Remember – you heard it here first. This post will be updated throughout the day.
Dunsfold Deja-vu. The WW has been saying this for a very long time.
IT AIN’T OVER UNTIL…
Sadly we have not yet received an official comment from Protect Our Waverley or the Campaign for the Preservation of Rural England – so instead we have used this as it might just sum up their feelings. Or, of course, they could all be heading for The Supreme Court or The Pope…?
A full report of the Judge’s decision will follow. Including her ruling on whether or not Protect Our Waverley has been awarded a limit on its costs to just £10,000 under the Aarhus Convention legislation – (People for Justice).
The Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (or some parts of it!) has been refused Leave to Appeal by the Judge. It will have to pay £10,000 in costs as it had Aarhus protection.
However, POW has not been quite so fortunate. Its cap on costs was increased by the Judge from £10,000 to £30,000. This still leaves US the Waverley taxpayers with a big hole in their pockets!
LATEST NEWS – THEY AIN’T GIVING UP UNTIL EVEN MORE OF THE TAXPAYERS’ MONEY GOES DOWN THE PAN!! But surely someone somewhere is going to have these people up for vexation litigation. Even the Judge knows nothing now!
As if it hadn’t enough on its hands fighting the Dunsfold Park developer, the mutter in the Awfold gutter is that Protect our Little Corner is making a takeover bid for Awfold’s Neighbourhood Plan… and soon its parish council!
Great, they’re going to stop development in Awfold, we hear you cry. And not before time! Finally, they’re taking an interest in somewhere other than Dunsfold Aerodrome. Well done, POW, you’re finally living up to your name!
Well, er …, no, not exactly! According to our informants – and they are many! – POW is planning to concrete all over Awfold’s green and pleasant fields in its latest bid to stop development just a hop, skip and a field away at Dunsfold Aerodrome, the largest brownfield site in the borough.
You couldn’t make it up, really you couldn’t! A scheme that was turned down at Appeal by a Government Inspector earlier this year is, only months later, is now being promoted by the Neighbourhood Plan Committee.
WTF is going on in Awfold, we hear you ask? Awfold residents could not have made it clearer how they felt about Thakeham Homes’ Springbok application – when they turned out in their droves to give it a big, huge thumbs down – but Thakeham’s supporters are determined to get the development back on the agenda.
Are Thakeham’s supporters now promoting another of its cunning plans?
You might well ask! Of course, everyone knows Nik Pigeon, Chairman of Awfold Parish Council, has declared a pecuniary interest in the Springbok scheme but, according to our informants – who have been busy trawling through Awfold Parish Council’s parish papers, following recent, startling revelations about the Parish Council’s money-laundering activities – piles of dodgy do-do are being uncovered. One of which whiffs to high heaven!
Apparently, in April this year, up popped POW’s very own slippery little hypocrite Chris Britton, who, together with his wife Cilla, now sit on Awfold’s Neighbourhood Plan Committee
So why would someone who lives in a house overlooking Dunsfold Aerodrome whose been fighting the Dunsfold Developer tooth-and-nail, to prevent development on his doorstep, want to team up with another developer to help them build homes just a hop, skip and a field away on the other side of the aerodrome on someone else’s doorstep? It really does beg the question what’s in it for him?
In fact, call us stupid but the Waverley Web, can’t understand why anyone is calling for more sites for development there because the village only has to find 125 homes to comply with Your Waverley’s Local Plan and it already has:
• 55 consented – and going up fast – at Sweeters Copse as part of Phase 1, with further homes in the pipeline for Phase 2; • 23 consented at Brockhurst Farm on the Horsham Road; • 57? at the former Wyevale Garden Centre, where consent has already been granted for part of the site and a new application is seeking to increase that number; • 11 at Oakhurst Farm (SCC) • Not to mention numerous conversions of barns and outbuildings – including at the Alfold Craft Centre, and a number of individual new homes – all of which are described as ‘windfall’ sites!
So, without even trying, Awfold has already exceeded the 125 homes it needs by over a fifth and yet POW’s Boy Britton is busy promoting other schemes including at Springbok, owned by Care Ashore, or as some believe Thakeham Homes?
In addition, as part of the call for sites, numerous other Alfold landowners – most of whom objected to development at Dunsfold Aerodrome, – have rushed to throw their land into the hat, including Care Ashore’s land south of Satchel Court Drive; The Nutshell, Horsham Road; Glebelands Farm, Loxwood Road; land at the entrance to Wildwood Golf Club; Bridian Farm, Little Bookers Lea Farm, to name but a few.
Carry on at this rate and Awfold’s green and pleasant fields will quickly become Awfold New Town whilst, next door, the largest brownfield site in the borough sits idle if POW’s Boy Britton has anything to do with it. What a treacherous little Weasel he is!
Alfold Parish Council had a rude awakening this week. The usually sleepy parish which allows its Councillors to do pretty much what they like when they like, how they like, was called to account when one of its residents spotted that over a quarter of a million pounds had flowed through its bank account. Yep, you did read that right – a QUARTER OF A MILLION POUNDS!
Unsurprisingly, that gentlemen nearly choked on his cornflakes and uttered an Anglo Saxon expletive that we’re too mealy-mouthed to repeat here. Intrigued, we asked someone over there to investigate, which they duly did, and we posted their findings. After all, despite the alleged disdain with which the Waverley Web is held by the local establishment – by which we mean the Tory Party, Waverley Borough Council and the uptight Parish Councillors – we know damn well they all read us. The proof is in the pudding and our ratings shot through the roof during Awfold-Gate!
Oh boy, did we hit a nerve? Nic Pigeon – the chairman and local lawyer – was on the phone to the Parish Clerk quicker than a rat up a drain pipe. Sadly, unlike the FBI, WW can’t tap phones, so we’ve made do with our fertile imaginations – believing the conversation went something like this:
Pigeon:‘Now pay attention, Beverley! We’re in, potentially, deep do-do over our love-in with POWand the other Parishes. Not that we did anything illegal, you understand, but, let’s face it, Capt’n Bob and the Boy Britten aren’t too popular with the Waverley Web and, somehow, they’ve managed to make them the laughing stock of the Borough. God knows how but we don’t want that happening to us. Mrs P would fall off her horse- and then we might have to give up our Springbok land.
Bev: ‘Oh, I wouldn’t go that far. I’m sure no one takes the Waverley Web seriously …’
Pigeon:‘Are you mad, woman? Of course, people take it seriously! Even Julia Potts has been overheard admitting she reads the Waverley Web. WBC doesn’t bother issuing internal memos now – it’s a waste of time – because the Waverley Web knows what’s going on at the Burys before they do! We have to nip this in the bud and fast!’ Before they start looking at the VAT returns!
Bev: ‘That’s a shame. I’ve had several compliments from friends who’ve seen my picture on the Waverley Web.
Oh, I know it’s not like being on the front cover of Vogue but, you have to admit, you’re no one in Waverley if you don’t get a mention on the Waverley Web. I’m quite enjoying my 15 minutes of fame and …’
Pigeon: ‘Dear God! Get a grip, woman! soon you’ll be suggesting I ring up and offer to pose for an official photograph to go with their next article!’
Bev: Actually, a good idea. If you submit your own photos you could airbrush out the bits you don’t like. They managed a very flattering photo of me (thank God they didn’t find the one of me with my trousers rolled up, paddling, at West Wittering.
Pigeon:Never mind West Wittering. Stop wittering and CONCENTRATE! We need to think … come to think of it you might just be on to something! That’s just what we need to do. I take it all back. You’re a genius! We need to start wittering. Take a letter, Beverley, we’re writing to the Waverley Web …’
Bev:‘What? Betty won’t like it …’
Pigeon: ‘Bugger Betty! Well, not literally, of course … God, perish the thought!’
Bev:‘You cannot be serious?’
Pigeon: ‘What? About Betty? Of course not!’
Bev: ‘No, not about Betty. About writing to the Waverley Web!’
Pigeon:I never thought those words would pass my lips, but, I’m afraid, we need to hold our noses and just do it. This is about damage limitation and the only way out of this is to offer a carefully choreographed explanation. I know we don’t consider ourselves accountable to anyone but, sadly, the days of what goes on in the Parish Council stays in the Parish Council are long gone. Nowadays, what goes on in the Parish Council goes on the Waverley Web and what goes on the Waverley Web ends up on Facebook and Twitter! Their reach is … well, let’s just say it’s far-reaching.
Why else do you think Groucho Ground retired and went to work for POW? Why do you think I’m retiring? Just you wait, Charles OrangeThe Big D’s final stretch.will be the next one stepping down, mark my words. He’s never been the same, you know, not since they outed him as an out-of-town developer … And, no, I didn’t know about that. I must say he kept it very quiet – very, very quiet – but then, of course, he would. Not that I blame him, anyone would. Development’s a dirty word around here! You can be a developer’s solicitor, his accountant, his bank manager, his planner even … but you can’t actually be a developer! That really is social death! Unless, of course, you’re really, really, really successful and you do it in someone else’s backyard. It doesn’t do to dump on your own doorstep! That’s bad form. So,. Let’s put our heads together and see what face-saving narrative we can come up with for laundering all that cash for POW. Pity we didn’t let one of the other Parishes do it but it seemed like such a good wheeze at the time …’
PS. Has anyone else noted that the Parish Council’s website is now, suddenly, bang up to date, with even draft Minutes being posted? Now there’s a first and, if nothing else, maybe they’ll be a little less complacent going forward.
It began so well. On the second day of the High Court Hearing into CPRE / POW’s challenge to the Secretary of State, Waverley Borough Council and the Dunsfold Developer, Julia Potts went from fabulous to fishnets.
Of course, there were fewer bums on seats in the public gallery – having turned out to cheer on team POW on day one, POW’s supporters didn’t bother turning up. Why would they? They’ve never been interested in listening to anyone’s arguments but their own.
Despite eloquent counter arguments from Wayne Beglan, on behalf of Waverley BC, David Elvin, for the Dunsfold Developer, and the Secretary of State’s barrister, the Judge appeared sympathetic to poor little David’s fight against Goliath. Yes, things appeared to be going swimmingly for Capt’n Bob and Co.
Here the WW want to make something clear. We have never opposed residents’ right to challenge. In fact, we have applauded that right. However, we believe in honesty. This protest group was set up for one purpose and one purpose only – to Dump Development at Dunsfold. Nothing else. If POW cannot tell the truth – others will tell it for you. Hundreds of thousands of pounds of OUR money, has been spent by 11 parish councils, some even from across the Surrey/Sussex border.
Did anyone ask YOU?
Which takes us back to yesterday’s hearing when the Judge turned her attention to the Aarhus Convention (The public’s right to justice which limits costs to just £10,000). POW’s barrister only just stopped short of pulling out his violin as he painted a picture of brave little David’s hand-to-mouth existence, passing round the begging-bowl every time they needed to mount yet another challenge against the Big Bad Developer and Wolfish Waverley, neither of whom gave a fig for local residents, both of whom were only interested in concreting over a big brownfield site to the detriment of all those living nearby.
Smiling graciously, The High Court Judge looked sincere and almost reached for her handkerchief.
Capt’n Bob Lies and Boy Britten’s fizzogs were wearing huge smiles clearly believing they were home and dry on the costs front whilst, in the public gallery, La Potts and Ged Hall gnashed their teeth.
And then a miracle happened. The Dunsfold Developer’s junior brief leapt up and with a few well-placed words turned the tide. Mr Turney said POW was a single-interest group that, despite pleading poverty, had been successfully raising huge sums of money in order to fight/stop any development at Dunsfold Park at every turn. He strongly suspected POW was a front for a few “high net worth individuals”who had promised to cough-up whatever it took to stop the Dunsfold development in its tracks while underwriting the whole shebang. Mr Turney’s prose was far more elegant than ours and issued in a mellifluous tone that, whilst soothing, held just the right degree of indignation to get the Judge’s attention.
The Judge said she couldn’t help but agree with Mr Turney’s assertion – backed up by Mr Beglan on behalf of his client – that there was a lack of transparency on POW’s part about where their financial resources were coming from? Looked suitably pained, PoW’s barrister said the Judge couldn’t be suggesting that poor little David was trying to hide anything? POW simply lurched from one fundraising event to the next, raising dribs and drabs, against all the odds, as the need arose.
M T. was having none of it saying POW had raised vast sums in order to mount a challenge at the Public Inquiry. It was then the Judge’s sympathy began to wane and Capt’n Bob’s smile evaporated like Scotch mist when she said she was leaning towards proposing full disclosure from POW in relation to their funding sources. PoW co-ordinators Chris Britton and Alan Ground looked fit for the ground to swallow them.
PoW’s Rumpole appealed again, surely not, the Judge couldn’t really mean it! But Mr Turney had shone a light on POW’s dirty little secret, revealing not the slightly dented, second-hand petty cash tin they claimed to keep their sparse funds in but a dirty great safety deposit box full of filthy lucre!
Apparently, they weren’t counting Doris’s pennies; why would they when, as Mr Turney disclosed, a small group of wealthy well-wishers were writing gold-plated cheques to the tune of £15,000 – £20,000 a pop with a flourish of their Mont Blancs!
Whose to say same wealthy donors hadn’t egged POW on, agreeing to underwrite all their costs, whilst, at the same time, urging them to try to gain protection from Aahrus thus ensuring that the Waverley Tax Payer ended up footing the bill for POW’s largesse?
Mr Turney didn’t allude to it but the mutter in the Waverley gutter, which has been gaining momentum in recent weeks, reveals at least one devious developer is bank-rolling POW in order to stop development at Dunsfold Park to give his own sites, elsewhere in the Borough, a better chance of succeeding. A strategy right up POW’s lane as they don’t care what’s developed elsewhere in the Borough as long as it’s not on their doorstep!
And isn’t that’s exactly what happened in the case of Mr & Mrs House over at Milford? Their challenge, which was thrown out at the first hurdle, was funded by a developer eager to build in Godalming!
Against a background of excited chatter from the public gallery and red faces in POW’s camp, the Judge instructed the POW’s Rumpole that his clients had seven days in which to provide a full witness statement in relation to their funding arrangements/donations going back to the publication of Inspector Bore’s report.
In the meantime, our advice to Dear Doris. Save your pennies for POW has no need of them. You and any other unsuspecting pensioner who’s donated precious funds they can ill afford have been deceived.
POW’s is a front for some serious High Rollers who don’t want development on their doorsteps but on someone else’s and are hellbent on ensuring it goes anywhere but Dunsfold and at taxpayer’s expense!
In the meantime, we at the Waverley Web look forward to seeing how the Sorry Advertiser – report The Great Dunsfold Dust Off. Whose own High Roller boss lives on the boundary of Dunsfold Aerodrome A “high worth’ individual who just happens to live so near he could spit at the airfield from his £8m and reducing, country pile.
Alfold Parish Council couldn’t possibly be acting as Banker – could it? No, not really, never?
The phone lines between Waverley East and West hummed last night as those who attended the first day of the High Court battle between PoW and it’s bosom buddies CPRE versus Waverley Borough Council and the Secretary of State chewed the fat over the wires.
It was Ground Hog Day with all the usual suspects present and correct in Court 76 – the same tired old room in the nether regions of the High Court that hosted the first Hearing earlier in the year. WW just hung on in there…
Cast List La Potts was a resplendent Josephine in a technicolour dream coat boasting colours of the rainbow – red and yellow and green and blue … and put the more conservative Liz-the-Biz, Daniel Bainbridge, Tom Horwood and Paul Fellows in the shade. Although Denise Le Gal, Waverley’s Mayor, did her best to rival La Potts by turning up late in Leopard Print!
Alan & Sarah Ground – still, to their chagrin, of The Old Rectory on The Green. Regular readers will be aware they’ve been trying to flog their Dunsfold pile since March but, sadly for them, there are no takers. That’s what happens when you spend 15 years dissing your neighbours. You’d have thought they’d have realised that given their collaborator in Stop Dunsfold Park New Town (Rupert Howell of Trinity Mirror and Sorry Advertiser fame) has been trying and failing to sell his bigger and better pile, adjacent to the airfield, on and off for years now.
Bob Lies, CEO of Protect our Little Corner, huddled on the back bench next to instructing solicitors.
John Jefferies, a PoW supporter, rocked up late and plonked himself down next to Dunsfold Park’s legal team. Had the boot been on the other foot, you can bet your bottom dollar, PoW would have been hollering ‘Spys in the camp’from the High Court turrets but the Dunsfold Developer clearly couldn’t give a toss.
The Judge, refreshing young – not in the first flush, we understand, but young for a member of the judiciary – was female and clearly mistress of her brief and keen to lose no time in getting the ball rolling.
First up was The Grinch – oops! we mean The Stinch – on behalf of Protect our Little Corner.
Predictably, he had nothing new to say and bored the pants off everyone by harking back – yet again – to 2009 when permission to develop housing at Dunsfold Park was ‘emphatically refused’ because the site was ‘inherently unsustainable’. Oh, change the record do! The world’s moved on since 2009 but, clearly, The Stinch hasn’t. All his harking-back revealed he had nothing new to say and was relying on old arguments that have been repeatedly and soundly rebuffed, thrown out both by Waverley’s Planners and the Secretary of State no less.
By mid-morning, we’re told, even the Judge had had enough and was beginning to bore of his arguments. The Stinch bandied numbers around like confetti as he tried to justify his badly mangled argument which boiled down to PoW’s contention that Inspector Bore had started with the wrong figure in relation to Woking Borough Council’s unmet need and because the figure was wrong he had no business allocating 50% of it to Waverley. The Judge seemed unconvinced, questioning whether The Stinch was trying to argue that a 50:50 split on its own was wrong in law?
PoW looked pained as the Judge sliced and diced The Stinch’s waffle and cut to the chase. They weren’t remotely interested in Waverley’s housing numbers per se, they were simply interested in stopping housing development at Dunsfold Park, at any cost, and if crying foul over housing numbers helped them achieve that goal that was all they cared about, regardless of the outcome for the rest of the Borough which could well end up without the protection of a Local Plan by the time they’re finished!
Then up came Mr Westway on behalf of the Campaign to Protect Rural England – that’s the bunch who’s nationwide cri de coeur is ‘Brownfield first’ everywhere … except at Dunsfold! They’d rather Waverley built all over green fields and greenbelt than laid a single brick on the Borough’s largest brownfield site.
If the Judge was bored by The Stinch, her Clerk’s eyes glazed over listening to Mr Westway. Indeed, so did everyone else, when the Judge livened things up by accusing Mr Westway of ‘trying to argue the inarguable’ and levying ‘very unfair criticism at Inspector Bore’but Mr Westway was unrepentant and well and truly cooked his goose when the Judge explained to him, very gently, that she knew where he was coming from and where he was trying to get to and he really didn’t need to spell out every single syllable of his argument for her as she had – ahem – read her brief! Unfortunately, the Patronising Puppy didn’t take the hint, droning on for another hour. By the end of his oration, the Grounds were dozing on each other’s shoulder, Bob Lies had his head in his hands and those on the opposing side had given up all pretence of polite attention and were busily tapping away on their ipads, catching up on the day job.
Wayne Beglan, for Waverley Borough Council, finally got to his feet mid-afternoon but the main thrust of his argument and that of the Secretary of State and the Dunsfold Developer will have to wait until today.
What of Aarhus we hear you ask? We know many of you are very anxious to know if you, the Waverley Council Tax Payer, will have to pick up Protect our Little Corner’s costs or whether the Judge will rule – as Waverley Borough Council and the Secretary of State contend – they pick up their own. The Judge deferred this decision to the end of the Hearing, at which point we understand Capt’n Bob and his cohort, Chris Britten, rushed for the loos, leaving skid marks in their wake!
Who knows, by this time tomorrow it could be mi casa es su casa! And if that’s the case maybe Messrs Lies and Britten will bugger off and bother some other borough!
Or maybe not, for rumour has it Protect our Little Corner is still being incredibly reticent about the source of its funding and the mutter in the gutter is that’s because another local developer has been funding them in order to knock out Dunsfold Park thus ensuring his own plans to develop other sites elsewhere in the borough – Godalming – stand a better chance of success …
To be continued … gossip and South-West trains willing!!!