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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Dunsfold Park ‘call-in’ request

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It has been confirmed that a request for a ‘call in’ has been made to the Secretary of State for the Dunsfold Park planning application for 1,800 dwellings.

Anyone can request for an application to be called in.  IF this call in is successful this means that the Secretary of State will take the decision-making power on this planning application out of the hands of Waverley Borough Council as the local planning authority and he will decide whether it should be granted or refused.

‘Calling in’ can be done at any time during the planning application process, up to the point at which the local planning authority actually makes the final decision.

Once the planning application is called in, there will be a public inquiry chaired by a planning inspector, or lawyer, who based on their findings will make a recommendation to the Secretary of State.

The Secretary of State can choose to reject the inspector’s recommendations if he wishes and will genuinely take the final decision.

You can read more about the application in the recent article on the GetSurrey website

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Knowle Park Initiative & Little Meadow before Planning Committee

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On 27th April 2016 at 7pm both applications for the Knowle Park Initiative and Little Meadow (Crownhall Estates Ltd) amounting to another 340 houses off Alfold Road go before the Joint Planning Committee (JPC) in Waverley.

Come to the JPC meeting, it is extremely important that councillors make this decision directly in front of Cranleigh residents and we know exactly how they vote, especially our local Cranleigh councillors.

If approved, this would bring the total number of new houses  off Alfold Road to 765.

The nearby Hewitts Industrial Estate application for another 120 houses is also due to be heard at Appeal by the Planning Inspector in October 2016. That would bring the TOTAL JUST in this part of the village to 885.

Where’s the Sewage Going?

We also note that Thames Water have not raised any objection to either of these applications based on sewerage capacity and yet they have placed Grampian style conditions on both Cala Homes and Crest Nicholson, which means that development cannot commence on these sites until foul water drainage strategies for on and/or off-site work, has been approved by Waverley Borough Council and Thames Water.

We have written to Thames Water to point out this discrepancy and the fact that we believe that it is in breach of its statutory obligations as the water and sewage undertaker if it now fails to raise an objection to the Knowle Park Initiative and Little Meadow applications.

Knowle Park Initiative Saga

For those of you who have been following the Knowle Park Initiative (KPI)  application, you might remember that Thames Water originally objected to the application on the grounds that the existing waste water (that’s sewage) infrastructure couldn’t accommodate another 265 houses in addition to 425 on the Berkeley Homes site.  It also confirmed that the water supply infrastructure didn’t have sufficient capacity either.

When the Berkeley’s application for 425 homes was refused on 6 January 2015, KPI’s advisers moved swiftly and contacted Thames Water on 7 January 2015 to point out that in light of the refusal there was now some notional sewage capacity available to them, although we wonder where this was, seeing as Cala and Crest were told there was none?

Thames Water faced with the fact that they had not objected at all to the Berkeley Homes application on sewage grounds had to concede on this point and issued a letter on 15 January 2015 ( view KPI Correspondence to Waverley regarding Thames Water ) withdrawing their objection. However, the letter from Lance Cooper of Thames Water did point out that: “Please note that the views expressed by Thames Water in this letter is in response to this pre-development enquiry only and does not represent our final views on any future planning applications made in relation to this site.”

Now you might think that in light of the decision for Berkeley Homes Appeal on 31 March 2016 giving permission for 425 houses, and bearing in mind the recent  widely publicised sewage issues in Cranleigh, which are referred to by planning officers in their report for the meeting on 27 April, Waverley officers would go back to Thames Water and get an updated statement before they recommended 340 more houses for approval in Cranleigh?

And especially as the sewers becoming overwhelmed by another 340 houses and foul water flooding would be an environmental and a public health risk.

But you would be wrong, the planning officers have recommended both of these sites for approval, relying on what might be a verbal update from Thames Water prior to the meeting on 27 April. This seems to amount to a serious oversight by Waverley Borough Council Planning Officers.

What about the Water Supply?

And what of the water supply infrastructure you might ask? That’s the stuff that comes out of your taps. Thames Water has maintained that the water supply infrastructure CANNOT SUPPORT either of these developments, however, this appears to have been completely overlooked by officers. There is no mention of a condition regarding this in their recommendation to approve these sites, and there is no mention of the impact study that Thames Water requested.

We think this is yet another serious oversight by Waverley Planning Officers and we would like to know why.

What are we doing?

Yesterday we wrote to Thames Water regarding the Knowle Park Initiative and Litle Meadows applications requesting that they uphold their statutory obligations and we copied in our MP Anne Milton, Waverley Planning Officers and the Environment Agency.

We also met up yesterday with a representative of Waverley’s Environmental Health Department, who seem to be taking this issue seriously.

We will keep you informed of the outcome.

What can you do?

Demand to know what is going on with Cranleigh’s sewerage system:

Send ONE email to the following people quoting references KPI WA/2015/1569 and Little Meadow WA/2015/0478 (please copy us in at

Email your MP Anne Milton

Email Elizabeth Sims, Head of Planning Services (Chief Planning Officer)

Email the Current Leader of Waverley Borough Council Robert Knowles

Email the New Leader (from May) of Waverley Borough Council Julia Potts

Thank you for your continued support.

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Parish Council Object to Amlets Lane

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On 18 April Cranleigh Parish Council Planning Committee objected to the Full Planning application on Amlets Lane by Cala Homes.

Cala Homes currently have outline planning permission on the Amlets Lane site. Outline permission establishes just the principal of development on a site and states matters which are reserved for later approval.

A further application for Full, or Approval of Reserved Matters, which is what is going through now, is then required before any detailed work can go ahead.

A reserved matters application deals with some or all of the outstanding details of the outline application proposal, including :

  • The appearance of buildings and the estate in general.
  • Access roads.
  • Landscaping.
  • The layout of the housing estate.
  • The size of the buildings.

Cranleigh Parish Council is not a statutory consultee in the planning process.  They have a right to ask for copies of planning applications affecting their area and to express their views to Waverley Borough Council.

This is not the same as statutory consultation which takes place with, for example, the county planning authority (Surrey County Council), the highway authority, Environment Agency, English Heritage, Thames Water and others.

Several residents, as well as representatives of Cala Homes, attended the parish council meeting.  Residents voiced strong concerns, amongst which were safety on Amlets Lane, the drainage system, sewage capacity, and loss of privacy.

As we reported yesterday Thames Water has placed a Grampian style agreement on the application, this prevents the start of the development until off-site works have been completed on the sewerage network, which includes pipework and Cranleigh Sewage Works off the Elmbridge Road.

(You can read more about Grampian conditions in the Government’s Planning Practice Guidance, Paragraph: 009 Reference ID: 21a-009-20140306.).

You can still object to the Amlets Lane application via the Waverley Borough Council planning portal.

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Amlets Lane Full Planning Application

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UPDATE: Residents Liaison Group Established 22 November 2016

UPDATE: Amlets Lane Detailed Permission Granted 8 November 2016

UPDATE: Amlets Lane deferred 14 September 2016

UPDATE: Full application will be heard by Waverley’s Joint Planning Committee on 14 September 2016

Original Article:

The Full Application by Cala Homes ref WA/2016/0517 for 125 dwellings on Land South of Amlets Land and North of Roberts Way is available on the Waverley Borough Council Planning Portal website.

Confirmed Lack of Sewage Capacity!

Thames Water finally confirmed on 14 April that they have identified an inability of the existing waste water infrastructure to accommodate the needs of this application.

The reason quoted is ” The development may lead to sewage flooding; to ensure that sufficient capacity is made available to cope with the new development; and in order to avoid adverse environmental impact upon the community.”

This is the first time we believe that the impact on the existing community has ever been mentioned!

This means that development cannot commence until a drainage strategy detailing on and/or off site drainage works, has been submitted and approved by Waverley Borough Council in consultation with Thames Water.

It also states that the existing water supply infrastructure has insufficient capacity to meet the additional demands for the proposed development and requests that impact studies of the existing water supply infrastructure must be carried out and approved by Waverley Borough Council in consultation with Thames Water.

You can read the full Thames Water objection to Amlets Lane.

This does not mean that the application will be refused, however it does at least mean that at long last Thames Water are publicly recognising the lack of capacity in Cranleigh’s sewage system to cope with all of this development.

You can read more about this application on our website article Amlets lane workers to use Cranleigh Train Station. You can still add comments and objections against the Full Planning Application.

Amlets lane width

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Waverley Plan for Cranleigh

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After several months of cancelled Joint Planning Committee (JPC) meetings, Waverley Borough Council is now on a roll.


The Berkeley Homes successful appeal has caused a flurry of activity and now, even before the dust has settled on the Planning Inspector’s decision for 425 houses South of Cranleigh High Street,  Waverley Planning Officers are cramming two major applications into ONE JPC meeting on 27th April and is recommending BOTH for approval.

Guess where these applications are?  YES, Cranleigh is once again the lucky recipient of yet more housing, despite Waverley’s own admission that housing need is not focused in this part of the borough.


Come along to the JPC meeting to be held at Waverley Borough Council Offices, The Burys, Godalming at 7pm on 27th April

The applications up for grabs are 265 houses on West Cranleigh Nurseries green field site on Alfold Road (Knowle Park Initiative)
Little Meadow 75 houses on a green field site on Alfold Road adjacent to the Knowle Park Initiative site.





These applications keep being approved because Waverley claims it doesn’t have a five-year housing supply and can’t get its Local Plan together.

However, even Waverley’s own Councillors are confused as to whether they have a five-year supply or not, and the outgoing Leader Robert Knowles wasn’t sharing the number with them at the Executive meeting on 5 April 2016, as it’s a bit too technical.


What with the lack of ability to add up how many houses Waverley have now granted permission for, and yet another delay in the Local Plan, we think that residents in Cranleigh have the right to feel that they are being well and truly scapegoated.

Waverley may not officially have a Local Plan in place, but it is clear they have a ‘Plan’, and that plan is to place ALL the housing possible in Cranleigh, despite the material constraints of our rural roads, sewerage capacity, non-compliance with the Water Frameworks Directive and flooding.

We can’t find any justification in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), or in government planning guidance that says, if you haven’t got a local plan in place or have not published your housing supply figures, you should ignore material constraints and keep dumping housing on green fields, irrespective of their cumulative effect.

Waverley councillors acknowledge the effect that 1,800 houses at Dunsfold will have on the transport infrastructure, and in the main on the A281,  but seem incapable of acknowledging the impact of a similar number of houses in Cranleigh!  Perhaps they could explain this anomaly to the residents of Cranleigh, and let us know why no Transport Assessment is being carried out to identify the overall effect of all of this development on our rural road network?

YOU can still do something for Cranleigh

If you haven’t objected to the Knowle Park Initiative or Little Meadows applications it is not too late.

You can object using the links below to the Waverley Borough Council Planning Portal:

1. Knowle Park Initiative Alfold Road 265 houses (West Cranleigh Nurseries application:

2. Little Meadows Alfold Road 75 houses:


3. Email members of the JPC and let them know what you think of Waverley’s plan to put the major share of the entire borough’s housing in Cranleigh (you can copy and paste the list into your email address box).

4. Attend the JPC meeting on 27th April 7pm at Waverley Council Offices and let them justify in front of residents their decision on the day.

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Sewer Collapse Confirmed!

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Waverley Environmental Health, who we are very pleased to report have been extremely helpful, regarding the sewage spill on the Elmbridge Road, have confirmed that Thames Water have identified the cause of the recent sewage spill as a collapsed sewage pipe, which is located under the garden of a property on the Elmbridge Road.

However, for some reason Thames Water have advised the occupants of the property that the necessary works will not be completed before 18th May.  Anne Milton MP, having been alerted by residents’ emails, after a request on our website and Facebook page, is now involved and has asked for works to be brought forward.

You Must Report Incidents!

We have been told that, when sewage issues occur, it is up to you, as residents, to report the incident to Thames Water (24-hour customer service team on 0800 316 9800), and you also need to contact Waverley Borough Council’s Environmental Health on 01483 523393, or email separately.

Apparently, Thames Water does not automatically inform Waverley Borough Council, or even the Environment Agency when there is a sewage leak.

Yes,  it is also up to you to report incidents to the Environment Agency (0800 807 060),  if you think that a culvert and/or a watercourse is threatened by sewage.

How people are expected to know this, we have no idea!

It seems ridiculous in this age of instant 24/7 communication, that these details are not shared between organisations.  How hard would that be!

We think that Thames Water should HAVE to inform both the local Environmental Health office and the Environment Agency about raw sewage incidents.  Tell us what you think?

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Cranleigh Residents Feel Let Down

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The application for Full Planning Permission submitted  by Crest Nicholson to Waverley Borough Council  has left Cranleigh residents, especially those directly backing onto the site, feeling let down and upset.

(You can still add your comments and objections against this application for Full Planning Permission.)

Residents have already had months of uncertainty and distress at the loss of the stunning view of rolling green fields and trees they have enjoyed from their homes, now to be replaced by a Crest Nicholson housing estate.

Chantreys Horsham Road Crest Nicholson site

When the original outline permission for 149 was dwellings was applied for by Crest Nicholson, residents took small recompense from the fact that at the Northern boundary of the site by Nightingales there was to be an access road, providing a buffer zone, between existing and new housing, as well as a mixture of housing; detached, semi-detached and terraced homes, set back from each other. This meant that, although residents views were still obliterated, this was not being completely replaced by a continuous line of brick walls of a single house type.

Original plans (view a fuller layout of the Chantreys, Crest Nicholson Site, Horsham Road):

Crest Nicholson Chantreys Cranleigh site plan

The plans now submitted have been met with complete dismay by residents. The housing mix, as well as the access road at the edge of the site, has now been replaced by far more dense terraced housing and car parking bays. Where there were peaceful green fields, with the odd flock of grazing sheep, now existing residents will be faced with the prospect of lines of cars and brick walls.  Perhaps Crest want to ensure that the best views of the countryside are reserved for new residents.  Although new people on the Southern boundary should be aware of a proposed Phase 2,  approximately 115 dwellings, coming soon!

New layout of the top northern boundary:

Final Boundary housing scheme - crest nicholson cranleigh

Outline of affordable housing strategy horsham road cranleigh


We have continued to warn residents about being taken in by the artists’ impressions accompanying outline planning permission applications. They are just a drawing (not to scale) to lull residents into a false sense of security. Outline planning grants permission for the number of houses to be built, it does not include the design and layout of those buildings, this is submitted when full permission is subsequently applied for.

Residents are also facing the prospect of large underground tanks of sewage next to their boundaries, due to the lack of sewage capacity in Cranleigh.  You can read more about this in our Thames Water Sewage Crisis article.

Sewage tanks on Crest Nicholson Site

Crest Nicholson PR company Cratus is attempting to set up a residents’ liaison group, we think that that a member of Crest Nicholson staff must be present at these meetings, so that residents queries and concerns can be answered by the actual people building the development, rather than going through a third party whose obligation is to their client and not to the people of Cranleigh.

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Amlets Lane Workers to Use Cranleigh Train Station!!!!

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It’s great to know that Cala Homes have done such an in-depth study of Cranleigh before they produced their Amlets Lane Construction Environment Management Plan!!!

The author so obviously has never visited Cranleigh, has never driven down, or cycled to Amlets Lane and has never used the bus service here!! Err, and we almost forgot, or the TRAIN STATION?

So glaringly inept is the Cala Group report it could be featured on an episode of the “Thick of It”!!  It would be laughable if it wasn’t so serious.

We as residents know exactly how dangerous Amlets Lane is and how completely ridiculous it is to build 125 houses with a single access road on to what is an extremely narrow rural road. So many residents have expressed deep concerns about the safety of this lane, but Surrey Highways, who are the only ones who can really object, have said it is fine.

Getting back to the Cala Homes report.  Apparently construction workers are going to use Cranleigh Main Line Station to get to the site, which is only a mile away!  You can read this for yourself on Page 10 of the report.

Amlets-lane -Cranleigh

We are assuming that each construction worker will be equipped with a time travelling device, as the station closed on 14 June 1965!!

We do hope that Waverley Planners have noticed this point too, or maybe they still think there is a station here?

Never fear even with the lack of mainline station apparently there are “numerous opportunities for the use of public transport to gain access to the site.” Well, good luck with that one too!

Cala Homes also confirm that the “site can be accessed by the motorway network and major A roads.“.  Someone had better inform them we only have one ‘A road’ which doesn’t come through Cranleigh.

Although to be applauded for their “Cycle to Work Policy” (Page 14), we were somewhat surprised to see that Cala Homes are going to encourage all personnel to use bikes to access the Amlets Lane site.

Amlets Lane Cala Homes Cycle policy

They must be an extremely fit lot of site managers and construction workers, with some very small tool bags!  Perhaps a map would help them?

For the Cala Group – this is where the site is:

Position of Amlets Lane site

And this is really how wide Amlets Lane is (note the size of the car!) – courtesy of Google Earth:

Amlets lane width

As you can see no pavements, narrow, and nowhere for construction workers to park!  Cala Homes apparently is trying to negate the need for construction workers to park on “local roads adjacent to the site” (Page 13); we suggest they take a look at those roads first, only an idea!

Cala Homes confirm on Page 14 that “Access is permitted from both East and West along Amlets lane and due to the location of the development it is not planned to stipulate and place restrictions on direction of access for larger vehicles.” This means that  construction traffic will be coming both ways down Amlets Lane, can’t wait for two vehicles to meet!

There are so many anomalies and errors in this report we don’t know whether to laugh or cry, but what we do know is that we take no comfort from Cala Homes “proven track record” so far!

Cala Homes Track record

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Bus Link or White Elephant?

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Following Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce’s proposal for a guided busway along the Downs Link recently reported by the Surrey Advertiser, the Cranleigh Civic Society expressed concerns that the proposal was yet again misleadingly justifying substantial and unsustainable growth in Cranleigh.

This is yet another attempt to justify massive housing development in Cranleigh, despite recognition by Waverley Borough Council that “housing need” is not concentrated in this part of the borough.

Almost a year ago, Cranleigh Civic Society carried out an in-depth investigation into the proposed guided busway to relieve congestion on the A281 between Horsham and Guildford.  We visited and studied the guided busway in Cambridge with an engineer who worked on the scheme and researched other similar schemes to see if it could be implemented here.

Guided Bus Cambridge

guided bus side wheels

The budget of £24M suggested by Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce does not take into account any land acquisition, the cost of building bridges, any flood mitigation methods that Surrey Highways have confirmed would be required, or any major upgrades required on the connecting road system to accommodate a level crossing, a major interchange, or the construction of a roundabout.  The busway if it went ahead would have to terminate near to Shalford, and there would leave its guided tracks and join and add to the regular traffic jam crawling into Guildford.

To investigate this matter further we would welcome the Chamber of Commerce sharing any up-to-date Balfour Beatty estimates with us, as well as their own detailed budget on the additional £4 to £5 million that they say would be required to complete this project. We would also welcome the Chamber of Commerce’s projections for the numbers of users of the service, and their plans for the ongoing financial viability of the line.

The Cranleigh Civic Society met with Surrey Highways Paul Millin who has undertaken an extremely comprehensive study, including a viability study into this proposal (spanning several volumes), and who advised our MP Anne Milton only last year that “even at the upper range of new housing. It is not clear that any potential increase in demand/patronage would be sufficient to make reopening the Guildford-Cranleigh link for rail or as a bus ‘guideway’ economically justifiable.” He also estimated the cost of the guided bus at “several tens of £millions. Finally, he concluded that “spending taxpayers’ money on revisiting earlier work seems of little value.

We queried the “upper range” referred to with Paul Millin and were advised that this would be nearer to 10,000 additional houses (Cranleigh currently has approximately 4,500). That would treble the size of our village!  It is, therefore, naive to believe that 1,500 houses alone in Cranleigh could fund the initial build of such a busway, as well as fund the ongoing running costs of the scheme.

From recent responses on the Surrey Ad’s letters page, it appears that we are not alone in believing that this scheme is not at present financially viable, or realistic, and any benefits have not been proven to outweigh the drawbacks.

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