Why doesn’t Godalming Town Council have a planning committee?

Featured

 

GTC__CBA.jpgAll the major towns in ‘Your Waverley’ have a dedicated planning committee – including here in Farnham – Haslemere and Cranleigh. Even the small rural villages have either dedicated planning committees or public meetings where planning applications are considered – in public?

So why not in Godalming?

Milford Golf Course 23112018

Our interest in the planning function of Godalming Town Council was sparked off by the letter featured on the link above.

Funny, we thought, funny …   a major town, which hosts Waverley Towers and where there is a huge amount of development presently underway and even more proposed in the future? But no planning committee?

Even more puzzling? This paragraph from GTC’s new boy Councillor Paul Follows’ letter where he tells his fellow councillors of his, and residents concerns over the proposal to build on land at Milford Golf Course. A development that will have implications for Godalming’s overloaded road network and its infrastructure.

Cllr. Denis Leigh (Waverley Borough Council, Milford Ward)
Cllr. Bob Upton (Waverley Borough Council, Milford Ward)
Cllr. Gillian McCalden (Witley Parish Council, Chair)
Cllr. Tony Sollars (Witley Parish Council, Planning Committee Chair)

 

“My intent is to have this application reviewed by Godalming Town Council (GTC) to record a formal opinion before it goes to the Waverley Joint Planning Committee – and it is my hope that you might support that endeavour by writing to the Chairman of the Godalming Town Council Policy and Management Committee (Cllr Stefen Reynolds) to that end.

We, unfortunately, have no dedicated planning committee at GTC and as such, I am an opposition councillor asking the majority party chair for this to be added to the town council agenda – as you can imagine there is no guarantee that will happen and as such your support would be greatly appreciated!”

We have just learned that astoundingly the Tories abolished the Planning committee because quite simply they couldn’t be bothered. Their reason was that because so many of them are twin hatted – ie Waverley Councillors as well – then they would take the decisions and make the case at the meeting that mattered, rather than holding a trivial town council meeting, in front of the voting fodder, and duplicating their efforts.
They then said they would add significant planning items to other agendas, at the request of members. And an application in a neighbouring parish may not interest most of the council, hence Paul Follows lobbying for support with other Conservatives.

Surely, any self-respecting council -at the grassroots of local democracy – would want to hear its residents’ views on a planning application which affect their lives? Even a minor extension, can have a huge impact. So why don’t they review each and every planning application – allowing residents to have their say?

So Godalming Tories win the WW award for most “Can’t Be Arsed” Council this year.

The CILly Season will begin soon?

Featured

 

Here’s what one Waverley Councillor has to say about Community Infrastructure Levy – the means by which developers will in future contribute towards services, including leisure, education, transport and more.

In recent months the race by developers to get their plans approved has been evident, and many more will hope to trouser schemes before next Spring.

‘Your Waverley’ want this in place in the borough by March next year.

 

A Waverley Liberal and a Tory unite.

Featured

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!

Has Mr Angry of Haslemere finally picked up his phone to his Waverley councillor?

Featured

Why else would Waverley scramble to pull the Local Plan Part 2 meeting with only two days notice, in order to…

“consult further?”

Councillor Julia Potts, Leader of Waverley Borough Council, said: “This item is being deferred as councillors want the council to have more time to engage with the local community about some of the content of the draft LPP2 before it is published, including further work on site allocations and gaining further feedback from key stakeholders such as Thames Water and local clinical commissioning groups.”

Localplan_angryman.jpg

A comment from the Waverley Web? No – a comment from Godalming Councillor Paul Follows.

“Well frankly I should think so too – so unbelievably rushed through and I can’t think of a single parish, town or area in Waverley that diPdn’t have some issue with this document or feel that more consultation was needed.
I had a huge feeling I was going to be one of very few councillors that were going to vote against this for exactly this reason.
Very sensibly postponed otherwise we would once again be paying lip service to localism.”

 

Follow me, ​Follows.

Featured

There’s no doubt about it Waverley Town and Borough Councillor Paul Follows is certainly keeping his finger on Godalming’s pulse.  The town’s new boy is digging deep into development plans which could have a huge impact on the town’s future. We are sure others are doing the same -but are not quite so vocal? So the WW will go with the man who has his fingers on the keyboard.

Screen Shot 2018-10-20 at 10.01.15.png

Here’s what is being proposed now that ‘Your Waverley” is rolling back the Green Belt around Godalming.

Screen Shot 2018-10-20 at 10.00.41.png

UPDATE RE: OCKFORD PARK.COMMENTSS FROM SURREY HIGHWAYS AND NATURAL ENGLAND

Two of the main concerns that have been raised by residents so far have been regarding traffic and the environment.

Paul’s view:

Screen Shot 2018-10-20 at 10.00.20.png

The application (on the Waverley planning portal) has now had two important comments logged against it – one from Natural England and one from Surrey Highways.

NATURAL ENGLAND

NE has in this case requested some more information about some of the protected animal and plant species that may be present: read its full comments here:

http://planning360.waverley.gov.uk/pla…/search-applications…

SURREY HIGHWAYS

SH has commented upon the methodology the applicant has employed, the mitigations proposed and other related matters and a number of other areas. It’s a bit of read but I really would welcome any comments on this.

http://planning360.waverley.gov.uk/pla…/search-applications…

Last week along with other Waverley councillors he attended a session with Ashill,  (the developer) Surrey Highways and other Waverley Councillors to informally discuss the application – so Paul welcomes any general queries. 

He was also a guest of Witley Parish Council (also discussing the application and the potential impact upon their area).

Oh Boy – Waverley’s new boy, certainly gets around!

Happy to discuss on here or at Paul.follows@waverley.gov.uk

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

Featured

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

 

Screen Shot 2018-09-21 at 09.45.29.png

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?

Is a Godalming Tory jumping on the local residents’ bandwagon​?

Featured

Have the residents of Godalming bounced the Tory-dominated town council into objecting to a planning application it would have preferred to see approved? 

Is one of the Tories now smoothing the way for the Tory-dominated borough planners to give it the go-ahead? 

You will see from the letter below that Godalming Town Council has registered its objection to a development of 262 dwellings on land between New Way & Aarons Hill, Godalming.

No surprise there then after more than 70 people turned up and another 170 registered their objection to development in the GREEN BELT that would join Godalming to Guildford Godalming Town Council backs residents’ fight – plans just not good enough for green belt site.

Or bearing in mind the Waverley Web’s post yesterday – perhaps that would be just what the new Unitary Authority would want? Has Hambledon’s Holder become a bit bolder or is he just demob happy as he prepares to leave ‘Your Waverley?

Councillor Andrew Bolton reminds residents on Facebook that – it is Waverley Council that will determine the application, NOT the Town Council. No doubt, just in case residents dare to think their very vocal opposition is going to make one jot of difference at Waverley Towers. 

Please, Councillor Bolton, don’t treat the voting fodder like idiots! They know full well that it is the borough council’s function to refuse or permit planning applications. Residents aim of turning out in force was to register their opposition, to their town councillors, the people they elected to represent their views. Because like the residents in the East of the borough they know that if it doesn’t move, Waverley officers will recommend developing it, and unless councillors break the habit of a lifetime Tory councillors will follow their lead! Neither were residents asking you to predetermine an application. But just giving you a gentle reminder that it is your function as a Godalming Town Councillor to not only listen but HEAR and act on the concerns. You ignore the mood of Godalming people at your peril. 

To remind them of the lack of funds for Green Oaks and then mention that the developers’ twenty pieces of silver – or as you describe it as 106 monies for infrastructure, could provide “substantial support for Green Oaks School” and that it may not survive without it was not only disingenuous but a disgraceful veiled threat.  Dare we suggest you were more than a little put out that a motion to object came from the opposition? An opposition that is proving itself to be very effective?

Screen Shot 2018-09-12 at 20.10.07.pngScreen Shot 2018-09-12 at 20.10.21.png

image1.png

Don’t forget the changes to the Guildford Local Plan for the other half of the field. Guildford’s consultation started on 11 September and will run until 23 October 2018. You can all comment on the proposed removal from the Green Belt here: https://www.guildford.gov.uk/newlocalplan/examination

 

Godalming Town Council backs residents’ fight – plans just not good enough for green belt site.

Featured

Residents, backed by Waverley Councillor Paul Follows ensured that everyone was made aware of the threat of expansion into their treasured green belt countryside at Aarons Hill. 

Last night after a packed meeting Godalming Town Council heard some well-researched concerns and objections from residents and councillors alike. And the townsfolk were rewarded for their efforts getting the backing they had hoped for!

WW can’t help wondering why so many town councillors, who are also borough councillors backed a Local Plan that rolled back Godalming’s green belt in the first place? Could it be because they are Tories – one of whom later gave his Lib Dem colleague an ear-bashing!

A  resident told us that Tory “Town and borough Councillor, Comrade  Stefan  ” I voted for the Labour Party’ Reynolds’  interrupted his Lib Dem colleague after Councillor Follows claimed he was the only Waverley councillor in the room who didn’t vote for Waverley’s  Local Plan which included removing this site from the greenbelt! Following, Follows –    Comrade Reynold retorted – ‘well I didn’t!’ after which   – Councillor Follows was forced to remind him –  that was only because he DIDNT SHOW UP AT THE MEETING TO VOTE AT ALL!’

It seemed the Town Councillors had little choice but to represent their community, with only one abstention coming from the grumpy Steve Cosser (Con Charterhouse). Three Councillors were absent, including County Councillor for Aaron’s Hill Peter Martin. No surprise there then?

The upshot:

Screen Shot 2018-09-06 at 22.33.45.png

Thanks to the efforts of the people of Godalming round one of the battle to preserve the town from becoming part of greater Guildford has been won. But the war with Waverley planners is to follow.

Godalming town council supported Paul Follows’s proposal to object formally to the development on Aarons Hill. A  formal letter will  be released by the council today (Friday)

Here’s how the Waverley Web has covered the tumultuous events of the past few days.

Godalming residents show Waverley residents how objecting to development in the green belt should be done.

Godalming residents show Waverley residents how objecting to development in the green belt should be done.

 

Will Godalming​ get the traffic​ chaos and Guildford get the bunce?

Featured

 

Last night Guildford Borough Council decided to forge ahead with its plans to join Guildford with Godalming putting almost 500 homes on the boroughs’ borders at Aaron’s Hill.

EashingLaneGreenBelt

You can read the complete report that was considered by Guildford BC’s Executive when it agreed to waive the call-in procedure and agree to the inclusion in the Local Plan to allow Ashill to build 200+ homes adjacent to the 263+ planned by ‘Your Waverley’ on the green belt boundary between the towns “immediately.’

But new Liberal Democrat Councillor Paul Follows questioned the Guildford Executive’s decision asking how the extra burden of traffic and services on Godalming would be dealt with? It’s the same field – but half the residents would not get ANY services from Godalming!!!! Guildford will provide!

WW wonders why the Conservative councillors, supposedly serving their electors in Godalming are silent on the subject? Surely such an important strategic green belt site in the countryside that is now ‘an urban extension to Godalming’, must be of some concern to them too?

WW has heard that other than Councillor Follows and residents of his ward NOBODY, yes, NOBODY from Waverley attended. Not attending another boroughs executive when it’s this important? 

Also, Cllr Tony Rooth, IND (former Tory, Pilgrims Ward) had a crack at suggesting that the Aaron’s Hill bit be shelved but he was immediately trodden on from a great height by Guildford BC’s chairperson and his successor as leader. But full marks to him for having a go.

 The ‘masterplanning’ bit was obviously a total nonsense. Clearly, a full site plan exists.

Screen Shot 2018-09-04 at 21.10.56.pngScreen Shot 2018-09-04 at 21.11.12.png

Screen Shot 2018-09-04 at 21.11.43

Let’s read that second answer from Guildford again: “We do not envisage that these homes will rely on services provided by Waverley Borough Council, which Guildford Borough Council would normally provide” And presumably not rely on any services from Godalming Town Council either?
• Will they be banned from the Wilfrid Noyce?
• Will they be excluded from the Godalming cemetery next door?
• Will they be uninvited to Godalming Farmers markets?!
• Will all the residents be shopping and parking in Shackleford (whose Parish they are now in)?!

It’s not as easy as Guildford Councillors are suggesting! What’s more, they know it, Waverley planners know it, and WE KNOW KNOW IT DON”T WE? Because more and more people are reading the Waverley Web!

Screen Shot 2018-09-04 at 21.13.21

Godalming residents show Waverley residents how objecting to development in the green belt should be done.

GBC Questions: Supplementary Information Sheet

Godalming residents show Waverley residents how objecting to development in the green belt​ should be done.

Featured

 Residents have decided they will not sit idly by and watch Godalming become Godawfulming or become part of Greater Guildford.

So they have put together a 72-page dossier that ‘Your Waverley’ will have to weigh-in rather than register!

Waverley’s new boy – Councillor Paul Follows – is it only six months since he was elected – seems like years – is, quite obviously, having an impact on the town he serves.  Because the good folk of Godalming are in fight-mode and planners may find it more difficult to support the spread of concrete across the green belt than they first thought? The proposed and combined development – a further 200 plus homes for Guildford would be the largest single expansion of the Godalming settlement boundary.

At a stroke, it would increase the population of Godalming by 4-5% and 8-10% taking the Guildford site into consideration.

objectionsubmitted.jpgResidents say the proposed development by Ashill in Eashing Lane ‘will have profound and long-lasting consequences for the whole of Godalming as well as the surrounding immediate area.’

You can read here why Godalming residents are so incensed by the bid to build 200+ homes on a site which has been included in the Local Plan, by rolling back the green belt.

WW wonders why the Tory councillors were so silent about the land being included in the Local Plan in the first place? 

Godalming Ashill Development is getting the bumsrush from residents.

Here’s the link to the 79 Page Objection Letter

Ignore the people of Godalming at your peril Waverley Planners!

Godalming Town Council will consider the application at the Town Council Meeting on Thursday 6th September at the Waverley Council Chamber.