Interested residents recently received the Traffic Commissioners decision on the application made by Tunnell Grab Services Ltd to use Yew Tree Nursery (now known as Stonescapes located on Green Belt) as an operating centre for 10 HGV’s, following the Public Inquiry held on 7th April 2016.
After careful consideration the Traffic Commissioner decided to refuse the application under S19(6)(a) of the Goods Vehicles (Licensing Of Operators) Act 1995. A fully reasoned decision was provided (which runs to 9 pages) andcan be viewed below.
The applicant has the right to appeal the decision to the Upper Tribunal.
It is noteworthy that the Traffic Commissioner considered granting the application for 6 HGV’s if the applicant had agreed to various conditions, but they were not agreed and the application was therefore refused.
It is imperative that local residents remain vigilant should any appeal be lodged.
Would you like to see a new cycle path from Bramley to Guildford? Bramley Parish Council have published an online survey to assess demand for a clean, paved, commutable, direct cycle path to Guildford. The proposal is that this path would closely follow the A281 creating a safer and cleaner way to commute from Bramley to Guildford by bike.
The path would also benefit cyclists from Cranleigh who could join the new path at the junction of the Downs Link and the A281, or possibly at the roundabout in Bramley if the new path is able to start there. The precise route is to be decided later and, for now the council are hoping to establish that there is demand for such a path.
Please take the online survey and ask your friends and family to complete it too:
The ongoing problem with raw sewage being released into the brook running along the edge of the CVHT field and abutting Knowle Lane is now receiving long overdue attention.
In yet another email to dated 4 May 2016 to the Environment Agency, who are a regulator for water quality, we pointed out that again with the onset of warmer weather the sewage fungus had returned with a vengeance and there was also a lot of smelly, disgusting solids matter in the brook.
Once again we sent in copies of the following photos taken by a resident on their phone (the white area is sewage fungus).
It was also pointed out that the bund (white pipe above), installed we believe by Thames Water, was not only completely ineffective as it didn’t even touch the surface of the water, but also inappropriate for this problem.
We asked the Environment Agency (EA) to :
1. Elevate this to your top pollution status (recently young children were playing in the brook 200 yds downstream constructing a play dam).
2. Take appropriate ENFORCEMENT action to get Thames Water to sort out this pollution problem.
3. Give this an EA incident reference and confirm the reference number to me.
As regular readers of our blog will be aware this incident has been ongoing for over 10 years. You can read more about the background in our articles:
On 9 May 2016 the EA confirmed that “Thames Water Utilities Limited (TWUL) have been in contact with some further information relating to the incident that you (and others) reported. They have carried out a CCTV survey of the sewers in the areas and have detected a small leak from the foul sewer into a surface water drain. Thames Water contractors need to re-attend site to plan works to rectify the issue, at present the proposal is to reline the leaking sewers or reroute them.
One of our officers attended site on Friday to make an assessment of the current impact. At present the incident is having a localised low-level environmental impact on the channel that feeds the Littlemead Brook near Knowle Park. Approximately 10m of the channel was observed to be impacted by sewage fungus. Impacts were not observed to extend onto the Littlemead brook itself. Our assessment has been communicated with TWUL, and we are working with them to address the issue.
As I think you are aware, we do not advise on human health issues. If you are concerned about particular health risks from this ditch please contact your local council Environmental Health department for further advice.”
This brook connects directly to Littlemead Brook and it is not unreasonable to believe that there has been during this period a detrimental impact on this watercourse from raw sewage running into the brook for over 10 years. To reroute or reline this sewer is we understand quite a major undertaking.
Residents have now reported activity around the brook over the last 2 days. There have been tankers pumping the sewage from, what appears to be a large underground cesspit by the Gate House at the top of Knowle Lane.
We will keep you updated as this issue continues to develop.
Despite being a remote site on a green field, impact on sewage, roads, visual amenity, urbanising impact, absence of protected species surveys and impact on ancient woodland, the list went on, Little Meadow application for 75 houses on the Alfold Road was GRANTED last night.
This just adds to the concerted effort to dump all Waverley Borough Council’s housing allocation on Cranleigh. Added to the 757 already approved, this brings the GRAND TOTAL to 832 and that’s without the 30 extra new homes on small sites in the village.
Yay, we’re heading towards 900 new houses!
Hang on though……..
Then there’s approximately 220 more on Hewitts and the Cranleigh First and Primary School brownfield sites in the planning system too!
We’ve reached the 1,000 Jackpot!
Cranleigh councillors Brian Ellis, Stewart Stennett and Jeanette Stennett all voted in favour of the Little Meadow development as ALL three said that Cranleigh NEEDS more housing, despite permission granted for over 700 already.
We are not sure when they will think that Cranleigh has enough?
Brian Ellis at the start of the meeting declared that his pecuniary interest in the Knowle Park Initiative (KPI) was a mistake and it was a non-pecuniary interest that should have been recorded in the previous meeting, due to his involvement with the transfer of land between the Parish Council and the Cranleigh Village Hospital Trust of which the owner, Nick Vrijland, of KPI, is also a Trustee.
There was no withdrawal of the Stennetts’ pecuniary interest in the Knowle Park Initiative and Mrs Stennett also declared that she knew the landowners of the Little Meadow site.
Unfortunately Vice Chairman of the Joint Planning Committee Maurice Byham (who had attended the Cranleigh Society stakeholder meeting at the Cranleigh Sewage Works only last week), the planning portfolio holder Bryan Adams, Waverley Mayor Mike Band, Cllr Pat Frost and Cllr Stephen Mulliner did not attend this meeting.
Reasons for Refusal
Despite Cllr Mary Foryszewski’s valiant attempts to draw attention to available brown field sites in Cranleigh and the overall detrimental impact of yet more development on Cranleigh’s green fields, she was in the minority.
Cllr Patricia Ellis drew attention to the state of the Alfold Road and said it was the worst road in Cranleigh.
Cranleigh Councillor’s Brian Freeston’s speech outlining the parish council’s reasons for refusal, including the remoteness of the site, distance from the High Street, availability of brownfield sites and the lack of reports for protected species. He also pointed out that a recent Appeal for a dwelling on Bookhurst Road had been refused on biodiversity grounds, quoting:
“However, there would be a potentially detrimental effect on biodiversity in conflict with national policy and with the development plan. There are no other material considerations including the lack of a 5 year housing supply and the provisions of the Framework that outweigh these findings. Therefore, for the reasons given, the proposal is unacceptable and the appeal should not succeed.”
Cranleigh Civic Society
Warning this may get a bit technical 🙂
The Cranleigh Society (when the video footage seemed to go a bit wonky! A brief moment of fame lost ;D) emphasised the point that Waverley Borough Council’s Officers’ advice to members of the Joint Planning Committee was erroneous and the council was taking on the full risk and liability, if the application was approved, of non-compliance with the Water Framework Directive (WFD).
The Society pointed out that it is the responsibility of Waverley, as advised by the Environment Agency (EA), to assess the impact on water quality from this development. This has not been done to date.
The Society also pointed out that Waverley was wrong in saying that the EA had not objected to this application. Yet again we had to point out to Waverley that the EA is only a regulator with regards to WFD and as such CANNOT OBJECT, only provide advice. The EA had provided strongly worded advice on this subject to Waverley which was largely ignored.
Waverley as the competent authority for planning & development should have ensured that an ‘appropriate’ water quality assessment was made. As it stands, no impact on water quality has been measured or reported.
Waverley, it seems, continues to be confused about their role with regards to WFD and said in their Officer’s report (page 50), that accompanied the meeting last night, that:
“in terms of water quality, it is for Thames Water, in consultation with the Environment Agency to address this matter, and not a matter for consideration under the planning application. This is a separate regulatory process, which the statutory authorities work under.”
We spoke to an Environment Planning Specialist at the EA before the meeting last night who confirmed that the above statement was “factually incorrect”. This was relayed to Councillors.
The EA confirmed that it is for the LA [local authority] to ensure that the developer has confirmed that there will be no additional impacts to water quality (& WFD) as a result of the new development.
This water quality impact will then have a knock on impact on WFD. The Environment Agency as a regulator does not assess the developments potential to impact and neither does Thames Water (TW). TW will just confirm whether or not they can accommodate the development within their existing permit or network/STW [sewage treatment works] capacity.
Thames Water’s current environmental permit to discharge effluent into Cranleigh Waters is OLD and does NOT consider the requirements of the Water Framework Directive, as it was issued prior to these regulations and has not been renewed.
As a result, the existence of this permit, or the fact that Thames Water is operating within the boundaries of the permit cannot be used by Officers as an indicator of compliance with WFD, as it has absolutely diddly-squat to do with it and they should know that!
By passing the application last night Waverley has done so with the ‘full knowledge’ that no water quality assessment has been carried out and Waverley will bear the full risk and liability of this decision.
The application was passed by 11 to 7 votes opening the door wide to yet more development in Cranleigh. We wonder if next time WFD will be taken more seriously……………
This is yet another application on Cranleigh’s green fields and will put more strain on our sewerage system, which is already over capacity and rural road network. Please show your support by attending this meeting with us.