Tuesday, 30 September 2008

It's late

Late, both in the evening, and 'in the day' with regard to East Street. However, I've been ploughing through my Waverley email inbox, and reading many emails with extra information from objectors to the planning application. Virtually all of them have been sent to all councillors, and focus on three main areas of traffic, theatre, and flooding.

One gentleman quite obviously puts a phenomenal amount of work into his research, and quite possibly gets more into the detail that Waverley's planning department. I'm not saying this to annoy any council planners, but to point out that between them, the objectors have a significant amount of knowledge and expertise, which they've brought to bear on all facets of the East Street proposals.

The quandry for councillors on the planning committee, is that on some particular issues (flooding and traffic for example), there are statutory consultees (Environment Agency and Surrey County Highwas respectively), and as such, their response is quite properly critical. A key question is therefore, is it possible for members of the public to draw councillors' attention to matters of material consideration, that have not been drawn out, or missed, by the statutory consultees?

Monday, 29 September 2008

Record the Vote

Well, it's here at last, the week when the planning decision on the East Street application will take place. After much pondering, I'll be ringing committee services at the Council Offices this morning, and asking to speak at the meeting on Wednesday night.

Firstly, because I believe that on such an utterly crucial issue to the future of the town and everyone who lives in it, all councillors, particularly Farnham councillors, should demonstrate their position. Admittedly, I have the advantage that, not voting, I can pretty much say what I like, and not worry excessively about 'predisposition' or 'predetermination'.

[On a related matter, I saw an email thread last week that discussed a recorded vote. I see that local opposition groups are hoping this will occur, but the thread I was reading (from a separate source) stated the belief that as planning is not a political issue, then a recorded vote was not appropriate. I disagree. I believe that every vote made by a councillor is an appropriate piece of information for public dissemination - surely this is obvious as meetings are held in public, and, as they are webcast, could theoretically be paused, all votes counted and logged, and a record retained. Why not simply organise a record each time (practical issues aside / to be resolved)?]

Secondly, because I've asked questions on this blog previously about East Street, and, whilst having listened to many of your views - by email, post, over coffee, in the street - I haven't enunciated my own beliefs, and it's time to do so.

I'm certain that this will be the most 'popular' committee meeting in Waverley's history, and I look forward to seeing you there.

Saturday, 27 September 2008

A Rough Ditch in Rowledge

roughditch_logo_black Not the one along the south side of Long Road, but a fantastic barn dance band who showed off their not inconsiderable skills in Rowledge village hall tonight, in aid of the band's "Family Charity", Riding for the Disabled.

Roughditch Band delivered what they promised, playing a wonderful mixture of tunes, and, most wonderfully, singing a great Aussie tune, with four-part close harmony that reminded me of barber shop in its pleasing delicacy and uncommon nature in the UK.

It's been a while since my wife and I have been out on a Saturday night, (we're usually collapsed at home after a long week), but this was truly worth it, for a worthwhile cause, and simply great fun.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Planning Applications 24th September 2008

(Click here if you want to go the Waverley planning search page, and select 'Ward' from the left hand list of options)

WA/2008/1693: 02/09/2008
Proposed Development: Erection of a new dwelling following demolition of existing dwelling. Rosemead Cottage, River Lane, Farnham.
E: 482533 N: 145386
Case Officer: Mr P Falconer

Applicant: R Kent, C/O Agent
Agent: Mark Leedale Planning, 52 Crondall Lane, Farnham, Surrey, GU9 7DD

WA/2008/1694: 03/09/2008
Proposed Development: Erection of conservatory following demolition of existing single storey structure. 1 Cokenor Wood, Farnham.
E: 482620 N: 144718
Case Officer: Mrs A Griffiths

Applicant: Mr & Mrs West, 1 Cokenor Wood, Wrecclesham, Surrey GU10 4QN
Agent: N Roberts, Amex Holdings Ltd, 5 Cherrywood, Chineham Business Park, Basingstoke, Hants RH25 8WF

WA/2008/1701: 11/09/2008
Proposed Development: Erection of a detached garage. 22 Broadwell Road, Farnham.
E: 482635 N: 144580
Case Officer: Mr J Hammick

Applicant: Mr & Mrs Fabian, 22 Broadwell Road, Farnham, Surrey GU10 4QH
Agent: Davetee Chartered, Building Consultancy, Davetee House, 11/13 Lenten Street, Alton, Hampshire, GU34 1HG

WA/2008/1709: 04/09/2008
Proposed Development: Construction of an all weather playing surface and associated works. Frensham Heights School, Frensham Heights Road, Rowledge.
E: 483174 N: 142661
Case Officer: Mr R Pearmain

Applicant: Frensham Heights, Educational Trust Ltd, C/O Agent
Agent: K Goodwin, CgMs Ltd, Morley House, 26 Holborn Viaduct, London EC1A 2AT

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Now available

And so, the day approaches. The Joint Planning Committee will consider the East Street applications on the evening of the 1st October, at 7 pm. The agenda and associated papers are now available on the Waverley website.

Is it just me, or is it possible than so many people will turn up that they will be standing along the corridor and down the stairs?

Monday, 22 September 2008

My Mother-in-law warned me...

... and today's Telegraph reminds me, that the government has no end to its ideas on how to make money at the cost of both of our cultural heritage and richness, and potentially with long-term detrimental risks. Jim White has written about Dave, a lock-keeper on the Thames, who's 26 years experience is about to put to one side in the pursuit of 'realising market value'.

It's seems ironic that I read this whilst my in-laws are on their own narrow-boat for the week (we having all departed Northumberland on Saturday - they for another week of rest, and we, back into the fray).

What some 'wise man' somewhere in our civil service has decided to do, is eject Dave from his cottage, which is - intelligently, practically, and very obviously - sited right by the lock, so that it can be rented out at market value. Now, tell me I'm wrong, but (a) lock-keepers are best placed at locks; (b) if you've ever navigated any of our nation's canals you'll know the very precious nature of water levels and their management; and (c) whenever something is sold or rented off, it is never re-obtained in the future. Put simply, a major chapter in the story of our nation's development is being slowly reduced to a pastime for the retired.

Well, I could go on with many other points my mother-in-law has made about canals that make me realise that our MPs / civil servants / planners / developers... have a lot to learn. But suffice to say, that after disagreeing with her two weeks ago, and spending last week's holiday trying to persuade her that developers are indeed normal people, I'm now back to passing on her wisdom. A good place to be I think.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Playing Catch-up

Back from the beach (Northumberland - really wonderful - quiet, peaceful, miles from everywhere except the A1), and today I had a chance to browse the Herald.

The main front page story was news to me. And is a good example of how as a councillor, it's difficult to spot everything that's going on by way of the reams of paper that come through the door. Looks like this decision (proposal?) went through the Local Committee, that brings Surrey and Waverley councillors together.

I wonder to what extent a single lane on the A31 will effect any possible future work on a Wrecclesham by-pass? Just a thought.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Planning Applications 17th September 2008

(Click here if you want to go the Waverley planning search page, and select 'Ward' from the left hand list of options)

TM/2008/0074: 03/09/2008
Proposed Development: Application for consent for works to an Oak Tree the subject of Tree Preservation Order 06/05. Pemberley, 18 Fullers Road, Rowledge.
E: 482157 N: 143493
Case Officer: Mr A Clout

Applicant: V Fursey, Pemberley, 18 Fullers Road, Rowledge, Surrey GU10 4BP
Agent: Mr Ian Keen, Ian Keen Ltd, Redlands Farm, Redlands Lane, Ewshot, Surrey GU10 5AS

WA/2008/1638: 02/09/2008
Proposed Development: Erection of extensions and alterations (variation to permission granted under WA/2007/2746). 14 Shortheath Crest, Farnham.
E: 483023 N: 144773
Case Officer: Mrs J Hammick

Applicant: G Wickenden, 14 Shortheath Crest, Farnham, Surrey GU9 8SA
Agent: Mr C Bradbrook, 51 Alma Way, Heath End, Farnha, Surrey GU9 0QH

WA/2008/1653: 30/07/2008
Proposed Development: Erection of an 18 metre telecommunication mast with antennae, dishes and associated equipment cabinets with ancillary works. Baker Oates Stables, Gardeners Hill Road, Farnham.
E: 483643 N: 143825
Case Officer: Mr P Falconer

Applicant: Vodafone Ltd, The Connection, Newbury, Berkshire RG14 2FN
Agent: James Canby, Savills, Wessex House, Priors Walk, Eastborough, Wimborne, Dorset BH21 1PB

WA/2008/1658: 29/08/2008
Proposed Development: Erection of a conservatory following demolition of existing conservatory. 16 Bridgefield, Farnham.
E: 484622 N: 146820
Case Officer: Mr A Griffiths

Applicant: Mr Magee, 16 Bridgefield, Farnham, GU9 8AN
Agent: Z Rayner, Anglian Home Improvements, Conservatory Admin Dept, PO Box 65, Norwich NE6 6EJ

WA/2008/1671: 11/08/2008
Proposed Development: Application for Certificate of Lawfulness under Section 192 for a proposed link extension and alterations. 28 St. Peters Gardens, Farnham.
E: 482662 N: 144862
Case Officer: Western Area Team

Applicant: P Lechev, 28 St. Peters Gardens, Wrecclesham, Surrey GU10 4QX
Agent: S Brooker, Graysbrook Design Ltd, 102 High Street, Godalming, Surrey GU7 1DS

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Planning Appeal Decision

Appeal Ref: APP/R3650/X/07/2051232
Ground Control Yard, Gardeners Hill Road, Lower Bourne, GU10 3JB
• The appeal is made under section195 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 as amended by the Planning and Compensation Act 1991 against a refusal to grant a certificate of lawful use or development (LDC).
• The appeal is made by Mr R Riall against the decision of Waverley Borough Council.
• The application (Ref.WA/2007/0328), dated 5 February 2007, was refused by notice dated 24 May 2007.
• The application was made under section 191(1)(a) and 191(1)(b) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 as amended.
• The development for which a certificate of lawful use or development is sought is the alterations and extensions to building and use of building and associated land as a single family dwellinghouse.

Formal Conclusions
42. For the reasons given above and having regard to all other matters raised, I conclude that the Council's refusal to grant a certificate of lawful use or development in respect of the alterations and extensions to building and use of building and associated land as a single family dwellinghouse was well-founded and that the appeal should fail. I will exercise accordingly the powers transferred to me in section 195(3) of the 1990 Act as amended.

43. I dismiss the appeal.

Click here to go to the Planning Inspectorate website, and here for this appeal summary, from where you can access the full documented appeal.

Planning Inspectorate

Saturday, 13 September 2008

At last...

... a week's holiday. It must be a year since our last one, and we can't wait.

I'll be blogging again next weekend - in the meantime have a great week.

Friday, 12 September 2008

Back Home

It's great to be back. Travelling is fun, and I really do like the USA, but it's always to get back to the UK.

Well, straight into another day's work then.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Power and Picasso

Another great conversation over lunch today, mostly about the machine politics of Chicago.

Which I followed up with a visit to Daley Plaza which is named after the father of the present mayor Richard Daley. This photo shows the massive Picasso statue in the plaza, with the City Hall behind, the seat of power.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Planning Applications 10th September

(Click here if you want to go the Waverley planning search page, and select 'Ward' from the left hand list of options)

WA/2008/1627: 28/08/2008
Proposed Development: Change of use to mixed use sales/servicing/repairs to include MOT testing together with the erection of an extension. Rowledge Garage, 5 The Square, Rowledge.
E: 482366 N: 143347
Case Officer: Mr A Griffiths

Applicant: M Hoare, Rowledge Garage, 5 The Square, Rowledge, Surrey GU10 4AA
Agent: Kerry Field, 4 Hillary Road, Farnham GU9 8QY


No, I'm not about to make a political statement about justice or sexuality.

Instead, I'm referring to Stonewall Kitchen, a really amazing range of food that I've discovered in Fox & Obel's. The shop is even better than I remember from a few months ago. They've extended the hours, and it looks like their private dining and outside catering activities are broader and busier.

And I can't help smiling as I browse there. Everything looks sumptious, from the cured meats, onto the vast range of cheeses, and the onto the speciality teas and various coffees. If I get the chance, I might pop back again tomorrow... baggage allowance in mind of course!

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Fox & Obel

Fox & ObelWhat a great food store. It's the kind of place that one day we hope Smith & Causey will develop into. But, for now, I'll satisfy myself with walking along there shortly, and getting some maple syrup and pancake mix to bring home for next week. Yes, I'm very American with my breakfasts now, and I even like maple syrup on my bacon!

Monday, 8 September 2008

Oil, Corn, Soya, Steel, Oil

Today I drove back from an oil refinery in Toledo, Ohio, through the corn and soya fields of Indiana, and into Illinois past the steel works in Gary, the refinery in Whiting, and into Chicago, a city of commerce - stocks and trading.

A four hour journey that prompted lots of conversations with my colleague over politics, specifically the politics of food and energy. I was trying to think if there were a similar journey I could make in the UK, travelling through major counties that are so clearly defined by particular economic activities. Not sure.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Me and Barak

Barak's HouseIt would have been nice if he'd been at home in Chicago, and as we walked up he happened to come out and ask if we wanted afternoon tea - but no, no such luck. Simply a few police cars, secret service agents, and concrete road blocks.

A colleague and I were on our way to a museum exhibit of a German U-Boat (U505) at the science museum, and decided to stop off and see if Barak was at home. He wasn't.

That's about it really. Thought that it might be interesting to have a look, and I was actually surprised that we were allowed up close. Had to go through a metal detector first, but after that we just wandered along the sidewalk.

The conventions are now over, and the final campaigning has begun. Ideologically I would align myself more closely with McCain / Palin, but I can't deny the appeal of Obama / Biden, mostly because of the undeniable charisma and leadership qualities of Barak. If I were a US voter, I would have some challenging decisions ahead.

Saturday, 6 September 2008

The Mother-in-Law is Back

RSPBAnd as usual, she comes bearing gifts, most commonly lemon marmalade (to assuage my preference for morning toast), and clippings from various magazines and newspapers she reads.

The article that caught my eye last night was one by Simon Barnes, about developers and land. Now, at the risk of incurring the wrath of the outlaw in-law, I’m not altogether in agreement with what appears to be Simon’s default position that development is bad. (He doesn’t literally say this, but also doesn’t give much indication that he appreciates the necessity of development as a natural consequence of good health, education and food – things which I hope he can’t complain about.

But, I agree with a the premise of his article, which can be summed up in a single quote:

It seems that there is a fundamental difference between developers and people. When a developer sees a stretch of open country, he sees a place that is empty. When we look at it, we see a place that is full.

(By the way, did you note his implication that developers aren’t people? Either deliberate insult, or ill-disciplined writing and editing and proof-reading)

However, I disagree with his description of what developers think:

…the developer is immune.
Beauty cannot touch him; he has taken the antidote.
Developers insist that a road or a building has to go somewhere: as if that invalidated every objection.
…developers … are keen, above all, to make their mark: to stand back and say: … I did that.
We need to reclaim … the developers for humanity.

This is simply a list of invective, not any kind of description of the developers I’ve come across. Talk to me about big building companies, and maybe I’ll start to think in these terms. But, and it’s a massive but, the majority of developers that I know, are either individuals or small companies, seeking to make living, by building a few homes at a time, in places where they think people want to live, acknowledging that our country’s need for housing is growing all the time, and trying to put food on the table for their family, as do we all.

To win easy points with one’s readers (this article appeared in the RSPB’s magazine) through such journalism contributes nothing to a proper debate over appropriateness of development, but simply makes it sound like a black/white situation, which it most certainly is not.

Finally, some questions for Simon Barnes:
(1) Who built your house?
(2) How many houses do you own?
(3) Have you ever extended your home?
(4) When you last bought a house were you thankful for the choices available?

Thursday, 4 September 2008


Today, 6 pm

A quick reminder that I'll be litter picking this evening long Gardener's Hill Road. Meet me at the corner of Boundstone Road, Burnt Hill Way, and Gardener's Hill Road.

See my post of Saturday 30th August for more details. I'll be bringing black bin bags. Bring your own gloves and join in the fun!

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Planning Applications 3rd September 2008

No new applications to list this week.

(Click here if you want to go the Waverley planning search page, and select 'Ward' from the left hand list of options)

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

I don't have an answer...

... to some resident queries. And this fact particularly distressed me tonight when I visited a family who feel under siege in their home due to the terrible behviour of neighbours who treat the road as a private playground, with scant regard for anyone else around.

I so wished I knew just what to do, and that everything would be alright, but I know that it's going to be a lot harder than that. But, I did feel that this family, whilst wishing in many ways to be living somewhere else, are also prepared to be of the solution. If I can find a few more families nearby willing to be involved, perhaps this 'community' will find a way of healing its fractures.

Monday, 1 September 2008

Yellow Pages

Yell.comJust heard that from now on Yellow Pages can be recycled in with other paper on our doorsteps. Sounds great, but it does strike me that everyone will be doing it at the same time of year, when the new one comes out. And, I'm therefore worried that all that extra weight in one go will make it a very tiring time for our recycling collectors!