As an update to this previous article, we have now been informed that the Secretary of State has not agreed to call in this application.

So, sadly that’s another 265 houses approved to be built in an unsustainable location.

Original article follows:

Following the decision two weeks ago by Waverley Borough Council to approve the building of 265 houses on another of Cranleigh’s green fields, Cranleigh Civic Society has written to DCLG (Department for Communities and Local Government) to ask for the application to be ‘called in’.  If accepted, this will lead to an inquiry being held by the Secretary of State.

Our reasons for requesting a call in are:

  1. Cranleigh’s Parish Councillor Liz Townsend was denied a vote for this application, in place of the late Brian Ellis.
  2. The vote was 8 for and 8 against, with the deciding vote given by a Hindhead councillor.
  3. There were four missing members of the JPC who could have given their vote to one of the Cranleigh councillors in their place, but chose not to elect substitutes.
  4. The Planning Officers were not acting impartially, but appeared to be in favour of the developers.
  5. This application had previously been rejected and was just resubmitted without significant changes, so why was this allowed?
  6. We have uncovered the existence of asbestos cement water pipes which could pose a serious risk to public health and if this is to be fixed 30% of Cranleigh’s drinking water pipes will need to be dug up. If not resolved the danger from asbestos will be exacerbated by the extra water pressure from new homes.
  7. Why have the developers not been questioned about the illegal dredging of Cranleigh Waters carried out by a contractor at their request?
  8. The KPI site fails the sequential test, as there are other sites better suited to development which do not flood. There will be no subsidised affordable flood insurance from Flood Re as, since 1 January 2009, new homes should not be built on high flood risk areas.
  9. This application was submitted at the same time as an appeal against the refusal of the previous application, which in itself is odd.

For these reasons we have serious and valid concerns about the granting of this application and hope that the Secretary of State will agree with us.