Cranleigh Civic Society News

We have been working away, watching our housing and streets, flood areas and drains, and deteriorating ancient buildings.  We contact the authorities, make our voices heard, and talk to members and the public.  Your comments are welcome – please see bottom of this page.  Here are the issues that we are working on at the moment:

High Street

We are seeking people’s views about mending and improving Cranleigh High Street.  The paving varies: there’s tarmac, old York Stone, brick paving, grey slabs, beige concrete slabs,  grey setts.  We like the looks in Fountain Square and outside the Onslow pub but some people think tarmac is best.  What do you think?  Any other important points?   You might be interested to note that Surrey County Council is responsible for the pavements up to a centre line, from the road towards the shops.  The pavements from that centre line to the shops are the responsibility of the building owners, and are their land.  The owners/landlords are very difficult to contact or to persuade to work with others.  They are not the same people as the shop owners in many cases.


We are trying to find out how and when the flooding along our pavements and drains can be fixed as we all paddle across the roads. We believe it’s Surrey CC  and we have alerted our Councillor especially the flood outside Boots/Village Hall. 

Cranleigh Cottage Hospital

It is based on a 15th century cottage at the front and this part is no longer used.  It was used as a staff room and occasionally for patients and their families to be comforted until about 20 years ago.  Now it’s empty and damp, and falling into disrepair both inside and out.  We are actively working with NHS Property Services (and others) and they have pledged to carry out repairs and are undertaking a survey of needs for its future. This is all with the full knowledge and agreement of the League of Friends and Parish & Borough Councils.  It is a special building – a typical  Hall House when built – and preserves many very old features of historic interest. It has been modified over the centuries.  It was, as we are sure you know, the very first of over 200 Community and Cottage Hospitals in England. see here  

“Cottage and community hospitals have been part of the rural landscape for health care in England for over 150 years. The first cottage hospital was opened by Napper in 1859 in Cranleigh, Surrey. This was a simple converted cottage with space for beds and for operations. The service was established to save patients from long journeys to general hospitals in towns and cities, and to give local doctor surgeons a clean space in which to work with the support of a paid nurse.  The model was swiftly copied leading to the creation of 240 cottage hospitals within the next 30 years, all funded through donations and benefactors.”

Present day Cranleigh Village Hospital

As you know the NHS withdrew funding for beds many years ago. It’s fantastic that many parts of the buildings are in use and the number of services is growing. To find out which services are offered see here. The maternity hub is open all the time and a delightful midwife will greet those who enter.  There are, however, several rooms that are not in use to the rear of the old cottage.  We hope the NHS will make agreements with our local GPs to bring them back into use soon.  The original League of Friends of 1860s helped to fund raise for the Victorian extensions. The current League of Friends still gathers local donations and provides the NHS with equipment when they can – for which we are all very grateful. There is a garden and outdoor space too, which are in need of attention and updating.  We hope Cranleigh In Bloom volunteers will be able to help renovate the garden. 

Buildings and plans 

We watch out for building planning permissions and scoping applications every week. 

We note that the A2 Dominion development (on the land that used to grow lettuces) does not have permission to build the industrial looking properties they want to. 

Cranleigh Primary School Infants site has a notice up – Surrey County Council have some funds and want to take down the reception block and put up a new one.  SO/2021/0001 – on Waverley’s planning portal. 

We note that The Bull in Ewhurst is destined to become a working pub again – good news – you’ve probably seen the houses going up in their old grounds.   

We have seen that the land behind Park Hatch could be built on – 6 dwellings – it looks crammed just like the 55 Berkeley homes in Knowle Lane.  Where are the opportunities for nature to continue?  

The Paddock – the triangular field behind the M&S car park – still doesn’t have planning permission for anything and always was designated as a site of visual interest as it stands.  An exception was permitted and planning permission granted when a whole new GP practice and hospital with beds was planned on the field, but this ambition long since disappeared for a variety of reasons.  Cranleigh is not getting a new hospital.  The funds raised by the villagers are not able to be used for such a  project.

We have the rebuilt Cranleigh Medical Practice funded by the NHS and the current hospital services  – thanks to the NHS and League of friends.  There is no intention by the NHS to fund for hospital (step down) beds in Cranleigh even if a building was erected. This has been the case for many years.  They do part fund places in care homes when required, all over the area. Most Care homes have beds attended by nurses and visited by GPs.  

Trees, Hedgerows, Badgers

The work at Run Common continues – the reason Badgers are protected by law is that people killed them is such numbers in the past that they were nearly extinct.  Now no-one is permitted to upset their ability to make a family!  Including Surrey County Council.  There are several trees nearby with white crosses on them, not sure what this means.  We will try to find out if these large, old trees will be felled and if it’s essential.  

There is a new row of Leylandii trees beside the Legion – replacing the row taken down in order to make an entrance for a new Primary School…..  sad the old ones went! 

Health and Well-being

The volunteers helping the NHS roll out the vaccinations are a credit to Cranleigh and villages – we thank them with all our hearts.  Those of us who are now vaccinated are  truly grateful. We have not heard of any serious side effects – bit of a ache on the arm and a need to rest the next day – tired – is all.  So we truly hope no-one is afraid to get the jab – and hope our summer will be better for socialising and feeling much less frightened every day. 

The NHS has many new initiatives, and it is being reconfigured again.  This is to reduce the multiple layers of bureaucracy that stops the funding getting to where is it’s needed. We hope it works well and soon.  We hope too that the individuals find it easier to keep our records straight and up to date, wherever we are treated.  Most people have been praising our practice recently, with just a few exceptions, usually around records not being up to date. 

The NHS have access to Social Prescribing groups and help – where people’s illnesses can be helped by something other than drugs, operations and physiotherapy.  It is exciting to see these initiatives.  You could call it a Good Neighbour scheme but it is so much more as professionals are involved.  The Kings Fund is a non-political body that carries out reports for all to read and use – see here for an explainer about Social Prescribing and see here for their take on community health services.  Link staff are crucial to putting excellent programs into practice.  Cranleigh already has some excellent examples with more expected.