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 bewebcast here, so pull up a chair and bring some biscuits! The background of the case is on theCourt site here.
No surprises there then that our borough council has been sanctioned by the Government for under delivering its housing supply. – although one might argue that, given the sausage factory panache, with which Waverley’s planners have been banging out planning consents one might be forgiven for wondering WHY?
WAVERLEY IS ONE OF THE COUNCILS TO BE SANCTIONED BY THE GOVERNMENT UNDER THE NEW HOUSING DELIVERY TEST.
SO INSTEAD OF AN ADDITIONAL 5% BUFFER ADDED TO ITS HOUSING SUPPLY NUMBERS, THIS HAS BEEN INCREASED TO 20%! THAT’S ANOTHER 1500 HOUSES!!!
Q Q: Why?
A: Because of all the developments already consented in Waverley approximately 400/500 of 1800 that could, and should, have been built on a brownfield site at Dunsfold Aerodrome – NONE HAVE BEEN BUILT … yet.
All thanks to the antics of that troublesome twosome – Protect our Waverley (POW) and The Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) – aided and abetted by the meddling Mistress Milton, and Jeremy SHUNT – who, shall henceforth be known as – ‘Waverley’s Old Buffers’ (WOB’s.’) Together they were, and are, dedicated to stopping development at Dunsfold Park so they can support building over the countryside! Had these unreconstructed NIMBYs bowed to the inevitable and accepted that the biggest brownfield site in the borough was the obvious place for housing, rather than trying to stop it by hook or by crook, housing development at the Aerodrome would now be well under way, thus enabling Waverley to demonstrate that it IS delivering on the planning consents it had granted.
One-third of local authorities face a sanction under the government’s new housing delivery test this year and these include both WAVERLEY & GUILDFORD.
The delivery test was introduced in last July’s revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). It applies sanctions to all local planning authorities that, in the three years up to the preceding April, failed to meet 95% of their housing requirement, with the severity of the sanction varying according to the extent of the under-performance.
Under the test’s criteria, all local authorities delivering under 95% of their housing requirement must now produce an action plan detailing the reasons why they are under-delivering and how they will address it.
Those under 85% of their requirement, which includes, Waverley and Guildford, must add a 20% buffer to their five-year housing land supply requirement, instead of the usual 5% buffer, and produce an – ACTION PLAN.
Meanwhile, the worst performers – those under 25% in November 2018, rising to 45% in November 2019 and 65% in November 2020 – face the NPPF’s presumption in favour of sustainable development.
SO WHAT’S WAVERLEY’S CUNNING ACTION PLAN? AND WHAT’S GUILDFORD’S?
Does that mean THAT THE LAND ADJACENT TO AARONS HILL in Godalming, in the borough of Guildford COMES BACK ONLINE?
Fortunately, none have fallen under 25% which means no local authority faces the presumption penalty – this year. Which means that 66% of councils – exactly two-thirds – have escaped any penalty at all – this year. In comparison, research by Planning last November found that 120 local authorities – 62% – would be above the 95% threshold and face no delivery test sanction at all.
Research suggests our borough is among the 38% of councils would have to produce an action plan, and is also the 31% required to have a 20% buffer in their housing land supply to boost delivery.
Has POW and CPRE (WOB’s) learnt anything from their mistakes?
Have they hell!
Having secured yet another Judicial Review into Waverley’s Local Plan, which wastes shed loads more of Waverley taxpayer’s dosh. In the interim THE WOB’s cloak themselves in yet another cost protection order (the infamous Aahrus Convention enabling NIMBYs like CPRE and POW to play fast and loose at the expense of ordinary taxpayers’ money without fear of incurring prohibitive costs.) While they increase delays in housing delivery.
The upshot is. That even if they do manage to secure a so-called victory by reducing Waverley’s housing numbers, those housing numbers will now automatically increase because of the delays in delivery. You really couldn’t make it up!
The fight to reduce the housing requirement for the whole of Waverley continues!
So here goes another shedload of our council taxpayers’ money going down the proverbial legal eagle’s pan?
Out of the cupboard come all the Rollicking Rumpole’s wigs, as they measure their briefs by the metre in readiness for yet another High Court drama between the Campaign for The Preservation of Rural England, Protect Our Waverley and ‘Your Waverley.’
Yesterday CPRE/ POW were granted leave to appeal from the Court of Appeal against the judgment delivered in November concerning the housing requirement set in Waverley Borough Council’s Local Plan Part 1. That November judgement said that the housing requirement of 590 a year should be maintained, including 83 to cover Woking’s perceived “unmet need”.
So ‘YW’ may have to build 498 fewer homes and no doubt POW/CPRE hope that will rule out Phase 2 at Dunsfold, as it certainly won’t want to stop development on the countryside – will they?
The appeal centres on how a shortfall in housing provision – unmet need – in one borough is allocated to neighbouring boroughs. The clarification of this issue has implications not just for Waverley but for Guildford and across the country. The Right Honourable Lord Justice Singh said:
“I am persuaded by the Appellants skeleton arguments that there is a compelling reason why these two appeals should proceed, namely the general importance of the issues of principle raised.It appears from those skeleton arguments that they have not been considered at the level of the Court of Appeal and it seems to me that they should be.”
This latest appeal comes against the background of two important changes. First, Woking Borough Council has declared that it now has no unmet need. Second, new demographic numbers recently released by the Office for National Statistics imply a much-reduced need for new housing.
Dunsfold resident Bob Lees said“This is great news! It provides Waverley Borough Council with a golden opportunity to significantly reduce the mandatory number of new houses to be built in the Borough over the next 14 years. POW fought against the housing requirement at the Examination of the Plan in the Council Chamber. POW fought again in the High Court. POW will fight in the Court of Appeal.
POW is fighting to protect our Waverley against unneeded development of our towns, of our villages and in our beautiful countryside.”
Well – if you believe that you will believe in fairies! Because this has nothing to do with protecting Waverley – it is all about preventing development on the largest brownfield site in the borough close to the home of Bob Lies, and his running-mate Little Britton who both spitting distance from Dunsfold Park. A development which was .given the go-ahead by the High Court in November. POW is still smarting from this decision
Dunsfold Park is now preparing its Masterplan – which includes 1,800 homes. The First Phase of the total of 2,300 in the Waverley Local Plan.
‘The battle to stop the development of Dunsfold Aerodrome is over,’ claims POW. But, the war with Waverley is not over yet.
‘there is nothing further we can do to prevent this controversial housing development after losing our legal challenge in the High Court.’
Capt’n Bob Lies, Chairman of the motley crew, claims,
‘It will be a huge disappointment to residents in the Eastern villages and in Guildford and Godalming that the approval for the development of Dunsfold Aerodrome will proceed.’
Typical POW. Typical Capt’n Bob. Utterly graceless in defeat!
Having poured over the Alfold Parish Council’s accounts, one curious regular reader did a spot of maths and sent us the following:
At the last census, Waverley Borough had a population of circa 123,000 and, as we all know, POW likes to boast ad nauseum that it ‘represents a very large and continually growing number of concerned local residents.’
Like hell it does! According to Crystal Tipps Weddells’ cash books. She banked
for POW’s campaign during 2017/18. If you discount a single, measly donation by POW themselves and nine contributions from the Parishes – which came from their Precepts, not the voting public – that goes down to…
just 89 donations from members of the Waverley public.
Now, correct us if we are wrong, but surely that means…
… a mere 0.07% of Waverley residents dipped into their pockets to support POW and its aims?
So much for POW claiming to represent ‘a very large and continually growing number of concerned local residents’ … laugh, We nearly peed our pants when our readers’ calculator spewed out …
So having wasted shed-loads of Taxpayer funds on behalf of 0.07% of Waverley residents it doesn’t even have the humility to offer the other 99.3% of local residents an apology for the many hundreds of thousands of pounds it has cost them, at a time when local services are being cut to the bone.
Adding insult to injury, these publically funded wastrels have the cheek to announce in the same breath that it will join the CPRE in seeking leave to appeal in the Court of Appeal against the High Court’s decision that Waverley’s housing requirement, as set out in its Local Plan Part 1 for 590 houses per annum should be maintained, including 83 to cover Woking’s perceived unmet need!
Brace yourselves! Here comes another major legal challenge that, if given the go-ahead will cost the Waverley taxpayer (yes, that’s you!) another shed load of money!
Our suggestion for POW: pack it in and concentrate on an argument you stand a chance of winning: the erection of a bloody great hanger on a green field outside the Aerodrome you so detest.
Or better still, for all our sakes sod off and give this borough a break.
The shadow’s high on the darker side Behind the doors, it’s a wilder ride You can make a break, you can win or lose That’s a chance you take when the heat’s on you When the heat is on
Oh-wo-ho, oh-wo-ho Caught up in the action I’ve been looking out for you Oh-wo-ho, oh-wo-ho (Tell me can you feel it) (Tell me can you feel it) (Tell me can you feel it)
The heat is on (yeah) the heat is on, the heat is on It’s on the street, the heat is on (I can feel the fire) The heat is on (flames are burning higher) The heat is on (baby can’t you feel it) Yeah, it’s on the street The heat is on (I can feel it in the fire) The heat is on (flames are burning higher)
The heat was certainly on – cooking on gas, according to our followers – at the last meeting of Alfold Parish Council, when concerned residents rocked up with the intention of getting to the bottom of the Parish Council’s new role as cash collectors for Waverley’s worried well-to-do?
Unfortunately, Clerk Crystal Tipps-Weddell – had been less than diligent in distributing the requested information, giving only a chosen few, no time to plough through pages of donations. Fine, if you’re an accountant or someone familiar with analysing spreadsheets at a glance, but not so fine if you’re Joe Public whose only experience of columns of figures is pouring over your monthly bank statement from Lloyds – or, in the case of Waverley’s worried well-to-do, Messrs Coutts & Co!
Concerned of Alfold hadn’t got to grips with the facts and figures but, no doubt, that was the whole point of the ruse orchestrated by Cash Collectors in-Chief Crystal Tipps and Nic Pigeon. Treat em mean and keep em keen – telling residents if they want answers – “go back and read all the past minutes.” Presumably, they want to stay shtumm about the affluent’s effluent?
What was absolutely staggering was the fact that between 20 April and 15 September 2017, Alfold PC ********d on POW’s behalf a staggering £246,073.45. In a mere five months! So they were averaging a cleanup rate of £49,214.69 per month! No wonder Crystal Tipps claimed £26.14 in parking fees and £40.04 in postage, she must have been running from bank to post office on a daily basis at the height of her money moving exploits!
Equally interestingly, Alfold PC banked 99 donations in total during that period, which made the average donation £2,485. However, as you might imagine, that was far from the case! Most of the donations were for considerably more, with the most popular sums donated by individuals being £500, £2,500 and £5,000. One or two high rollers (or do we mean developers?!) stumped up £20,050 and £10,000 respectively and there were several dups at circa £7,500 a poop – oops! We meant to say pop!
POW themselves contributed a measly £3,000! Talk about all mouth and no trousers – or, bearing Stacey Strumpette in mind, all fur coat and no knickers!
The ‘Dirty Dozen’ Parish Councils that stumped up for the Public Inquiry into Dunsfold Park, decreased to Ocean’s Seven (or, in this case, Little Britton’s Seven!) during this period, contributing £39,100 between them, as follows:
Busbridge PC £5,000 Chiddingfold PC £5,000 Dunsfold PC £5,000 Hambledon PC £6,000 Loxwood PC £3,100 Shalford PC £5,000 Wonersh PC £10,000
The moral of this tale: If Capt’n Bob Lies and Little Britton persist in their delusion that a Planning Judge doesn’t understand planning law and decide to pop along to the Court of Appeal TO-DAYand plead poverty – again! – we strongly recommend that the Dunsfold Developer, the Secretary of State and Waverley Borough Council point the Judge to their quite remarkable money-raising powers. If this bunch of Bozos can raise on average £49,214.69 per month, there’s no reason on earth why they shouldn’t pick up the tab for the fights they pick, instead of leaving it to US, the Waverley Tax Payer to run along behind them poop-a-scooping their dirty little dump it all on the taxpayer habits!
Talking of Stacey Strumpette, rumour has it the Dunsfold resident may have attended the Parish Council meeting?
Apparently, Stacey was pouring over a copy of Alfold Parish Council’s Cash Book, trying to identify which initials were who – we’re told Crystal Tipps had, by a sleight of hand, failed to make a note of the names of donors, referring to them instead – much to Stacey’s chagrin – only by their initials, if at all! Our Stacey enquired, hopefully, into one particular donation of £12,100.00 that had caught her eye and looked terribly deflated when she was told this was just a lazy and inept (our words, not Crystal Tipps’ we hasten to add!) bulk donation posting, so could have been from any Tom, Dick or Harriette – not to mention one of any number of desperate developers keen to stop Dunsfold Park in its tracks.
For those of you who are wondering how Alfold Parish Council spent the dosh, wonder no more, just to give you a little flavour:
£85,592.49 on Barton Willmore Planning Consultants £6,000.00 on ‘professional fees’ for Victoria Hutton of 39 Essex Chambers £10,102.89 on Motion Consultants Transport Consultancy Services £10,828.65 on David Huskisson Associates Landscape Expert Witnesses £64,070.00 legal representation by 39 Essex Chambers
Rumour has it Dunsfold’s Stacey is now considering a change of profession – or, failing that, a change of stomping ground! Goodbye Dunsfold, Hello Inns of Court. Anything Victoria can do, Stacey reckons she can do too – with a little practice … or is it practise!!!
Oh, and in answer to the member of the public who attended and was told by Little Britton–“I am nothing whatsoever to do with POW!”
He was announced in his interview on BBC Surrey – as, yes, you guessed – the Deputy Chairman of POW.