Good social meeting tonight

Hi, and thanks to all who joined in tonight at The Three Horseshoes Pub for social, information sharing (and dinner).

Planning applications

Topics covered – several  planning applications including Knowle Lane and behind Pets Pantry, the Parish council outlined problems with these at their planning meeting;  Speculation about infilling between Ewhurst Road and Seltops Close;

Using fossil fuels

UKOG nearby and under Dunsfold – drilling plans for natural gas -have you seen Councillor Follows on the BBC about this  – click here ?  and see the interview here with UKOG boss.

Thames Water

Thames Water’s plans to bring in further water supplies – but where do the pipes have to go?  for example along the top of the Showground, Bookhurst hill, Alderbrook, Amletts, Smithwood,   TW is taking ages to replace asbestos cement pipes bit by bit around the village, but we are very glad it is happening.  Sewage outflows – there are 4 measuring stations in Cranleigh – all clear at the moment but often not.

Welcome newcomers to Cranleigh

Some people have only been in Cranleigh for 3 or 4 years, and say it’s been difficult to find out what is happening, and to integrate.  They really would like more information about Cranleigh and its surroundings to be available!!!  We encourage joining Cranleigh Society.

GP surgery

Some people report very good help from the doctors’ surgery – can’t fault them, which is great.  Others get rather confused with all the changes. There is a new Patient Participation Group which has had a second meeting and seems to have some useful outcomes so far.

Cranleigh village hospital

The topic of Cranleigh Hospital was reviewed and we spoke fondly of the passing of Jill Wood. Jill actively contributed to committee meetings about the future of the cottage at Cranleigh Village Hospital. Also the possibility of Royal Surrey paying for extra services here in Cranleigh.  She was a nurse at the hospital, an active member of the league of friends and of St Nicolas Church, Cranleigh. Rest In Peace

The new Charity, Cranleigh Heritage Trust, is working with Cranleigh hospital league of friends about how the unused Grade II listed cottage might be restored and used by our community.  It will attract visitors from around the world – as it is a very special building – built around 1446 and with few structural changes. Strange to consider those ancient times – not long after the Battle of Agincourt, for example. The cottage became a vicarage for clergy assisting the Rectors, then the first Cottage Hospital of its type in England, thanks to Dr Albert Napper’s ideas. This project is known between us as Napper Cottage.  The Trustees are making progress with applying for lottery funding. It is a long and difficult journey.  It is hoped it will then be used by our whole community for 4 main reasons:

Napper Cottage – a new lease of life?

The ethos of the cottage project is around these 4 headings – all of which are about education in various forms, including courses to help people with health and wellbeing. None of the resources and information are available at present. Like all other assets in the villages it will need partners to sign up to use the lovely premises.

  • Welcome – a wider range of people will benefit:
    • tourists – Cranleigh is an attractive village, with particularly interesting history, in the Surrey Hills;
    • newcomers – Cranleigh is increasing by one third;
    • locals’ information – find what is local and accessible;
  • Celebrate and learn about Heritage –
    • Cranleigh village and environs,
    • the cottage hospital movement which started at this cottage,
    • the architecture of timber framed buildings over 1000 years, the cottage was built around 1446;
  • Improve Health and wellbeing –
    • Information about help available nearby or at the cottage especially patients of the nearby GP practice and day hospital;
    • Services new to Cranleigh will be attracted in by the cottage project, providing new services to those in need;
    • interest groups such as History society;
    • therapies such as practitioners offering one to one help and advice;
    • social groups such as u3a smaller groups;
  • Education –
    • schools,
    • colleges,
    • student careers (medicine, surgery, caring)

Thanks for reading this far – we will be chatting with the Rt Hon Anne Milton soon to see if she has some great ideas to help with Napper Cottage.

Our next meetings and socials – Wednesday 22nd March. June 28th, August 23rd – possibly, 27 September, 25th October; AND 

Our extra meetings with interesting social events will be on April 26th, 26th July and 22nd November – but in the Band room. 

Bye for now,

the team


Flooding and How clean are our local rivers and streams? New Water Bill on the way

Have you had a chance to listen to Destination Cranleigh’s Cranleigh Community Radio number 23? Have a listen here 

Cranleigh Society current Chair Trevor talks about where the streams are and how we need to keep them clean.  If you see them getting blocked up please let Cranleigh Parish Council know.  It’s time to get back to working on what worries us such as potential flooding and the various problems, including sewage coming up where it shouldn’t.  We will be contacting MP Angela Richardson for her help in this matter.

How clean are our rivers?

The newspaper – The Times – this week said that we are suffering from Rivers of Shame due to raw sewage finding its way into rivers –  here is a link to the article here

Who is responsible for allowing what into the rivers and streams? is the privately owned water companies and the farmers for example, and what about the public?

and who makes sure they are clean enough?  Well, the Government would say it has the Environment Agency to make sure our rivers are clean and safe for wildlife.  But can we leave it to them?

Environment Agency Government site says  “We were established in 1996 to protect and improve the environment. We have around 10,600 employees. Our head office is in Bristol and we have another office in London. We have offices across England, divided into 14 areas listed below. See a map of our areas. Within England we’re responsible for:

  • regulating major industry and waste
  • treatment of contaminated land
  • water quality and resources
  • fisheries
  • inland river, estuary and harbour navigations
  • conservation and ecology

We are also responsible for managing the risk of flooding from main rivers, reservoirs, estuaries and the sea. Lead local flood authorities (LLFAs) are responsible for managing the risk of flooding from surface water, groundwater and ordinary watercourses and lead on community recovery.  More detail about who is responsible for managing flood risks.”

We at Cranleigh Society have, over the years, with the help of the Right Honorable Anne Milton, held Thames Water to account concerning the quality of water they emit into our tiny rivers in and around Cranleigh. The rivers are named Cranleigh Waters, Littlemead Brook, Wey & Arun Canal, Cobblers Brook, Thornhurst Brook, and others. There are several ponds too including on the Common, and Vachery pond.

Looking at a map of Cranleigh on Google it’s easy to see our rivers are a major part of Cranleigh and need to be cared for, for us, for wildlife and for the future.

The Sewage (Inland Waters) Bill

According to The Angling Trust “Our rivers are in crisis. In 2019 water companies released raw sewage into our rivers more than 200,000 times, equating to more than 1.5 million hours. In September this year data from the Environment Agency revealed that not a single river in England achieved good chemical status and only 14% were classed as being of good ecological status. Sewage discharges by water companies into our rivers, lakes and waterways are suffocating our precious fish biodiversity and further degrading our environment. You can be a part of the urgent change needed to hold water companies to account for their actions and put an end to this pollution. The Sewage (Inland Waters) Bill is going through Parliament right now and we need your help to write to your MP to support the Bill.” 

If you witness a pollution incident, it is important to report it. Making the regulator (for example the Environment Agency and Natural England) aware of an incident is an essential step to make sure the polluter is held to account for their actions.” 

Government web site – “Summary of the Sewage (Inland Waters) Bill 2019-21

A Bill to place a duty on water companies to ensure that untreated sewage is not discharged into rivers and other inland waters; and for connected purposes.”



Anne Milton at the Arts centre 12:30 Wednesday – questions?

Anne Milton has asked CCS to advertise her visit to Cranlegh Arts Centre this Wednesday 12:30 – do you have questions?   Then go along and ask –

We want to know what and when will any Members of Parliament do about too many of the wrong kind of housing on the wrong sites. Can the planning permissions  be made to be built and to a great standard and quickly?

Can we stop Green fields going? – are local councils really being so starved of funds that they can’t build schools and care homes that are needed without having to sell off prime land for housing?

CCS believes in sustainable and well thought out growth and care –  What can our representatives really say to promote local issues?

We hope all our candidates have plenty of ideas and courage and may the best woman win…….



General Election and another candidate comes to Cranleigh

FOR INFORMATION – Guildford’s MP for many years is now standing as an Independent candidate – Anne Milton is popping in to the Cranleigh Arts Centre tomorrow (28 Nov) for a strong cup of tea. She will be there 11-12:30 – Anne would love to stop and talk to anybody and everybody who can make it!


See more


Who is in the Village today?

Cranleigh society does not endorse any particular party.
We will share useful information –
Anne Milton will be in Cranleigh Market from about 10:30 today –
Anne is standing as an INDEPENDENT MP- believing in getting Brexit done but not with a “no deal” scenario – here’s what she says –
“How does an Independent MP get things done? I have 14 years experience in Parliament – I have cross party relationships to get more done. I will have more influence than any of the other candidates standing in Guildford. Now is the time to have a strong, independent, loud voice in Westminster. I have integrity, I am honest, and I have influence in Parliament. signed by The Right Honorable Anne Milton MP”

Flood risks, asbestos pipes, drought, your Waverley

Flood risks, asbestos pipes, drought, your Waverley

Cranleigh Society met with Waverley Officers and Councillors and asked many important questions about: 

  • Asbestos cement drinking water pipes,
  • House buying in such a high flood risk area,
  • Water pipes bursting so often, especially near to each other,
  • The risks of sewage rising in homes during extreme weather,
  • The never considered issues of the effects of droughts on trees, food growing and properties alike.

A long time ago your Society carried out a risk assessment concerning the ageing asbestos-cement drinking water pipes in and around Cranleigh – as many as 29% of the pipes are made of these substances.  Waverley Borough Council (WBC) has not been able to respond to this despite repeated requests because it is not their responsibility they say but we say that with all the planning applications there needs to be a coherent plan with Thames Water (TW).

Thames Water is constantly having to mend burst pipes in Cranleigh. Clearly there is an on-going issue around the pipes – they should be replaced in a planned way and the risks of bursts minimised.  Any work on asbestos containing materials must be carried out by specialist contractors. The cutting or drilling of asbestos containing products is generally prohibited due to the release of free asbestos fibres into the atmosphere of the work area where there is a risk of inhalation.  So the pipes are not to be cut but replaced to the next joint.

Waverley Officers have repeated that due to the lack of any recognised scientific evidence of a link between ingestion of asbestos fibres and intestinal cancers (such as  “Jelly Belly” – a slow growing cancer of the pseudo-myoxma peritoneae) – WBC has no power to compel Thames Water to replace the pipes. WBC says it continues to meet its statutory responsibilities under the Water Industry Act, will assess any new research or evidence and will maintain regular contact with Thames Water to review the situation.

We will all continue to lobby MP Anne Milton’s flood group to see if research can be done and requirements laid out!

We asked what contingency plans does WBC have to cope with burst pipes and flooding? What about when flooding causes sewage to rise in people’s homes?

Water pipes burst for a variety of reasons and WBC is asking TW to work smarter and in a more joined up way.  TW are not planning full replacement at this time.

The Chair of Cranleigh Parish Council  Liz Townsend is working on a map of bursts to see numbers and clusters. This will provide evidence to pressure TW further.

If you have ever had a burst pipe please, please write to us or to Cranleigh Parish Council!

Whilst Thames Water has responsibility for dealing with burst pipes and the consequences of them The Waverley Flood Plan acknowledges that sewers can surcharge due to structural collapse and root ingresses. In an event where sewage has leaked into flood water and mixed then Waverley would liaise closely with Thames Water to help understand the risks posed. If this occurs, WBC would expect Thames Water to deal with the functioning status of their network.  WBC would provide advice and support for the community if burst pipes or sewage flooding led to the need for evacuation, clean up etc. by providing temporary accommodation. Thames Water would bear the cost of any impact.

We also asked has any consideration been given to future droughts? The Environment Agency (EA) leads on drought planning and especially with responses at the time. They are liaising closely with Thames Water and other water companies to protect and sustain water supplies, reduce leakage etc. They are also working with the Surrey Local Resilience Forum and other LRFs to produce drought plans.  The council would provide support during the recovery phase of any serious drought. Waverley is developing a plan in which they work alongside the tactical drought teams provided by the EA in a drought event.

So have they considered a big problem could come in the future namely serious depletion of natural water! This could impact on buildings as well as trees and other plants such as home grown vegetables and even farming. WBC has a plan  BUT – Is this drought resilience document a high priority? and is it enough? How will we feel if we go ahead and plant plenty of trees to help with the Climate Emergency, only to find they cannot put roots down and find water?!!!

Cranleigh Society is concerned about people who want to buy houses in Cranleigh but are not told by solicitors about the floods of the past on what had been green fields, and of the Environment Agency (EA) and Surrey County Council’s (SCC) responsibilities about flood risks.

WBC does not respond to questions raised by solicitors regarding flooding. They say this is a matter for the Environment Agency. The Environment Agency’s website classes Cranleigh in the highest flood risk level of 3. On the EA’s website they provide the risk assessment forms for the different flood levels and they also provide sequential tests for planning permission applicants.

Planning approvals are granted when conditions are met – on paper – using devices such as  – Sustainable Drainage System (SUDS) – for surface water Surrey County Council – Sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) planning advice.  This means that WBC is not responsible if bad flooding occurs!

If there is a real risk to properties then evidence will have to be credible and in the public domain.  Otherwise it is just opinion.  Planning permissions are granted in the belief that flood risks will be properly managed.  WBC relies on the reports from EA and SCC when granting planning permissions.

There are 2 types of flood risks – Fluvial – water from the sea and rivers – and Pluvial – water from surface water run-off.

The Environment Agency only keeps records of Fluvial risks and does not measure water on green fields.

Surrey CC has only recently been made the Statutory consultee for planning permissions regarding Pluvial waters.

Neither covers the other’s responsibilities.

Developers often challenge the EA’s assessments and win….

New maps are needed for all!

CCS has been told that properties were purchased without people being made aware that they were  moving into a road where the house had previously flooded or where the land had flooded before the house was built.  Some properties have flooded three or more times and the occupiers are waiting for the next time that exceptional weather/poor drainage management means they are flooded again.  It may be that this is no longer true because  now all sellers have to complete a statement – when putting a property on the market – of any problems the property has or had in the past such as flooding.  We don’t know if there are any truth tests! We don’t know if this is the case with new builds but we don’t think so.

Also – when planning permissions are sought there is no requirement for the developers to show the ground height they expect to have to build up to before beginning to build.  In Cranleigh New builds are being built on raised land and they all rely on SUDS working well.

We just don’t know what the cumulative effects of all this  in the future and no-one is keeping track of all of the SUDS together and their effectiveness has yet to be tested.

Comments please!