KPI Decision Challenged – Update

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As an update to this previous article, we have now been informed that the Secretary of State has not agreed to call in this application.

So, sadly that’s another 265 houses approved to be built in an unsustainable location.

Original article follows:

Following the decision two weeks ago by Waverley Borough Council to approve the building of 265 houses on another of Cranleigh’s green fields, Cranleigh Civic Society has written to DCLG (Department for Communities and Local Government) to ask for the application to be ‘called in’.  If accepted, this will lead to an inquiry being held by the Secretary of State.

Our reasons for requesting a call in are:

  1. Cranleigh’s Parish Councillor Liz Townsend was denied a vote for this application, in place of the late Brian Ellis.
  2. The vote was 8 for and 8 against, with the deciding vote given by a Hindhead councillor.
  3. There were four missing members of the JPC who could have given their vote to one of the Cranleigh councillors in their place, but chose not to elect substitutes.
  4. The Planning Officers were not acting impartially, but appeared to be in favour of the developers.
  5. This application had previously been rejected and was just resubmitted without significant changes, so why was this allowed?
  6. We have uncovered the existence of asbestos cement water pipes which could pose a serious risk to public health and if this is to be fixed 30% of Cranleigh’s drinking water pipes will need to be dug up. If not resolved the danger from asbestos will be exacerbated by the extra water pressure from new homes.
  7. Why have the developers not been questioned about the illegal dredging of Cranleigh Waters carried out by a contractor at their request?
  8. The KPI site fails the sequential test, as there are other sites better suited to development which do not flood. There will be no subsidised affordable flood insurance from Flood Re as, since 1 January 2009, new homes should not be built on high flood risk areas.
  9. This application was submitted at the same time as an appeal against the refusal of the previous application, which in itself is odd.

For these reasons we have serious and valid concerns about the granting of this application and hope that the Secretary of State will agree with us.

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Last Chance to Sign our Petition – deadline 30 April 2017

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We have previously highlighted our concerns about the asbestos cement pipes that supply drinking water to 29.6% of the homes in Cranleigh.

Read our previous article in full here.

We have recently found that over 30% of the drinking water pipes in Ewhurst are also asbestos cement. This is compared to about 4% in Godalming and Haslemere.

We are collecting signatures on a petition as we are so concerned that this issue is not being taken seriously, and ask for Ewhurst residents to sign as well.

The petition calls on Anne Milton to ask for an independent assessment of the risk to the health of local people from the asbestos cement pipes in almost 30% of the drinking water pipes in Cranleigh and surrounding villages.  Many of our members signed a paper version of the petition at the recent AGM and these were added to the on-line petition.

At the time of writing, the petition has 346 signatures, which is a great start – please add your details before 30th April.

Click here to sign the petition.
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Yet another 265 houses given approval

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Yet another 265 houses on green fields were voted in last night on the casting vote of the Waverley Joint Planning Committee’s Chairman Cllr Isherwood.  So now Cranleigh has a deluge of 1,236 new houses (and that doesn’t include the infilling going on all around Cranleigh in back gardens everywhere, especially up the Horsham Road) of these houses 418 are meant to be affordable – whatever that really means.

We just want to put the enormity of the scale of this development into context, ­the Swallowhurst Estate was for 58 houses only!

This is now the masterplan (so far) for Cranleigh, showing the Berkeley’s, Little Meadow and now KPI sites (A2 Dominion) together: Cllr Mary Foryszewski was the only Cranleigh Councillor who could vote at last night’s meeting, as once again Cllrs Stewart and Jeanette Stennett declared a pecuniary interest in the KPI development, and Cllr Patricia Ellis was nowhere in sight.  Cllr Foryszewski alone battled valiantly for Cranleigh, but all was in vain.  Be very scared Cranleigh residents, Waverley has big plans for Cranleigh and they are not pretty.

It was also revealed last night that Waverley agreed a reduction in affordable housing on the KPI site in return for more money for the Elmbridge Road bridge (we can’t wait to see what actually happens there, as the estimated cost by Waverley is more akin to a fairy tale) and a sizeable contribution to a new Leisure Centre, proposed for the parish owned Snoxhall Fields, no doubt surrounded by a big car park.  Never mind, Cranleigh doesn’t need free recreation space, not when it can have even more houses who will pay council tax to Waverley!
However, it transpired that the Parish Council were not even given the courtesy of a consultation about this new Leisure Centre, the Cllrs we spoke to knew nothing about it, and are desperately trying to save this area for the community, by putting the land into a Trust, rather than see it consumed by Waverley.  Cllr Liz Townsend, who it seems has not been allowed to take up Cllr Brian Ellis’s vacant place on the planning committee, was allowed a speaking slot and conveyed how angry Cranleigh residents felt about the
destruction of our village.  She also pointed out how seriously under represented Cranleigh is on the planning committee and that our voices were not being heard.

Officers brushed Cllr Townsend’s concerns about flooding on the site under the carpet, as well as the carefully worded advice from the Environment Agency to Waverley about something called the Sequential Test, which basically seems to mean that areas at less risk of flooding in Cranleigh should be built on first.  However, officers forged ahead regardless, avoiding carefully answering the question of whether the sequential test had actually been passed.  One shocked Cranleigh resident said “it’s as if the officers work for the developers”.

Cllr Townsend spoke from the heart, highlighting the unsustainable location of Cranleigh, and the harm that this deluge of development, in such as short space of time, would have on the character of Cranleigh and on its residents.  However, other hearts and minds appeared firmly closed, particularly Cllr Brian Adams (yes, he’s the one who said if we accepted the Crest Nicholson site for 149 houses Cranleigh would’ve taken its share of the borough’s housing, strangely the webcast of that meeting disappeared) who called his fellow councillors perverse if they refused this application, even though they had refused the identical application only last year.

Richard Bryant, on behalfof Cranleigh Civic Society, reminded Waverley that they have a legal duty to maintain water quality in our rivers and not to increase pollution levels in accordance with the Water Framework Directive.  Unfortunately, this was not even acknowledged, Waverley’s eye was firmly on the prize of 265 dwellings that won’t have to go anywhere near their precious green belt.  Houses that are far from major roads, far from a train station, far from jobs, and far from where most Waverley Councillors live.

Concerns about the sewage treatment works were cast aside with ease and pollution of Cranleigh Waters was not really worthy of a mention from officers, other than to imply that all was fine and dandy.  Apparently, the sewage from an additional 3,000 residents makes no difference.  And don’t forget that’s just Cranleigh’s new residents, we have other surrounding villages sending their muck here too to process.  Oh, and did we forget to say, no one gives a damn about the environment, it’s an inconvenient tick box in a developer-led planning system.  Cranleigh Cllr Brian Freeston admitted “we don’t feel part of Waverley at all, can you blame us?” he spoke about the unfair allocation of houses on a blighted Cranleigh. The fact that we are being forced to take 30% (so far), in the village alone, other areas have a maximum of 15%, and that doesn’t even take the Dunsfold settlement into account.

Cllr Freeston voiced concerns about the viability of the parkland, and said Cranleigh was in an untenable position.  Serious and informed comments about the ageing asbestos cement drinking water pipes, of which Cranleigh unenviably has almost 30%, compared to 2% in the entire Thames Water area, received about as much attention as a Cranleigh Councillor at a Local Plan meeting.  As Cllr Townsend said “there is not a big enough material constraint, not even banned blue asbestos, that trumps more housing on Cranleigh’s green fields”.  So there you have it folks, Cranleigh has been officially destroyed by Waverley, next it will be a massive big shopping centre, just like Waverley have planned for Farnham, and one day you will wake up and find yourselves living in the biggest city in Waverley, and wonder how the hell you got there.  Perhaps it’s time for some of us to move on……….

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KPI and A2 Dominion Granted Permission

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The nightmare has come true!  Yet another 265 houses on green fields were voted in last night on the casting vote of the Waverley Joint Planning Committee’s Chairman Cllr Peter Isherwood.

So now Cranleigh has a deluge of 1,236 new houses (and that doesn’t include the infilling going on all around Cranleigh in back gardens everywhere, especially up the Horsham Road) of these houses 418 are meant to be affordable – whatever that really means.

We just want to put the enormity of the scale of this development into context, the Swallowhurst Estate was for 58 houses only!

This is now the masterplan (so far) for Cranleigh, showing the Berkeley’s, Little Meadow and now KPI sites (A2 Dominion) together:

Masterplan for Cranleigh

The countryside to the left of the high street has now all but disappeared:

Cranleigh aerial photo

Cllr Mary Foryszewski was the only Cranleigh Councillor who could vote at last night’s meeting, as once again Cllrs Stewart and Jeanette Stennett declared a pecuniary interest in the KPI development, and Cllr Patricia Ellis was nowhere in sight.  Cllr Foryszewski alone battled valiantly for Cranleigh, but all was in vain.  Be very scared Cranleigh residents, Waverley has big plans for Cranleigh and they are not pretty.

It was also revealed last night that Waverley agreed a reduction in affordable housing on the KPI site in return for more money for the Elmbridge Road bridge (we can’t wait to see what actually happens there, as the estimated cost by Waverley is more akin to a fairy tale) and a sizeable contribution to a new Leisure Centre, proposed for the parish owned Snoxhall Fields, no doubt surrounded by a big car park.  Never mind, Cranleigh doesn’t need free recreation space, not when it can have even more houses who will pay council tax to Waverley!  However, it transpired that the Parish Council were not even given the courtesy of a consultation about this new Leisure Centre, the Cllrs we spoke to knew nothing about it, and are desperately trying to save this area for the community, by putting the land into a Trust, rather than see it consumed by Waverley.

Cllr Liz Townsend, who it seems has not been allowed to take up Cllr Brian Ellis’s vacant place on the planning committee, was allowed a speaking slot and conveyed how angry Cranleigh residents felt about the destruction of our village.  She also pointed out how seriously under represented Cranleigh is on the planning committee and that our voices were not being heard.

Officers brushed Cllr Townsend’s concerns about flooding on the site under the carpet, as well as the carefully worded advice from the Environment Agency to Waverley about something called the Sequential Test, which basically seems to mean that areas at less risk of flooding in Cranleigh should be built on first.  However, officers forged ahead regardless, avoiding carefully answering the question of whether the sequential test had actually been passed.  One shocked Cranleigh resident said “it’s as if the officers work for the developers”.

Cllr Townsend spoke from the heart, highlighting the unsustainable location of Cranleigh, and the harm that this deluge of development, in such as short space of time, would have on the character of Cranleigh and on its residents.  However, other hearts and minds appeared firmly closed, particularly Cllr Brian Adams (yes, he’s the one who said if we accepted the Crest Nicholson site for 149 houses Cranleigh would’ve taken its share of the borough’s housing, strangely the webcast of that meeting disappeared) who called his fellow councillors perverse if they refused this application, even though they had refused the identical application only last year.

Richard Bryant, on behalf of Cranleigh Civic Society, reminded Waverley that they have a legal duty to maintain water quality in our rivers and not to increase pollution levels in accordance with the Water Framework Directive.  Unfortunately, this was not even acknowledged, Waverley’s eye was firmly on the prize of 265 dwellings that won’t have to go anywhere near their precious green belt.  Houses that are far from major roads, far from a train station, far from jobs, and far from where most Waverley Councillors live.

Concerns about the sewage treatment works were cast aside with ease and pollution of Cranleigh Waters was not really worthy of a mention from officers, other than to imply that all was fine and dandy.  Apparently, the sewage from an additional 3,000 residents makes no difference.  And don’t forget that’s just Cranleigh’s new residents, we have other surrounding villages sending their muck here too to process.  Oh, and did we forget to say, no one gives a damn about the environment, it’s an inconvenient tick box in a developer-led planning system.

Cranleigh Cllr Brian Freeston admitted “we don’t feel part of Waverley at all, can you blame us?” he spoke about the unfair allocation of houses on a blighted Cranleigh. The fact that we are being forced to take 30% (so far), in the village alone, other areas have a maximum of 15%, and that doesn’t even take the Dunsfold settlement into account. Cllr Freeston voiced concerns about the viability of the parkland, and said Cranleigh was in an untenable position.  Serious and informed comments about the ageing asbestos cement drinking water pipes, of which Cranleigh unenviably has almost 30%, compared to 2% in the entire Thames Water area, received about as much attention as a Cranleigh Councillor at a Local Plan meeting.

As Cllr Townsend said “there is not a big enough material constraint, not even banned blue asbestos, that trumps more housing on Cranleigh’s green fields”.

So there you have it folks, Cranleigh is being officially destroyed with impunity by Waverley, next it will be a massive big shopping centre, just like Waverley have planned for Farnham, and one day you will wake up and find yourselves living in the biggest town in Waverley, and wonder how the hell you got there.

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Packed AGM Supports Society

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Members of Cranleigh Civic Society were extremely vocal at their recent AGM in their criticism of Waverley Borough Council.  They are angry about the unsustainable and unfair dumping of more and more housing in Cranleigh.

Waverley are using an unfair balance of power, with only 5 councillors out of a 57 representing only Cranleigh wards, and two of those (still in situ) having declared a pecuniary interest in development in the village,  to continue to stuff housing on to our countryside at all costs, whilst paying lip service to Cranleigh’s residents and Neighbourhood Plan.  It’s a complete disgrace.

As long as it’s not on Godalming, Haslemere or Farnham’s doorsteps, the Waverley Councillors will just keep cramming it on our green fields, whilst justifying their actions by protecting the green belt around the councillors own backyards.  Despite the fact that all of their towns are near to major roads, train stations and employment.

The balance of Waverley’s power has swung too far and Cranleigh people are not in the mood to be ignored any more. “Waverley takes no notice of us ” was a common remark on the AGM evening.  “We have written, we have told them what we think, they ignore us”.  Another resident said “They’re [Waverley] accountable to no one, let’s get rid of the lot of them, it will save us a shed load of money.  I’d rather throw my hat in with Surrey and hope for the best.  It’s time to look at the whole local government set up around here and make it start to work for us rather than jobs for the boys.”

AGM

Liz Townsend gave her Exiting Chairman’s Report to the crowded room, following the voting in of Phill Price as the new Chair. The other posts voted in for the coming year were Adrian Clarke as Deputy Chair, Jane Price as Membership Secretary, Diane Littlewood as Treasurer and Secretary.

There was a call for new committee members, especially for a new secretary, and for researchers.  Anyone who wishes to be considered for these roles should contact any member of the committee.

A petition, asking MP Anne Milton to ask for an independent assessment of the risk to the health of local people from the asbestos cement pipes in almost 30% of the drinking water pipes in Cranleigh, was signed by many at the AGM.

Click here to sign the petition.

 

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KPI application to be heard 15th March

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Development Application: Land at West Cranleigh Nurseries and North of Knowle Park between Knowle Land and Alfold Road, CRANLEIGH

Reference : WA/2016/2207

www.waverley.gov.uk/planning

This application is to be heard on 15 March 2017 7pm at Council Chamber, The Burys, Godalming

Objections need to be submitted by 10 March.

Your village needs you to object NOW.

The application is not materially different to the original that was refused 29/04/2016 and is now at appeal.  The reason for refusal remain and when an application is not materially different to that refused a period of 2 years must pass before a similar application can be considered.  To reflect on previous objections, the application is not sustainable, remains outside the village envelope, the proposed area is in flood zone 3, agricultural land, removal of employment land, should the other nearby applications commence the accumulation of traffic on the Alfold road, the density of housing is excessive, affordable housing reduced to 35%, the ‘Parkland’ remaining in perpetuity how will this be achieved.

Object today!

How to Object to Planning Applications

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Death of the Grampian Condition

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It won’t have gone unnoticed to residents that both Crest Nicholson on the Horsham Road and Cala Homes on Amlets Lane have started developing their sites.

Both these sites had Grampian style conditions.  This was meant to prevent the start of the development until off-site works were completed on the sewerage network, including the sewage treatment works on Elmbridge Road. However, we were recently advised by planning enforcement at Waverley that the Grampian Condition wording is too woolly to enforce and doesn’t specifically mention the words sewage “TREATMENT”,  so no work to the sewage works are apparently included – another nail in the coffin for Cranleigh.

To say that we felt let down by the lack of rigour exercised in the planners’ wording of the Grampian and the lack of ability by Waverley to enforce it, is an understatement!

There is no consideration being given to existing residents, who after all fund the borough council, in the scramble to achieve a housing number at all costs.  We don’t need to remind you, that you will have to bear the brunt of polluted rivers, congested roads, odour nuisance from the sewage works, an over burdened GP surgery, the list goes on.


As you might remember Cala Homes had applied for their Grampian condition to be removed, however, Waverley Borough Council, in a rare moment of what seemed common sense, refused their request. Surprisingly, this did not stop work on Cala’s show houses.

Amlets 8 Jan 2017

The bungalow on the Horsham Road, which was acquired by Crest Nicholson to provide an access road to the site, was demolished long before their Grampian Condition was even discharged (such as it was), and work was also immediately commenced on the green fields to build 149 houses.  Grampian, what Grampian?

It was also pointed out that Crest’s Grampian was a little more lax than that for Cala Homes, despite all the initial concerns Thames Water had about this site and the need for huge on-site sewage storage tanks. These worries seem to have been a mere flash in the pan!

Not long after the first Crest spade was in the ground, they were plotting to build 121 more houses in the pristine green fields adjacent to this site.

Crest describes Cranleigh on their website:

“Cranleigh is a pretty Surrey village where one can enjoy a relaxed pace of life yet benefit from daily conveniences aplenty on the doorstep, including a selection of shops, cafes and restaurants.”

Crest Nicholson demolish Bungalow Horsham Road

Sounds idyllic, and surprising how keen developers are to emphasise that we are a “village” in their marketing literature.


Despite the unsustainable location of Cranleigh, on a rural road network, with little public transport, a heavy reliance on the use of the private car, limited employment opportunities, water quality issues, a high percentage of asbestos cement drinking water pipes, an inadequate sewage treatment plant, and on green fields to boot,  none of this matters, as long as the houses are built.

The ONLY reason for these dwellings is because we have NO GREEN BELT protection, nothing else, and national planning policy will be twisted at the whim of the planners to suit their ultimate plan for this area, which is CRANLEIGH TOWN.

However, before you start thinking, how bad can that be, it will be bad!  We are the only community in Waverley without green belt protection AND any environmental designation.  Farnham at least has the protection of Thames Basin Special Protection Area.  So going forward, Cranleigh will be the dumping ground for any, and all, unmet housing in Waverley.  However, Waverley Borough Council seem to be the winners, they have a convenient area, in the corner of the borough, which will be a cash cow for council tax, and with only 5 councillors (Farnham has 18) representing this area, and two of those with a declared pecuniary interest in development, this really does seem like a marvellous arrangement.

There is the rather inconvenient truth of Cranleigh Waters, which is polluted and failing in terms of the Water Framework Directive, but that can be smoothed over, by applying pressure to an overworked and under resourced Environment Agency (EA) with the promise of funds for river restoration  and flood plain replacement projects.

There’s the problem of the rural roads and A281, but as Matthew Evans, Ex-Waverley Head Planner, said it really doesn’t matter if people are stuck in traffic.  Obviously air quality issues and quality of life, for residents in this part of the borough,  was not something that disturbed his sleep.

And then there’s the ageing asbestos cement drinking water pipes, which have an extremely inconvenient habit of bursting whenever water pressure increases, still, studies of health risks are inconclusive, so it appears Waverley don’t need to worry about that either.  Despite the fact that we can find no reports that include the age of pipes we have here, or our particularly agressive type of water.

It would be difficult to imagine what would ever be considered as a material constraint by Waverley planners against development in Cranleigh, perhaps the discovery of uranium in the high street?

And to add insult to injury, the EA are now actively looking for replacement flood plain for this area, as let’s face it, they don’t want to create too much flooding downstream for Bramley and Guildford, residents there might start to wonder why the hell all this building was allowed, or should we say encouraged, on the natural flood plain we DID have.

However, we still have something up our sleeve and that’s you!

Joined together, you are the most powerful force.  Stronger than Waverley and stronger than developers.

Working together in big enough numbers, people can, and will, make a difference.  We can fight for fairness, we can fight for our community, and we can fight for our environment.

JOIN US


“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Margaret Mead


 

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Thames Water Still Can’t Find Sewage Leak

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DON’T FORGET OUR AGM TONIGHT – 2 MARCH 2017, BAND ROOM, VILLAGE WAY FROM 7PM


After more than seven years Thames Water say they still can’t find the source of the sewage leak into the brook running along the field behind Marks and Spencer’s off the high street.

10 April brook sewage2

Despite claims that cameras have been in and out of the sewage pipes along the high street more times than a rat up a drain pipe, the story is exactly the same as it was when we first reported this problem on our website on 2 June 2015.

Thames Water has claimed, on different occasions over the past, at least, 7 years, yes that’s SEVEN YEARS, that the problem, has been sorted, or is about to be sorted.

Apparently several metres of the sewer has now been relined, but the latest report to Anne Milton MP on 23 February 2017 is:

“I write further to my email of 8 February regarding our investigation into the issues affecting both the Marks & Spencer’s and Sainsbury’s on the High Street, Cranleigh.

I am very sorry, but after the previously experienced difficulty in viewing the camera footage that was taken during our recent investigation, it has been agreed that our Technical Specialist and our contractors need to return to Cranleigh to carry out further detailed investigations to locate any misconnections that may be contributing to the reported pollution. This has been scheduled for 6 March.

This will involve further camera surveys and tracing of the pipes that connect into our network. This will enable our team to identify the source of the pollution and put in place plans for any misconnected pipes to be addressed by the relevant property or business owners.

As we do not have enforcement powers, once identified, any misconnected properties will be reported to the Local Authority so they can issue enforcement notices to make good the pipework. 

Once I have received a report following our planned visit on 6 March, I will be able to update you again on our plans moving forwards. This will be by no later than 13 March.

I hope you find this information helpful.

Yours sincerely 

Jon Denny

Senior Case Manager – Executive Office”

Actually Mr Denny we don’t find this helpful at all, yet again this matter has not been resolved and untreated sewage continues to flow into an open ditch running alongside a playing field where children have been seen playing football.

We certainly do not think this is good enough.

We would again appeal for the good people of Cranleigh to email your MP Anne Milton anne.milton.mp@paliament.uk and ask her what penalties can be placed on Thames Water, as at the moment there seems to be diddly-squat anyone can, or wants to do.

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