We thought we’d put together the following overview of what we are working on at the moment to keep you in the loop. Please feel free to comment or let us know if you have any questions and we’ll try to get back to you as soon as possible.
Due to the Government’s need to build more houses in the South East, the lack of a Green Belt around Cranleigh, the position we were in having no “Local Plan” (WBC now have one, but it’s subject to Judicial Review) and our Borough Councillors being outnumbered on the Joint Planning Committee (JPC) of Waverley Borough Council (WBC); numerous large planning applications have been successful, resulting in around 1,700 additional homes being built.
Cranleigh Civic Society has scrutinised the major planning applications and brought pressure to bear on the planning authority – WBC – bringing attention to poor design and deficiencies details and suggesting alterations to improve them.
CCS ensures Councillors of all areas understand the problems, including information that the Professional Planning Officers should provide.
CCS has put up spirited opposition to many of the planning applications, often promoting a more thorough debate and consideration of detail with some successful results.
What now? We must keep a watch on the conditions imposed by WBC and ensure they are implemented correctly. Ideally we must try to ensure no more planning permissions are granted until the housing that is in the pipeline is up, the effects are understood and supporting infrastructure is in place.
Drinking water supply and sewage treatment and removal.
CCS has put pressure on Thames Water (TW) to replace old drinking water pipes – being 50 to 70 years old and made of asbestos cement, some “blue” and very dangerous if released into the water supply and ingested.
As pipes burst TW put a programme in place to replace sections – so some success. WBC and TW have had to admit that they do not have asbestos liability insurance so they would have to pay claims themselves – very expensive to the public purse.
Thames Water has upgraded Cranleigh Sewage Treatment Works (STW) to accommodate the current housing demand and will, by law, have to do so again to meet the sewage emanating from the huge new housing developments.
Cranleigh Waters is a designated river which takes the outflow from STW . CCS has worked hard to show that this river is inadequate, and has caused depletion in fish numbers and must be re-considered. Some CCS members have undertaken river searches / water quality measuring and officially reported to and interacted with the authorities.
Ditches are being monitored thanks to CCS and Surrey Wildlife Trust is to undertake remedial work and bring life back to the river and local streams.
The Environment Agency (EA) had left Cranleigh off its watch list of threatened environments, so CCS and others worked to get Cranleigh back onto the maps and monitored regularly. The EA now works with CCS to monitor the area and make more relevant recommendations to our planning authority.
Flooding and flood plains.
CCS has worked tirelessly with the planning authority WBC, EA, and TW to point out, measure and photograph full information about flooding. The EA now records and reports flood levels, thanks to CCS. Surrey County Council (SCC) is tasked with cleaning out drains and ditches especially when heavy rains are forecast.
Anne Milton MP.
CCS has been in disucssions with Anne all along and she has started a Flood Forum in Cranleigh where many officers and local reprentatives work to improve knowledge, understanding, and even to alter laws and planning conditions. She has been able to get the attention of the movers and shakers at SCC.
Roads, Pavements, Footpaths.
CCS is in constant touch with SCC regarding potholes, flooding and traffic jams, and improvements are scheduled. A hard and lit footpath / cycleway from Cranleigh to Guildford is being looked at.
WBC’s New Local Plan shows minimal road and junction improvements at the moment, despite the new Local Plan approving 2,600 homes plus a school at Dunsfold, producing more traffic for the A281,
CCS continues to read and react to all such documents hoping to influence the authorities from our local knowledge point of view
Surrey County Council and national government say new railways are not going ahead at the moment but that there must always be a footpath and bridle way available along the old railway line.
Buses . SCC is responsible and we know of no changes at the moment.
Schools and GP surgeries
SCC must, by law, provide enough school places and doctors when the population rises.
Police & Fire Service
SCC must, by law, provide adequate cover.
Our wildlife and waterways experts have helped WBC to improve ponds and waterways. CCS congratulates Cranleigh Parish Council (CPC) for its work on creating Fields in Trust including: The Beryl Harvey field which has been saved and improved and the Centenary garden marking 100 years since the end of the first World War, which is under construction thanks to our Parish Council.
PEOPLE WBC’s interim Chief Executive and Head of Paid Services, Tom Horwood, has listened and responded to CCS’s complaints about the way officers and councillors have made us feel and he will attend a meeting next month with CCS and Councillor Julia Potts, the Leader of Waverley Council to hear more about why the residents of Cranleigh and surrounding area are so disillusioned with so many of their actions.
CCS will put forward very constructive suggestions to support our local knowledge and expertise hoping to work more effectively together in the future.
Liz Townsend was the inspirational first chair of CCS until she was voted onto CPC, then Waverley Borough Council and she is doing a great job.
Steve Jeacock was a member of CCS committee and was also voted onto CPC and has worked hard to represent all our views.
Adrian Clarke is our key attribute regarding drinking water pipes and the risks posed by their age and the blue asbestos fibres they contain.
We welcome your input!
Set up in 2014 by volunteers for the Neighbourhood Plan, the committee of CCS has worked hard and morphed into a quietly professional group of careful researchers and communicators to help keep Cranleigh special – speaking up for all.
The committee of eight needs help and support please.
WEB SITE, FACEBOOK, TWITTER, MEMBERSHIP, NEWSLETTERS are all proving a great success and we welcome input for the web site including valued photos and stories. We also welcome help with these applications.
Becoming a member and supporter helps to tell the Councils what the public really know and want and feel.
Response to Waverley Council on their Public Consultation on the Waverley Local Plan (Part 2).
Deadline is 9th July.
The draft Local Plan, Part 2 considers:-
– Sites for Additional Housing in Cranleigh - Proposed sites for Travellers in Cranleigh
– The Settlement Boundary for Cranleigh - Housing Standards for New Housing
The objective of the consultation exercise is to clarify whether we as a village are in agreement with the proposed Policies.
It is important to consider the accuracy of the Council’s ‘statements of fact’, whether we object to the proposed policies or other proposals and if so, why.
Accordingly, whether you were able to attend either of the exhibitions at the Arts Centre (31st May & 25th June) CCS invite you to let us know if you have any:
c. comments or
d. objections to the proposals outlined in the Local Plan, Part 2 consultations.
CCS are compiling a list of comments and objections, which has to be lodged with the Council by Monday, 9th July.
We are happy to consider any points you would like to raise and to include them (if appropriate) in our representation to the Council.
Any objections should be supported with evidence, demonstrating how/why the Council’s proposed policies are inaccurate/incomplete/ill thought through.
Please email us before the deadline to be included.
Dunsfold Planning Application Approved – What now?
On the 29 March, the plan to build 1,800 homes in Dunsfold park was approved by the Secretary of State Sajid Javid despite heavy opposition from residents.
It’s time to put pressure on regarding the effects on infrastructure.
Get Surrey has reported that Councillors have expressed fear on Increased traffic and congestion in the area once the homes are built and included a map to show likely problem areas following the development.
Specifically mentioned is more traffic expected on an already busy A281, but other areas for concern include:
• The partly single-track route from Dunsfold Park via Markwick Lane, Salt Lane and Station Road to the nearest railway station at Milford – this is also the quickest route to the A3;
• The use of B2130 through Hascombe to Godalming, and onto Guildford; and
• The roads through Hambledon towards Witley Station.
However, the increase of traffic on country lanes was assessed and deemed sustainable by transport planners.
Jim McAllister, Dunsfold Park Ltd’s chief executive said:
“The development of Dunsfold Aerodrome will provide homes for all sections of the community including young families currently priced out of the area, create new jobs and deliver a range of new community facilities together with infrastructure improvements. We look forward to working with Waverley Borough Council to progress the detail.”
What can be done now?
The pressure on infrastructure is the main concern affecting residents when any new housing development is approved.
If these developments effect you and your family, you can still make an impact. Cranleigh Society welcomes new members to help spread awareness and ensure our voices are heard. For further information email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Even those who opposed or had serious reservations took the view that the Waverley area would have more protection with a LP. Even with it’s flaws, WBC would be able to take back control. No longer would planning be developer led.
All three Cranleigh Councillors expressed their deep concerns about Waverley’s Local Plan. But they decided to vote For IT because the consequences of having no LP would be disastrous. Nothing will undo the damage that has already been inflicted on Cranleigh but further damage can be minimised with the LP.
Waverley’s local plan part 1 – Cranleigh Society’s opinion was shared before the vote –
Whilst Cranleigh is viewed by Waverley as one of the four main “settlements”, it has some serious infrastructure problems which the Inspector, Jonathan Bore, has not addressed in the report, even though they were pointed out to him by Cranleigh Civic Society and others at the Inquiry.
Cranleigh is only served by already congested B-roads, and lanes (we call them “rat runs”) which do not even qualify for B-road status, and there are no plans in his report (or in the Local Plan) to solve this.
Any new dwellings being built in Cranleigh rely on sewage treatment at the Elmbridge Road works. In recent years, the so-called river that the effluent is pumped into, Cranleigh Waters, has developed serious flow problems, sometimes ceasing flowing altogether. The river has become polluted, with local angling societies reporting dying fish stocks to the Environment Agency, and there is currently no plan by Waverley to solve this problem. The Inspector has not considered this in his report.
29.6% of all Cranleigh’s drinking water supply network is made from old asbestos cement pipes which are at the end of their 50 to 70 year design life, and they are regularly bursting releasing free asbestos fibres into the water supply. Some of the pipes recently tested by Thames Water are made from highly dangerous blue asbestos. Waverley are aware of this problem, and it has been suggested to them that all the old asbestos cement pipes be replaced before any new housing is connected to the network. Again, this important matter has not been considered by the Inspector in his report.
There are no plans to create new local jobs, so increasing the population will simply create a need to commute to work, which is hardly sustainable.
We accept that there is a need to build new houses in SE England and we do not have a problem with Cranleigh taking its fair share, but unless the infrastructure problems are addressed before the plan is published and put into place, we see big problems ahead.
Modern town planning (actually even Ebenezer Howard said this in the 1920s) states that “houses should be built where the jobs are”. Modern thinking is to build settlements as close as possible to places where people can work or to at least give people easy access to commute. Of the four settlements in the report, Cranleigh is least able to meet this criteria. It has only B-roads and narrow lanes leading out of it, no railway station and so on. The obvious place to build substantial quantities of new houses, in the Waverley area, is Milford, as:
(1) It has a mainline railway station that can easily be extended to take the new 12 car trains to London; (2) It is close to both the A31 and A3; (3) It is close to the job markets in Guildford, Godalming and Farnham; (4) It is adjacent to the River Wey and therefore readily lends itself to the building of a new major sewage treatment works that can meet the needs of the latest 2017 implementations of the Water Framework Directive. Yet I think we are correct in saying that the Local Plan only envisages 180 new dwellings in Milford? If this is the situation we have to ask “Why?”
CRANLEIGH CIVIC SOCIETY.
Go to Waverley Borough Council website and complete the consultation if you feel you can.
One of our Facebook friends asked us to post a map of all the development in Cranleigh to indicate to residents the true scale of our problem. Well here it is, hot off the Waverley Planning Maps website:
This only shows planning applications from 2011 onwards. You will no doubt recognise the mega site south of the High Street which totals 765 new dwellings alone! This includes Berkeley Homes 425 dwellings (spanning Knowle Lane to Alfold Road), Little Meadow (Alfold Road) 75 dwellings and the Knowle Park Initiative (A2 Dominion) 265 dwellings (Alfold Road as well!). We do not understand how Surrey Highways thinks the rural roads will cope, with the explosion of houses Waverley has planned for this area. and how they believe road safety will not be compromised.
Those of you also concerned about the sewage and foul water from all of these houses, will no doubt be astonished to learn, as we were last week at a meeting in Guildford with Thames Water, that no provision has yet been made for the expansion of the sewage treatment works on Elmbridge Road and no consideration has been given to the river into which the effluent flows. We have reported countless times that Cranleigh Waters now regularly dries up, yet apparently, according to the “experts” in their desktop studies, it can cope with double the number of houses, and double the amount of effluent being poured into it, yes another minimum of 4,455 new dwellings, without any pollution problems whatsoever!
Over the last couple of days, Residents have yet again been reporting to us more Thames Water contractor vans across the village (picture below opposite turning to Elm Park 5 June 2017).
Thames Water confirmed it had spent £1M on new filters to improve the sewage treatment works for EXISTING residents only, but as yet have not secured funding, or designed the sewage works for the new loos, showers, dishwashers, washing machines etc in the pipeline for 1,300 new houses in Cranleigh, let alone the 2, 600 (Local Plan figure) for Dunsfold or 600+ on the Springbok Estate. This is utter madness!! And yet still more applications pile up – another 98 on the primary school sites and another 101 in phase 2 for the Crest Nicholson site off the Horsham Road, which some of you may have attended the consultation in the village for. Does it end there? No of course not the numbers just keep growing, whilst the certain environmental damage on our doorstep is being firmly ignored.
What legacy is this Waverley Borough Council leaving to the next generation of residents in Cranleigh?