Once upon a time, a public spirited man lived in Cranleigh. The sort of man, who was a true benefactor, who gave something to the community, without wanting something back in return.
Gordon Harvey and his wife, had lived deep in the ancient woods at Knowle House, which is now the Knowle Park Nursing Home. In 1970, Gordon donated a piece of land in Knowle Lane, in memory of his late wife Beryl, to Cranleigh Parish Council to be held for the community and for no other purpose other than allotments or agriculture.
Called The Beryl Harvey Conservation Area, the land has been used as a quiet space where people can enjoy the countryside and allotments. The field covers 3.5 acres and in 1987 the Council designated the southern end of the Beryl Harvey Field (around two acres) as a Conservation Area. The remaining 1.5 acres is laid to allotments.
The Conservation Area has been managed by Cranleigh and District Conservation Volunteers (CDCV) since 1987 as a wildlife area, with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Co-operative Society Ltd. The group has installed bat and bird boxes and used natural materials to form woodland habitats for insects, small animals and birds.
Immediately prior to the May elections, along comes Brian ‘Big Bad Wolf’ Ellis, and in his final moments as Chairman of the Parish Council, he tries to push through measures that would begin the process of… yup, you guessed it… building homes on it! Cllr Ellis knows full well, that there are dozens of areas in and around Cranleigh, that are blighted by proposed development, so why add another?
Thankfully, he was stopped in his tracks by Councillors, including the recently kicked out Lib Dems, Ken & Ruth Reed, and a few others including Mary Foryszewski. He claimed “that as there were no living relatives of the family, no-one would mind if it was developed“.
What? Land in memory of a villager with the specific covenant for ‘community use’ and ‘no other purpose’ other than allotments and agriculture.
Suddenly, out of the woods comes none other, than Mr Harvey’s son Kenneth, who brought down the chopper, to chop off Ellis’s ambitions. Mr Harvey Jnr warned the council that it was clear from the land’s covenant that, “my father’s wish was that the land should not be used for other people’s profit. The family don’t want the land to be sold for future profit even though they sympathies with people needing more homes.
Shame on you Cllr Ellis for claiming that very few residents use the Beryl Harvey field, and in your words which , “enables the land to be sold and money reinvested in other areas or the recreation ground“.
The matter will be debated tomorrow Thursday 17th December at the Village Hall. Go on Cranleigh – turn up in your droves and flush that wolf out!
The moral of the tale? Be careful who you gift land to… The plot thickens… WW’s followers are investigating further. so watch this space!
From the Agenda of Cranleigh Parish Council – here’s the recommendation:
So how did that happen?