Will Godalming Tories’ wish be granted?

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The Tory election machine has gone into overdrive in a bid to oust the single opposition voice that Godalming people have taken to their hearts and minds.

But as you will see from the picture below the Tories have more than Cllr Paul Follows to worry about. He has been joined by other local hopefuls wearing the Liberal Democrat yellow rosette, seeking seats in the town and borough councils.

One of the local issues they have highlighted is the proposed loss of the Godalming Surestart Children’s Centre axed recently by Surrey County Council.

As Nelson Mandela said:

“History will judge us by the difference we make to the everyday lives of children.”

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The group above recently met with Dawn Bellman and her ‘Surestart’ team and was very impressed by their commitment and support to the community.

Sure Start Children’s Centres give help and advice on child and family health, parenting, money, training and employment.

They are a “one-stop shop” offering their own services as well as signposting to other professional or services, eg. Family Information Service, Food Banks, Job Centre Plus and The Citizens Advice Bureau.

Each Centre is required to offer core services to all families from pregnancy right through those important early years until the child is at school, directly reflecting the needs of the local community.

In January, Surrey County Council announced plans to close 31 children’s centres across the county, but at the 11th hour postponed closing recycling centres until after the elections! A cynical attempt to dupe residents into believing they were safe.

The 100 % Tory controlled Cabinet voted to close the centres along with reductions to some bus travel concessions citing the need to save money due to government cuts.

However, it managed to find over £50m to fund 28 new shops in the Brightwells Yard development in Farnham. A scheme shunned by private investors. 

In a public consultation, 86% of respondents disagreed that children’s centres were an appropriate way to make savings.

It is still unclear to staff, families and the public what will happen. The group pictured above are demanding answers. 

Here at the WW – we await any communication from the Godalming’s Tory hopefuls.

Godalming’s starter for 6.

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Councillor Paul Follows, Godalming’s’ new boy on the block, wants to reinstate planning committees at Godalming Town Council!

Reinstate? Did we hear that correctly? You cannot be serious!

Clucking Bell! Why doesn’t a town like Godalming operate a planning committee? An important part of the grass-roots democratic process?

Even the smallest parish councils hold regular meetings to consider their planning applications. Meetings that are held in public, where neighbours and applicants or their agents are given an opportunity to comment, provide information and answer any queries the committee and the public may have.

So why we wonder doesn’t a town council, whose membership includes a leading light in the of the Association of Parish & Town Councils, a former senior honcho at Waverley borough council, who has donned the Mayoral robes for a second time, think a planning function is unnecessary? A Councillor who rocks up at other parish councils advising them how to operate and conduct their business.

Tell us, someone, please? 

Here are Councillor Follows Quick 6 To Fix in Godalming. Most of which would apply to every other town and village in Waverley.

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But,  Cllr Follows –  could you possibly add another to your list and make it 7? Just for your younger and older residents, who are falling all over the place in the badly re-instated roads and pavements in Godawfulming. A selection of pictures which are included below. We know it is a county council responsibility, but perhaps you could whisper, if you dare, into the ear of County Cllr Peter Martin, because we know he never listens to our complaints, but will listen to you!

The pictures below were all taken AFTER, the Surrey County Council roadworks were completed!! 

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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!

Do you remember when the WW did a little fact checking on The Tory’s efforts to keep ‘IN TOUCH’ With Godalming’s electorate?

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Well, we have just completed a little FACT CHECKING exercise on  Waverley Liberals’ efforts in its latest Newsletter –  FOCUS.

 

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We have FACT-CHECKED this document – which gets 10/10 for accuracy and more important gets 10/10 for refraining from hogging all the praise for saving Green Oaks School instead makes reference to the ‘partnership’ fight between Lib Dems, residents and Green Oaks PTA.

You can read the Newsletter in Full by clicking on the link below.

Waverley Focus Summer 2018

In the interest of fairness and balance here is our post that FACT-CHECKED – VISION FROM THE GODALMING CONSERVATIVES.

Caption competition – Help the Local Tories with their leaflets?