A deputation led by Andy Webb delivered petitions containing four thousand signatures to the Deputy Leader of Waverley Borough Council today Monday as officers were preparing to notify the applicants – its scheme was REFUSED.
The decision was made by planning officers under their delegated powers – and will not now be heard by the Joint Planning Committee. The reasons for refusal have not yet been announced. But it is believed the scheme was not appropriate in its present form.
The unprecedented deluge of objections against a Cranleigh Charity’s planning application has almost buried ‘The Bury’s’ in Godalming – Waverley’s headquarters. It is the largest number of objections the authority has ever received for a village application, rivalled only by over 5,000 objections made against the huge redevelopment in the centre of Farnham.
Its planning portal has also registered a staggering 300 letters of objections from residents of the eastern villages, including donors from all over the country and abroad.
Cranleigh Village Hospital Trust lodged a planning application in February 2018 to build an £18m care home for the national private home operator HC-One. However, its Its 20-year quest was to build a Hospital. This became a 60-bed care home including 20 ‘community beds’ and a 28-bedsit hostel for health workers for the Guildford & Waverley CCG. Soon to become a huge organisation covering Surrey and East Hampshire – to be called Surrey Heartlands.
Anger has mounted among thousands of small and larger donors of the £1.5m plus collected by Cranleigh Village Hospital Trust for a replacing the old Cranleigh Village Hospital. This was intended for the exclusive use of the eastern villages. This then morphed into the facilities mentioned above for the CCG area, giving rise to a tidal wave of anger which has multiplied into an uproar in recent months. Public meetings have brought calls for land donated by Cranleigh Parish Council to be returned to the village, and a land-swap quashed.
Much of the frustration has been prompted by a lack of transparency by the Charity who have stubbornly refused to face villagers and explain reasons for its change of plans. It argued it would update everyone once permission was in the bag.
Forensic accountants have also poured over the charity’s accounts, and want numerous questions answered on how public donations were spent. The upset has caused a breakdown in relations between the charity and its partners, the parish council and the Cranleigh Village Hospital League of Friends. The latter organisation operates outpatient clinics and a new £500,000 X-Ray department.
Villagers are now fundraising to improve the facilities there – and, it is believed it has been short-listed to become a new Urgent Care Centre.
The bid to stop the development escalated this week when the petition was handed over to Waverley’s Deputy Leader Paul Follows by its instigator Alfold villager Andy Webb founder of the Cranleigh Community Group – that has championed villagers fight to stop the scheme in its tracks. Cllr Follows attended the public meeting called by Mr Webb.
In addition to the local protest – The Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Guildford has also issued a press release this week condemning the project.
There are doubts whether the applicant (CVHT) two of whose Trustees are successful developers, will appeal the decision. Already villagers say they will fight on until the bitter end.