Category Archives: Anne Milton

Cranleigh Flood Forum Update – 18 March 2018

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CRANLEIGH FLOOD FORUM NEWS UPDATE, 18 MARCH 2018

Many of you attended the third Cranleigh Flood Forum on 9 March, hosted by Anne Milton MP, when discussions continued on sewer and surface water pipe misconnections, concerns about the sewage treatment works and Cranleigh Waters, questionable planning decisions by the Joint Planning Committee (JPC) of Waverley Borough Council and other matters.

However the asbestos cement (AC) drinking water pipes and the very controversial approval of the Thakeham homes site in Elmbridge Road dominated the meeting.

We, Cranleigh Civic Society, reported that, just the previous day, we had a high level meeting with a leading Insurer to discuss the insurance implications of both these very real concerns.

This Insurer confirmed what we had heard from a leading Insurer of County, Borough and Town/Parish Councils – this is that, except for a few specialist schemes, all UK Public and Products Liability policies have a total asbestos exclusion. This follows the inhaled asbestos disaster, where claims are still being made, and which is reported to have cost Insurers worldwide $100 billion – and which nearly brought Lloyd’s of London to it’s knees in the 1990s.

So, at the meeting, the we urged Waverley and Thames Water to check their own policies as, if they have no asbestos cover, and asbestos fibres in eroding and bursting drinking water pipes (which make up 29.6% of Cranleigh’s pipes) do lead to ingested asbestos fibre health problems, they could well have to finance both the claims and legal costs out of their own fund – for decades.

Of course, Cranleigh is not alone – this is a matter of concern and receiving attention throughout the World including Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Europe so we continue to monitor activity worldwide.

Whilst we are pleased Thames Water are starting to replace Cranleigh’s AC pipes, our aim is to seek a cessation of all connections of new housing to the drinking water system until all the AC pipes have been replaced with new, safe plastic pipes. Failure to do so would mean that, as new homes are connected to the existing system, it would result in the flow having to be increased which would lead to faster erosion and more frequent bursts.

We also discussed with the Insurer the decision by Waverley to grant permission for the building of 54 houses on a flood plain – an area which regularly floods seriously with the last occasion being as recently as December 2013.

The JPC ignored the detailed evidence submitted by us and, instead, relied on the report provided by consultants engaged and paid by the applicant, Thakeham Homes. Their representative was even allowed to sit at the planners table – very unorthodox.

Prior to the meeting on 5 October 2017, a member of the JPC submitted his flood risk evidence to the Chair of the JPC but it was ignored. That same member tried to have his evidence considered at the meeting but he was shouted down by the Chair and told to shut up.

The Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA) is Surrey County Council and the Flood Risk Management Strategy and Partnerships Team Leader (who attended the Flood Forum) confirmed to a Councillor, in an email dated 21 February 2018, that when considering building on this type of site, the planning “process is in part reliant on robust and accurate feedback from the community” but the JPC chose to ignore this guidance and the detailed evidence, including photos, submitted by Cranleigh Civic Society.

So there is the terrible prospect of families buying new homes built on a flood plain and which are highly likely to flood, with all the dire consequences, because of a seriously flawed planning decision.

When, at the meeting last week, we explained this situation to the Insurance Company it was made very clear that obtaining flood insurance on this site would be very difficult if the Insurer agrees that the evidence presented to them is sound. Top UK Insurers do not rely on the flood maps available to all on websites – they have invested in their own exceptionally detailed flood mapping, so detailed that they can have separate risk classifications for individual houses. They pay particular attention to new housing developments including local knowledge, nearby postcodes, topography and using the very latest technology.

Perhaps the unavailability of flood insurance from reputable Insurers may stop innocent families making the worst financial decision of their lives?

Anne Milton was of the view that a meeting should be arranged with Thakeham Homes, attended by all the relevant organisations, to explain the very real issues with developing this site, and undertook to put this in motion.

Needless to say we welcome this initiative by our MP but will Cranleigh Civic Society be invited? We sincerely hope so!

 

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Cranleigh Flood Forum news

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CRANLEIGH FLOOD FORUM NEWS

MP Anne Milton ran an effective and Informative Flood Forum today, in the Band room, from 10 till 11am.

The team assembled around her included representatives from Thames Water, Waverley Borough Council and Surrey County Council.

Questions had been sent to Anne Milton’s office – to her secretary Sarah – in advance – plus Anne used the minutes of the previous meeting to ask those present for the answers.

MP Anne first asked if the public have been looking at Cranleigh Parish Council’s website for news – most people said no – so here is a link which we urge you to read – http://www.cranleighpc.org/_VirDir/CoreContents/News/Display.aspx?id=11210

The meeting was attended by at least 60 people including 3 Councillors.  The minutes will be circulated as soon as possible, meanwhile here are the minutes of the previous meeting.

PREVIOUS CRANLEIGH FLOOD FORUM MINUTES

Note of Meeting: 24 July 2017, Band Room, Cranleigh

Present:

The Rt Hon Anne Milton MP (Chair)

Sue Pennison, Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI)

Waverley Borough Council (WBC):

Peter Cleveland, Planning

Gayle Wootton, Planning

William Gibb, Planning Enforcement

Nick Laker, Engineers

Richard Homewood, Environmental Services

Beverley Bell, Clerk, Cranleigh Parish Council

Sarah Coleby, Office of Anne Milton MP

Cyril Mitkov, Thames Water (TW)

Nishad Sowky, Thames Water

Paul Hudson, Environment Agency (EA)

Tor Peebles, Surrey County Council (SCC)

County Cllr Andrew Povey

Cllr Liz Townsend

Cllr Stewart Stennett

Cllr Jeannette Stennett

Parish Cllr Angela Richardson

Parish Cllrs

Residents

Apologies:

Steve Robjohns, Public Health England

GRAMPIAN CONDITIONS

Parish Council – Beverley Bell reported that information was on the website and in the September newsletter

MAJOR SITES

Waverley planning officers have sent a link to the Parish Council to put on their website.

MISCONNECTIONS

Thames Water reported that this was an ongoing battle.  Many had been addressed, but always keen to receive more evidence.  A specialist engineers has been identified, and action is planned.

Thames Water cannot enforce, but the Borough Council can.  It was suggested that home owners should be required to provide invoice evidence that new connections have been carried out.

The foul sewer is inundated with surface water, or ingress from ground water.  With more housing it was suggested that 12 times dry weather flow may be required, and a total upgrade required, to accommodate current housing and housing that now had planning permission.

 

Database: Cllr Townsend requested a hotspot database.  It was recognised that local knowledge and local people identifying a problem was crucial.  This should be reported through the Parish Council who can refer on to Thames Water/Environmental Health/Environment Agency as appropriate.

Cranleigh Waters: the water course is categorised as ‘moderate’. The EA reported that macrophytes and phosphates are the key problem, based on worst case analysis, not averages.  It was suggested that data is only available up to 2013-14, and was taken from only one monitoring point.

ACTION: Thames Water to confirm that the wet weather flow is 10 times the dry weather flow – whereas tank capacity is 6 times dry weather flow.

ACTION: All – to report what they see to clerk@cranleighpc.org

ACTION: Catchment Group – to consider moving sampling sites and investigate the availability of more up to date data. EA to report back to next meeting.

PLANNING

Waverley planners reported that the Local Plan includes general policy about avoiding pollution, and mitigation for flooding.  It was still with the Planning Inspector

Cllr Stennett stressed that flooding occurred less when the EA maintained the river, and that annual maintenance is vital.  Riparian ownership is recognised, but the EA can move an obstruction where there is specific flood risk.

It was acknowledged that a culture change is required – so that people take responsibility personally (under riparian ownership) or as a community.  This would help to make sure funding is prioritised where enforcement is difficult (eg a vulnerable owner physically unable to undertake work).  There is grant funding available for community schemes, and riparian owners should also be asked to contribute.  Solutions can be relatively easy.  Anne Milton pointed out that a walkabout can help to highlight problem areas, this is an approach she uses in other Flood Forum groups once a year.

Tor Peebles (SCC) confirmed the importance of feedback, and stressed that priority depends whether homes are at risk.

LOCAL ISSUE

Nightingales Culvert: culvert owned by Thames Water, upstream is a riparian issue with a group of residents looking to maintain, but concern that there is a blockage within the 200m culvert.

 Insurance for Community Groups: Tor Peebles suggested crowdfunding, organisations such as Scottish Electric, Tesco (plastic bag fund), Greggs, Surrey Community Foundation.

ACTION: Tor Peebles to put group in touch with others who have previous experience.

 Cranleigh Waters: Cllr Townsend reported that dredging has caused problems downstream.  EA reported that they are investigating with Cranleigh Nurseries, and although there may be no increase in flood risk the environmental damage may be significant – and they will not give up.

 Planning Applications: Cranleigh Society are concerned about developments given planning permission with no apparent objection by the EA, and particularly about the Thakeham Homes development.  The EA reported that they did not object because there was no flood risk of homes at the level where homes will be built.  Residents expressed concern if the EA accept evidence provided by a developer over anecdotal and even photographic evidence provided by residents.  There had been work carried out by Adrian Clarke (Cranleigh Society) and Doug Hill (SCC) in 2015 to map the flood plain, including collecting photo evidence, this may not have been taken into account by SCC as Lead Flood Authority.

ACTION: SCC Tor Peebles to get details and do letter about SUDS standards.

ACTION: Cllr Townsend to provide questions to Tor Peebles

ACTION: WBC Planners to share response re Thakeham application to Parish Council to publish on website

 

WATER

Thames Water reported sampling pipe material at 5 sites.  Water at 13 sites had been sampled and analysed.  At 10 sites there were no fibres, 3 had tested positive for some fibres (2/millilitre at one and 1/millilitre at the others).  TW tested under normal conditions to household supply, at the time of a burst and near the burst site, and after a flush of the system.

By comparison, 1 cubic metre of air contains 10 fibres. Some of these fires would be occurring naturally, and this represents a very low concentration.

3 km out of 14 km water pipes in Cranleigh (about 20%) are asbestos cement mains.  TW are continuing to look at the possibility of risk and will be consulting next year, when they will welcome feedback.

The Drinking Water Inspectorate (Sue Pennison) reported that she has written to the World Health Organisation to request an opportunity to engage; she would work further with Cllr Townsend and with Cranleigh Society.  She confirmed that the Inspectorate and Thames Water consider the water supply in Cranleigh to be safe to drink.

NEXT MEETING

The next meeting was proposed for Friday 9 March 2018

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YOUR MP HEARS YOUR PROBLEMS FLOOD FORUM

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Your MP Hears your problems – FLOOD FORUM 

Bandroom, Friday, March 9th. 9.30 am

VITAL YOU & YOUR NEIGHBOURS ATTEND

Anne Milton MP and your Waverley Borough & Cranleigh Parish Councillors plus many Officers from the Council, Thames Water & other agencies – will attend 10-11.30 – can they

STOP the next Cranleigh FLOOD?

STOP house building until our overloaded Sewerage System is upgraded

replace 29% of our drinking water pipes that are made from asbestos containing cement

Slow down At least 2,600 houses in Waverley Borough Council’s Local Plan – for Dunsfold aerodrome

STOP Massive Overload of our infrastructure

ENSURE A281 to Guildford DOES NOT GET clogged up!

WE LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING AND HEARING YOU ON FRIDAY

THANK YOU FOR YOUR INTEREST AND SUPPORT

 

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Flood Forum Friday 9th March 9.30 to 11.30 Band room

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Thakeham Homes site Jan 2015

CRANLEIGH FLOOD FORUM FRIDAY 9th MARCH

9.30 to 11.30

CRANLEIGH BAND ROOM

Please come along and hear what MP Anne Milton and others have to say.

we look forward to seeing you there and hearing your news too,

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CRANLEIGH FLOOD FORUM – FRIDAY 10 NOVEMBER 2017

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** PLEASE NOTE START TIME AND VENUE **

 The venue is The Band Room  in Village Way, Cranleigh, and the meeting starts at 10:30 am

This is the second  meeting of Cranleigh Flood Forum chaired by Anne Milton MP.  The issues Cranleigh Civic Society wishes to discuss include:

  • Thakeham Homes, Elmbridge Road Planning Permission
  • Illegal river dredging
  • Water Quality (Cranleigh Waters)
  • Asbestos Cement drinking water pipes
  • Flood Risk in general

Please attend this meeting if you can. It is open to all Cranleigh residents, not just Cranleigh Civic Society members!

Please speak to your friends and neighbours as the more people who attend the more we can demonstrate the serious concerns we have in Cranleigh about the over development of our village and problems that lie ahead.

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Anne Milton opens Flood Gates

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On Monday the 24th of July, Anne Milton MP organised a meeting at the village hall that she described as a flood forum and it turned out to be much more than that. She brought together Waverley planners, Thames Water, the Environment Agency, the Drinking Water Inspectorate, Public Health England, Surrey County Council, the National Flood Forum, Cranleigh Parish Council and Cranleigh Civic Society to discuss openly several of the major concerns Cranleigh’s residents have raised with her. 65 members of the public came along and several parish and borough councillors also attended.

The plan was to address these concerns and direct them specifically to the authority responsible, so that the answers could be heard by all. We were very happy to hear sewerage problems, flooding and asbestos cement water pipes all discussed openly. It was always understood that the problems would not be resolved then and there but that efforts could be made to address them in the coming weeks and months.

To aid this, small sub committees were formed to work on specific areas and they will report back at the next meeting planned for the autumn. It was just the beginning of what will be a long term effort but a positive step and one that Cranleigh Civic Society welcomes. Members of the Society volunteered to join sub committees and share the information they have collected specific to each area so we will be close to the decision making process.

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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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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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Residents Without Water

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2,000 residents had no water for approximately 24 hours, starting in the early hours of Friday morning, due to a number of burst water pipes across Cranleigh.

Most residents will be aware of the burst water main on Barhatch Lane.  The road was closed for the day in order for a large tree to be removed before workers could fix the burst.  It also affected an overhead power cable and residents on Amlets Lane reported a power cut.

Barhatch Lane Burst Water Main

Thames water Van on Barhatch Lane

There was another burst pipe on Homewood, just off The Ridgeway, affecting 28 properties, where residents suffered from some external flooding.  Thames Water also reported it was working on a pipe on Bloxham Road affecting 13 properties.

Finally, there was another report of a burst on Wyphurst Road which affected 50 properties.

Cranleigh Civic Society is investigating this matter further with Thames Water assisted by our MP Anne Milton.

We have been highlighting water supply issues with Waverley Borough Council for some time and have been successful in calling for Thames Water to request Grampian Style Conditions against new housing estates. This means that development shall not be commenced until impact studies on the existing water supply infrastructure and sewerage network have been submitted and approved by the local planning authority. We also expect that developers will have to contribute towards any upgrade work.

We have serious concerns about Cranleigh’s water supply infrastructure and aging pipe network and will continue to investigate this matter.

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Knowle Park Initiative Rejected

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Last evening the Knowle Park Initiative (West Cranleigh Nurseries) was rejected by the Joint Planning Committee at Waverley Borough Council.

(Due to the very lengthy debate of 2 ½ hours, the Little Meadow application for 75 houses, which was also due to be heard, was postponed and another date will be arranged.)

Over 100 residents attended the meeting, the public gallery in the Council Chamber was full and the overflow room was packed to the gunnels, where people watched proceedings on a big screen.

The vast majority of people were there to show their opposition against yet another huge housing estate for Cranleigh, which would’ve taken our number to over 1,000 new houses.

At the very  start of the meeting, we were somewhat stunned when Cllr Brian Ellis and Cllr Stewart Stennett declared a pecuniary interest in the Knowle Park Initiative application and left the Chamber, followed by Cllr Jeanette Stennett.

There was a lengthy presentation by the planning officers, who until almost the last minute had been publishing extensive updates to members.  This was in the main due to the continued pressure that the Cranleigh Society had applied and the serious concerns we and residents had raised.  There were many pages in the final documents issued to members that mentioned the Cranleigh Society, our comments formed the basis of several of the final conditions that were to be imposed on this application.

We had, after many hours of research, emailing, telephone calls and sheer determination, managed to get Thames Water to impose a Grampian style agreement, which meant that should permission have been granted the developers would’ve, at the very least, have had to contribute towards the upgrades to Cranleigh Sewage Treatment Works.  This in itself was a major achievement, and one that in our view planning officers should’ve been pushing for on behalf of the Cranleigh community.

There was recognition of one of our main arguments around the five five-year housing supply.   We pointed out that  it would take Thames Water a minimum of 7 years for the sewage works to be upgraded, which would mean a considerable delay to the delivery of these new houses.  One of the Councillors asked the planning officers to explain this “time warp” to the members.  The fact that the houses couldn’t be built until the sewerage was improved, finally hit home.

Also, the very valid concerns about sewerage raised at the last minute by the Environment Agency, again due to our continued pressure, was acknowledged, together with the damaging effect on the Cranleigh Waters of yet more effluent being pumped into it and the need to assess the impact of multiple developments on water quality.

We also managed at the very last minute to get DCLG involved and should the application have been approved they were going to consider our request for a ‘call in’.  This is when the Secretary of State takes the decision-making power on a planning application out of the hands of a local planning authority and he decides whether it should be granted or refused.

It was a very busy day!


Thank you for the many emails you sent, it really did make a difference.  It is so important that you add your voice to ours, we have proved how effective we are when we work together.

We would also like to extend our thanks to our MP Anne Milton and her team for replying to our many, many emails, for listening and for their support of Cranleigh residents concerns over infrastructure.

And we would like to thank members of the Joint Planning Committee who undertook an informed and measured debate. There was real empathy shown for Cranleigh’s plight and recognition that our village was about to end up as a building site.  One councillor said they wouldn’t want to live in Cranleigh at the moment! Another said Cranleigh will end up looking like Poland in 1939!

We have to reserve a special thank you for Cranleigh’s Cllr Mary Foryszewski , her passion and commitment under immense pressure was admirable.  She has on occasion be the lone voice speaking up for Cranleigh and she has our heartfelt thanks.

In addition, we would like to thank the Cranleigh Parish Council, Cllr Brian Freeston spoke on behalf of the planning committee and eloquently voiced their many objections to this application.

Finally thank you to the Cranleigh Civic Society committee whose commitment, courage, persistence, and reliability are second to none and they should stand proudly today together with all our members.

The fight is not over!  However today we will celebrate a victory for democracy, transparency, and the right to be heard.

Thank you all for speaking up for Cranleigh!

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