Thames Water have objected to the Thakeham Homes site for 58 dwellings off Elmbridge Road on the grounds of odour emanating from Cranleigh’s Sewage Treatment Works (STW).

In a document published against the application Thames Water state that:

“Cranleigh STW is located close to the proposed development. Our consultation response reflects our concern that the applicant has failed to demonstrate that future occupiers of the proposed development will have adequate amenity. Given the proposed development’s close proximity to the Sewage Asset we object to the planning application.”

They go on in the document to report that:


Odour can be a particular issue at our sewage assets. It is important to ensure that development which might be sensitive to the odour environment in the vicinity of existing assets is not permitted to take place unless:

(a) it can be established that it will be located or designed in such a manner as not actually to be sensitive to such odour;

(b) or that funding is made available by the applicant for the installation of odour treatment apparatus sufficient to overcome any conflict between the development and uses proposed.

To address odour as an environmental impact, the applicant should submit an odour assessment to demonstrate that there will be no adverse impact in relation to odour. The odour assessment should be based on assessing onsite odour emissions. The assessment should also include an outline of an odour mitigation measures strategy.

If the odour assessment is considered acceptable by the local planning authority and Thames Water, then we would request that any proposed mitigation that is set out in the odour assessment is controlled via a planning condition.”

You can read the full response from Thames Water here:

Thames Water Objection Thakeham Homes Cranleigh

We are extremely interested to discover how Thakeham Homes will locate and design their houses “as not actually to be sensitive to such odour“. Completely sealed units perhaps, with a garden in a bubble?

As well as seeing what “odour treatment apparatus” they will fund to “overcome any conflict between the development and uses proposed” – Perhaps the standard issue of nose pegs?

Finally, Thames Water have requested, at last, an odour assessment and mitigation to be included in a planning condition.

The condition suggested by Thames Water if the planning application is approved is:

“There should be no occupation of the development until the recommendations of the odour mitigation strategy have been implemented and are operational.”

So Thakeham could still go ahead and build, but no one can move in until the anti-odour strategy is deployed!

And what about the odour assessment, will this be a mere desktop, box ticking exercise, or will real sniffers and survey forms be employed?

Odour assessments can take several months and measurements should be taken at various points in the year.  Summer months can be the most troublesome for residents due to high temperatures.  It is also widely recognised that you cannot rely on a history of complaints, as, although public complaints provide evidence that there is a problem in a given area, they provide no real indication of the actual magnitude of the underlying problem, or the potential for impact on areas proposed for new development. This is because people very often don’t register a public complaint to authorities due to a number of personal reasons, which are unrelated to the extent of the odour nuisance.

We wait to see if, and when, a “real” odour assessment will be carried out.

We have reported that expansion work is taking place at the treatment plant, for which no planning permission, or odour assessment was required.  However, as you are aware we are still investigating this matter.

What we know is that we have existing residents who cannot use their gardens on hot summer days, suffer fly infestations, and only yesterday we had yet another email from a resident confirming that  “I am having to shut my bedroom windows at night due to the smell from the Cranleigh sewage  works.”

Thames Water are obviously concerned about the pong for new residents of the site, we are too, but we are extremely concerned about the pong for existing residents who already live here, and the impact on their quality of life.

Residents near to the sewage treatment works are facing expansion works and a significant increase in sewage being processed at the Elmbridge Road treatment works due to the huge amount of new development already granted in and around Cranleigh.  Another 58 dwellings will only add to, what is already, odour nuisance, and there is still no mention of further environmental damage to Cranleigh Waters, into which mounting levels of liquid sewage effluent is discharged.

If you are concerned about the effect of this application please follow the instructions in our post and add your comments against the Thakeham Homes Planning Application WA/2016/1921.

Cranleigh is being being dumped on! There is no consideration for existing residents, or for sustainable development.  Please add your voice to ours and together we can speak up for Cranleigh.