That’s what the Chairman of Cranleigh Civic Society predicted when he urged its members to be vigilant and sign up to fight for Cranleigh through the organisation he now leads.
Although the CCS chairman claimed that consent had already been granted for 1,800 homes WW believes he meant that Waverley planners had granted consent. A final decision by the Secretary of State for Communities is expected next week 29th March. The Local Plan includes a figure of 2,600.
Over here in Farnham, we learned from our Cranleigh followers that concern is growing for the new town that nestles in the Surrey Hills! So much so, that with 1,357 homes already consented, there are fears that with many more to come, both there, and in the surrounding villages, the local infrastructure will not cope!
CRANLEIGH”S RECENT FLOOD FORUM NEWS.
MP Anne Milton and her Flood Forum team which including representatives from Thames Water, Waverley Borough Council and Surrey County Council responded to questions which had been sent to her in advance, including those from the Cranleigh Civic Society. She said she, and concerned villagers, now wanted some answers.
She urged the public to look at Cranleigh Parish Council’s website for news. http://www.cranleighpc.org/_VirDir/CoreContents/News/Display.aspx?id=11210
Around 60 people, including a handful of borough/or parish councillors heard from the ‘experts’ of any progress made since the last meeting.
Present: The Rt Hon Anne Milton MP (Chair); Waverley Borough Council (WBC): William Gibb, Planning Enforcement; Nick Laker, Engineer; Beverley Bell, Clerk, Cranleigh Parish Council; Sarah Coleby, Office of Anne Milton MP; Nishad Sowky, Thames Water; Paul Hudson, Environment Agency (EA); Tor Peebles, Surrey County Council (SCC); Parish Councillors – Brian Freeston; Angela Richardson; and borough councillor Patricia Ellis.
MISCONNECTIONS TO THE MAINS
Nishad Sowky, Thames Water said this was an ongoing battle and his organisation relied heavily upon intelligence provided by the public. A specialist engineer had been appointed and action planned. However, he stressed, TW couldn’t enforce any action required only Waverley Borough Council was permitted to do this. It was suggested homeowners should be required to provide evidence of approval if it was believed illegal connections had been made.
It was revealed that Cranleigh’s foul sewer was inundated with surface water or ingress from groundwater. With more housing, it was suggested that 12 times dry weather flow may be required, and a total upgrade was required to accommodate both current housing and the large-scale development now approved.
Cllr Townsend had previously requested a hotspot database be provided as she believed that residents local knowledge was crucial in identifying problems. These should be reported to the Parish Council, in addition to the relevant agencies, e.g. Thames Water/WBC’s Environmental Health/Environment Agency as appropriate.
Cranleigh Waters: Thames Water confirmed that the wet weather flow is 10 times the dry weather flow – whereas tank capacity is 6 times dry weather flow.
Waverley planners reported that the Local Plan includes a general policy on avoiding pollution and included measures for mitigating flooding.
It was stressed that flooding occurred less when the EA maintained the river, and that annual maintenance was vital. The importance of Riparian owners honouring their responsibilities was stressed, but the EA should move any obstructions whenever a specific flood risk existed.
Commenting on a decision made by Waverley’s Joint Planning Committee described as ‘awful’ by the CCS for 55 homes on a flood plain in Elmbridge Road, where Thakeham Homes scheme for 55 homes was granted despite huge local opposition, Tor Peebles (SCC) suggested that Waverley councillors who granted such schemes would benefit from improved knowledge of drainage issues! He believed councillors would benefit from extra training.
William Gibb, Planning Enforcement Waverley, suggested that some junior planning officers also lacked sufficient knowledge of drainage issues.
Mr Peebles also reiterated his claim that the National Standard for Sustainable Urban Drainage Schemes (SUDS) were not fit for purpose and gave as an example of a development on the river Test in Hampshire, where (SUDS) provided for new properties had now flooded! After receiving his letter on SUDS standards, the MP said she would take his concerns to a Government Minister.
Cranleigh Waters: Thames Water confirmed it had written to the owner of West Cranleigh Nurseries who, it is alleged, had illegally dredged the river. He said Waverley planners were aware of the breach and conditions would be imposed when its detailed planning application for the first phase of 265 homes was considered!
Planning Applications: The Cranleigh Society remained concerned about developments granted planning permission with no apparent objection by the EA, SCC or Thames Water, particularly the Thakeham Homes development.
Residents said it was ‘a disgrace’ that planners and the EA preferred to accept a developers evidence over anecdotal and photographic evidence provided by residents. Work was carried out by Adrian Clarke (Cranleigh Society) and Doug Hill (SCC) in 2015 to map the floodplain, including collecting and providing photographic evidence. They claimed this had not been properly considered and taken into account by SCC as the lead Flood Authority.
The MP said she would seek a meeting with Thakeham Homes and Cranleigh representatives.
DRINKING WATER CONCERNS
Thames Water claimed blue asbestos found in Cranleigh’s pipes were not a danger to public health. as there was a very low concentration. However, 3.38 km of water pipes would be replaced. This includes Mapledrakes Road, Godalming Road; Satchel Court Road; Barhatch Lane, Sapte Close, and Cromwell Road.
It was pointed out to the TW representative that most of the roads mentioned weren’t actually in Cranleigh but in other towns and villages including Alfold, Godalming and Ewhurst! And… if only 3.8 km of pipework was being replaced… this was a very small proportion of the work required!
The meeting heard that a response from The World Health Organisation through The Drinking Water Inspectorate (Sue Pennison) was still awaited. Residents commented that New Zealand and Australia were not waiting for the WHO’s decision, but had begun a huge replacement programme!