50 years ago today​ – the rains came down when Surrey – and parts of ‘Your Waverley’ went under water.

Here’s a map showing all the serious flood areas including Farnham, Elstead, Bramley, Alfold   Cranleigh and Godalming.  Homes and businesses wallowed in floodwater and raw sewage, and despite the herculean efforts of firefighters, nothing could stop the huge flow of water. It cascaded down from the hills above Cranleigh into the valley below. Parts of Godalming were cut off when the River Wey flooded the Lammas Lands.

Now planning permissions have been granted for new developments on floodplains all around the towns and villages affected by the 1968 floods! But it didn’t just end there on the days following the heavy rains over the 14/15 September 1968. Parts of the borough flooded again in 1981, 1985, 2014 and they will again! It is just a question of time because before heavy rains fall on our parade! The Waverley borough sits on heavy Wealden clay and includes rivers like the Wey through Godalming and the Cranleigh Waters which run into The Wey and onto Guildford and The Thames.   So the Waverley Borough’s problems then become Guildford’s problem and beyond!


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4 thoughts on “50 years ago today​ – the rains came down when Surrey – and parts of ‘Your Waverley’ went under water.

  1. I remember the 1968 floods. Contributing to Godalming’s isolation was the fact that the floods, Hells Ditch in particular, caused the railway bridge to collapse meaning no trains.

  2. After the 1968 flood in Cranleigh, which caused extensive damage, Surrey County Council created a run-off brook down the road from Ewhurst into Cranleigh and this brook diverts flood water in periods of heavy rain (such as in December 2013) to the agricultural land behind Sainsburys and beyond as far as the Elmbridge Road.

    The problem is that Waverley has been promoting new housing development on this area of land behind Sainsburys (the land that locals call the “flood plain” area as we’ve seen it flooded several times in the past few decades), and now most of the lowest lying land is being built on to create new housing estates.

    Cranleigh Civic Society sent Waverley a photo taken in December 2013 showing the Elmbridge Road housing site flooded (this site is currently being developed). There is a telegraph pole in the photo which is still there today which clearly shows where the water level is and one can project a level to the base of the telegraph pole to a nearby Ordnance Survey benchmark and then compare the water level to the surface water drainage system levels shown on the planning application drawings. It recently came to light that the Environment Agency were not asked by Waverley planning officers to model the effect in flooding on this site of dredging which was carried out upstream to move flood water towards this site, and that dredging was done AFTER the December 2013 flooding.

    Since January 2001, the insurance industry set up a scheme called Flood Re to cover flood damage in homes in the UK, but not for new housing developments built in flood risk areas because it was felt that local authorities would not allow new houses to be built. So it remains to be seen what will happen if any new homes get flooded in any of the areas you Waverley Web have identified on your map, because home owners will presumably have to sue Waverley for compensation.

    • They won’t listen to one word you say, Adrian until they all wake up and smell the floodwater and raw sewage that the residents of Cranleigh wallowed in will they?
      Which is the reason older Cranleigh residents are selling-up in their droves, but cannot sell!

  3. Adrian, a very interesting account but I think there may be a typo in your post. Didn’t Flood Re start in 2010 not 2001?

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