5 October 2016 UPDATE – Detailed Permission Granted.

24 August 2016 UPDATE – Detailed Planning Permission deferred by Joint Planning Committee

July 2016 UPDATE – Detailed Planning Permission Joint Planning Committee Date 24 August 2016 at Waverley Borough Council

JUNE 2016 UPDATE – Cranleigh Society Objects to application for Full Planning.

JULY 2015 UPDATE The Secretary of State has upheld his decision NOT to request an Environmental Impact Assessment for the Crest Nicholson, Horsham Road, The Chantreys site.

Original Post:
Waverley Borough Council Joint Planning Committee granted permission to the planning application for 149 dwellings on the Crest Nicholson Horsham Road site in Cranleigh on 1 July 2015. The public gallery was full of concerned Cranleigh residents, including members of the Cranleigh Society.

Liz Townsend and Malcolm Terson spoke on behalf of residents.

It was a close decision, with many Councillors expressing their concerns for building on this beautiful green field, in the end the vote was 9 to 10 with the Chair of the meeting casting the deciding vote.

Environmental Impact Assessment

The Cranleigh Society informed the committee that during the first scoping stage of this application the Secretary of State (SoS) had issued a screening direction dated 25 August 2014 stating that an Environmental Impact Assessment was not required. The SoS_sreening opinion Horsham Road stated that (extracted paragraph below):

Paragraph from Secretary of State Screening Direction 25 August 2014

However as the other planning applications referred to in the letter were at an early stage the SoS decided that it was inappropriate to consider cumulative impacts with this proposal.

Since August 2014 Amlets lane site was approved for 125 dwellings, with work expected to commence soon. On 22 June 2105 the Eastern Planning Committee granted full permission for the Cranleigh Tile and Brickworks site, resulting in 70 HGV traffic movements a day to and from the site for a minimum of 5 ½ years in order to carrying building waste to create a cap for the considerable pollution on the site.

In the light of this new situation, the Cranleigh Society believe that there was a realistic prospect that the Secretary of State could come to a different conclusion with regard to the need for an EIA.

A screening decision must be lawful at the date of any planning permission. Unless a screening direction is referred back to the Secretary of State, there is a real risk that permission may be granted for development which is likely to have significant environmental effects without those effects being properly considered, contrary to Article 2.1 of the EIA directive.

We have asked the Secretary of State to intervene and request a deferment of a decision on WA/2014/1754 until he has reviewed the implications of the change of circumstances and decided whether an EIA is now applicable for this site. This is currently being considered by the Secretary of State.

Five Year Housing Supply

The council states that as it currently can not demonstrate a five year supply of deliverable housing sites, for housing applications, in so far as Policy C2 is a housing supply policy, under paragraph 49 of the NPPF, this policy must be considered out of date.

We asked Councillors to consider recent observations that there would be an oversupply of housing should deliverable green field sites be included in the recently published 5 year housing supply report. Also no robust evidence exists to suggest a number of green field sites should not be included in the five year supply.

We would also reiterate that in the case of Crane v SoS, Justice Linblom was clear with regards to the weight given to out of date policies in the absence of a five year supply:

“neither paragraph 49 of the NPPF nor paragraph 14 prescribes the weight to be given to policies in a plan which are out of date. Neither of those paragraphs of the NPPF says that a development plan whose policies for the supply of housing are out of date should be given no weight, or minimal weight, or, indeed, any specific amount of weight. One can of course infer from paragraph 49 of the NPPF that in the Government’s view the weight to be given to out of date policies “for the supply of housing” will normally be less, often considerably less, than the weight due to policies which provide fully for the requisite supply. …In Grand Union Investments Ltd. (at paragraph 78) I endorsed a concession made by counsel for the defendant local planning authority that the weight to be given to the “policies for housing development” in its core strategy would, in the circumstances of that case, be “greatly reduced” by the absence of a five-year supply of housing land. However, the weight to be given to such policies is not dictated by government policy in the NPPF. Nor is it, or could it be, fixed in the case law of the Planning Court. It will vary according to the circumstances, including, for example, the extent to which the policies actually fall short of providing for the required five-year supply, and the prospect of development soon coming forward to make up the shortfall.
But in any event, however much weight the decision-maker gives to housing land supply policies that are out of date, the question he has to ask himself under paragraph 14 of the NPPF is whether, in the particular circumstances of the case before him, the harm associated with the development proposed “significantly and demonstrably” outweighs its benefit, or that there are specific policies in the NPPF which indicate that development should be restricted. That is the critical question. The presumption in favour of the grant of planning permission in paragraph 14 is not irrebuttable. And the absence of a five-year supply of housing land will not necessarily be conclusive in favour of the grant of planning permission.”

With other significant sites in the local area coming forward, it could be reasonably argued that there are sufficient deliverable sites that are reasonably available within the plan period, as defined in NPPF (footnote 11):

“To be considered deliverable, sites should be available now, offer a suitable location for development now, and be achievable with a realistic prospect that housing will be delivered on the site within five years and in particular that development of the site is viable.”

Planning permission is not a requirement for a deliverable site, indeed Footnote 11 of the NPPF specifically does not preclude sites where planning permission has not yet been granted.

In view of the reasonable existence of deliverable sites the lack of a five year supply of housing should not be given such significant weight and policy C2 can be applied in its normal form.

Waverley Borough Council policy C2


Cranleigh village experiences regular flooding and was cut-off by flood water on Christmas Eve 2013, pressure on the sewage system also resulted in seepage into homes, including 17 houses adjacent to this site. In this singular event 56.8mm of rain fell on Cranleigh (source EA measurement taken between 10:30 on 23/12/13 and 05:15 on 24/12/13).

Based on recorded flood levels, it is estimated that the magnitude of flooding on this occasion was greater than the modelled 1% (1 in 100 year) annual probability flood plus an allowance for climate change and only 56mm lower than the modelled 0.1% (1 in 1,000 year) annual probability flood.

The site consists of sloping agricultural fields which are used every year for grazing sheep. It is located within the Countryside beyond the Green Belt outside any defined settlement area. Policy C2 of the Local Plan states that building in the countryside, away from existing settlements will be strictly controlled.

The Downs Link borders the west of the site with an allocation of higher density housing proposed for this area which will be easily viewed from the footpath. There will also undoubtedly be a loss of privacy for neighbouring dwellings, many of which have minimal fencing in order to enjoy views of the open landscape.

Crest Nicholson Chantreys Cranleigh site plan

This development will have an urbanising effect on the Downs Link. It also abuts a Site of Nature Conservation Importance (SNCI) to the South and is within 2km of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). There will also be the considerable loss of 5 Grade A oak trees which Officers state are of significant public visual amenity.

The NPPF states in paragraph 38 that developments should be located so that key facilities such as primary schools and local shops are within walking distance of most properties. This is not the case for this site where car usage would be heavily relied upon and public transport opportunities are limited.

“Walkable neighbourhoods are typically characterised by having a range of facilities within 10 minutes (up to about 800m) walking distance of residential areas” this site exceeds this limit and residents will heavily rely on car usage.

The site is approximately 1.35km (17 mins walk) from the outer edge of the site into the village (Stockland Square) and this increases to 1.8 (23 mins walk) from the inner edge of the site.

Crest Nicholson distance to Cranleigh High Street

Using the Downs Link ramp exit at the edge of the site it is approximately 1.67 km (approx. 1 mile and 21 mins walk) to Stockland Square.

Distance displayed on map fromCrest Nicholson Chantreys site via Downs Link

From the eastern edge of the site, walking to the village using the Downs Link this distance increases to 2.25 km (28 mins walk).

The Downs Link is an unlit, unmade rural footpath which is extremely muddy for long periods of the year and unsuitable and unsafe for daily journeys to and from the village.

Muddy Downslink in Cranleigh

Distance from Main Schools

Cuthbert Mayne Catholic Primary School 1.3km (15mins)
Glebelands (no sixth form on site) and opposite Cranleigh Primary School 1.7km (20 mins)
Park Mead Primary School 2km (25 mins)
Godalming Sixth Form College is 9.5 miles from Cranleigh (15.2km).

The above calculations use the accepted average walking distance for adults of 3mph or 4.83 km ph. Children walk at a slower pace of approximately 5.32 to 5.43 km ph.

Bus Service

The only available form of public transport is a rural bus service (no 63 and 63X) that runs along the Horsham Road. The service consists of 2 buses an hour to Horsham in the South and the same to Guildford in the North (the last bus is approximately 20:00 on a weekday). This service only runs on Saturdays until approximately 18:00 and there is no service on Sundays.

Flood Risk

The Flood Risk Assessment for this site makes no mention of water quality from runoff released into the watercourse or of the widely reported serious flood event in December 2013, including 17 houses adjacent to this site. On page 55 of the Officer’s report it states that there is no flooding associated with the Holdhurst Brook although despite several residents’ objections that dispute this.

The basic outline for the SuDS proposal for the only seeks to mimic greenfield runoff. There is simply not enough detail provided in the attenuation storage or long term storage calculations to be reasonably certain that these SuDS are adequate, provide betterment and will not fail.

Housing Mix

Paragraph 50 of the NPPF states that planning authorities objective should be to create mixed and balanced communities.

As outlined in the Officer’s report page 34 onwards the site fails to deliver the housing mix, including the provision of affordable housing, that is outlined in the West Surrey SHMA 2014 and contravenes paragraph 50 of the NPPF on more than one point which states that planning authorities should:
“plan for a mix of housing based on current and future demographic trends, market trends and the needs of different groups in the community”
in addition to:
“identify the size, type, tenure and range of housing that is required in particular locations, reflecting local demand”

The 149 dwellings on this site are split as follows:

Housing mix Crest Nicholson Chantreys site Cranleigh

59.5% of the houses on this site are 4+ bed which does not comply with the evidence in the West Surrey Strategic Housing Market Assessment (2014, SHMA). The report assesses the need for housing of this size at only 20%. This site provides nearly 3 times the figure quoted in the SHMA.

SHMA size housing needed

It is also misleading for the applicant’s agent to claim that the public consultation pointed firmly to the site being a lower density, family dwelling house scheme, to justify the over provision of larger properties. Only 78 feedback forms were received by Crest Nicholson – 4 supportive, 34 objecting and 40 with a range of concerns.

Officers in their report recognise that this development fails to comply with the SHMA and if this pattern were to be repeated across the borough it would fail to deliver the wide choice of homes for the needs of different groups in the community.

The Officers’ report recognises that the affordable housing on the site is also not being provided to meet local needs in Cranleigh, which has a lower demand, and will be offered borough wide. It also states that the applicant is failing to meet the 50:50 affordable rent/intermediate split outlined in the SHMA.

This development fails to meet both the identified requirements for market housing and for affordable housing. If green fields are to be built upon it should be in direct response to identified housing need.

Site Access

There is a single access point to the site or 149 homes. A site of this size could generate an additional 300 cars which would have a significant impact on Cranleigh’s rural road network and our high street. We are not convinced by the applicant’s claim that 35% of residents will work “less than 2km” from home, when currently the average for Cranleigh is 21.7%.

There is no continuous pavement provided for pedestrians from the site entrance on the western side of the Horsham Road directly into the village, or to the bus stop on the Horsham Road for the service heading North towards Guildford.

Thames Water

Thames Water has stated that the existing system can not handle the increased foul drainage.

Residents in Horsham Road already report periodic foul water flooding. We are involved in an ongoing investigation with Thames Water and EA concerning a large and uncontrolled amount of sewage entering the surface water drainage network which is yet to be resolved and could be indicative of a major problem with Cranleigh’s main sewer.

Our Conclusion

This application should at the very least have been deferred until it is confirmed by the Secretary of State that an EIA is not required and the cumulative effect of development on Cranleigh and surrounding villages has been reviewed. It has been suggested that going ahead with a decision on the application whilst residents’ request is being considered could put that decision in jeopardy.

Specific weight cannot be applied to out of date policies. It could be reasonably demonstrated that Waverley has a five year housing supply when taking into account appropriate green field sites.

Policy C2 can be applied in its normal form. This application by virtue of its scale, number of dwellings and urbanising impact, including that on the Downs Link, and harm to landscape character would cause material and detrimental harm to the character and setting of the existing settlement and the intrinsic character, beauty and openness of the countryside contrary to policy C2, D1 and D4 of the Waverley Local Plan 2002 and paragraph 17 of the NPPF.

Contrary to policy D1 due to the openness of neighbouring properties there will be a reasonable loss of amenity in the form of privacy and light and levels of traffic which are incompatible with the local highway network when taking the cumulative impact of the HGV movements for the recently approved land recovery at the Cranleigh brickworks site and construction traffic for 125 dwellings on Amlets Lane.