Don’t open the champagne just yet Waverley Council – the Cranleigh Civic Society is still in business.

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So frustrated by rules, regulations, bureaucracy, politics and delays in getting anything done, residents  opted out of the Cranleigh Neighbourhood Plan three years ago and formed the Cranleigh Civic Society.

BuScreen Shot 2017-08-12 at 21.47.22.pngt since its formation – the Society that prides itself on ‘Speaking up for Cranleigh’ has met one brick wall after another in its dealings with Waverley Borough Council, and moral among its members has suffered as a result.

So, at an EGM on Tuesday its’ members heard that highly valued committee members would leave,  but would continue to work to achieve the society’s aims and objectives in the future. In his address, (notes of which were sent to the Waverley Web), Richard Bryant said everyone involved had endeavoured to keep Cranleigh special:
“You only have to look at our website to appreciate all the hard work put in by those nine people”.

  • He paid tribute to: Chris Budgen (CPRE).
  • Liz Townsend – who was pressured by WBC to resign. Who, he said, had resisted pressure from Waverley to resign when she became a parish councillor, but had no option but to resign as chairman, when she becoming  a Waverley borough councillor.

Why WW wonders? Is it a rule among Waverley councillors that none of its members can belong to Civic Groups? 

He went on to thank…

  • Phill and Jane Price and Steve Jeacock.
  • Although he had resigned the committee, everyone was delighted Adrian Clarke would continue as the society’s technical advisor.

He said: ‘The fact is that CCS is a thorn in the side of WBC, and the three remaining committee members are not prepared to give up and give them an excuse to uncork the champagne bottles’.

Because of failing infrastructure, including inadequate roads, lack of employment, or a railway,  the society had scrutinised and opposed the vast majority of housing development. It had taken the four minutes allotted to public speakers – and its objections were both accurate and factual. Site visits were held with statutory authorities, including Thames Water, identifying serious concerns with the Cranleigh Waters and the Sewage Treatment Works. It had also appeared at all major public inquiries including those in Alfold and Dunsfold. 

ClientEarth (CE) had taken the Government to Court in December, due to its failure to deal with rising air pollution, and won! The society had sought its’ help, sending  a dossier outlining  the deteriorating state of Cranleigh Waters.

We received good and bad news – (CE) is only involved in air quality matters, the good news, so impressed was it by the extensive report it was passed on to the Environmental Law Foundation (ELF), which specialises in breaches of environmental law. ‘ELF has not only agreed to assist us, but we now have the pro bono services of a leading environmental barrister’.

The barrister was  of the opinion that case-law could be used by us to stop further development until Cranleigh Waters and the sewage works  are fit for purpose. This is now – work in progress’.

Further issues raised at the meeting will be featured in future posts. But suffice to say the Cranleigh Civic Society has gathered in new blood, and is fit for whatever is thrown at it. A full list of the new committee members is available on the Cranleigh Civic Society website. 

NB. Waverley’s new Managing Director responded immediately to an invitation to meet the society – and the meeting is to be held this week.

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