Cranleigh Society representatives met with Waverley council leaders – Councillors and officers – for the second time on behalf of Cranleigh’s residents.
We pursued many of your worries and were given the councillors’ and officers’ replies. Due to the number of topics covered there will be more than one post on this website.
n.b. Waverley Borough Council employs Officers to carry out the Strategic plans of the Senior Officers plus our Councillors. Many plans take years, even decades to be carried forward by which time we the public are sometimes somewhat surprised!
CCS asked the Council to make an annual presentation to all residents groups (e.g. in December) to explain current Objectives for the next Fiscal year with stated expenditure plans.
In reply, WBC asks that all the residents’ groups contact each other and work together as well as working with our local Cranleigh Parish Councillors.
We pressed for a more active role, along with our councillors, in the early stages of thinking.
The council says that they are doing a total review regarding improving information to all residents. They will re-activate email Newsletters on the website. (You can search many newsletters at https://www.waverley.gov.uk/site/)
DRINKING WATER PIPES
CCS asked WBC to challenge Thames Water. We believe all the old asbestos cement pipes (as much as 29% of our pipes) should be replaced urgently. They burst very often and are made of fibres that might cause health problems in the future.
WBC officer replied that he had an extensive conversation with Thames Water recently and in such circumstances they undertake a risk assessment process. Thames Water will prioritise in the areas where the system is failing but works are aligned to their budget.
WBC stated that they had sought legal advice that confirmed that WBC was complying with its legal responsibilities. The Parish Council’s recent letter to the Secretary of State was welcomed.
ACTION – Cranleigh Civic Society and members could lobby their MP Anne Milton on this issue.
WBC’s position is that whilst there is no evidence that deteriorating water mains pipes cause harm WBC cannot “require” TW to act. BUT WBC agree that the disruption caused by so many bursts plus all the new housing is very inefficient.
CRANLEIGH RESIDENTS SUFFERED FROM NO WATER RECENTLY DURING A LONG HOT DROUGHT
WBC officer provided an update: Recently, demand outstripped supply. An electric pump that fed the reservoir failed and Thames Water supplied tankers to top up the reservoir. (n.b. Thames Water’s contract as a provider is with the government and not WBC. OFWAT is the regulator in England and Wales.)
WBC help where they can and have responsibility only for knowing and ensuring that the water is safe to drink.
Meanwhile in Cranleigh a pipe burst, and TW did supply bottled water, eventually. However they weren’t able to co-ordinate with the community affected well.
ACTIONS – CCS & Cranleigh Parish Council need to help put a plan in place to help residents. WBC Officer to contact TW and suggest they develop their own database of vulnerable people in the area.
CCS asked WBC about the capacity of the sewerage works and the problems with the treated outflow into Cranleigh Water; our sometimes dry “river” which is said to be too high in phosphates
CCS asked: why has planning permissions been granted when the water and sewerage issues have not been resolved?
CCS said that there was yet to be a full discussion with regard to the sewage treatment and we have a copy of a letter written in both 2017 and 2018 to which there has been no response.
CCS asked whether the permit issued in 2009 was still in use? CCS believes that there could be a contravention of the Water Common Framework Directive if Thames Water’s actions and inactions knowingly led to a “class reduction” in river water quality status.
WBC have told us they will meet with TW soon to discuss, and therefore were unable to provide us with comment on the above at this stage.
CRANLEIGH LEISURE CENTRE
Waverley have an outside expert consultants’ report (2017) advising on the best way to improve and maintain all the leisure centres in Waverley. Their remit includes pleasing the public and making a profit for the partner. A recommendation is that Cranleigh Leisure Centre will benefit from a rebuild; CCS is aware that the “plant” the pool, the roof and the air conditioning are all past their replace by dates. How, when, where and at what cost has yet to be decided. The amount of money from current Section 106 receipts has been decided and Cranleigh will benefit.
We have been informed there will be a consultation “soon”.
ACTIONS look out for consultation and engage with the process.
That’s the end of our first set of topics, please feel free to comment. The next instalment will be shared here soon.