Cranleigh townsfolk have awarded NIL POINT to their so-called leaders for lending their support to a ginormous Nursing Home on land the Parish once owned!
But 10/10 goes to parish councillors ANGELA RICHARDSON and JAMES BETTS (Cranleigh’s very own Angela Merkel and All-Betts-Are-Off) for speaking out vociferously against a scheme to build a £30-40 million private nursing home and then … wait for it … wait for it … drum roll: ABSTAINING FROM THE VOTE!
What a cop out!
SHAME ON THEM! Weren’t they elected to do their best for the residents and businesses of the Cranleigh Parish? Or perhaps they weren’t actually elected? However, – like the rest of the Tory Tossers at this particular point in time – the Cranleigh and Ewhurst duo are only interested in doing what’s best for themselves.
They’re sitting on the fence because they want the local voting fodder to support their bid to represent them when they stand as Conservative candidates for the hotly-contested Waverley Borough Council seats in May’s elections. But, on this performance, they’ve as much chance of that happening as turkeys voting for Christmas!
For those who haven’t been following the Cranleigh Village (don’t mention the Hospital-word!) debacle over there in the East of the borough, it’s the one where local residents, schools, businesses and other organisations worked their socks off fundraising for a new village hospital only to discover that the millions they raised weren’t going towards providing the promised VILLAGE HOSPITAL/Day Hospital but had been diverted to fund a PRIVATELY OWNED NURSING HOME with a mere 20 out 80 beds being made available for local and not so local people!
In other words, the residents of Cranleigh and the surrounding villages did all the heavy-lifting in terms of fundraising and then the Trustees of the – in name only – Cranleigh Village Hospital Trust, did the dirty on them by selling out to HC-One, a multi-million pound PRIVATE CARE HOME FACILITY!
And it that wasn’t bad enough, it’s now been revealed that Cranleigh Village (don’t mention the H-word!) Trust duped the Parish Council into parting with parish-owned land for a measly £1! Yep, that’s right, a valuable site that belonged to the residents of Cranleigh was sold for a mere £1 plus a land swap!!!
Almost 20 years ago – Parish Councillors were led to believe it was a good deal, in the public interest, because in return, they were told the land would become the home of a new all-singing-all-dancing Cranleigh Village Hospital + a Day Hospital!
The land swap in question is surrounded by a ransom strip and included planning conditions stipulating that essential road improvement and traffic calming measures must be employed. These measures were considered absolutely essential because Knowle Lane – like it says on the can – is a narrow country lane with no footpaths and a business called Kerbside operates a hop, skip and a car away from the junction onto Cranleigh High Street, changing tyres at the kerbside. Something that frequently causes utter chaos at busy times of the day!
As is so often the case – and, no doubt many were counting on – Waverley’s planning numpties didn’t bother to enforce any of the above mentioned essential planning conditions and now the residents and businesses of Cranleigh have the worst of all possible worlds:
However, in his infinite wisdom, Chairman of the Parish Council, the late unlamented Brian Ellis, took it upon himself with help from Richard Cole and a CVHTrustee to grant access over Parish owned land to Snoxhall fields to provide a very VALUABLE-TO-DEVELOPER access to 28 rabbit hutches for NHS workers! For – yes you guessed ZILCH!
Does a private nursing home need to provide homes for NHS workers? When right next door the Berkeley Bunnies are building 425-homes which includes a percentage of affordable homes just a hop, skip and a jump away from the private nursing home?
Why can’t 28 of the Berkeley Bunnies’ affordable hutches be earmarked for NHS workers?
• No new Village Hospital
• A privately owned nursing home in its place on a site that was acquired from the village for the princely sum of £1! And and a Right of Way for zilch.
• No essential road improvements
• 425 houses accessing onto the very narrow and pavement-less Knowle Lane
• 28 more homes adjacent to and associated with the privately owned nursing home
You couldn’t make it up! Seriously you couldn’t!
Meanwhile, the Trustees of Cranleigh Village (don’t mention the H-word!) Trust is spinning a web of ever-increasing bunkum to Cranleigh’s planning committee about all the so-called benefits to so-called “local” people” about HC-One’s amazing new 60-bed private hotel-in-all-but-name!
To add insult to injury, not to mention rubbing salt into the wound (no pun intended), they’ve omitted to mention the cherry on the icing on HC-One’s cake: their multi-millionaire owner has just sold out to Australian Pension giant AMP!
AMP swooped in and snapped up the Care Management Group, a chain of 90 care homes with 2,000 patients, from turnaround specialist Court Cavendish which also owns – you guessed it! – HC-ONE, for a stonking £200 MILLION!
Owner of HC-ONE, multi-millionaire, Mr Chai Patel says investing in the care home sector can still be a winner, despite social care providers continuing to suffer from uncertainty over funding following a decade of austerity.
Swapping your tea for Moet Mr Patel?
“You can have an investment in this sector and continue to do well both for residents and colleagues as well as investors.”
Well, of course you can, Mr Patel, when you have land that was sold for £1 handed to you on a plate – complete with a garnish of rabbit-hutches, otherwise known as residential development – by the townsfolk of Cranleigh, and then you sell it on – without even breaking a sweat, let alone ground! – to another provider for a stonking great profit!
So, Cranleigh voting fodder, remember that it was the abstentions by ANGELA RICHARDSON AND JAMES BETTS – two politically ambitious Cranleigh councillors – who allowed planning committee stand-in chairman Richard Cole to use his casting vote to permit Cranleigh Village (don’t mention the H-word) Trust to use money raised under false pretences by the people of the parish to wave through a privately owned nursing home by a wealthy Australian Pensions giant!
When you go to the ballot box in May you need to remember that it was ANGELA and MICHAEL who didn’t put their votes where their mouths were. Which begs the BIG questions about whether or not they can be trusted to do the right thing by Cranleigh residents or, as they demonstrated last night, will they only ever think about doing the right thing for themselves and their political ambitions?
In these difficult times, Cranleigh needs true statesmen-like leaders, not these politically-minded pygmies!