Society Visits Amlets Site

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Many residents have raised concerns that development was progressing on the Amlets Lane site prior to discharge of pre-commencement planning conditions regarding sewage.

In response to this, two Committee Members of Cranleigh Society visited the site of Amlets Park on 20th January and had a tour of the site and lengthy discussions with the Site Manager and Construction Director.

They confirmed the work they have done so far, as well as work currently being carried out, can be summarised as follows:

  • The overhead electric cable which crosses the site has been  diverted and located underground. This work was undertaken in December.
  • Jointing works are taking place within the site in January 2017 – extreme weather could delay the work.
  • Approved tree felling etc to the site frontage in relation to the proposed access (as agreed with WBC’s Tree Officer and in accordance with the approved plans) took place in December.
  • In relation to the proposed access works they commenced operations in December.   However in advance of the S278 works (legal agreement between local highway authority and developer to either pay for, or make alterations or improvements to, the highway) , interim works are due to be carried out over the extent of the area coloured brown on the plan below as well as works to form clear visibility splays explicitly for highway safety.

Amlets S50 Interim Access work

  • A S50 licence application, for permission to carry out works to break into the public highway, was submitted to Surrey County Council, in accordance with the S50 Plan. A licence was issued and works have commenced.

S50 Construction Access Road

  • Temporary traffic lights are now in operation for the duration of the interim works.
  • The works include tree and hedge clearance, the laying of a culvert pipe, where the brown coloured access crosses the roadside ditch, the removal of soils to a suitable formation over the extent of the brown area, followed by the placing of Type 1 sub-base and a macadam overlay to form a heavy duty interim access.

We were advised that Cala Homes are fully aware that, when these interim works are completed, they will have to cease work on the site until the Cranleigh Sewage Treatment Works have been upgraded and are “fit for purpose” – that is, they have the capacity to efficiently process not only the sewage from existing properties but also that from new dwellings.

Both the Cranleigh Civic Society and Summerlands Estate Residents Association will continue to liaise with Cala Homes through the Residents Liaison Group and monitor development on the Amlets Park estate.

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Since our posting on 30th January 2016 we have been regularly monitoring the movement of the bridge over the Downs Link on Elmbridge Road and liaising with Surrey County Council (SCC).

Elmbridge Bridge Repairs 29-04-16

On 2nd March, Adrian Clarke (Chartered Builder and Committee Member of the Society) revisited the site as one of our members had alerted us to work being carried out. A sub-contractor acting for Surrey County Council was filling in the cracks with a weak mixture of sand and cement. Adrian noted that a crack not yet filled in had bulged more since his previous visit.

Adrian Clarke at Elmbridge

Filling cracks with a weak mortar mix is a waste of money – it was purely a cosmetic job to hide a very real problem.

It is our view that the bridge abutments should be renewed now whist the arch is still sound. If Surrey County Council delay this work until one of the abutments completely fails, then the structural arch will tilt and once this happens the whole bridge will have to be demolished and completely rebuilt. This would be both extremely expensive and disruptive to village life for a very long time.

In July, another Cranleigh Society member was studying a Surrey County Council document on Dunsfold Park and was startled to see reference to “Downs Link bridge (which is in need of structural work”. Obviously we drew the Council’s attention to this but they played down its significance.

On 2nd August there was a bridge collapse in Leicestershire – a bridge not dissimilar in design to the Downs Link bridge. This prompted us to research other bridge collapses and our findings were sent to Surrey County Council in the forlorn hope that these failures would spur them into taking our concerns more seriously.

At this point we decided to notify our MP, Anne Milton, of the matter and she is being kept informed of developments.

On 8th August we received an email from Surrey County Council which they hoped “would allay our fears” – it does not! They referred to:

  • The Council’s “scheduled and ad hoc visual inspections do not indicate there has been movement in the cracks that are visible from ground level” – we say get a ladder! Also, there is no mention of the walls bulging!
  • The “bridge was strengthened in 2006 ensuring the structure was capable of carrying a 40T full highway loading for single lane traffic” – we want to know why no weight limit has been imposed – also the traffic is controlled by lights and it is quite feasible for a breakdown on the far side of the bridge, or a slow cyclist, to bring a following mini convoy of 40T grab trucks to a halt! Also, nearby Hewitts has just been approved for development – even more HGVs!
  • “We do not currently have any concerns about the structural integrity of the bridge” – we say that this totally contradicts what Surrey County Council stated in the Dunsfold Park document!

Also in August the Infrastructure Delivery Plan (IDP) was published and this includes reference to the Downs Link bridge being rebuilt! We asked Surrey County Council to confirm this is correct but there was no response in their email of 16th November.

That email does refer to “seasonal movement of the wing wall foundations” which we find interesting. Structurally a bridge abutment is designed as a single composite component and if an abutment experiences cracking, then it is no longer acting as a single component – it is now two or more components and engineering performance is obviously compromised. This view is not accepted by Surrey County Council and they insist the bridge is safe – even though the Infrastructure Delivery Plan allows for it to be rebuilt!

Looking at all the photos again, we have noticed that the triangle of bricks within the crack looks different to the other bricks, perhaps suggesting that this section has failed before, was repaired and has failed again? We will investigate!

Elmbridge Bridge 23 Jan 2016

So this is where we are at right now but Cranleigh Civic Society will continue to monitor the bridge and do everything possible to ensure it is made “fit for purpose” for the traffic demands of the 21st century.

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Northdowns Sewage Update

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Thames Water have now carried out further investigations into the sewage odour nuisance to the back of Northdowns.  They have confirmed that:

“We attended and cut the brambles on 5 January 2017, and uncovered 3 manhole covers. We lifted the covers and camera surveyed the drains, we found there was a mass of roots in the line causing a blockage, stopping wastewater from flowing freely down the drains. This is what was causing the bad smell.

We re-attended on 9 January 2017 and removed all the roots from the line. Once we had done this we camera surveyed the line again and have identified a hole in this section of the drain. We are planning to reline the sewer to repair the defect. We’re in contact with the customer who needs to grant us access and they’re aware of this work.”

We will be continuing to chase Thames Water to ensure that the relining work is carried out.

A resident of Northdowns has confirmed to us that:

I first reported the ‘pong’ to Thames water on 4th August, and the engineer that came on the 5th said that they needed to clear the brambles. (Others have repeated this since). So it was a full 5 months before they actually did it.

There had, in the mean time, been dozens of phone calls, many visits, with cameras and high pressure hoses (probably involving, hundreds of man hours) as they investigated the main line of the sewer.

When the task of clearing the brambles was eventually undertaken, they found that it was the branch sewer, that was clearly shown on their maps, that joined at the point were the ‘pong’ was, was the source. (Surprise-surprise).

There have been many unfulfilled promises of action and explanation of the reason for the long time involved.

How can Thames Water be expected to cope with a thousand new houses, when a simple job like this is beyond their capabilities.

Email reproduced with kind permission.

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Northdowns Sewage Issues

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As you will know there has been an overwhelming and distressing pong of sewage for some months along the Downslink behind Northdowns, which we have been pressing Thames Water to investigate.

Before Christmas Thames Water confirmed that:

“There are manhole covers, covered in brambles, we’ve been unable to access. We need to cut the brambles away in order to lift the manhole covers to see whether there is an operational issue in this section of the drains.  I’ve escalated this job to our contractors, Lanes for Drains and asked them to plan this job in as soon as possible, they’ve assured me this will be done after the Christmas period. I’ve been assured this will be planned in the first week of January. As we’re yet to investigate this stretch of drain, I’m unable to confirm what is causing the smell at present. “

Today a resident reported that contractors are once again working at this location and it is reported that they have now found the illusive manhole cover they have been searching for since October.  The reason for the ongoing issue is now being blamed on invasive tree roots, which, if proved to be the case, will mean digging up and replacing the sewer pipework at this point.

We do hope that this situation will be sorted out soon, as the odour nuisance for people living in this location has been considerable.

Please continue to report any incidents of sewage odour, as without your complaints Thames Water will not have an accurate record of the problems in Cranleigh, making it far more difficult to justify allocating resources here.

Thames Water email (please copy in as we are keeping a log of complaints) or call the 24-hour customer service team on 0800 316 9800.

Our next partnership meeting with Thames Water is scheduled for 17 February 2017.

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Stonescapes Appeal Update

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We have received an update from residents regarding the green belt Stonescapes site on Guildford Road, appeal decision:

“Stonescapes/Tunnel Grab Ltd – Successful opposition to appeal re Operating Centre for up to 10 HGV’s on Guildford Road, Cranleigh

The Decision of the Upper Tribunal (Administrative Appeals Chamber) on an appeal by Tunnel Grab Ltd in relation to land at Stonescapes/Yew Tree Nurseries, Guildford Road, Cranleigh against the decision of the Traffic Commissioner following a Public Inquiry on 7th April 2016,  has just been confirmed.

Local residents, Surrey County Council and Waverley Brough Council (the representors) opposed the appeal and were successful. Accordingly, the appeal did not succeed and the decision of the Traffic Commissioner dated 23rd May 2016 following the Public Inquiry (to refuse the appellant’s application to add a new Operating Centre at Stonescapes/Yew Tree Nurseries for up to 10 HGV’s) stands.

In November 2016, the Upper Tribunal heard arguments from the appellant’s legal representative, local residents and Counsel representing Surrey County Council. The Upper Tribunal’s decision outlines the relevant legal framework, the background to the matter, the Public Inquiry and relevant extracts from the Traffic Commissioner’s original decision. It goes on to consider the various arguments raised by the appellant and on behalf of the representors. The Upper Tribunal concluded that it saw nothing ‘in the grounds of appeal to persuade it to overturn the Commissioner’s decision‘.

It went on to say ‘The basic findings of fact can not be said to be plainly wrong on the evidence before the Commissioner, the law did not require the Commissioner to come to a different conclusion and there is no material error of law in the decision. What is really being challenged is the Commissioner’s judgement and there is no basis for us to interfere with it’.

A full copy of the decision is available if anyone would like to see it – please email and we will try to arrange it.

Tunnel Grab Ltd has a month in which to appeal, if it so chooses to do, but the grounds for any such appeal are extremely limited so hopefully this will be an end to the matter.

It took a lot of work but the successful outcome has made it all worthwhile!”

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Land Slip Barhatch Lane

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We have had several enquires concerning progress to deal with the land slip on Barhatch Lane.  In response to this we thought it would be helpful to publish a copy of the email received from Surrey County Council on 15 December 2016 (we will be chasing this up again soon):

“Thank you for your email, after speaking with the local engineer I can provide the following update.

We are currently working as quickly as we can with a Geotechnical engineer to formulate a remedial scheme and hope to have a solution soon.

It was previously programmed for the toe of the embankment slippage to be removed from the highway during the October half term however the Geotechnical advice received subsequently has been to not remove it as this could merely bring the entire embankment down. 

A full closure is being considered which would potentially cause serious disruptions to local residents locally, as Barhatch Lane is a well-used route and a full closure could remain in place for some considerable time before this issue would be finally resolved. There have also been other closures in the area recently necessitated for works, which have required the use of Barhatch Lane. Traffic signals were considered however due to the very rural nature of the area and the lack of street lights to enable temporary traffic signals to be chained to, this option was not considered viable as the signals would be stolen very quickly, which would subsequently leave an even more dangerous situation.

Our major concern has always been that the entire embankment could slip onto the carriageway below, but in the short term when the weather gets colder, freezing of the water will cause a completely iced up carriageway. We have however been attempting to be as proactive as possible in order to expedite this problem, as our duty is to protect the highway and the highway user.

We have served notice on the owners and are currently dealing with the insurance company, the claims adjuster, and geotechnical engineers to resolve the problem ASAP. I understand that it may yet come to a full closure of the carriageway for an undetermined period.”

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EA Object to KPI Application

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The Environment Agency (EA) have objected to the KPI (now in the name of A2Dominion Developments Ltd) on the grounds that there is not an acceptable Flood Risk Assessment (FRA) for the site.

You can read the full objection by clicking on the link below:

EA obj KPI 4 Jan 2017

The main summarised reasons outlined in the EA objection letter are that the Flood Risk Assessment does not demonstrate that the development will be safe from flood risk for its lifetime, and the potential impacts of climate change have not been satisfactorily taken into consideration.

The Cranleigh Society has maintained serious concerns about the flood risk on this site, which is part of Cranleigh’s rapidly diminshing natural flood plain.

We are extremely glad that the EA have carried out a thorough study of the FRA and echoed many of the points that we raised in our letter against this application:

“Flood Risk

Although there is a presumption in favour of sustainable development however NPPF para 14 states that even if the development plan is absent, silent or relevant policies are out of date, permission should not be granted where specific Framework policies indicate it should be restricted, this includes flooding.

We also object on the grounds that the assessment of flood risk informing the measures proposed by the FRA to avoid, manage and mitigate flood risk, are incomplete and have not been appropriately secured for the lifetime of the development.  There also does not appear to be provision for increased climate change allowances agreed by the Environment Agency and the Government, published in February 2016.  These now require applicants and developers to assess a range of climate range allowances from 25% to 70% above the 1% AEP as part of planning applications. As the application appears to have been submitted to Waverley in November 2016 the new allowances and ranges should be used.

Document 9.0 WATER RESOURCES AND FLOOD RISK point 9.28 fails to mention the significant flooding on Alfold Road in 2013/14 or the flooding on Elmbridge Road.  the Our own FRA review by RAB consultants (Bedford) acknowledges that the recent flooding of December 2013 on the Cranleigh Waters and Littlemead Brook has not been recognised within the flood risk assessment (FRA) dated October 2014.  They go on to say that the extreme nature of the flood in December 2013 warrants recognition within the FRA and an assessment of flood depths and extents at the site if possible.  Additionally, given the nature of flooding in December 2013 and the significant groundwater flooding experience across many parts of the Thames Catchment throughout winter 2014, it would be prudent to include this within the assessment of groundwater risk to the site.

Water Environment Ltd October 2016 appears to be missing Appendices B, C and D. Previously Appendix B of the FRA shows that EA “Product 4” flood data, received 29 July 2014, was used for the assessment.  The EA have updated their flood modelling in the area since this data was obtained. The data used in the FRA has therefore been superseded. Without incorporating all this data we do not believe an appropriate nor up-to-date assessment of flood risk has been undertaken.

Furthermore, evidence exists and data has been collated of the recorded flooding in the vicinity of this development during 2013/14.  This has been submitted in support of a planning application ref WA/2014/0912 by Berkeley Strategic Land Ltd in Appendix 1 from “Technical Review of Flood Risk Assessment (FRA) for the construction of 425 dwellings on land south of Cranleigh, Surrey” dated August 2014.  The FRA should take this evidence into account.

Paragraph 040 of the Planning Practice Guidance (PPG) states: “To demonstrate to the satisfaction of the local planning authority that the development will be safe for its lifetime taking account of the vulnerability of its users, a site-specific flood risk assessment may need to show that appropriate evacuation and flood response procedures are in place to manage the residual risk associated with an extreme flood event.  Proposals that are likely to increase the number of people living or working in areas of flood risk require particularly careful consideration, as they could increase the scale of any evacuation required. To mitigate this impact it is especially important to look at ways in which the development could help to reduce the overall consequences of flooding in the locality … through off-site works that benefit the area more generally.”

This proposal would significantly increase the number of people living in an area affected by very recent flooding and would increase the scale of any emergency evacuation considerably.  The FRA has not considered how this additional burden will be managed in the extreme flood event and has not suggested any off-site mitigations to reduce the overall consequence of flooding in the locality. We therefore object on the grounds that the additional burden on the emergency services in a flood event has not been given due consideration in the FRA.

A further objection is that the FRA fails to prove that the voluntary and free movement of people during a ‘design flood’ can be demonstrated.  Assessments of the adjacent Berkeley Homes WA/2014/0912 application site have shown that dry access/escape routes from the site across green fields are unsustainable in flood risk terms.  The FRA addendum (9 June 2015) for this site previously proposed an approximate 5km pedestrian diversion along unlit and unmade footpaths and public highways without footpaths.  This does not provide a safe nor appropriate route for people, especially for more vulnerable residents.

Evidence to support this is outlined in Appendix 1 of “Technical Review of Flood Risk Assessment (FRA) submitted by Berkeley Strategic Land Ltd WA/2014/0912 which demonstrates that every access route away from this adjacent development, using the Alfold Road, will be inaccessible by foot or car in a flood event like the one that occurred during 2013/14.

NPPF places significance with respect to land in the “Functional Floodplain” or Flood Zone 3b.  Figure 4.3 of Volume 3: Mapping of the WBC SFRA identified areas of Functional Floodplain within the borough. This figure shows parts of the development site are likely to be within the Functional Floodplain.

The extent of the Functional Floodplain is normally defined by the extent of flooding in the undefended 1 in 20 year (5% annual probability) event and the EA flood data indicates that parts of the site lie within the 1 in 20 year (5% annual probability) flood extent.  As the FRA has not delineated the extent of the Functional Floodplain at the site, we do not believe an appropriate nor up-to-date assessment of flood risk has been undertaken and object on these additional grounds.

The NPPF makes it very clear that the aim of the sequential test is to steer new development to areas with the lowest probability of flooding.  The Sequential Test provided by the applicant does not provide satisfactory justification as to why other suitable sites have been discounted.  We object on the grounds that the site fails the Sequential Test and the Exception Test cannot therefore be applied.  There is a site a far less risk of flooding for 120 dwellings currently at Appeal, the result of which will be available on 9 January 2017.  The council currently has a five-year housing supply and does not require housing on green fields at risk of flooding, on a flood plain, which will increase flooding elsewhere.

We also have concerns about the ability of new residents moving into the site to obtain meaningful flood risk insurance at an acceptable cost since the Association of British Insurers has stated that New Houses built after 1 January 2009 will not be covered by Flood Re; this is to avoid incentivising unwise building in flood risk areas.

The assessment of flood risk needs to demonstrate that the flood risks posed by the development can be managed, ae realistic, taking into account current climate change allowances, and are safe, the FRA fails to do this.”

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Amlets Construction Traffic

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Cala Homes have confirmed in their revised Construction Traffic Management Plan that the preferred exit route for construction traffic leaving the development site will no longer be via Cranleigh high street as was previously stated.  The primary route  leaving the site is now proposed to be westwards along Amlets Lane:

“It is preferred all delivery vehicles return westwards along Amlets Lane and follow Smith Common Road, Guildford Road, Run Common and back on to the A281 and into Guildford. However it is accepted that in exceptional circumstances site vehicles can travel via the alternative departure route below.”

Site deliveries are proposed between the following hours:

Monday to Friday – 0930hrs to 15:00hrs – 16:00hrs to 17:30hrs
Saturday – 09:30hrs to 13:00hrs

You can read a full copy of the revised plan by clicking on the link below:


The Residents’ Liaison Group, set up by the Cranleigh Society, is awaiting full details from Cala Homes re temporary road widening proposals on Amlets Lane currently being considered by Surrey County Council Highways.

We still have serious concerns regarding road safety for users of this narrow country lane and would urge our members to continue to inform us of any incidents they witness and to take photos only when it is safe to do so.

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Hewitts Appeal Successful

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The appeal against the refusal by Waverley Borough Council for 120 dwellings on on Hewitts Industrial Estate has been upheld.

The Inspector GD Jones concluded that :

“Overall, notwithstanding the loss of employment premises/land that would result from the appeal scheme, I have identified no conflict with the development plan and found the proposals to be sustainable development in the terms of the Framework. Consequently, the appeal is allowed subject to the identified conditions.”

You can read the full Appeal decision and conditions issued on 5 Jan 2017 by clicking on the link below:


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