Since our posting on 6 October we have written to Anne Milton MP, Tom Horwood (Interim MD at Waverley Borough Council) and the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) to confirm our utter amazement and dismay that this application was granted.
We are meeting this morning with Tom Horwood to discuss this matter further.
We asked DCLG to call-in the application on the basis that the Joint Planning Committee Chairman, Cllr Isherwood, refused to allow the members of the JPC to consider the correct flood levels provided by Cllr Hyman and which have been subsequently checked by our expert who confirmed the (higher) levels were 100% correct. The refusal to allow a debate is a fact – have a look at the video of the meeting:
JOINT PLANNING COMMITTEE MEETING 5 OCTOBER 2017
Cllr Isherwood relied heavily on an desktop computer report by a company working on behalf of the developers to the total exclusion of all other primary evidence presented by residents and other councillors. The developer’s representative was allowed unprecedented access to members throughout the entire meeting and sat with officers at the head table and was allowed to speak throughout the discussion of the flooding item, unlike the parish council, residents or the Cranleigh ward member who were only allowed a maximum of 4 minutes.
We take the view that there has been a blatant violation of planning law. DCLG refused our call-in request so Anne Milton was then requested to not only push DCLG to reconsider their decision but also involve the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). It was only at the beginning of this year that DEFRA, following the disastrous flooding in the North of England, issued a consultation document asking for submissions on how to reduce the Governments exposure to the ever increasing cost of flood relief – and here we have another Government Department hell bent on condoning the granting of planning permission on a flood plain where future serious flooding is a certainty!
Where is the joined up thinking here?
Hopefully we will be able to get some answers today and achieve some joined up thinking from central government but we have to be prepared for inaction so we have already commenced discussions with the Association of British Insurers with a view to having this Thakeham site as a decline risk for flood insurance as Insurers only take on flood risks, not flood certainties.
** PLEASE NOTE START TIME AND VENUE **
The venue is The Band Room in Village Way, Cranleigh, and the meeting starts at 10:30 am
This is the second meeting of Cranleigh Flood Forum chaired by Anne Milton MP. The issues Cranleigh Civic Society wishes to discuss include:
- Thakeham Homes, Elmbridge Road Planning Permission
- Illegal river dredging
- Water Quality (Cranleigh Waters)
- Asbestos Cement drinking water pipes
- Flood Risk in general
Please attend this meeting if you can. It is open to all Cranleigh residents, not just Cranleigh Civic Society members!
Please speak to your friends and neighbours as the more people who attend the more we can demonstrate the serious concerns we have in Cranleigh about the over development of our village and problems that lie ahead.
Last night Waverley Borough Council granted planning permission for 54 houses on the worst site in Cranleigh for new houses on the Elmbridge Road.
The developers Thakeham Homes say they pride themselves on the quality of their homes and yet they are building houses smaller than nationally set space standards between a smelly sewage treatment plant and a river that regularly floods. New residents will need pegs for their noses and water wings.
However, on a serious note the drainage for this site is being put in an area that we know floods regularly so will be completely useless when its needed most, as is the children’s play area, we hope that anyone who lives there keeps a careful eye on their children, as we know how quickly the river can change from a low to high state and how quickly it flows in times of flood.
The Joint Planing Committee accepted (10 to 8) the new “expert” estimated advice that the flood zones on the land had now miraculously moved since the last time it came before committee in JUNE 2017 and they ignored local residents, the Parish Council and expert evidence put forward by our Councillor Liz Townsend that the flooding had been much worse in December 2013 than was being stated and was at the very least 45.194m. They also refused to look at photographic evidence presented by Councillor Jerry Hyman from Farnham, that showed both a water mark on the pumping station on the Elmbridge Road, taken in December 2013, as well as flood detritus, that proved the water had been over a 1 in 1,000 years predicted flood event. We have had at least two floods of this magnitude in 50 years – 1968 and 2013, so more of 1 in 25 years! Far from the flood zones being reduced, they should have been increased and the safety of new residents and people living further downstream should have been paramount.
As a chartered insurance broker I am acutely aware of the fact that these new residents are not guaranteed flood insurance, in fact they could end up with new (and very expensive) homes that are frankly worthless.
Yet another development in Cranleigh bringing our total new houses up to nearly 1,400. In a race for a housing figure corners are most definitely being cut and it is Cranleigh residents that will be left with all the mounting problems.
We hope that the articles on this website will assist any new residents when they need to make an insurance claim in the future.