Bewley Homes gallops into Farnham and rides roughshod all over ‘Your Waverley.’

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Now the WW has to apologise too. It was Bewley  Homes that did it their way – and not Bellway Homes. Perhaps one day soon we will all be able to watch and HEAR – the webcast of Waverley meetings? 

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Dig, dig, dig – the whole day through! Dig, dig, dig, dig Ancient Woodland too!

THE CHEEKY DEVILS ADMIT AND APOLOGISE FOR DRIVING A COACH AND HORSES THROUGH PROTECTIVE POLICIES, INCLUDING:

 DEMOLISHING TREES COVERED BY PRESERVATION ORDERS (TPO’s)!

BUILDING A PUMPING STATION WITHIN THE PROHIBITED 15 METRES PROTECTED BUFFER ZONE OF ANCIENT WOODLAND.

AND

FELLING OR  DAMAGING A ROW OF MATURE SCOTS PINES ON THE SITE FRONTAGE!

So it could build 72 homes, 26 “affordable” – whatever that means – on land of Great Landscape Value at the Garden Style Nursery, in Wrecclesham near Farnham.

“Shocking,” Disgraceful; “appalling,” “amazing,” “criminal” ” treating the Waverley Borough like somewhere in the Wild West were just a few of the descriptions given to the misdemeanours of the “illegal” acts of vandalism carried out by one of the Nation’s largest house=builders!

Surprise- surprise – isn’t that the same housebuilder that committed exactly the same little misdemeanour in Cranleigh last Winter? Building too close to Ancient Woodland – moving badger sets, digging new holes for badgers who were later found – drowned dead!! God knows what Bramley’s Dotty Dardak would have to say about that!! No that was Bellway.

 Fear not, despite all the protestations –  Steven Strenwith? – Bewley Homes’ Land Director, or not, in this particular case, apologised to Councillors and officers for the errors in construction – but failed to mention the good citizens of Wrecclesham who have to live with his mistakes.  He said his company had a fine reputation for quality housebuilding, rabbit, rabbit, won’t be many of them left either, and it would all be alright on the night – or words to that effect.

 Officers waxed lyrical how the developer would be making amends by putting in trees to “mitigate” the harm, and Farnham’s Carole Cockburn after a minor rant,  said the developer had improved the site layout by adding another seven homes, so should be supported!

Ah well! That’s alright then! Isn’t it?

After a load of councillors followed Godalming’s Follows footsteps with furious rants, and Cranleigh’s Liz Townsend suggested the developer should not be allowed to ride roughshod over Waverley’s well tried and tested planning laws, it looked as though the application might be deferred or even REFUSED! Despite the principle of development being established when outline permission was granted last year!

WOW, not really? They couldn’t, could they?

Then Oh! Carole – reached into her big knickers for her big stick and began beating her colleagues into submission.  If permission was refused the developer could build the four-bedroom homes already granted and not the extra 7 semi-detached properties now offered.

So there you are! The principal of a Developer, who ignores the law on TPO’s, and strict laws that protect Ancient Woodland – a criminal offence, but offers an ineffectual apology,  has to be dragged kicking and screaming by officers into “mitigating” the offence by planting replacement trees,  has now been established!

After watching this shambolic meeting the WW was ashamed… and so were many others. We witnessed our Senior Planning Committee Chaired by Peter Isherwood – who should have been dumped after he rubbished the villages of Ewhurst and Cranleigh, but continues undeterred, to wreck our lovely borough! Is there anything now that is sacred in this rotten borough of Waverley?

We haven’t even mentioned Councillor Gerry Hyman’s continuous claim that Waverley consistently flouts European environmental Law by not providing the Appropriate Assessments required for Farnham’s Special Protection Areas. Accusations that ‘YW’ rubbish, and refuse to show evidence that AA’s have been carried out- including “bird numbers?”

When pressed officers said they “could” seek enforcement of the developers’ illegal actions, but that was  “A CONFIDENTIAL MATTER’ – so confidential no doubt, that it will never be heard of again!

But the WW will be watching carefully. We are still waiting for a report on the Police findings on the council’s false Air Quality Data Report?

Hang your heads in shame Waverley Borough Council for allowing developers to trash Ancient Woodland – woodland that is over 600 years old. It is no excuse that you cannot monitor developments!

Hang your heads in shame Bewley Homes, and we ask? How can these people ever be trusted to build in this borough again!!

Oh! and by the way- forget all that mock outrage. There were 12 votes in favour – two against and one abstention.

Presumably, two councillors who oppose such criminal behaviour Councillor Follows and Townsend – and one Councill Hyman –  who couldn’t even acknowledge an ‘illegal application!’ Our apologies if we have it wrong – because the cameras are turned away from the committee during voting! Wonder why?

 

Round Two has been won but the protracted fight to defend Waverley’s Local Plan goes on… and on!

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Here we go again!

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Unless of course, it happens to be in the borough of Waverley?

 

The Court of Appeal has thrown out The Protect Our Waverley and the CPRE’s latest challenge to overturn High Court decisions made in July. These challenges affect the Dunsfold Aerodrome development and Waverley’s  Local Plan. 

Obviously, the anti-Dunsfold brigade have very deep pockets? Because although their costs MAY BE limited to £10,000 under Access to Justice Legislation called (Aarhus) they will be paying shedloads of dosh for the Rumpoles who represent them!

The appeals, lodged by POW Campaign Ltd and CPRE Surrey, followed a High Court’s decision on 12 July 2018 to dismiss significant elements of challenges to the Council’s Local Plan and the Secretary of State’s Dunsfold Park decision.

The rejected appeals sought to challenge the High Court’s decision to refuse permission to go to a full hearing in respect of the following grounds: In other words, the locals aren’t giving up until the fat lady sings?

  • · that the council and the Local Plan Inspector failed to consider environmental constraints (in the context of calculating Waverley’s objectively assessed need)

 

  • · that both the council and the Inspector did not correctly apply the two-stage test as set out in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

Councillor Julia Potts, Leader of Waverley Borough Council, said: “I am pleased the appeals against the High Court judge’s decision have been refused.

“This is a small victory for us but we will still need to defend the council’s position in the challenge to Woking’s unmet housing need allocation in Waverley’s Local Plan.

“We didn’t bring these legal challenges and don’t want to be in this situation. I believe our Local Plan is the best plan for the borough and we have a duty to defend it; having a sound Local Plan means we can defend and protect the borough from inappropriate development. That’s why, after careful consideration, we think it’s absolutely the right thing to set aside funds to be able to defend the legal challenges.

“We will continue to defend our Local Plan and to use it to guide planning decisions.”

The Council and other parties will be attending a full Judicial Review hearing on 9 and 10 October 2018, which will consider challenges from POW Campaign Ltd and CPRE Surrey to Waverley’s Local Plan, relating to Woking’s unmet need allocation, and a challenge from POWCampaign Ltd to the grant of planning permission in respect of Dunsfold Park. Just a little thought on Woking’s unmet need straight from our sun lounger?

When  POW and CPRE  square up for Round Three at the High Court in October they will challenge both the legality of Waverley Borough Council’s approval of their Local Plan and the Secretary of State’s decision to approve development at Dunsfold Park (1,800 homes consented).

If this is thrown out then presumably His Holiness The Pope will be called in to rule and then if that fails The Almighty himself – the omnipotent one will be asked to make the final judgment no doubt?

A Judge decided at an oral hearing in July that parts of the POW and CPRE’s case had merit, but other grounds did not. (not entirely accurate)

POW and CPRE say they appealed on the rejected grounds and this week that appeal was dismissed. The principal grounds for the forthcoming cases remain – primarily the question of the burden of a housing quota for Woking’s unmet being placed on Waverley Borough. This will be heard in the High Court where Waverley will have to account for their actions. At the same court, hearing POW is also challenging the legal basis for the SoS’s decision to approve Dunsfold Airfield development.

Bob Lees, Chairman of POW said:

The situation is the same as when the High Court judge approved our case in July to go to full court in October. Waverley don’t need to defend the case – if POW and CPRE win this case they would seek a remedy of a reduction in the quota for housing – that will relieve some of the burden on the Borough of Waverley and Waverley Borough Council. This is not about the Local Plan failing. As for Waverley sending their legal team to attend the Secretary of State’s court case – that is their choice but is that really the best use of council tax payer’s money where the primary beneficiary of the SoS winning is a wealthy developer?”

WW. Which of course, what this whole very expensive exercise is all about?

The statement continues: “We have repeatedly asked WBC’s CEO to justify the council’s reasons for not considering a “do nothing” approach to the Court cases – I have yet to be re-assured they considered every option. Separately we have not received any justification from WBC for them spending £100,000 where they are not the defendant – they are merely an interested party in the SoS’s defence of the legal basis for approving a £1.1bn development of Dunsfold Airfield.”

What a hypocrite! Capt’n Bob and his motley crew don’t give a damn about the rest of the Borough. All they care about is stopping Dunsfold Park building on a brownfield site, adjacent to a major A-road. Where were Protect our Waverley when applications were submitted and approved for development on greenfields in Alfold, Cranleigh and Farnham what are they saying about plans to build on the green belt in Godalming?? Sitting around the kitchen table plotting their next move in the downfall of the Dunsfold Developer. They’re oblivious to what’s going on in the rest of the borough because they’re single-mindedly committed to stopping development on the one site that is crying out to be developed. What’s that old saying: there’s none so blind as them that can’t see …

If you can bear to read more: Does ‘Your Waverley’ have to manage a crisis now the High Court has allowed challenges to the Local Plan to be heard at a Judicial Review?

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Cllr Holder to the rescue! He’ll be solving our trains … a new railway line for Cranleigh, and boosting Chinese tourism!

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Even if you have never watched a clip from a Waverley Council  Webcast – this link below is a MUST DO!

If you watch one Scrutiny Committee this year – Cllr Holder’s comments on the Economic Strategy certainly are an eye-opener!

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• He’s meeting with Jeremy Hunt and the MD of the railways to knock the train capacities into shape.
• He’s also creating a new railway line between Cranleigh & Guildford
• He’s talking to the Chinese Cultural attache to encourage Chinese tourism, and he’s managed to find a local Mandarin speaker (Jeremy Hunt’s wife no less!) to translate his barmy ideas.
• He’s reprinting the pamphlet ‘Lutyens in Waverley’ in Mandarin to snare those Chinese tourists and to encourage them to visit Charterhouse School and our high streets to spend their Yuan.

The Councillor without portfolio for Hambledon & Witley and formerly for Dunsfold certainly loves a meeting with the great and good to show off his talents. But what exactly has he ever actually done, other than opposing development on the largest brownfield site in the borough and support development in the countryside?!

PS Apparently there a great deal of mutter in the Conservative gutter about the identity of the Waverley Web.

Coming soon – TheWaverley Web unmasked?

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Waverley’s Jim Edwards was so pleased with his new Economic Strategy …

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… that he took the Waverley executive on a coach tour of business parks, including this one at Dunsfold.

You know the airfield that the locals have repeatedly objected to its expansion for business or anything else!

The executives are pictured here on the starting blocks to push the council’s new economic strategy forward.  Or could it be the same as the old one, just with no officers left to carry it out!

 

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On your marks – get set – GO!

 

When members of Waverley’s Value for Money Overview and Scrutiny Committee sat down to scrutinise the draft strategy last night there were some glum faces. Waverley had brought in ‘experts’ (Atkins Consultants) to write a document which councillors said they hadn’t had time to peruse – some hadn’t even received it!

Ah well nothing, like scrutinising something you have hardly read, or haven’t seen at all, is there? A document that will go to the Executive for approval on 9 October!

Suffice to say those who had “skimmed through” the document said much was missing. No surprise there then!

Councillors identified that although there were 8,200 businesses in Waverley the document had not taken into account there were many rural businesses in a mainly rural borough but there was no reference to them. Dunsfold’s Councillor John Gray said the figures just didn’t add up – “It says here there are only 85 people employed in 165 rural businesses – what about agriculture, forestry etc?”

Councillor Mike Band wanted to know where was The Surrey Hills Management Plan was identified? A group partly funded by Waverley?

Richard Seaborne suggested the document, particularly the Executive Summary should be  “tidied up” and should include some important figures – like the size of Waverley’s economy which was £4.7billion. He said “A goodly number of highly educated highly paid people who live in the borough and use its services work outside the borough. I want to see more detail on the in-out economy? Does Waverly have the staff or the skills to monitor the document?’

The document didn’t portray an overall picture said, David Round. Including infrastructure, the overcrowded trains from Haslemere included. He claimed 80% of the money that flowed into Waverley came from the City – that is the driver of Waverley’s economy. He highlighted the amount of office and retail space being lost to residential partly due to increased business rates – “are we telling the Government – if we all bleat it may listen.”

Stephen Mulliner shared many of his colleagues’ reservations – “truth is –  a local authority is not best placed to carry out the actions in this document termed as – SMART – which he asked to be removed – we don’t have the money or the staff to do that. We are not a business” 

The man behind the document, Jolly Jim Edwards looking not quite so jolly at the end, said that the need for the important Economic Strategy was prompted by CRATUS – ( brought in by CEO Tom Horwood to review Waverley.)  “We all have to realise we are making a real sea change here  – there is a long way to go but at least we’ve made a start.”

Not a very good one, judging by the way it was received! A bit like Elsies – Culture Strategy?Do we have a Cultural Strategy or do we have 230 pages weighing over – 600 grams – of expensive tripe?

Councillors agreed to form a small group to do further work on the document urgently before recommending it to the Executive. 

 

 

Have ‘Your Waverley’s’ planners been hit by pre-election fever?

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Only days after Farnham Residents and a Liberal Dem- go on the attack over unsuitable development in the borough – every planning application except one is REFUSED!

Despite officers recommendation to grant everything on the Eastern Area Planning Committee and immediately afterwards on Southern Planning’s Agenda – councillors UNANIMOUSLY REFUSED EVERYTHING – except the expansion of cold store warehouses for storing fruit canes at Tuesley Farm, Godalming!

Never has there been such a U-Turn of views since that major one on the road to Damascus!

First to go down the Waverley plughole – was the application to build homes in the beer garden at Ewhurst’s Bull Pub. Developers want to remove pub extensions including the popular skittle alley and beer garden and replace with five homes.

The loss of the gardens, the proximity to homes, a huge loss of trees, in the middle of the Conservation Area, were all considered by Waverley planning wally’s as ” causing less than significant harm!”

What does that mean exactly – planning gobbledegook for –  yes, it will spoil the pretty Ewhurst green area, but no matter because it will increase Ewhurst’s housing supply and put another few notches on our five-year land supply.

Villagers were having none of it and spewed out 130+  letters to say so. They claimed it was an asset stripping exercise of a treasured community asset, which would cut the heart out of a community that was already producing its quota of new homes.

“To grant this would be a bad day for the borough and a bad day for Ewhurst,” said an objector.

Everyone on the planning committee, yes, everyone, spoke against the development and argued against officers, who claimed, “the benefit would outweigh the harm.” Councillor Kevin Deanus said Alfold residents met annually on his patch to grieve the demise of their local pub The Crown Pub saying officers’ claims that The Bull  would be “conserved and enhanced” by the development, was a nonsense.

Some called the developers “greedy” others argued the loss of 18 trees to “provide a big blob of property” would be a travesty!

Moments after it was UNANIMOUSLY REFUSED. Down went another application recommended for approval to convert stables into a home in Upper Ifold, Dunsfold. Officers referred to it as a windfall, councillors described it as a “rotten apple.”

Following swiftly on officers thought they were home and dry with a development to squeeze two homes into the back gardens of 114-118 Horsham Road, Cranleigh because a previous scheme was refused for three three-storey properties.  Arguing it was no longer backland development as the Crest Nicholson 120/+90=?? homes were under construction behind the Horsham Road in Longhurst Park!

Cries of ‘garden grabbing’, loss of more trees, the huge impact on neighbouring properties, and a harmful change to the to the area, was challenged by officers who claimed there were no highway objections and similar development had occurred nearby.

Cranleigh Councillor Liz Townsend argued that Cranleigh had already reached its target of 1,700 homes just a few years into the Local Plan. “And, where’s the bat survey for this important wildlife corridor, she asked?

Wow! Is election fever rearing its ugly head in ‘Your Waverley?’

To be continued…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is the most well-used phrase at ‘Your Waverley’s council meetings?

 

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If, you get the answer right. 

 

We will put you out of your misery… the phrase most often used in response to councillors questions by officers, the leader, and the executive is…

WE ARE SATISFIED.”

And.. if ‘we are satisfied’ then so must you be?

 

Where will Waverley members be watching the World Cup in Farnham?

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Marlborough Head East Street June 2014

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Marlborough Head 2018

We are grateful for these photos from Martin Gardiner and John Spackman in Farnham for pointing out the irony. Where once there was a thriving community pub on East Street, now there is a boarded up, fenced off shell. Never before has the ‘Blightwells’ development been so aptly named!

Where will we watch the Russian held World Cup now? Answers to Waverley, please! Spasibo!

We’ve heard it on the grapevine, that Liz the Biz or Betty Boot as she is fondly known – (remember staff and councillors have been warned not to refer to the Chief Planning Officer by this name!!) – has donned her brand new Nike football boots, to take part in the English line-up for the World Cup. Apparently, she has put the bover boot in so many times to give rebellious Waverley concillors a good kicking, that England Manager Gareth Southgate, is putting her on first reserve in the attack. Watch out Tunisia!

The WW tripped over a Gove at our local fruit farm.

Who did we see in his ministerial Land Rover as we rounded the corner of Tuesley Farm,  none-other than the Secretary for State for Agriculture Michael Gove. Unfortunately, we didn’t have our free punnet of raspberries to hand…
Brexiteer Gove met our local Brexiteer fruit farmer Harry Hall at Godalming’s Tuesley Farm as part of Open Farm Sunday. Harry is famous for voting for Brexit and then complaining he can’t get enough Polish workers to pick his strawbs..  “If EU labourers disappear ‘I don’t have a business. It’s as simple as that”

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We wonder if Harry (above right) went on to tell Mr. Gove what he said to Radio 4: “I regret my vote in the face of the Government I’m given.” Judging by the look on Gove’s face it would appear he was getting a rough ride?

The Secretary of State’s parking space is pictured below. However, – he didn’t arrive on his bike but was swept through in his blacked out Land Rover.
IMG_2276.jpgLocal Residents will know the farm has had a chequered planning history, with Waverley taking enforcement action against the owners of the polytunnels and then against the permanent mobile homes. However, we can report that these issues are now resolved, and the fruit tastes delicious!

Please Waverley, tell us you haven’t gambled a £17m black hole like Surrey Heath!

closingdownSurrey Heath Council recently spent £17.6m buying the freehold of the Camberley House of Fraser building. The money was completely borrowed from the Government’s Public Works scheme – so they didn’t even have the money themselves! Casino gambling at it’s best.

THIS WEEK HOUSE OF FRASER PULLED THE PLUG ON ITS CAMBERLEY STORE – serving a CVA on the council no less!

The Council said: “By acquiring the freehold of this site, Surrey Heath did so as part of the wider regeneration of its town and not as an investment. The store has suffered from under-investment over the years and the Council was in discussion with them to address this. Whilst these discussions are still ongoing, their own reinvestment proposals are dependent on a formal CVA and their position on legacy stores.”

This is the massive ANCHOR store for Camberley – not something easily re-let – or even turned into flats in the current climate!

We know Waverley Borough and Surrey County Councils have invested in the disastrous Blightwells in Farnham, and we know Waverley agreed to borrow £30million to buy some commercial property early in the year. Surely this is a risk too far?

Isn’t it time to come clean Waverley and publish a list of whats going on? After all if we suddenly all have a half share in a shopping centre in Runcorn, perhaps there will be more incentive for us to visit!!

Over to you Captain Bob…Your Borough Needs You?

GOODNESS GRACIOUS ME …

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What a busy, busy summer it’s going to be for Bob Lees’s Protect our Waverley (PoW), as Waverley Borough Council invites residents and other interested parties (Cue stage right: that’s you PoW!) to comment on proposed sites put forward to build another 1,079 homes in the borough.

Waverley’s Local Plan Part II sets out where the homes might be built – including Elstead, Godalming, Haslemere, Milford, and Witley.

Members of the Public (and PoW) have until midday on Monday 9 July to let Waverley Planners know what they think about the proposals set out in Part II of its Local Plan. Knowing how keen PoW is to live up to its name – PROTECT OUR WAVERLEY – the Waverley Web has no doubt that, under the direction of it’s dedicated Chairman, Bob Lees, PoW will be going through Waverley’s Local Plan Part II with a fine curry-comb in order to prepare a plan of campaign every bit as thorough as its war against development at Dunsfold Airfield.

Of course, PoW, is already up to its neck in a rear-guard action as it attempts to Judicially Review Dunsfold Park’s consent for 1800 homes but, knowing what eager beavers they are on behalf of the entire Borough, that won’t deter them from getting stuck into the Local Plan Part II as they know how much residents across the Borough are relying on them to root out and fight the good fight against inappropriate development borough-wide, not just in their own little corner of Alfold and Dunsfold!

In addition to all this, PoW will also be busily pouring over detailed plans for the first phase of Knowle Park, where the former Lettuce King – Nicholas Vrijland and his cohort, Andy Leafy – will be building 265 homes at the former West Cranleigh Nurseries. But, they just want to help Cranleigh – don’t they? Funny really, having set up all those secret meetings with developers, they are trailing along behind them all as fag end Henry’s!

Then, just a hop, skip and a jump away from Knowle Park, there’s Miller Home’s development of the former Hewett’s Industrial Estate, where 100 homes will shortly be underway. 

With so much development going on in and around Cranleigh, local shop-keepers are worried that the knock-on effects of the building works will keep shoppers away from the High Street – especially following the closure, last week, of the NatWest Bank in Stocklund Square, which was a big draw. NatWest customers, who now have to go to Godalming, Horsham or Guildford for their over-the-counter banking needs, are thought likely to defect to Godalming over Cranleigh in their droves.

So, thank God for POW. If ever Waverley needed a committed ‘very large and continually growing number of concerned Waverley residents whose interest is in sustainable, balanced and appropriate development’ it’s now!

So, over to you Cap’n Bob!!! Your Borough Needs YOU!