Our fields are saved – so far! And even the trees ……
At the Waverley borough Council Joint Planning meeting on 27th November the councillors and all others spoke well and represented every view. On balance they voted to say no to HC-One & CVHT‘s planning application – the 60 bed Care Home Application with 20 community beds and health workers’ accommodation block – for reasons of “over-development & traffic & against the Local Plan” – in essence we don’t want the field filled up and the traffic increased, but we do feel upset that their isn’t a viable way to bring beds back to Cranleigh now.
They also voted to say no to the housing on the 2 Cranleigh Primary School sites – 91 dwellings and the loss of many trees – reasons – “over-development, loss of trees, loss of village look and feel (we think)”.
They voted for the Knowle Country Park and its lake – this will go ahead and is nothing but an asset all the while it has a vibrant and caring management team – how the future will go remains to be seen but we are lucky – so long as we understand that a body of wild water is a dangerous place! We will witness digging to provide the lake, then planting on a mass scale. The Ancient Woodland is to be preserved too – yippee.
All the councillors and visiting speakers did their best for Cranleigh. If you follow this link you can read all the agenda pack and additional documents – here and the minutes will be published there as well.
As for the replacement Primary School project – this is not over at all. Surrey County Council Cabinet has already approved building the new school with nursery on fields that are currently Glebelands school’s. On December 18th their Planning and Scrutiny committee will look at this again. see here for details and watch same space for the agenda items and agenda pack.
Surrey County Council –
Venue: Ashcombe Suite, County Hall, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey KT1 2DN.
Wednesday, 18 December 2019 10.30 am, Planning and Regulatory Committee.
Our representative on this committee is Dr Andrew Povey – you can contact him here –
Our last Flood Forum update posted here on 18 March was based on an article The Cranleigh Society were asked to provide by the Surrey Advertiser – but it was not published.
The Society was then asked to expand on other real problems being faced by Cranleigh; we obliged by sending the content for a second article and that, also, was not published.
Both articles were 100% factual, so we can only conclude that the Surrey Advertiser did not wish to be controversial.
Pressure can still be put on Waverley…
As mentioned in the website posting on 18 March, AC drinking water pipes and the Thakeham site were the main concerns expressed at the Flood Forum but the bigger picture also needs to be considered. There is a general concern for the number of sites where there are flood issues and/or an over reliance on Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS).
More and more Cranleigh residents are complaining about the ever increasing numbers of grab trucks and other contractor’s vehicles thundering through the High Street. These are causing havoc in the B-roads and narrow lanes, and it is going to get immeasurably worse as the building work intensifies.
These heavy vehicles are causing new potholes to appear daily in the High Street, and cars are being forced up on to paths to avoid wheel and tyre damage.
But Waverley and Surrey County Council do not care.
There are other major problems as well:
Waverley has pushed 48% of all the new housing in the Local Plan on to sites in and around Cranleigh
In doing so, they have ignored infrastructure issues.
The Society accepts there is nothing that can be done about the first point. Those planning applications have all received permission, but pressure can still be put on Waverley as regards the infrastructure issues where Cranleigh Civic Society believe Waverley are vulnerable. These are:
Of course, everyone is concerned about roads and bridges too, but these are the responsibility of Surrey County Council, not Waverley.
Naturally prone to flooding…
There is an interesting story emerging about flood risk to which there appears to be no solution, solely because of the actions of Waverley and the inaction of the Environment Agency.
This whole sorry saga began in November 2015 when the owner of the Knowle Park Initiative site dredged a section of Cranleigh Waters, not realising that they needed a permit to do so from the Environment Agency which, incidentally would have been refused.
On site, their contractor told the Society that this was done to “move the flood risk downstream”. The effect of this dredging was to move the flood risk from the KPI site to the area just before the bridge at Elmbridge Road, which at the time was fine as it was just meadowland. The problem is that Thakeham Homes bought the site and, on 5 October 2017, they were granted permission to build 54 houses on it.
KPI knew what would happen by doing this dredging, as it is on their website! They knew that the Thakeham site is “part of the functional flood plain of Cranleigh Waters and is naturally prone to flooding”.
They went on to state; “The main thing is to make sure the drainage and water courses are kept clear (a clear reference here to dredging) to allow these areas (the Thakeham site) to take the water quickly”.
The Thakeham site had serious flooding in December 2013, two years before the dredging – there is now the very real possibility of much higher flood levels, a matter that was totally ignored by Waverley when raised by Cranleigh Civic Society when the application was heard. The Society has a photo of the December 2013 flood level being higher than the site SuDS level, and we know from Met Office Data that they are predicting +30% rainfall during winter months up to 2080. So that is why the Thakeham site is liable to flood.
Reducing, not removing the flood risk…
On 16 March, the Society heard from Surrey Wildlife Trust that the bulk of the funding announced at Anne Milton’s 9th March village meeting is to be spent putting the KPI stretch of Cranleigh Waters back to a two stage river. People may well ask why KPI themselves are not required to bear the cost of the reinstatement to a two stage river – the answer is that the Environment Agency did not act within the time limit of six months from the date of the illegal act, even though Cranleigh Civic Society advised them in January 2016 and the EA visited the site on 29 March 2016. So it appears that public money is now going to be spent correcting the damage done by the KPI dredging!
Was there pressure being put on the Environment Agency to let the KPI planning application go through to help meet Government housing targets? It wasn’t until after the six months statute of limitations period that this all came to light, and the Environment Agency admitted their failure to act.
The problem is that if the KPI stretch of Cranleigh Waters is reinstated to two stage, it reduces (not removes) the flood risk at the Thakeham site and puts a flood risk back onto the KPI site.
What an awful mess – a mess that was totally avoidable if planning was considered on all the facts, good and bad, and not on just chasing housing numbers.
The Society envisages decades of flooding incidents, insurance problems and law suits.
Please help raise awareness by sharing our news updates where you can.
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.
The nightmare has come true! Yet another 265 houses on green fields were voted in last night on the casting vote of the Waverley Joint Planning Committee’s Chairman Cllr Peter Isherwood.
So now Cranleigh has a deluge of 1,236 new houses (and that doesn’t include the infilling going on all around Cranleigh in back gardens everywhere, especially up the Horsham Road) of these houses 418 are meant to be affordable – whatever that really means.
We just want to put the enormity of the scale of this development into context, the Swallowhurst Estate was for 58 houses only!
This is now the masterplan (so far) for Cranleigh, showing the Berkeley’s, Little Meadow and now KPI sites (A2 Dominion) together:
The countryside to the left of the high street has now all but disappeared:
Cllr Mary Foryszewski was the only Cranleigh Councillor who could vote at last night’s meeting, as once again Cllrs Stewart and Jeanette Stennett declared a pecuniary interest in the KPI development, and Cllr Patricia Ellis was nowhere in sight. Cllr Foryszewski alone battled valiantly for Cranleigh, but all was in vain. Be very scared Cranleigh residents, Waverley has big plans for Cranleigh and they are not pretty.
It was also revealed last night that Waverley agreed a reduction in affordable housing on the KPI site in return for more money for the Elmbridge Road bridge (we can’t wait to see what actually happens there, as the estimated cost by Waverley is more akin to a fairy tale) and a sizeable contribution to a new Leisure Centre, proposed for the parish owned Snoxhall Fields, no doubt surrounded by a big car park. Never mind, Cranleigh doesn’t need free recreation space, not when it can have even more houses who will pay council tax to Waverley! However, it transpired that the Parish Council were not even given the courtesy of a consultation about this new Leisure Centre, the Cllrs we spoke to knew nothing about it, and are desperately trying to save this area for the community, by putting the land into a Trust, rather than see it consumed by Waverley.
Cllr Liz Townsend, who it seems has not been allowed to take up Cllr Brian Ellis’s vacant place on the planning committee, was allowed a speaking slot and conveyed how angry Cranleigh residents felt about the destruction of our village. She also pointed out how seriously under represented Cranleigh is on the planning committee and that our voices were not being heard.
Officers brushed Cllr Townsend’s concerns about flooding on the site under the carpet, as well as the carefully worded advice from the Environment Agency to Waverley about something called the Sequential Test, which basically seems to mean that areas at less risk of flooding in Cranleigh should be built on first. However, officers forged ahead regardless, avoiding carefully answering the question of whether the sequential test had actually been passed. One shocked Cranleigh resident said “it’s as if the officers work for the developers”.
Cllr Townsend spoke from the heart, highlighting the unsustainable location of Cranleigh, and the harm that this deluge of development, in such as short space of time, would have on the character of Cranleigh and on its residents. However, other hearts and minds appeared firmly closed, particularly Cllr Brian Adams (yes, he’s the one who said if we accepted the Crest Nicholson site for 149 houses Cranleigh would’ve taken its share of the borough’s housing, strangely the webcast of that meeting disappeared) who called his fellow councillors perverse if they refused this application, even though they had refused the identical application only last year.
Richard Bryant, on behalf of Cranleigh Civic Society, reminded Waverley that they have a legal duty to maintain water quality in our rivers and not to increase pollution levels in accordance with the Water Framework Directive. Unfortunately, this was not even acknowledged, Waverley’s eye was firmly on the prize of 265 dwellings that won’t have to go anywhere near their precious green belt. Houses that are far from major roads, far from a train station, far from jobs, and far from where most Waverley Councillors live.
Concerns about the sewage treatment works were cast aside with ease and pollution of Cranleigh Waters was not really worthy of a mention from officers, other than to imply that all was fine and dandy. Apparently, the sewage from an additional 3,000 residents makes no difference. And don’t forget that’s just Cranleigh’s new residents, we have other surrounding villages sending their muck here too to process. Oh, and did we forget to say, no one gives a damn about the environment, it’s an inconvenient tick box in a developer-led planning system.
Cranleigh Cllr Brian Freeston admitted “we don’t feel part of Waverley at all, can you blame us?” he spoke about the unfair allocation of houses on a blighted Cranleigh. The fact that we are being forced to take 30% (so far), in the village alone, other areas have a maximum of 15%, and that doesn’t even take the Dunsfold settlement into account. Cllr Freeston voiced concerns about the viability of the parkland, and said Cranleigh was in an untenable position. Serious and informed comments about the ageing asbestos cement drinking water pipes, of which Cranleigh unenviably has almost 30%, compared to 2% in the entire Thames Water area, received about as much attention as a Cranleigh Councillor at a Local Plan meeting.
As Cllr Townsend said “there is not a big enough material constraint, not even banned blue asbestos, that trumps more housing on Cranleigh’s green fields”.
So there you have it folks, Cranleigh is being officially destroyed with impunity by Waverley, next it will be a massive big shopping centre, just like Waverley have planned for Farnham, and one day you will wake up and find yourselves living in the biggest town in Waverley, and wonder how the hell you got there.
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.