. But Cranleigh and the eastern villages have been earmarked by Surrey County Council as a growth area. They recently kicked out Tory Andrew Povey and replaced him with Lib Dem Liz Townsend. Pictured here yesterday with Waverley’s Leader Paul Follows visiting Cranleigh.

 http://Surrey councils’ new county-wide strategy identifies eight growth areas

However, the New-Zealand born politician who lives in Ewhurst is adamant that as a former Cranleigh parish councillor, she speaks up for their best interests at every opportunity.

She added: “It is simply because they are in the countryside beyond the green belt and haven’t had the protection so, within the Waverley Local Plan, the village was made to absorb housing that was not able to go into large areas of Waverley.

“Cranleigh has taken a big number of development sites but we are not seeing the infrastructure come along with it. That frustrates my constituents the most.

“Dunsfold is in my patch and was meant to be coming through but now it has been delayed, the concern is Waverley will not have the housing numbers to meet the targets set on them by the government.

“Then, the council will be penalised and have to find an additional 20 per cent. The worry is they will come and have a look for space in Cranleigh again, as the other sites are green belt protected.”

So what can be done to protect Cranleigh now? Mrs Richardson insists Waverley should be looking at its own brownfield assets for building such as car parks and offices, especially to replenish social housing stock.

Two of Angela Richardson’s fellow Waverley MP Jeremy Hunt opposed development on the largest brownfield site in the borough of Waverley at Dunsfold. Together with MP Anne Milton they had it called into the Secretary of State – delaying the development for years. It is now up for sale.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Was Jeremy awaiting a call from the PM?

jeremy hunt

As we witness the public humiliation of Health
Secretary Matt Hancock isn’t it quite something that our SW Surrey MP Jeremy Hunt and former Health Secretary is beginning to look  impressive despite the fact that he:

  • Kick started the Australian trade deal by exporting all our Junior Doctors. But saying today that we need to train more doctors!

 

  • Has never publicly apologise for not following the recommendations of Exercise Cygnet? Which could have a least prepared us to meet the demands of a global pandemic.

 

  • Not forgetting Jeremy Hunt’s 2005 book Direct Democracy in which he states:-

“Our ambition should be to break down the barriers between private & public provision, in effect denationalising the provision of health care in Britain” The NHS is “no longer relevant in the Twenty-first Century”.

  •  And here’s Jeremy positioning himself vis-a-vis Boris’ decimation of the vulnerable: 
 
As you will see these comments contain some sensible stuff looking forward, and some passing mea culpa, but Jeremy Hunt only tiptoes towards grasping how inherently limited Whitehall’s outlook is.
 
That’s reassuring for “sensible” Tory voters (sounds like the ex-Head Boy could pull things back into shape) but he then offers no strategy for transforming the Whitehall mindset. But  does at least grasp that he’s part of it. 
 
No, the Tories certainly weren’t going to call on Jeremy to lead them out of the current mess calling on Sajid  instead.   His most recent support for the beleaguered Matt Hancock has done him no favours either – so now its up to  Sajid Javid who Hunt endorsed on the Andrew Marr programme this morning , saying:
“He (Javid) will make an excellent Health Secretary”.
The Tories gave up “sensible” when they gave the Constituency Parties total control of the leadership vote.  Like letting the Tory Conference run the country – Macmillan would have been appalled.
 
And Jeremy hasn’t even started to set out a new strategy?  Not his forte strategy though is it? Though he is absolutely right when he says the long-term challenge is managing social care; safety in maternity wards and the other elephant in the room – anti-microbial resistance.
 
But plenty of media fees if he wants to spend the next few years in TV studios?

Here’s an early take ontwo bumper select committee grillings recently  – Dominic Cummings and Matt Hancock. A thread…
Given that most East Asian countries had fewer lockdowns (in Korea’s case no lockdowns) this was a serious failing in our structures, perhaps caused by a ‘pandemic flu’ mindset although to the credit of our scientists this did not extend to vaccine R & D.
This delay meant infections were > 2000 cases/day by the time T&T got going, much higher than in Asia, which set it up to fail, alongside central rather than local contact tracing (which has now been sensibly reversed) and not offering a blanket salary replacement guarantee.
I also think (I was part of this groupthink) that we were over-focused on testing targets (100k, then 500k, then 1m/day) so didn’t focus on the one metric that matters in a pandemic: proportion of potentially infectious isolating. At times 20-40% of those meant to isolate weren’t
Set against this must be our national vaccine triumph: not just securing 400m doses before we knew they’d work, but a flawless NHS roll. So the paradox is that the biggest failures in the performance of the state have to be balanced against some of its most stunning achievements.
Given that most East Asian countries had fewer lockdowns (in Korea’s case no lockdowns) this was a serious failing in our structures, perhaps caused by a ‘pandemic flu’ mindset although to the credit of our scientists this did not extend to vaccine R & D.
This delay meant infections were > 2000 cases/day by the time T&T got going, much higher than in Asia, which set it up to fail, alongside central rather than local contact tracing (which has now been sensibly reversed) and not offering a blanket salary replacement guarantee.
I also think (I was part of this groupthink) that we were over-focused on testing targets (100k, then 500k, then 1m/day) so didn’t focus on the one metric that matters in a pandemic: proportion of potentially infectious isolating. At times 20-40% of those meant to isolate weren’t
Set against this must be our national vaccine triumph: not just securing 400m doses before we knew they’d work, but a flawless NHS roll. So the paradox is that the biggest failures in the performance of the state have to be balanced against some of its most stunning achievements.
Our joint report will set out key lessons to be learned and I won’t pre-empt. But for me two early lessons stand out: being as nimble, searching and pragmatic in our pandemic response as we were in our vaccine response is one…

 

 

 

 

Do you remember our MP Jeremy Hunt out litter picking in Waverley?

They say a week is a long time in politics – perhaps just a couple of days in the case of our SW Surrey MP who professes to care for the environment. 

Remember this? Our MP showing how much he cares for the Godalming environment in the hope it might pick up a few more votes for his Tory mate. Who didn’t get into Surrey County Council by the way.

Just look at the record below and you will see how our oh, so environmentally conscious MP voted just weeks later when the House of Commons considered the Environment Bill.  Are those welts from the Tory whip across his back?

Yet another own goal by Godalming Conservatives as they distribute litter. not letters!

Surrey County Council Post-election mutterings. Or how to get a litter drop and pick so wrong?

Will we ever trust this man again?

Here at the Waverley Web, we like consistency in people, and we acknowledge that our MP is consistently saying one thing and voting another. There he is out on a litter pick one minute for a picture opportunity and then back to his ole job voting against saving our planet.
One local resident said:
Conservatives have a habit of voting against the electorate and the country’s best interest
I am not actually sure who they actually represent as party MPs anymore or in fact what the heck they stand for
Whatever they stood for and promoted last year or month gets changed at voting time.

Howard Kaye said:

Unfortunately, Jeremy is very consistent he always goes with the Tory party whip.
He does brag that he once went against the whip but I have yet to see the evidence of that.

 Is it any wonder? 

Tories only lead 4 councils in Surrey now?

Jeremy Hunt pays a fleeting visit to ‘Your Waverley?

Jeremy_clockwise
Put your foot down – the clock starts ticking – NOW!

If you had blinked an eye, or stopped to sneeze, into your handkerchief, or the crook of your arm of course, you may have missed him. Because, after nine-long months, during which he has been spending more time with his family/entrepreneurial activities/bidding for the country’s head honcho job and electioneering, the Hon Jeremy could only manage an hour at Waverley Council.

An hour? Just an hour – to talk through all the issues which face our borough with  the heads of the new all inclusive Rainbow Administration?  Was one of his many aides standing by with a stopwatch?

Did you have to swallow hard as the bile rose in your throat, as you summoned up the courage to speak to those leading ‘Your Borough Council’ because its administration isn’t Tory?’ You know, the council that has been covering your whole constituency of South West Surrey since May 2018?

Did you just slip in the visit between photo ops in Godalming & Farncombe, to shut the voting fodder up, including us here at the Waverley Web, just in case we all started to lose faith in you as our newly re-elected MP?

No worries, we suspect that the new Administration will just about to manage to continue running Waverley without more than an hour of you precious time.

 However, perhaps you were able to glean just a little about the pressing matters that are impacting on Waverley residents. Like:

  •  Anti-Social behaviour
     
  • Residents concerns with rail service
     
  • Fairer funding for local government
  •  Government Planning policy and it’s impact on our area

Following your request for any questions  –  Cllr Followssorry we couldn’t add a few  of our own, as the WW didn’t receive  notice of J’s flying visit.

WHY?

  • Because we were travelling on an overcrowded train into the City standing room only!
  • One of our team was worrying themselves sick as every single penny of their parents money, which included their former home, has now run out having been spent on their nursing-home fees after being  turned down for any NHS Care at the age of 99 years!
  • Another has just been refused  a mortgage, despite being a key health-care worker.
  • Another who has just bought a home in a Waverley village only to find that the planners have allowed a 4th Gypsy site nearby.
  • Another who fears they may soon be floooded.
  • And another whose business is about to hit the rocks, and doesn’t know how he is going to afford the proposed council-tax hikes.

Oh, and just in case he has forgotten, we are choking on traffic fumes here in Farnham, as we fall into potholed roads and pavements, trying to get our kids to school without using the car. ~ in our bid to Save The Planet!

However, we have all taken his advice to wash our hands up to our elbows – and self isolate, so thanks for that bit of advice you gave on the radio Jeremy. But, as some of us are on zero hours contracts and don’t get paid, any ideas on how we live? Answers on a postcard Jeremy?

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Jeremy solves Farnham’s Air Pollution with… more meetings!

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Congratulations for FINALLY meeting a Council Leader Jeremy! Even if he was a friendly Conservative, dropping in to your Constituency office for a cosy cup of tea. And between you you’ve agreed to get all the Stakeholders together for a Masterplan. EH?? Eh??

Isn’t that what you have been promising Farnham ay EVERY ELECTION since 2005 young man? Here’s your leaflet from  – wait for it – wait for it…

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jeremypollution

Aha! let’s look at No. 6 – “A Traffic Plan for Farnham:” Jeremy is working closely with local councillors and campaigners to develop a pedestrianisation plan for Farnham that is practical and viable.”

And 14 very painful and lung congested years later, that’s the best plan you can come up with – again!

And lets politely ignore the ‘Success’ you claimed for fighting Dunsfold New Town at No.3!

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Dunsfold Garden Villge Coming soon – but thanks to Jeremy  Three years later than planned. And then only after shedloads of money down Waverley’s drain. –  Due to his intervention – 600/700 fewer homes built on the brownfield site- which now threatens the borough’s 5-year land supply and the loss of yet more countryside! Thanks Jeremy.