Representatives of the Cranleigh Society, Liz Townsend and Richard Bryant, met Crest Nicholson in the Snoxhall car park at midday on Tuesday 10 March 2015.
Ben Sherreard (Cratus PR Company), Sarah Conlan (Crest Strategic Projects) and Paul Stewart (Engineer) from Mayer Brown attended representing Crest Nicholson (The Chantries site off the Horsham Road, Cranleigh).
The Crest representative confirmed that The Chantries site was stage 1 of the build with stage 2 to follow with an additional 100 dwellings. Rumours circulating of a further stage 3 were stated to be untrue.
Flood Risk at the Chantries, Horsham Road
The Crest representative stated that the Horsham Road was the most sustainable of the major sites being proposed, as it is at lower risk of flooding (flood zone 2) than Berkeley Homes – The Maples and the Knowle Park Initiative- West Cranleigh Nurseries (both with areas in flood zone 2 and 3, 3 being the highest risk). We pointed out that it could increase flooding to adjacent properties in Nightingales, however Crest said they would be reducing this risk with their Sustainable Urban Drainage System (SuDS). When questioned the Engineer was not aware that adjacent homes relied on electrically pumped culverts.
We commented that the RPS Report (independent drainage survey carried out on behalf of Waverley Borough Council) was very disappointing and had not checked the water run-off rates calculated on behalf of Crest Nicholson and no site visit had been carried out, this was agreed by Paul Stewart (Engineer) from Mayer Brown. Paul Stewart confirmed that he used the SuDS manual to calculate run-off rates for the Crest site. He also confirmed that he would get the rainfall data from the Environment Agency for the last high rainfall events in Cranleigh in November 2014 and January 2015 and ensure that there would be adequate storage in the proposed SuDS for this type of rainfall event. Provision for multiple events had not been accommodated in the calculations and the run-off is based only on phase 1 of the build with 149 dwellings.
Sarah Conlan also stated that Crest Nicholson would not be responsible for the maintenance of the ditch that runs between existing properties and the proposed new housing estate. Although historically this has been maintained by the Vachery Estate.
This news is of huge concern to residents who are extremely worried that unmaintained this culvert will increase the risk of flooding to their homes. Also lack of maintenance could result in a blockage and build up in run off from the Vachery Estate and even Vachery Pond. Any breach of the pond which is a 900m long reservoir would obviously be a catastrophic flood event for the whole of Cranleigh.
We have been advised by the Environment Agency that records of flooding on agricultural land, like the Chantries site, are not robust as flooding on agricultural land is not usually reported. We know however, from local accounts, that significant surface water does flow down the hill and currently collects at the bottom north west corner of the site (flood zone 2). It is crucial that the drainage ditch running along the northern edge of the site remains maintained. Who will be liable if flooding occurs from this source? We are aware that riparian ownership is a complex area and we suggest that neighbouring properties look into government guidance on this.
A management company will be appointed and will be responsible for public areas and the maintenance of the drainage system. The rough charge per household was unknown, however we have asked Crest to provide this to us. Crest Nicholson did confirm that they would top up the maintenance fees whilst the estate was not at full occupancy.
The Crest Nicholson Transport Report for The Chantries states that there is adequate capacity in our road system and Surrey Highways are satisfied with their transport study. In line with our objections they have recognised that the road is not wide enough for a pedestrian refuge in the middle of the Horsham Road at this point.
It appears that there is not to be any pavement for residents walking from the housing estate and turning immediately left out on to the Horsham Road towards the village. Crest Nicholson are proposing that residents come out of the access road and turn right, walking away from the village, before then crossing the Horsham Road. They then need to walk down to Avenue Road and cross the road again if they want to get to the nearest bus stop.
In reality we feel that residents will cross opposite (what is now) the house called Dalcarnie (with limited vehicle visibility) on the Horsham Road or turn left and walk on the grass verge – and the road itself where there is no verge. We consider this to be dangerous and unsuitable as a pedestrian access for this number of houses. Should Crest get permission for phase 2 and an additional 100 houses, there will be residents from 249 homes using this crossing point, including many school children who will already have a considerable distance to walk to their school and the temptation to cut even a small bit off that journey we think will be considerable.
With regard to the question of sustainable transport Crest pointed out that there is a bus stop just outside the site on the Horsham Road (with no direct pavement route to it) and contributions will be provided for the bus service, we have asked them how long this will be provided. This is at a time when Surrey is looking to reduce their own contributions to rural bus services. We remain unconvinced that residents from this housing estate will use the bus and not their cars.
Affordable Housing Provision
It was confirmed that the affordable housing would be built in tandem with market housing at certain trigger points. The percentage of affordable housing was quoted at 30%. They have no influence over the type of affordable housing and the split between affordable rents (80% of market value) and shared ownership. They did say that they had a housing association interested in taking this part of the build on. Commercial viability for Crest Nicholson (26% profit) and for the housing association can significantly affect the number of affordable houses on a site and the mix of those properties.
The Downslink footpath
Crest Nicholson confirmed Improvements to the Downslink (the proposed alternative footpath and cycle path into the village) will be entirely decided by Waverley and has not yet been outlined. It was suggested that hoggin would be laid, however no lighting had been proposed. Any lighting would negatively affect other homes backing on to the downslink and also wildlife.
Thames Water infrastructure
Crest Nicholson are awaiting a further response from Thames Water, however they confirmed that a Grampian agreement was not going to be imposed and that works would be in tandem with development. Thames Water have confirmed that Cranleigh’s infrastructure is inadequate to cater for new development.
We have a number of outstanding queries with Crest Nicholson and will keep you informed of developments. In the meantime if you want to object to this development you can still submit your comments on the Waverley Planning portal and we have further details on The Chantries Horsham Road on our website too.