A Casual Vacancy – or two, or three, or four…?

So many toys have been flying out of Cranleigh prams recently that Cranleigh Parish Council could become  a new CBEEBIES production for Playschool!

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The village of Cranleigh on the Surrey/Sussex border is sharing more than a passing resemblance  every day to  JK Rowling’s book and television series ‘The Casual Vacancy.’


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The stars of A Casual Vacancy – Michael Gambon and Julia McKenzie

This every day story of countryfolk began last year when Cranleigh Parish Council was given a make-over in the May elections by the female of the species who, after being  voted  in, began  flexing their not insignificant muscles!

A little row over a memorial field ensued, during which  Cranlegh’s old guard were given a good drubbing by the girls thwarting  their   attempt to sacrifice  The much treasured Beryl Harvey Memorial Field  from allotments/conservation area into a site for “affordable”  housing.  As a consequence out go Councillor  David Gill’s toys, and he resigns as Chairman.   Councillor Mary Foryszewski was voted in to fill his shoes with Dominique McCall as her vice chairman batting off a bid by Brian Ellis former Parish Council Chairman for (15 years) eager to wrestle  back some of his lost power. Remember: Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely!

Gill’s toys were promptly followed into the box by the Stennett duo – Jeannette and Stewart. This is the second time SS has resigned. He had a huge bust up with Brian Ellis over…

would you Adam and Eve it, – a playground – in 2008.

No reasons given by the Digger Driver and his wife,  though David Gills says he is  “disillusioned.” With what or whom exactly WW wonders?

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The Motto: Cranleigh Habet Caritatem in Latin – means… Cranleigh Cares. About what…Power, Politics  or People?

So out goes the Ellis toys because he’s  rattled at being “sidelined” by the new boys and girls on the block. Rumour has it that the arrival of Magazine Editor Kate Fernandez was the last straw – A Challenge-r to far perhaps, or as everyone knows, if Ellis can’t  hold the power in the playpen – then he climbing out!

So back at the ranch  – the “old guard” now consists of wife of Brian – Patricia  who seemingly believes that she owes the electors some loyalty – and that four by-elections this month added to the others held earlier in the year are quite enough for the poor old taxpayers!

Back at the Conservative branch ranch, yet another power struggle is taking place as local Tories try to rid themselves of Alan Young the very unpopular Cranleigh/Ewhurst’s Surrey County Councillor – he of the “secret meetings fame” who works tirelessly with others, with property developers in Farnham and in Cranleigh.

So behind the friendly facade of hanging baskets and  Cranleigh in Bloom; the war memorial; and the pretty gabled cottages there lies a hot bed of seething antagonism. In fact one successful developer claims that the village could be a perfect set for Midsommer Murders – there is so much intrigue.

However, Chairman Mary  dubbed as Cranleigh’s Budicca for her heroic fights to fend  off unpopular developments, is unfazed as she believes a new, more honest and democratic  day is now dawning for local politics in Cranleigh. Whilst, life for Brian continues as the new Chairman of Waverley’s  Eastern Planning Committee where he can use his two votes to push through as much housing as he can for  Cranleigh New Town. 





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