Category Archives: Thames Water

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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Waverley’s Local Plan Part 1 Adopted

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20 Feb 2018  Waverley’s Local Plan Part 1 adopted

was adopted tonight:

  • For – 41
  • Against – 1
  • Abstained – 3

Even those who opposed or had serious reservations took the view that the Waverley area would have more protection with a LP. Even with it’s flaws,  WBC would be able to take back control.  No longer would planning be developer led.

All three Cranleigh Councillors expressed their deep concerns about Waverley’s Local Plan. But they decided to vote For IT because the consequences of having no LP would be disastrous. Nothing will undo the damage that has already been inflicted on Cranleigh but further damage can be minimised with the LP.

http://www.waverley.gov.uk/news/article/337/waverley_s_local_plan_is_adopted

Waverley’s local plan part 1 – Cranleigh Society’s opinion was shared before the vote –

Whilst Cranleigh is viewed by Waverley as one of the four main “settlements”, it has some serious infrastructure problems which the Inspector, Jonathan Bore, has not addressed in the report, even though they were pointed out to him by Cranleigh Civic Society and others at the Inquiry.

  • Cranleigh is only served by already congested B-roads, and lanes (we call them “rat runs”) which do not even qualify for B-road status, and there are no plans in his report (or in the Local Plan) to solve this.
  • Any new dwellings being built in Cranleigh rely on sewage treatment at the Elmbridge Road works.  In recent years, the so-called river that the effluent is pumped into, Cranleigh Waters, has developed serious flow problems, sometimes ceasing flowing altogether.  The river has become polluted, with local angling societies reporting dying fish stocks to the Environment Agency, and there is currently no plan by Waverley to solve this problem.  The Inspector has not considered this in his report.
  • 29.6% of all Cranleigh’s drinking water supply network is made from old asbestos cement pipes which are at the end of their 50 to 70 year design life, and they are regularly bursting releasing free asbestos fibres into the water supply.  Some of the pipes recently tested by Thames Water are made from highly dangerous blue asbestos.  Waverley are aware of this problem, and it has been suggested to them that all the old asbestos cement pipes be replaced before any new housing is connected to the network. Again, this important matter has not been considered by the Inspector in his report.
  • There are no plans to create new local jobs, so increasing the population will simply create a need to commute to work, which is hardly sustainable.

We accept that there is a need to build new houses in SE England and we do not have a problem with Cranleigh taking its fair share, but unless the infrastructure problems are addressed before the plan is published and put into place, we see big problems ahead.

Modern town planning (actually even Ebenezer Howard said this in the 1920s) states that “houses should be built where the jobs are”.  Modern thinking is to build settlements as close as possible to places where people can work or to at least give people easy access to commute.  Of the four settlements in the report, Cranleigh is least able to meet this criteria.  It has only B-roads and narrow lanes leading out of it, no railway station and so on.  The obvious place to build substantial quantities of new houses, in the Waverley area, is Milford, as:

(1) It has a mainline railway station that can easily be extended to take the new 12 car trains to London; (2)  It is close to both the A31 and A3; (3) It is close to the job markets in Guildford, Godalming and Farnham; (4) It is adjacent to the River Wey and therefore readily lends itself to the building of a new major sewage treatment works that can meet the needs of the latest 2017 implementations of the Water Framework Directive.  Yet I think we are correct in saying that the Local Plan only envisages 180 new dwellings in Milford?  If this is the situation we have to ask “Why?”

Richard Bryant

 Vice Chair.

 CRANLEIGH CIVIC SOCIETY.

Go to Waverley Borough Council  website and complete the consultation if you feel you can.

Local Plan Part 2: Site Allocations and Development Management Policies

 

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2018 Happy New Year!

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AN APOLOGY AND AN UPDATE FOR OUR MEMBERS

We do apologise for the absence of any postings since 20 November last year but we can assure you that this does not mean we were not continuing with our fight to keep Cranleigh special – a fight that will go on, it appears, for a very long time if what we have recently heard proves to be true.

We promise to send regular, detailed postings now that the new Committee has settled in and the newbies have been informed of all that we have done and the enormous tasks that we face in the future. In the meantime here is a summary of some of the happenings in the past two months.

  • ALFOLD – SPRINGBOK – This was an application for, inter alia, 400 houses which would have tripled the size of the village of Alfold. It was REFUSED by a Government Inspector.
  • ASBESTOS CEMENT DRINKING WATER PIPES – Following the promise by Thames Water to start replacing the AC pipes in Cranleigh starting early this year, we are still working on this problem from different angles but we cannot say anything more right now!
  • RECYCLING CENTRE – We are keeping up the pressure on Surrey County Council as we believe cutting down the opening days by a whopping 50% is foolhardy and will lead to a huge increase in fly tipping. Please take photos of any fly tipping you see and send them to us via the website with the exact location.
  • HEWITTS – We objected to this application being agreed until this highly polluted and contaminated site is “cleaned up” to the full satisfaction of the Environment Agency. The application was withdrawn.
  • KNOWLE LANE – Only last week we learned of a proposal for 20 new homes, some distance from the settlement boundary, and heard reports that Berkeley Homes are securing “options to buy” many tracts of land down Knowle Lane. We are monitoring this closely.
  • LAW SOCIETY – We have written to the Law Society with suggestions for improving the searches process when new houses are being purchased. We will let you know when (if?) we receive their response.
  • PENWERRIS HORSHAM ROAD  – You will recall that the McCarthy and Stone application was refused some time ago but there is a new application, on a smaller scale, from Renaissance. If agreed, the present tenants would be made homeless so we will keep a very watchful eye on this proposed development.
  • PARKING – Where do we start? There seems to be no attention being given by Waverley to the need for more car parking with a big increase in resident numbers. Already roads near the village centre, which do not have parking restrictions, are being used extensively so that high parking charges can be avoided – although it appears from recent WBC Notices that more road parking restrictions are imminent.
  • THAKEHAM HOMES, ELMBRIDGE ROAD – We are endeavouring to warn leading Home Insurers to flag up this future development as one to consider very carefully as we consider it to be an extremely high flood risk, providing them with the evidence which was just dismissed out of hand by Waverley in order to push this through in the chase to meet housing targets.

CCS Committee News – new chair Terry Stewart has a wealth of knowledge and experience and is looking for YOU to come forward to help support CCS please – 

  • to raise our profile so that people know that we are active on the issues that are important to Cranleigh residents;
  • to use  your interests, skills and availability;
  • to improve our communication methods to all residents – and the decision makers/influencers;
  • to widen the reach of recipients of our messages;
  • to use our limited resources, to prioritise our efforts, and assign responsibilities to members of the committee;

There are so many ways to work for our community honestly and effectively – please get in touch.  thank you

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UPDATE – Asbestos in Cranleigh

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Thames Water advised Cranleigh Civic Society on the 20th October that the 3km of asbestos cement pipe that they are replacing in Cranleigh is only one fifth of the total length of the asbestos pipes in the village.

That means that Cranleigh will still have 12km of very old, decaying asbestos cement (AC) drinking water pipes operational in the drinking water network.

Cranleigh Civic Society has written several times to the Government’s Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) asking them to confirm that these old pipes will not be a risk to the health of Cranleigh residents, and we have not received reassurance from them.

The position of Cranleigh Civic Society remains unequivocal.  We think these very old AC pipes in the Cranleigh area should all be replaced BEFORE any new houses are connected to the network.  We think that the infrastructure should be sorted out by Waverley Borough Council first, particularly in this case where, we believe, it cannot be ruled out that there is a clear and present danger to public health.

 

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VICTORY for Cranleigh Civic Society!

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After a long fight by Cranleigh Civic Society, Thames Water have agreed to start replacing Cranleigh’s  asbestos cement drinking water pipes starting in 2018.

29.6% of our drinking water pipes are old and made from asbestos cement (compared to an average throughout SE England of just 2%).  The design life of these pipes is 50 to 70 years, and as some of these were installed in the early 1960’s, they are starting to decay and burst.

During the last nine months, a team from Thames Water has met with Cranleigh Civic Society several times to discuss the problem, and Thames Water has carried out tests on samples of burst pipes to determine the composition of the materials used.  They have found a mixture of white and blue asbestos.  On the 5th October, the team from Thames Water announced to Cranleigh Civic Society that they will start a programme of replacement in Spring 2018 (they will need the time between now and then for planning and to seek the licences that will be needed).

Cranleigh Civic Society is grateful to Thames Water who have been open and helpful in giving advice, and also to them for carrying out tests on the samples of burst pipe.  On the 9th October, Thames Water told us that they have identified over 3 km of pipes to replace, and we are awaiting confirmation from them as to how much of our old asbestos cement network that accounts for, and over what period of time the replacement programme will take place.

Thames Water has advised us that they have secured the funding for this project, which comes out of central pot and will not impact on our bills locally.

New housing being built in Cranleigh must comply with current Building Regulations that require a minimum 1 bar drinking water pressure provision.  This is because many new houses nowadays are provided with unvented hot water systems, which work on higher pressure than the old “indirect” systems based on a header tank in the attic space.  Over the past three months the number of burst water pipes has increased considerably with over 20 bursts occurring, some leaving residents without water for days at a time.  This has coincided with the building of new housing estates in the village.

Cranleigh Civic Society’s opinion is that if more new housing estates are connected onto the existing network before Thames Water has finished replacing the old asbestos cement pipes, the number of bursts will increase exponentially, and could raise the risk of more free asbestos fibres entering the drinking water network.

We think these old asbestos cement pipes in the Cranleigh area should be replaced BEFORE more new houses are connected to the network.

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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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Poo Brook still not resolved

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Adrian Clarke of Cranleigh Civic Society and Cranleigh Borough Councillor Liz Townsend were interviewed by Surrey Radio this week about the severe pollution problems in the brook that flows out of a culvert behind Marks and Spencer’s car park.  The brook problem is also featured on the front page of the current edition of the Surrey Advertiser (Friday 31 March 2017).

Residents have been complaining to Thames Water about raw sewage in the brook for 8 years, and in 2015 Cranleigh Civic Society took samples from the brook and got an independent laboratory to test them.  The report, which showed very high levels of e coli, was sent to the Environment Agency who investigated it and immediately put it onto their ‘UK Priority Hot Spot List’.

Cranleigh Civic Society also tried unsuccessfully to get Waverley Borough Council’s Environmental Health Department to help to get this serious pollution issue resolved.  We suspect that the reason why Waverley did not want to get involved is because it would jeopardise their hugely unpopular draft local plan.  In case you didn’t know this, Waverley wants to dump 44% of its new housing allocation into the Cranleigh area.  The same Waverley we all have to pay our very high Council Tax charges to.

Since the Environment Agency got involved, Thames Water has been carrying out tests, putting dyes in outflows and feeding cables with cameras from the culvert back towards the High Street, but with mixed results.  Thames Water claims to have discovered several ‘misconnections’ over the last year, but they have been very secretive about the number and locations of these.  Misconnections are where a house or a commercial property illegally connects its foul drainage to rainwater pipes either intentionally, or by mistake.

An engineer from Thames Water told us that, over the weekend of  1-2 April 2017, his team had identified eight commercial properties in the High Street that had misconnections; an amazing admission considering that Thames Water have had crews out investigating this problem now on several occasions over the last two years!

The cost of all these investigations so far is huge, the Thames Water engineer told us, and that, as it is unfair to burden their customers with this cost, Thames Water will be seeking to recover the cost from the commercial premises in the High Street.

We are hoping that Thames Water will now issue 21-day notices to the offending premises in the High Street to correct their problems.  If the businesses ignore the 21 day notice, they can face large penalties.

Why is all this a problem?  Children were seen last summer playing in the brook building a dam, and they often retrieve footballs from the brook when playing on the adjacent field, and people walk their dogs next to the brook (and dogs like to jump into water).  Also, the brook joins Cranleigh Waters, a stream that is already heavily polluted and which has caused fish stocks to die out in Bramley.

We will keep you informed of any updates on this story.

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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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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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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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