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?
As an update to this previous article, we have now been informed that the Secretary of State has not agreed to call in this application.
So, sadly that’s another 265 houses approved to be built in an unsustainable location.
Original article follows:
Following the decision two weeks ago by Waverley Borough Council to approve the building of 265 houses on another of Cranleigh’s green fields, Cranleigh Civic Society has written to DCLG (Department for Communities and Local Government) to ask for the application to be ‘called in’. If accepted, this will lead to an inquiry being held by the Secretary of State.
Our reasons for requesting a call in are:
Cranleigh’s Parish Councillor Liz Townsend was denied a vote for this application, in place of the late Brian Ellis.
The vote was 8 for and 8 against, with the deciding vote given by a Hindhead councillor.
There were four missing members of the JPC who could have given their vote to one of the Cranleigh councillors in their place, but chose not to elect substitutes.
The Planning Officers were not acting impartially, but appeared to be in favour of the developers.
This application had previously been rejected and was just resubmitted without significant changes, so why was this allowed?
We have uncovered the existence of asbestos cement water pipes which could pose a serious risk to public health and if this is to be fixed 30% of Cranleigh’s drinking water pipes will need to be dug up. If not resolved the danger from asbestos will be exacerbated by the extra water pressure from new homes.
Why have the developers not been questioned about the illegal dredging of Cranleigh Waters carried out by a contractor at their request?
The KPI site fails the sequential test, as there are other sites better suited to development which do not flood. There will be no subsidised affordable flood insurance from Flood Re as, since 1 January 2009, new homes should not be built on high flood risk areas.
This application was submitted at the same time as an appeal against the refusal of the previous application, which in itself is odd.
For these reasons we have serious and valid concerns about the granting of this application and hope that the Secretary of State will agree with us.
This application is to be heard on 15 March 2017 7pm at Council Chamber, The Burys, Godalming
Objections need to be submitted by 10 March.
Your village needs you to object NOW.
The application is not materially different to the original that was refused 29/04/2016 and is now at appeal. The reason for refusal remain and when an application is not materially different to that refused a period of 2 years must pass before a similar application can be considered. To reflect on previous objections, the application is not sustainable, remains outside the village envelope, the proposed area is in flood zone 3, agricultural land, removal of employment land, should the other nearby applications commence the accumulation of traffic on the Alfold road, the density of housing is excessive, affordable housing reduced to 35%, the ‘Parkland’ remaining in perpetuity how will this be achieved.
It won’t have gone unnoticed to residents that both Crest Nicholson on the Horsham Road and Cala Homes on Amlets Lane have started developing their sites.
Both these sites had Grampian style conditions. This was meant to prevent the start of the development until off-site works were completed on the sewerage network, including the sewage treatment works on Elmbridge Road. However, we were recently advised by planning enforcement at Waverley that the Grampian Condition wording is too woolly to enforce and doesn’t specifically mention the words sewage “TREATMENT”, so no work to the sewage works are apparently included – another nail in the coffin for Cranleigh.
To say that we felt let down by the lack of rigour exercised in the planners’ wording of the Grampian and the lack of ability by Waverley to enforce it, is an understatement!
There is no consideration being given to existing residents, who after all fund the borough council, in the scramble to achieve a housing number at all costs. We don’t need to remind you, that you will have to bear the brunt of polluted rivers, congested roads, odour nuisance from the sewage works, an over burdened GP surgery, the list goes on.
The bungalow on the Horsham Road, which was acquired by Crest Nicholson to provide an access road to the site, was demolished long before their Grampian Condition was even discharged (such as it was), and work was also immediately commenced on the green fields to build 149 houses. Grampian, what Grampian?
“Cranleigh is a pretty Surrey village where one can enjoy a relaxed pace of life yet benefit from daily conveniences aplenty on the doorstep, including a selection of shops, cafes and restaurants.”
Sounds idyllic, and surprising how keen developers are to emphasise that we are a “village” in their marketing literature.
Despite the unsustainable location of Cranleigh, on a rural road network, with little public transport, a heavy reliance on the use of the private car, limited employment opportunities, water quality issues, a high percentage of asbestos cement drinking water pipes, an inadequate sewage treatment plant, and on green fields to boot, none of this matters, as long as the houses are built.
The ONLY reason for these dwellings is because we have NO GREEN BELT protection, nothing else, and national planning policy will be twisted at the whim of the planners to suit their ultimate plan for this area, which is CRANLEIGH TOWN.
However, before you start thinking, how bad can that be, it will be bad! We are the only community in Waverley without green belt protection AND any environmental designation. Farnham at least has the protection of Thames Basin Special Protection Area. So going forward, Cranleigh will be the dumping ground for any, and all, unmet housing in Waverley. However, Waverley Borough Council seem to be the winners, they have a convenient area, in the corner of the borough, which will be a cash cow for council tax, and with only 5 councillors (Farnham has 18) representing this area, and two of those with a declared pecuniary interest in development, this really does seem like a marvellous arrangement.
There is the rather inconvenient truth of Cranleigh Waters, which is polluted and failing in terms of the Water Framework Directive, but that can be smoothed over, by applying pressure to an overworked and under resourced Environment Agency (EA) with the promise of funds for river restoration and flood plain replacement projects.
There’s the problem of the rural roads and A281, but as Matthew Evans, Ex-Waverley Head Planner, said it really doesn’t matter if people are stuck in traffic. Obviously air quality issues and quality of life, for residents in this part of the borough, was not something that disturbed his sleep.
And then there’s the ageing asbestos cement drinking water pipes, which have an extremely inconvenient habit of bursting whenever water pressure increases, still, studies of health risks are inconclusive, so it appears Waverley don’t need to worry about that either. Despite the fact that we can find no reports that include the age of pipes we have here, or our particularly agressive type of water.
It would be difficult to imagine what would ever be considered as a material constraint by Waverley planners against development in Cranleigh, perhaps the discovery of uranium in the high street?
And to add insult to injury, the EA are now actively looking for replacement flood plain for this area, as let’s face it, they don’t want to create too much flooding downstream for Bramley and Guildford, residents there might start to wonder why the hell all this building was allowed, or should we say encouraged, on the natural flood plain we DID have.
However, we still have something up our sleeve and that’s you!
Joined together, you are the most powerful force. Stronger than Waverley and stronger than developers.
Working together in big enough numbers, people can, and will, make a difference. We can fight for fairness, we can fight for our community, and we can fight for our environment.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
The main summarised reasons outlined in the EA objection letter are that the Flood Risk Assessment does not demonstrate that the development will be safe from flood risk for its lifetime, and the potential impacts of climate change have not been satisfactorily taken into consideration.
The Cranleigh Society has maintained serious concerns about the flood risk on this site, which is part of Cranleigh’s rapidly diminshing natural flood plain.
We are extremely glad that the EA have carried out a thorough study of the FRA and echoed many of the points that we raised in our letter against this application:
Although there is a presumption in favour of sustainable development however NPPF para 14 states that even if the development plan is absent, silent or relevant policies are out of date, permission should not be granted where specific Framework policies indicate it should be restricted, this includes flooding.
We also object on the grounds that the assessment of flood risk informing the measures proposed by the FRA to avoid, manage and mitigate flood risk, are incomplete and have not been appropriately secured for the lifetime of the development. There also does not appear to be provision for increased climate change allowances agreed by the Environment Agency and the Government, published in February 2016. These now require applicants and developers to assess a range of climate range allowances from 25% to 70% above the 1% AEP as part of planning applications. As the application appears to have been submitted to Waverley in November 2016 the new allowances and ranges should be used.
Document 9.0 WATER RESOURCES AND FLOOD RISK point 9.28 fails to mention the significant flooding on Alfold Road in 2013/14 or the flooding on Elmbridge Road. the Our own FRA review by RAB consultants (Bedford) acknowledges that the recent flooding of December 2013 on the Cranleigh Waters and Littlemead Brook has not been recognised within the flood risk assessment (FRA) dated October 2014. They go on to say that the extreme nature of the flood in December 2013 warrants recognition within the FRA and an assessment of flood depths and extents at the site if possible. Additionally, given the nature of flooding in December 2013 and the significant groundwater flooding experience across many parts of the Thames Catchment throughout winter 2014, it would be prudent to include this within the assessment of groundwater risk to the site.
Water Environment Ltd October 2016 appears to be missing Appendices B, C and D. Previously Appendix B of the FRA shows that EA “Product 4” flood data, received 29 July 2014, was used for the assessment. The EA have updated their flood modelling in the area since this data was obtained. The data used in the FRA has therefore been superseded. Without incorporating all this data we do not believe an appropriate nor up-to-date assessment of flood risk has been undertaken.
Furthermore, evidence exists and data has been collated of the recorded flooding in the vicinity of this development during 2013/14. This has been submitted in support of a planning application ref WA/2014/0912 by Berkeley Strategic Land Ltd in Appendix 1 from “Technical Review of Flood Risk Assessment (FRA) for the construction of 425 dwellings on land south of Cranleigh, Surrey” dated August 2014. The FRA should take this evidence into account.
Paragraph 040 of the Planning Practice Guidance (PPG) states: “To demonstrate to the satisfaction of the local planning authority that the development will be safe for its lifetime taking account of the vulnerability of its users, a site-specific flood risk assessment may need to show that appropriate evacuation and flood response procedures are in place to manage the residual risk associated with an extreme flood event. Proposals that are likely to increase the number of people living or working in areas of flood risk require particularly careful consideration, as they could increase the scale of any evacuation required. To mitigate this impact it is especially important to look at ways in which the development could help to reduce the overall consequences of flooding in the locality … through off-site works that benefit the area more generally.”
This proposal would significantly increase the number of people living in an area affected by very recent flooding and would increase the scale of any emergency evacuation considerably. The FRA has not considered how this additional burden will be managed in the extreme flood event and has not suggested any off-site mitigations to reduce the overall consequence of flooding in the locality. We therefore object on the grounds that the additional burden on the emergency services in a flood event has not been given due consideration in the FRA.
A further objection is that the FRA fails to prove that the voluntary and free movement of people during a ‘design flood’ can be demonstrated. Assessments of the adjacent Berkeley Homes WA/2014/0912 application site have shown that dry access/escape routes from the site across green fields are unsustainable in flood risk terms. The FRA addendum (9 June 2015) for this site previously proposed an approximate 5km pedestrian diversion along unlit and unmade footpaths and public highways without footpaths. This does not provide a safe nor appropriate route for people, especially for more vulnerable residents.
Evidence to support this is outlined in Appendix 1 of “Technical Review of Flood Risk Assessment (FRA) submitted by Berkeley Strategic Land Ltd WA/2014/0912 which demonstrates that every access route away from this adjacent development, using the Alfold Road, will be inaccessible by foot or car in a flood event like the one that occurred during 2013/14.
NPPF places significance with respect to land in the “Functional Floodplain” or Flood Zone 3b. Figure 4.3 of Volume 3: Mapping of the WBC SFRA identified areas of Functional Floodplain within the borough. This figure shows parts of the development site are likely to be within the Functional Floodplain.
The extent of the Functional Floodplain is normally defined by the extent of flooding in the undefended 1 in 20 year (5% annual probability) event and the EA flood data indicates that parts of the site lie within the 1 in 20 year (5% annual probability) flood extent. As the FRA has not delineated the extent of the Functional Floodplain at the site, we do not believe an appropriate nor up-to-date assessment of flood risk has been undertaken and object on these additional grounds.
The NPPF makes it very clear that the aim of the sequential test is to steer new development to areas with the lowest probability of flooding. The Sequential Test provided by the applicant does not provide satisfactory justification as to why other suitable sites have been discounted. We object on the grounds that the site fails the Sequential Test and the Exception Test cannot therefore be applied. There is a site a far less risk of flooding for 120 dwellings currently at Appeal, the result of which will be available on 9 January 2017. The council currently has a five-year housing supply and does not require housing on green fields at risk of flooding, on a flood plain, which will increase flooding elsewhere.
We also have concerns about the ability of new residents moving into the site to obtain meaningful flood risk insurance at an acceptable cost since the Association of British Insurers has stated that New Houses built after 1 January 2009 will not be covered by Flood Re; this is to avoid incentivising unwise building in flood risk areas.
The assessment of flood risk needs to demonstrate that the flood risks posed by the development can be managed, ae realistic, taking into account current climate change allowances, and are safe, the FRA fails to do this.”
The Amlets Lane application by Cala Homes for 125 dwellings got the final vote of approval at Waverley Borough Council last night by 12 votes to 9. Cranleigh’s Waverley Councillors all voted against the application, however this last minute push was too late to save the site from development.
Liz Townsend spoke on behalf of Summerlands Estate Residents Association and residents of Copse Edge:
We acknowledged that Cala Homes had made some welcome and positive changes to the layout since the application was deferred in September, with a reduction in the height and bulk of the apartment buildings, the positioning of bungalows along Copse Edge and the removal of a parking court.
Residents’ Liaison Group
Residents remain extremely concerned about the access road into the site and the lack of detail regarding the drainage system for surface water run-off. On residents behalf, we requested ongoing involvement in the design of the drainage scheme by sharing local knowledge on flooding. The idea of a liaison group was endorsed by some councillors, and we have emailed Waverley Borough Council today to repeat this request.
To protect the privacy of residents living adjacent to the site, we requested a restriction on permitted development to the roof of any dwelling along the site boundaries, as recently imposed on the Crest Nicholson development on Horsham Road, which was agreed. This means that householders on the Amlets estate will have to apply for planning permission to extend into their roof space.
We also requested details that the buffer zone (shown above) around the edge of the site should be included in the overall management plan for the estate, as there is a risk that it could become overgrown, neglected and unsightly, or encroached on as part of the drainage scheme.
Since the first application, residents have highlighted subsidence issues on Summerlands and the requirement for pile driving on Copse Edge. We expressed surprise that the developers were still recommending concrete strip foundations and maintain that these will not be adequate and the need for deeper foundations could be used as leverage to further reduce the amount of affordable housing on the estate on viability grounds.
We noted with regret, that the proposed tenure split is now to be 50:50 between social rented and shared ownership, rather than, as was agreed at outline, 76% rented and 24% shared ownership. However, Cllrs were unable to discuss this aspect of the application, as the alteration will be by way of a separate variation to the S106 agreement and will be agreed by planning officers under what is called delegated powers. However, we asked Cllrs to honour the original condition as this was one of the main determining points in approving this exceptional green field site.
Sewerage Infrastructure and water Quality
We requested further details from Waverley about the calculation of S106 contributions from the developer for off-site sewage upgrade work, or for water quality mitigation, as required under the Water Framework Directive (WFD), for Cranleigh Waters. We have repeated this request today.
In response to a meeting on 12 October with Cranleigh Civic Society, Anne Milton and Andrea Leadsom. Defra confirmed that development must not be contrary to the WFD and to paragraph 109 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) which states that the planning system should contribute to and enhance the natural and local environment. The obligation that Waverley has, to consider WFD when determining local development, has, we believe, not been fully satisfied.
Cranleigh’s Councillors raised lengthy additional comments surrounding road safety, which unfortunately was not one of the reasons for the previous deferral of the application, and although, we firmly agree, extremely important, was all too late to save the Amlets site.
There were further concerns raised about traffic turning out of the estate onto Amlets Lane and the route of construction traffic, suggestions of a one-way system were raised. The Construction Management Plan will ultimately be decided by planning officers, who will we hope take up the suggestion of a further site visit.
We will all need to be vigilant once construction starts on this site and use this road only when necessary and with increased care. Please continue to report any incidents to us email@example.com and send in photos if these can be taken safely.