Here at the Waverly Web we have often wondered why people buy homes around picturesque cricket grounds and then start moaning about cricket balls flying around. Or in Cranleigh’s case “horrible” unsightly” cricket practice nets that prevent them flying around!
Probably because the thwack of leather on willow and games played by men in whites on picturesque village greens paint a picture of idyllic village life – but the reality is slightly different.
Along with the typically English country scene – comes the downside! BALLS – which sometimes have to be contained by… NETS!
We once heard of a Waverley borough local who let his dog crap on the cricket pitch while youngsters were having a game near his home. He claimed as it was recreation or common land, he was quite within his rights!
The Secretary of Cranleigh Cricket Club when faced with a £6,000 bill for removing, and replacing this metal structure every year said removing them every season would severely impact on the club’s finances and its ability to provide coaching for over 200 youngsters, both on Cranleigh Common – land’ and at local schools.
He stressed permanent nets was a “standard requirement” of the English Cricket Board, and a bid by neighbours to have them removed and re-erected every season was unheard of anywhere else in the county, or anywhere in the country!
He argued, that the club, which had played on Cranleigh Common for more than 150 years, was a thriving asset which in addition to coaching its own members coached children at three local primary schools.
However, Cranleigh parish councillor Rosemary Burbridge described the new nets as ‘horrible’ saying they were both detrimental to the area and the residents’ amenities in the Conservation Area and they should not be permitted to stay. Councillor Patricia Ellis agreed, saying the frame was both “unsightly and unattractive.” Councillor Liz Townsend agreed but said a “compromise” could be found.
Neighbour Richard Everett pictured, said although he was “supportive of the game of cricket”…
which presumably is why he bought a home overlooking the common?
Believed Waverley’s eastern planning committee had an “obligation to uphold the Conservation Area Act and protect the character and appearance of the area.” So the cricket net structure should be removed at the end of every season and re-erected in April!
While councillors deliberated the officers’ recommended to allow an existing planning condition to be changed giving the club the flexibility for the structure to remain with nets being removed after the last competitive game in September, and for -paraphernalia – screens to be re-sited. Councillor Mary Foryszewski said perhaps “compromise” was the answer.” The club said painting the structure GREEN, would make it less intrusive. Councillor Stewart Stennett agreed saying, the so-called ‘untidy paraphernalia’ – e.g. screens which had been there for over 100 years – were on wheels and could be moved around the common whenever the club liked.
So, he said: for goodness sake grant permission and let me go home and get my tea.”
We wonder what comes next?
Banning parking around Cranleigh Common, no doubt? After all who wants cars, bringing in spectators, cluttering up residents’ front yards!