In three short paragraphs, Waverley’s new Deputy Leader has put the kybosh on CPRE and POW’s fantasy of working with the new Waverley Dream Team in order to quash Waverley BC’s requirement to take a share of Woking BC’s unmet housing need.
In less than a month since taking over at Waverley, Councillor Paul Follows has met with Anthony Isaacs and Bob Lies, (CPRE & POW’s head honchos respectively), listened to their arguments, assessed their plan and found it wanting.
No surprises there then!
Whilst the Waverley Web entirely understands the New Broom’s desire to be seen to be listening to the voices of dissent, it didn’t take him long to detect and highlight the holes in the dastardly duo’s argument, which leaks like a colander.
No doubt Messrs Isaacs and Lies won’t take a blind bit of notice of Councillor Follow’s pithy assessment of the risks they are running. Why would they? After all, it’s not their money they’re frittering away on feckless and frivolous arguments. Not on your nelly! It’s ours – the poor, beleaguered Waverley Council Tax Payers’!
And for those of you who are still under the illusion that these bumbling buffoons only have the best interests of the residents of Waverley at heart, let us attempt to reset your perception:
• CPRE & POW claim they are seeking to remove the Woking unmet need number and not quash the whole of the Local Plan.
• The problem with that, as Councillor Follows pointed out in his recent letter to them, is that the Court is highly unlikely to get involved in setting housing numbers.
• The Court of Appeal’s task is simply to consider whether the Inspector and, subsequently, the High Court Judge erred in law in how they applied the Woking unmet need amount to Waverley.
• If the Court of Appeal decides that they did err, it will remit the decision back to an Inspector and the process will begin all over again!
Meanwhile, all reasonable and sensible advice leads to the conclusion that this high stakes strategy carries a very real risk of:
• increasing, not decreasing the future target
• strengthening the argument in favour of consenting the planning appeals against Waverley in the short term
• increasing the uncertainty that currently surrounds the draft Local Plan as a result of the appeals.
Of course most people – including councillors – are concerned about the housing targets and housing delivery in the Borough but the difference between them and CPRE and POW is that they aren’t engaged in a game of high stakes Russian roulette with other peoples’ money!
Suffice to say if Messrs Isaacs and Lies’ great gamble doesn’t pay off they are going to be as popular in Waverley as skunks that have rolled in fox poo!
The Deputy Waverley leader’s response ( below).
The hearing on Monday 24th June will be webcast here, so pull up a chair and bring some biscuits! The background of the case is on the Court site here.