Category Archives: Thames Water

HELP RESTORE CRANLEIGH WATERS – YOUR LOCAL RIVER

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Please sign up to help restore our local “Rivers” –  Cranleigh Waters!  Will you join in so that the water flows better and the wildlife come back?   We all want and need a thriving river. It starts with counting what’s there at the moment.

SURREY WILDLIFE TRUST

Surrey Wildlife Trust has secured some funds to do some much needed restoration works but really need volunteers to help on the following days :-

Wednesday 29th August 10am till 3pm

Saturday 15th September 10am till 3pm

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO HELP PLEASE CONTACT GLEN  SKELTON YOURSELVES AT

glen.skelton@surreywt.org.uk

“The project: In partnership with Thames Water, Surrey Wildlife Trust are working to restore the Cranleigh Waters back to a thriving river. To do this we need your help. We are recruiting volunteers in the area to join our team of regular Riverfly monitors who sample the aquatic life that lives on the river bed” 

Please also consider joining Surrey Wildlife Trust – they are amazing and there are not enough staff to look after everything that needs to be cared for.

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Good News & updates from us (July 2018)

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We thought we’d put together the following overview of what we are working on at the moment to keep you in the loop. Please feel free to comment or let us know if you have any questions and we’ll try to get back to you as soon as possible.

HOUSING

Due to the Government’s need to build more houses in the South East, the lack of a Green Belt around Cranleigh, the position we were in having no “Local Plan” (WBC now have one, but it’s subject to Judicial Review) and our Borough Councillors being outnumbered on the Joint Planning Committee (JPC) of Waverley Borough Council (WBC); numerous large planning applications have been successful,  resulting in around 1,700 additional homes being built.

Cranleigh Civic Society has scrutinised the major planning applications and brought pressure to bear on the planning authority – WBC – bringing attention to poor design and deficiencies details and suggesting alterations to improve them.

CCS ensures Councillors of all areas understand the problems, including information that the Professional Planning Officers should provide.

CCS has put up spirited opposition to many of the planning applications, often promoting a more thorough debate and consideration of detail with some successful results.

What now?  We must keep a watch on the conditions imposed by WBC and ensure they are implemented correctly. Ideally we must try to ensure no more planning permissions are granted until the housing that is in the pipeline is up, the effects are understood and supporting infrastructure is in place.

INFRASTRUCTURE

Drinking water supply and sewage treatment and removal.
CCS has put pressure on Thames Water (TW) to replace old drinking water pipes – being 50 to 70 years old and made of asbestos cement, some “blue” and very dangerous if released into the water supply and ingested.

As pipes burst TW put a programme in place to replace sections – so some success. WBC and TW have had to admit that they do not have asbestos liability insurance so they would have to pay claims themselves – very expensive to the public purse.
Thames Water has upgraded Cranleigh Sewage Treatment Works (STW) to accommodate the current housing demand and will, by law, have to do so again to meet the sewage emanating from the huge new housing developments.

Cranleigh Waters is a designated river which takes the outflow from STW . CCS has worked hard to show that this river is inadequate, and has caused depletion in fish numbers  and must be re-considered.  Some CCS members have undertaken river searches / water quality measuring and officially reported to and interacted with the authorities.
Ditches are being monitored thanks to CCS and Surrey Wildlife Trust is to undertake remedial work and bring life back to the river and local streams.

The Environment Agency (EA) had left Cranleigh off its watch list of threatened environments, so CCS and others worked to get Cranleigh back onto the maps and monitored regularly. The EA now works with CCS to monitor the area and make more relevant recommendations to our planning authority.

Flooding and flood plains.
CCS has worked tirelessly with the planning authority WBC, EA, and TW to point out, measure and photograph full information about flooding.  The EA now records and reports flood levels, thanks to CCS. Surrey County Council (SCC) is tasked with cleaning out drains and ditches especially when heavy rains are forecast.

Anne Milton MP.
CCS has been in disucssions with Anne all along and she has started a Flood Forum in Cranleigh where many officers and local reprentatives work to improve knowledge, understanding, and even to alter laws and planning conditions.  She has been able to get the attention of the movers and shakers at SCC.

Roads, Pavements, Footpaths.
CCS is in constant touch with SCC regarding potholes, flooding and traffic jams, and improvements are scheduled.  A hard and lit footpath / cycleway from Cranleigh to Guildford is being looked at.
WBC’s New Local Plan shows minimal road and junction improvements at the moment, despite the new Local Plan approving 2,600 homes plus a school at Dunsfold, producing more traffic for the A281,

CCS continues to read and react to all such documents hoping to influence the authorities from our local knowledge point of view

Railways
Surrey County Council and national government say new railways are not going ahead at the moment but that there must always be a footpath and bridle way available along the old railway line.
Buses . SCC is responsible and we know of no changes at the moment.

Schools and GP surgeries 
SCC must, by law, provide enough school places and doctors when the population rises.

Police & Fire Service 
SCC must, by law, provide adequate cover.

COUNTRYSIDE
Our wildlife and waterways experts have helped WBC to improve ponds and waterways. CCS congratulates Cranleigh Parish Council (CPC) for its work on creating Fields in Trust including: The Beryl Harvey field which has been saved and improved and the Centenary garden marking 100 years since the end of the first World War, which is under construction thanks to our Parish Council.

PEOPLE
WBC’s interim Chief Executive and Head of Paid Services, Tom Horwood, has listened and responded to CCS’s complaints about the way officers and councillors have made us feel and he will attend  a meeting next month with CCS and Councillor Julia Potts, the Leader of Waverley Council  to hear more about why the residents  of Cranleigh and surrounding area are so disillusioned with so many of their actions.

CCS will put forward very constructive suggestions to support our local knowledge and expertise hoping to work more effectively together in the future.

Liz Townsend was the inspirational first chair of CCS until she was voted onto CPC, then Waverley Borough Council and she is doing a great job.

Steve Jeacock  was a member of CCS committee and was also voted onto CPC and has worked hard to represent all our views.

Adrian Clarke is our key attribute regarding drinking water pipes and the risks posed by their age and the blue asbestos fibres they contain.

We welcome your input!

Set up in 2014 by volunteers for the Neighbourhood Plan, the committee of CCS has worked hard and morphed into a quietly professional group of careful researchers and communicators to help keep Cranleigh special – speaking up for all.

The committee of eight needs help and support please.
WEB SITE, FACEBOOK, TWITTER, MEMBERSHIP, NEWSLETTERS are all proving a great success and we welcome input for the web site including valued photos and stories. We also welcome help with these applications.

Becoming a member and supporter helps to tell the Councils what the public really know and want and feel.

USEFUL LINKS

 

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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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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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