Cranleigh Civic Society “Speaking up for Cranleigh”
SUCCESSFUL MEETING FOR CRANLEIGH CIVIC SOCIETY WITH WAVERLEY COUNCIL LEADERS
Many of you will remember the negative reaction from Waverley Council following the Cranleigh Public Protest Meeting last Summer. Well, relations have improved substantially with a meeting of Cllr. Julia Potts, Leader of the Council, Tom Horwood, Chief Executive, and three Cranleigh Councillors with seven members of the Cranleigh Civic Society Committee. The meeting had been arranged to establish useful and meaningful communication and achieve common ground.
KEY DISCUSSION POINTS –
The Civic Society expressed strong concern at the lack of infrastructure following the planned massive growth in housing. The Waverley Local Plan has demanded that Cranleigh MUST build 1,700 extra houses by 2033.
However, in the last three years Cranleigh has experienced planning applications for almost 1,700 houses – most of which have been accepted – so what will happen in the next 15 years? On top of this the Plan has demanded 2,600 houses for Dunsfold Airfield – indeed there has been discussion of up to 6,000 houses for Dunsfold. If this happens our infrastructure will be overwhelmed and the A281 to Guildford will be clogged with traffic.
The Society pointed out that Cranleigh’s access roads are all B-roads or are narrow unclassified lanes – many used as ‘rat runs’. With Cranleigh houses due to be expanded by one-third, and the potential massive development of Dunsfold there will be a major problem of traffic disruption. Terry Stewart asked what plans Highways has for overcoming this disruption.
The Council recognised the potential problems and is working to mitigate the impacts where the Council has control – but road improvements are the responsibility of Surrey County Council. Cllr. Potts proposed that meetings should be held every two months to discuss answers and problems. The Civic Society warmly welcomed this proposal.
A key concern is flooding in Cranleigh and the Council’s decision to allow 55 houses to be built by Thakeham Homes off Elmbridge Road which was in the field most likely to flood. Richard Bryant has discussed this site with the largest UK Home Insurer who have since confirmed that they are well aware of this site and will be very unlikely to offer insurance in view of the very high flood risk.
Being aware of this problem, at the last Cranleigh Flood Forum meeting, Anne Milton MP said she would contact Thakeham to arrange a meeting to discuss the concerns with this site. Not only would buyers of homes on this site face flooding but also smells from Cranleigh Sewerage Treatment Works located the other side of the Elmbridge Road. What a way to start a life in Cranleigh!
Sewerage and Thames Water.
The Society pointed out that the current Sewerage Treatment Works are inadequate to meet the needs of the planned six major development sites. Thames Water state that it is possible to expand the Works. By doing so they would probably be contravening the Water Framework Directive. The Works discharges effluent into the Cranleigh Waters, but in the Summer the stream runs dry so the effluent poisons the fish, which is a serious environmental problem.
The Surrey Wildlife Trust is so concerned that they are arranging special surveys of the Waters. The Society has asked Thames Water for a timetable for improvement – but there has been no response from Thames Water.
Terry Stewart, Society Chairman, paid tribute to the three public Flood Forum meetings that Anne Milton MP has organised in the Bandroom with Thames Water and Council Officers present to try and agree solutions. Cllr. Potts stated that it is disappointing that there is a lack of joined up communication amongst the various agencies, but she would lobby to improve the environmental issues.
Asbestos and Drinking Water.
In addition Thames Water has admitted that 29.6% of the drinking water supply pipes in Cranleigh are made from asbestos cement – some of which are made of blue asbestos.
Recently many of these pipes had burst as they had reached the end of their lifespan – which would release blue asbestos fibres into the drinking water.
The Society strongly demanded that new housing is not connected to the drinking water mains until the drinking water pipes have ALL been replaced and the sewerage works expanded to meet the demand.
The Society reported that the car parks in Cranleigh are over 90% full at peak times such as Market Days. With Cranleigh housing increasing by one-third, and the likelihood of many Dunsfold residents shopping in Cranleigh, the car parks will be inadequate.
Cllr Potts responded that a possible option could be to build a double deck car park at the Village Way site, when the Leisure Centre was redeveloped.
The Society had heard that the owner of Stocklund Square was planning to redevelop the site with possible multi level parking – the Society was very concerned at this.
Cllr. Mary Foryszewski encouraged the Society to lobby our councillors before Borough and Parish meetings and meet the Chamber of Commerce to discuss key issues.
KEY OUTCOMES –
– Cllr. Potts proposed that meetings should be held every two months with Cranleigh Civic Society to discuss answers and problems. Cranleigh Society warmly welcomed this proposal.
– Cllr. Potts stated that it is disappointing that there is a lack of joined up communication amongst the various agencies, but she would lobby to improve the environmental issues.
– Cllr. Mary Foryszewski encouraged the Society to speak to Cranleigh Parish councillors before Borough and Parish meetings and meet the Chamber of Commerce to discuss key issues.
Tom Horwood summarised with three proposed actions :
- There must be clarity in defining who is responsible for what.
- There must be productive meetings, adopting a joined up approach with effective lobbying by the Society.
- There must be effective communication with meaningful involvement and the right level of engagement.
Terry Stewart also suggested that the Council introduce effective email Newsletters to improve communication to residents. Other Councils had regular Monthly Newsletters giving new Council policies, decisions and consultations – with key meeting dates, agendas and minutes. Individual Council departments should issue ad hoc Newsletters with their news. ALL residents should be encouraged to sign up to receive Newsletters that were relevant for them.
THIS WAS A PRODUCTIVE AND FRIENDLY MEETING THAT AUGURS WELL FOR FUTURE RELATIONS BETWEEN THE CIVIC SOCIETY AND WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL.