Not all the green fields are going – yet!

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 –

Phone:  01483 267 443  Mobile:  07881 655166         Bus. email:  andrew.f.povey@surreycc.gov.uk

New school? Surrey County Council tries again

New school? Surrey County Council tries again

New Primary School – Surrey County Council is trying to explain to the planning officers at Waverley that the Glebelands sports fields really are the best place to build a new Primary School – to replace what was St Nicolas and Cranleigh Infants (and Acorns nursery).  This has been in the pipe line for many years and the old schools sites could be redeveloped for housing providing SCC with much needed cash.   So far so good – or not – what do you think?  The application was turned down in January 2019 but SCC has submitted surveys and slight changes saying that the flood issues are not an issue and that parking isn’t either.

A member of Cranleigh Society has this to say ” Regarding the relocation of the school, the environment agency asked the SCC to do a comparative study to prove that the playing fields are the only site to be considered for building the school. The study concluded that the playing fields would be more accessible to pedestrians,  there would be better access for vehicles and less impact on green space than if the school were rebuilt on its present site! It also said that the parents would continue to use the local roads to park in!   All the arguments were flawed and biased. As you can imagine the residents on the Common are not happy and some of us have written to SCC.”

The study can be viewed on planning360.waverley.gov.uk   Ref WA/2018/2044.  or click here then click on documents.   The study is called The Sequential And Extension Test.  n.b. Nowhere mentions that there is access to the Cranleigh Primary School via the post office side passage. 

When Cranleigh Society met with WBC on 30th September we asked

What is the progress of the SCC application to Waverley planners to replace Cranleigh Primary School by building on Glebelands sports fields? The new integrated school would be lovely – and is very much needed but on the new site? We have concerns about Access to the proposed school site via footpaths, from car parks, and parking on the common risk? and what about Loss of the fields for more general sports and outdoor use?  We asked about the Increasing flood risks that might be caused by building on fields that flood?  Recently residents say that their gardens (on the common) have experienced increased rain water coming from the fields in question.

CCS accepts that the schools must be upgraded and that needs to be funded. We did a mini survey – CCS members reported that they asked people who were dropping off their children and grandchildren where they park, and if they think they would change their habits if the new school is built on the proposed site – they said no, and CCS observed the various parking on the roads and verges.  As well as the access to the site problems – the road in and out is very narrow – CCS commented that despite the SUDS arrangements water could flood elsewhere nearby.  Also The bus layby will be retained but is then further to walk. Also would WBC make the 2 car parks (Co-op & Sainsbury’s) free till say 9:30 am?   Waverley says – Not likely.

Waverley provided these answers – Information on when the proposed school building extension will be reported to planning committee has been requested from the County Education department.  The estimated date for consideration of this matter is the November area planning committee, and officers are seeking to confirm this with SCC planners.

Liz T says Cranleigh Parish council is in favour of redevelopment on the existing site.

WBC say the plans have been rejected because of poor access – and that Tim Oliver and Anne Milton MP agree. All agree that the infants (and nursery site) could be developed for housing and one replacement school could be built on the existing site.

 We also tried to get cleared up the issue around Cranleigh School – private – installing a modern sports track etc. and the proposed Primary School – state – installing something very similar and adjacent?

Waverley told us – regarding the all weather pitches –  they are two different things – the primary school is looking to create an artificial  (3G) pitch for school and community use. Cranleigh School’s project is a much larger offering with less community use. The Primary School offering is supported by the Football Foundation and is in line with our adopted Playing Pitch Strategy.

CCS is concerned about out of school hours use impact on the surrounding people in their homes and at the Sports club.

Regarding sports provision – Cranleigh should have a 3G pitch according to the Football Foundation and no money has been allocated or spent on this – WBC could write to SCC about this.

n.b. no comments made at the moment about the mayhem and parking issues whilst the buildings are all built.

Please do write to Waverley once you have been onto their web site and found out all about this application. 

thank you

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!

New school? Surrey County Council tries again

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

planning360.waverley.gov.uk 
Ref WA/2018/2044 

Planning Application WA/2018/2044 – Valid From 05/12/2018
GLEBELANDS SCHOOL, PARSONAGE ROAD, CRANLEIGH, GU6 7AN
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