Burst Pipes? please share

Burst Pipes? please share

Burst Pipes over recent months and years?  Please share –

message from Councillor Liz Townsend Those residents that came to the Flood Forum with Anne Milton MP will know that for some time I have been involved in an ongoing dialogue with Thames Water about the increasing number of burst water pipes in the village. Am attempting to create a map of the burst pipe areas to present to the next meeting. If over the past 2 years you have had a burst pipe near to your home, or place of work, or have had an interruption in your water supply, can you please post details here including the road name and if possible a rough idea when the issue occurred, or if you prefer you can email details to me on liz.townsend@waverley.gov.uk. Please don’t post your full address on here. Thank you for your help.”


Mains replacement Thames Water are putting in a bid – waiting  for more information.

SERA – Summerlands Residents Association – Thames Water have done some repairs, sections of pipe are being replaced – they are monitoring to see if it is stable or deteriorating – Thames Water needs to meet with Summerlands residents association including to improve relations.

OTHER BURST PIPES ISSUES – people said they really struggle to get sensible and uniform responses from on line, on the phone and the burst pipes teams, plus the burst pipe teams’ skills truly vary widely…

SURREY HIGHWAYS – SURREY COUNTY COUNCIL’S POTHOLES MANAGEMENT – their website is good – but Thames Water’s is very difficult to use, especially to pinpoint leaks!

AMLETS LANE and Cala Homes –  connected to mains supply and sewers. Thames Water carried out research – no need for improvements. Neighbouring residents are not satisfied. A trees officer is being consulted –regarding completing some tree work soon.    Water runs down the lane – but ground water control not needed says CALA – there are 6 balancing ponds – including on the western boundary ditch but the rate of the run off is the same as before. Surrey County Council agrees  that there is a leak which is not of CALA’s making, but there is a problem – local Highways officer – get in touch if it is a problem again. Slightly better on Barhatch Lane – there was leaking TW plate – still leaking further up, fields’ run off has stopped, water has stopped flowing down AMLETS lane.

RIPARIAN RIGHTS & DUTIES – DITCHES AND CULVERTS – it is the legal duty of every land owner to ensure all ditches, culverts, and streams that are on their land are kept free flowing and free of plants and rubbish.  If a property floods because of someone else’s failure to keep their waterways clean and clear then the land owner is liable for heavy fines. (Riparian duty of householders and land owners – “Any landowner or developer whose property adjoins or contains a natural watercourse should be aware of the system of rights and obligations along the length of the watercourse known as riparian rights. Developing or using land without giving due consideration to riparian rights can lead to problems”)

WHAT DOES GROUND LEVEL MEAN?  Is the Amlets’ Lane development higher than seemed on the planning permission?  When plans are presented for planning applications it is made clear how tall the overall buildings will be from ground level but never notes if the ground level is to be raised!

 ASBESTOS CEMENT WATER MAINS PIPES UPDATE – Anne Milton MP has followed up with Public Health England are reliant on W.H.O. research.  Research is on-going. Not much we can do from here and keeping up to date with the organisations is important – Environment Agency as well.  If 10s of 1000s of areas push for change more research will be done!   No studies have been carried out on ingested blue asbestos fibres – so no evidence has been looked for yet. A proper replacement programme of water pipes is needed to stop the constant problems with bursts and the constant health fear.

KERBS, GULLEYS, DRAINS AND VERGES  where water is unable to soak away and instead floods easily across roads people need to report and get the kerbs, drains and verges cleaned and cleared. Surrey County Council Highways!

COMPLETED HOUSES –  completed and signed off – 8 at Knowle lane Berkeleys, and Amlets 48 and 21 and 6 nearly ready, Little meadow 6,  Horsham road 52. Impact on the water system is considerable already – number of leaks – even though around 150 only completed.  A house had a flooded drive for 6 months.  All these leaks need to be recorded and reported in a meaningful way over at least 3 years to see clusters. Cranleigh Parish Council and Thames Water to action this. residents need to report.

HIGH STREET   Why has the High st been dug up 3 times recently?

Utilities dig up roads and they should be repaired as per the previous state – this is a big problem across the County.

WATER PRESSURE CHANGES – if water pressure changes people must report it straight away to Thames Water so that they can find out why and put it right.

WATER SUPPLY TANKERS  – these have been noticed across the summer – is Thames Water having to top up the reservoirs

ELMBRIDGE ROAD developments – the building seems to have slowed down and this is probably due to slow sales.

FISH PASS (passage)  project – WEY forward – trying to open up the river WEY for improved fish passage, also flood alleviation project. Low water flow is affecting water quality. The Environment Agency  is working alongside flood management projects.

SURREY WILDLIFE TRUST working to restore the rivers and streams, and to work with all other areas to join up the waterways and wildlife corridors. There is a sum of money allocated to a small stretch of this work to take place in Cranleigh.


SEWAGE WORKS – Upgrade discharge permits in line to comply with water framework.

THAKEHAM HOMES  They need to put in a pump – surcharge – protecting properties with a pump system rather than a gravity system because they are the lowest point in the catchment area/settlement. Storm tank capacity – Environment Agency agreed that there is sufficient storm tank capacity.

 Anne Milton MP charged all present to take the actions spoken of and report back at the next Flood Forum


Burst Pipes? please share


9 am FLOOD FORUM Sept 6th BAND ROOM (with microphones and information sheets)

Anne Milton’s MEETING starts at 9:30 for one hour only.

Do get in touch in advance, join us and please tell us and the forum your flood news –

Do you have any problems you want to share – do write and reply to this post –

Perhaps you have noticed dried up rivers and brooks in Cranleigh area during the summer? Or maybe flooding and surface water pooling?

What about burst pipes,  mains replacements, and the sewage plant upgrades?

In England and Wales much of the rain water is meant to go into the sewers and be added to the sewage from households etc.  Some people have another system – see OFWAT’s link below.

Surface water drainage

We look forward to seeing you at the meeting and also to reading your comments






Green fields to new Primary School & sports facilities?

Green fields to new Primary School & sports facilities?

One of Cranleigh Society’s members has looked at the plans very carefully and is fearful about the plans as they stand – what do you think?

“Surrey County Council is planning to relocate Cranleigh CoE Primary School to the playing fields behind the houses on the Common and build over 70 houses on the existing school site opposite Glebelands.   Parents of very young children will have to access the school via two long narrow passageways, one running up from the Common opposite the Curry Inn, and the other from the corner of Parsonage Road. There is no parking provision nearby so busy parents will probably park on the Common, in the driveways or simply stop in the High Street and allow their children to run across the green sward to the entrance of the footpath.  This would lead to traffic chaos and is very unsafe for the children.  The police will not be able to prevent parents from parking on the Common.

The new school should be built on its present site, in the heart of the village with safe access via the post office to the High Street.  The playing fields should be retained for use by the school for sport, especially as the pupil numbers will increase to over 600.

The idea of funding a new school by selling its land to build houses whilst disposing of a playing field is totally unacceptable – it’s certainly not in the children’s or village’s best interests.  This application is driven by financial considerations and housing targets.  Surely, with all the new houses being built around Cranleigh the developers should be made to contribute towards building a new school on its present site??”

The planning and regulatory committee is due to consider this application in June.  If you wish to comment go to

Ref WA/2018/2044 

Planning Application WA/2018/2044 – Valid From 05/12/2018
Consultation under regulation 3 for construction of a two and single storey building with associated car parking provision landscaping all-weather sports pitch and new access from parsonage road to provide a replacement for Cranleigh primary school 
Flood Forum News

Flood Forum News

MP Anne Milton came to Cranleigh with her selected representatives from Waverley Borough Council, Surrey County Council, Thames Water, and the Environment Agency. Our councillors attended and spoke up for Cranleigh too. 

Cranleigh Society representative Adrian Clark spoke about the on-going concerns about our old asbestos cement water mains pipes – the meeting heard that all avenues have been explored and everyone is powerless – but no!  Anne Milton will work with Adrian Clark personally going forwards. In the meantime the Financial Times have investigated the issue and published a comprehensive article – just google Financial Times Cranleigh Asbestos – well done Adrian. 

Thames Water say that they are definitely coping with present levels of demand and making arrangements to improve and increase capacity as the houses are built and occupied.  However they were left in no doubt about our outrage at the number of burst pipes and the issue of sewage coming up sometimes.  TW were told that we all believe the pipes should be replaced and soon. In addition they must make sure that any electric pumps are working and have relief systems in place. 

Local shop owners were represented saying they are suffering new damp never before experienced.  This will be followed up urgently. Is it caused by all the building works – Berkeley homes? or just the small project at the Methodist church – let’s hope it is sorted out soon. 

Once again Cranleigh society’s rep Richard Bryant brought up the subject of new housing needing house insurance against flooding and that the insurance companies are aware of each house’s risk of flooding.  Somehow we all need to make sure that solicitors flag up the concerns to prospective buyers.  We do not want Cranleigh to be a no go area – so we are looking for solid answers. 

Cranleigh Society is going to arrange for an expert talk about how the flood risks are managed across new housing estates in the modern age – thanks to Surrey CC – watch this space. SUDS = surface water drainage system and similar. There is an amazing project at Deepcut Barracks that welcomes visitors apparently. They are building a new 1200 dwellings village. 

Ditches – Anne Milton stressed that projects to make sure all drainage ditches are cleaned and cleared properly and regularly really make a positive difference.  If people have a ditch they should make sure the work is carried out. 

Pot holes were talked about – there is an app – you can go on line to Surrey County Council report a pothole. 

All problems – people must tell Cranleigh Parish Council so they can keep a good truthful record – not just anecdotal. 

The office is in Village Way beside the band room and leisure centre – open 9.30 to 12.30

email – clerk@cranleigh-pc.gov.uk 

 Tel: 01483 272311
Friday 22nd March 10am Invitation from MP Anne Milton Flood Forum

Friday 22nd March 10am Invitation from MP Anne Milton Flood Forum

Invitation from MP Anne Milton Flood Forum March 22nd


Cranleigh Civic Society will organise microphones and  guides  about the previous stories and vocabulary, and the panel participants’ roles.


A large panel of staff and experts attended MP Anne Milton’s Flood  Forum and gave her answers to questions we all want to know about – some satisfactory, some scary, some truly difficult to take. We heard about the following –

FLOODING DATA –Surrey County Council needs better data on property flooding in Cranleigh, and asked for local assistance to provide information. 

PLANNING  – accumulative effects 

THAKEHAM HOMES” SITE FLOOD RISK  site off Elmbridge Road:   31 May 2018 “Latimer has announced that it will develop 54 new homes in Surrey working with Thakeham Homes. Clarion Housing Group’s private development company has secured the nine acre site in Cranleigh, near Guildford that will deliver 38 homes for private sale, nine homes for shared ownership and seven homes for affordable rent on the land off Elmbridge Road”.

Residents expressed concern before and since the planning application that any work relating to the development of Thakeham Homes could have a knock on effect in terms of flood risks. They do not consider enough account was taken when planning was approved.  Residents want reassurance by Surrey County Council  (SCC) and Environment Agency (EA)  that Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SuDS) are checked before, during and after permission to be fit for purpose, and that they and Thames Water respond to planning applications strongly when justified.

Berkeley homes first 55 dwellings are being built – they will exit onto Knowle Lane.  The rest of the Berkeley homes and A2 DominionKnowle Park Initiative (KPI)dwellings will exit onto Alfold Road. KPI – There is some groundwork being done at the Greenhouses site which exits onto Alfold Road and is backed by fishing lake and Wey & Arun Canal section. Little Meadow will also exit onto Alfold Road.  Hewitts Industrial Estate site exits onto the junction between Alfold Road and Elmbridge Road.

NEW HOMES’ INSURANCECranleigh Society reported that the site had been referred via Royal Sun Alliance (RSA)  to the wider insurance industry ahead of the industry’s own flood forum meeting this month (Oct’18).  It was suggested that risk lies with the developer – bearing in mind that if prospective purchasers cannot get insurance, they will not get a mortgage.

There are 14 national standards, but there is dislocated alignment – surface water action management action plan – looking into it with ThakehamNational Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) change places a burden on planning authorities, and Surrey County Council (SCC) to be more joined up – this has improved recently and is now more formalised.  SCC will monitor and will find opportunities to question the new owner –looking for the path of least resistance. CCS photo 2013 – telegraph pole  – there is an OS marker nearby – can easily see the water levels – the SuDS would have been under water.  There is a disconnection between fluvial water (natural water from rivers etc.) and other examinations – across 3 authorities. Where planning approval is for  Under 5 hectares a standard response from the EA is sent – the burden is on the planning officer and they are often not in a good position to deal with it – what is needed is  flood risk conversations with planning officers and they need to be taught  what to look at.

We need to gather  data on properties that have flooded in Cranleigh – 2 way conversation – back fill instances – 

SCC reported that a new standard for SuDs emerged over the summer (2018) which will make sure that Waverley Borough Council (WBC) Planners and Department of the Environment, Fisheries and Rural Affairs  (DEFRA) have to communicate better, and places more burden on the planning and flood authority to work together.   SCC is planning a training scheme with planning officers in all Surrey boroughs, which will need to be repeated to reflect turnover of staff.  MP Anne Milton (AM) suggested that the Thakeham/Clarion site could be a good case study, and there was a need therefore to continue to monitor and support.


There have previously been proposals to move the test sampling site.  It was pointed out that there was a need to test and carry out a fish survey within a time scale, and this was due in 2018.

WATER QUALITY IN CRANLEIGH WATERS – one of our rivers – there are sampling points and records kept to ensure the river water quality is well maintained –  the 5 year intervals for sampling for fish determines whole ecological status of the waters and it is due now – end of 2018.  There is likely to be a spike in phosphates detected near to the outflows of the sewage treatment works.


Waverley Borough Council (WBC) had taken legal advice on its role on water quality.  The Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) consider that there is no evidence from the World Health Organisation (WHO) to suggest (a) that fibres are released into the drinking water or (B) that there are dangers from ingestion of blue asbestos fibres.  Sue Pennison of DWI had reported ahead of the meeting:-

“ – Update is that WHO have not yet added asbestos review to their workplan and have not yet confirmed their priorities for the 5th edition of the guidelines but they will be looking into this more formally in 2019.”

There was a request for the DWI evidence as it currently stands. There was concern expressed that, when pipes or water supply are tested, content test does not routinely include white or blue asbestos fibres, and is often carried out after the pipes have been flushed. Testing last year had been reported previously to the Forum, as per this extract from meeting note:

Thames Water (TW) reported sampling pipe material at 5 sites. 

  • Water at 13 sites had been sampled and analysed.
  • At 10 sites there were no fibres, 3 had tested positive for some fibres (2/millilitre at one and 1/millilitre at the others).
  • TW tested under normal conditions to household supply, at the time of a burst and near the burst site, and after a flush of the system.

(By comparison, 1 cubic metre of air contains 10 fibres. Some of these fires would be occurring naturally, and this represents a very low concentration.)  n.b. CCS query this – perhaps it is true where it is found in abundance in the ground – not near Cranleigh!

TW reported that the internal surface of pipes examined after bursts had not degraded at the burst point.  Concern was raised about the degradation causing fibres to leak into water. n.b. no mention has ever been made about the pipes having ever been lined.

Residents said they would like to see the timing of replacement of pipes by TW to coincide with work to supply new housing developments.  There is a pilot in Croydon along these lines.


“ILLEGAL” past DREDGING – Residents raised again the issue of illegal dredging. The forum discussed the “illegal dredging” – conclusion – EA would not have prosecuted.   CCS, Cranleigh Parish Council (CPC)  and others explained the genuine evidence and scale of the work done by residents as the dredging was happening and the reports sent through to EA and others that have since been decided were to be acted upon.  EA stated that they prefer to discuss the future direction in an amicable way with developers and get something from them rather than spend time and money prosecuting. They DO want photographic evidence of any issues and calls to their hotline.  Developers must seek permission before dredging or similar, if they don’t they can be warned and asked to make repairs but not usually done.  SCC representative TOR – explained that enforcement is subjective – section 23 of The Land Drainage Act states that before any dredging takes place the land owner  needs consent – there may be constraints .However if the harm is small and the remedy is expensive it can happen that no action is taken. Bear in mind that maintenance is a statutory duty – so in case law where authorities have taken action is has been found to be not appropriate – it Can cause more damage to put it right.  CCS member – happy to see the dredged area is recovering.  EA talks to the land owners. The EA stated that the alleged work was not sufficient to justify action. For future reference, report any suspected offences to EA, so they can investigate or work with developer for remediation.  The level of action would depend on hydromorphological damage, which is particular to each site.

SCC referred to Section 23 of the Land Drainage Act.  Where work would need consent, the EA or Lead Flood Authority would consider whether remedy would do more harm, whether the work could be considered maintenance or new work, and refer to case law.  EA highlighted the value of projects like Love Your River as an opportunity for local groups to talk to and work with landowners.


Thames Water (TW) report that 5 km of pipe had been targeted for replacement in GU6 areas, of which 3.9 km was in Cranleigh (extended from previously).  More work is planned on The Ridgeway.  Priority has been given to the worst performing pipes.  Burst analysis shows a spike in 2013-14.  Pipe burst rates are back to previous levels (2008) – this is an improvement, but 2008 levels were not acceptable. Cranleigh Parish Council and WaverleyBborough Councillor LIz Townsend said Thames Water had been dealing more quickly with incidents, but there were still too many bursts.  Thames Water’s response has much improved.

Thames Water reported they were continuing to survey underground (thus residents were probably not aware as this was not necessarily visible on the surface) on a ‘find and fix’ basis.


Surrey Wildlife Trust staff are undertaking co-ordination of sampling followed by some excavation work to improve the diversity and flow speeds of the rivers in and around Cranleigh.

Questions for The Flood Forum

Following severe flooding on the 2nd of June 1981, Waverley Borough Council commissioned Consultants Ferguson and McIlveen to investigate the flooding problems and causes within the Cranleigh area.  Their summation extended to five volumes and cost in excess of £50,000. Their report detailed £2.8 million (at 1982 cost) of work that they deemed necessary to prevent further flood problems. This would obviously be a good starting point for the Forum to look at to identify the work that still needs to be carried out.  Have these consultants’ reports been made available to the Flood Forum? A copy of part 3 of the report less the maps is available if required (doc.1)

Are the Flood Forum aware that (to the best of our knowledge)   less than half of the work has been carried out?

We have a list of houses that were affected by the 1981 flooding, totalling 64 houses but we are aware that more were affected that we were not made aware of at the time. (doc.2)

In 2003 following further flooding of our property (2, Overford Close in July 2000) due to backing up of the sewers from ingress of surface water into the sewage system, Thames Water commissioned Halcrow Group Limited to carry out further flood investigations.  A questionnaire was sent to occupiers in Cranleigh to help identify when their property had been flooded .  Thames Water must therefore have the results of these questionnaires and I would like to know if this information has been made available to the Forum. (doc.3)

Waverley BC also produced a report on Cranleigh flooding dated 16th January 1999, has this report been made available?  ( doc 3A)

Are the Forum aware that in 1987 the Local Valuation Court concluded that there were properties in Overford Drive and Overford Close that were still at risk of flooding due to the incomplete flood relief works as outlined by Ferguson and McIlveen   (doc.4).

Can the Forum tell us when the numerous watercourses and culverts were last surveyed and maintained?  Over the years the vegetation has become overgrown and the flow of water has been impeded ?

Are we right in thinking that there is a duty of care by the relevant authorities to ensure that this is maintained and how often should this be done?

Since 2000 have any improvements been made to increase the DWF ( Dry weather flow) capacity of the sewage works off the Elmbridge Road and what is the current DWF processing Rate?

Generally problems with flooding arise in Cranleigh when the surface water gets into the sewage system, causing it to back up. What has been done to stop this happening?

What is the designed  DWF( Dry water flow) capacity of the current STW  in the Elmbridge road?

Trash screens on the entrance to the box culvert at New Park road/Ewhurst road  still seem problematical and block easily, can anything be done to prevent this? (doc 5 Photos available)

All documents referred to available if required”  FROM RESIDENTS OF OVERFORD DRIVE/CLOSE, CRANLEIGH


DWI‘s comments were based on three test reports referenced in the 1996 WHO report which were carried out on laboratory rats and hamsters, but these tests were done on asbestos contaminants in talcum powder, not asbestos fibres in drinking water.  Crocidolite (blue) asbestos was not tested in any of these three reports, and it is blue asbestos that we are worried about.

If you would like more details why not join us for social evenings on the second Monday in each month from 6.30 pm at the Three Horseshoes Pub.

Burst Pipes? please share

Flood Forum update

Flood Forum Update – Our MP Anne Milton calls this meeting and requires a panel of experts to attend for one hour to answer important questions posed last time, and to take away actions. Next meeting Friday 22nd March, Cranleigh Band Room, 10.30 am.  We have microphones and a PA system. We will provide notes about the panel and the topics.

INSURANCE – Cranleigh Civic Society is concerned about housing being built on land that is known to flood.  It is difficult to understand the expert reports to Waverley’s planning department, explaining how the flood risks are to be managed. CCS has been in contact with an insurance company and also the Association of British Builders (ABI). There is a scheme called “Flood Re”, set up by Government, to make sure that homes built before 2009 can get flood insurance. But those built afterwards cannot IF they are built on sites with a high chance of flooding.  Also the “Flood Re” insurance will come to an end in 2039. So people who look at buying new properties (anywhere) are advised to look at the planning applications comments and objections in case they are thought to be at risk.

The Environment Agency now has Cranleigh on its Flood Alert service  https://flood-warning-information.service.gov.uk/warnings

“Cranleigh Waters Flooding is possible – be prepared – Property flooding is not currently expected. River levels have risen on the Cranleigh Waters as a result of rainfall last night and this morning (04/03/19). Therefore, flooding of roads and farmland is expected. Further light rain showers are forecast over the next few hours. We expect river levels to remain high this afternoon and start falling this evening. We are closely monitoring the situation. Please remain safe and aware of your local surroundings and refer to the ‘River and Sea levels in England’ web page for current river levels. This message will be updated this evening, or as the situation changes.

This information was last updated at 

Rivers – we will continue to “river dip”  soon – we will be looking for the tiny lavae of river flies – these are the food for other species and fish, and show if the water is clean enough. Surrey Wildlife Trust are actively setting up improvements to the water ways. n.b. fallen tree trunks and branches can safely be left in the waterways!

Sewage treatment works – is run by Thames Water.  All we know is that they must provide suitable fresh water and sewerage treatment works for the number of people living in each area.  We also know that there is sometimes a problem with sewage items coming up in homes and streets.  if this happens call Thames Water and they will attend the scene and fix what they can.  Then also tell Cranleigh Parish Council for their records.

Fresh Water supplies – we will be asking TW for an update on their project to bring a new pipeline to our area in the next 6 or so years.

Replacement of old Asbestos Cement drinking water pipes – we continue to press Waverley Borough Council to ensure all the old asbestos cement drinking water pipes in Cranleigh are replaced before any more new homes get connected to them, to take away any risks associated with the release of asbestos fibres into the water system.  In January 2017, Cranleigh Civic Society issued a Hazard Report about this to Waverley and we asked Waverley to risk assess the hazard.  They have not been able to take action for various reasons.   In February 2017, the Government’s Health and Safety Executive also wrote to Waverley asking them to risk assess Cranleigh Civic Society’s hazard report, but so far, over 2 years later, Waverley has not reported success. Cranleigh Parish Council have written to WHO and there is some hope that funding can be found for them to investigate any health risks.