Cranleigh in Crisis as Developers Swoop in on Green Fields
Prior to Waverley Borough Councillors Planning meeting on Tuesday 28th October to vote on whether or not to approve the 425 houses by Berkeley Homes on Green Fields to the South of Cranleigh High Street.
Angry Cranleigh villagers paraded up and down their High Street on Saturday before meeting Anne Milton, MP.
Addressing a meeting of over 140 villagers, Anne Milton discussed a number of concerns raised by villagers about the 425 dwelling Green Field planning application submitted by Berkeley Group Holdings PLC WA/2014/0912 to Waverley.
Villagers complained that the many valid concerns they have raised about a lack of infrastructure, jobs, flooding and other issues are simply being ignored by Waverley Borough Council. Many villagers stated that Waverley simply had not replied to their letters or emails.
Richard Bryant, an insurance broker working in Cranleigh outlined the possible very serious flood insurance implications for people buying one of the proposed new Berkeley Homes’ houses in Cranleigh.
He explained that the owners of houses built before 1 January 2009 and at the highest risk of flooding, will be helped to obtain flood cover under a special arrangement set up by the Association of British Insurers and the Government (Flood Re).
However this arrangement does not apply to houses built after 1 January 2009. New home buyers could face the prospect of not being able to obtain flood cover or have to pay a high premium and a high excess.
Mr Bryant went on to say that he doubted if this will be mentioned in the Berkeley Homes sales brochures. “There will be no warning given to prospective house buyers of the potential for flooding. Even if a house escapes flooding by a few inches, but neighbouring houses are under water, the owner of that undamaged house may well have problems at their next renewal date”.
Flood Re state “New housing development should be located to avoid flood risk, or where development in a flood risk area is necessary, it should be designed to be safe, appropriately resilient to flooding and not increase flood risk elsewhere, in line with national planning policies in place. For this reason, properties built after 1 January 2009 will be excluded“.
Liz Townsend, Leader of Cranleigh Civic Society said “The Cranleigh community has spoken clearly. We do not want housing dumped on our green fields that flood whilst viable brown field sites exist within Cranleigh and the borough. We will not bear the brunt of Waverley’s failed Core Strategy. People who live in Cranleigh and new residents deserve a better future with a vibrant mixed community that contributes to our village life and not a dormitory town.”
Adrian Clarke, long-term resident and a Chartered Builder said “Since the 1920’s Garden Cities were built, we’ve learnt that houses, job creation and infrastructure all need to be put in place concurrently, which means thinking them all through at the beginning. Waverley has not done that; they have only considered house numbers to meet overall Government targets. Canary Wharf in London is a good example of a current scheme where everything came together into a well-thought-out contemporaneous mix.”
Anne Milton confirmed that she would present the views of Cranleigh residents to Waverley Borough Councillors preparing for Tuesday’s planning meeting on the Berkeley Homes green field site. The MP echoed residents’ concerns that any decision be deferred until such time as major concerns, including available brown field sites, surface water flooding, inadequate infrastructure, and excessive traffic levels were answered and addressed.