Cranleigh’s premier department store goes into liquidation



David Mann … in 1910

Was it COVID or developers that finally killed off David Mann and Sons in Cranleigh? The high street store which symbolised the face of Cranleigh for 133 years has gone into voluntary liquidation. Rumours, we are told by the locals over there, have been rife for over a year that the store was heading for closure.

There is no doubt that the retail sector has been badly punished by the Coronavirus epidemic but is the latest victim, a store that has a county-wide reputation built up over 133 years, another victim of the vicious virus? Or was the store always gleam in the eyes of the developer partnership of Nick Vrijland and Andy Leahy? Mr Vrijland’s burgeoning property portfolio also includes the adjacent properties – of Oliver House. He was also the owner of the Knowle Park Initiative site at West Cranleigh Nurseries. Sold to housing association A2 Dominion shortly after planning consent was granted to build “homes for village people?” Although consent was given in 2017 – so far not a home built on the former nursery and a detailed scheme, yet to be approved.

Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce sought major development in Cranleigh. In fact, it was instrumental in campaigning for and supporting the huge number of new homes being built in the village – dubbed as the largest village in England.” The village that the Chamber of Commerce publicly called for the house-building explosion, saying what the ‘new town’ needed was  …

“More footfall for local shops.”

Now, with many empty shops lining its high street, despite the valiant efforts of many local entrepreneurs setting up their stall only to fail, the developers are moving in.

It is no secret that the majority owner of the store Dutch nurseryman turned Developer Nick Vrijland – wants to build 90 flats on the David Manns site. The Waverley Web understands this scheme found no favour with Waverley Planners during their initial discussions – but a slimmed-down scheme will presumably soon be considered.

David ~Mann Today.

So gone are the days when the premier store was a magnet for local people, many of whom furnished their homes from top to bottom with its wares.

 One of its past amazing Christmas Window displays is featured here. Displays which we understand from the locals over there won many awards. 

Will a  shop remain to front the high street called ?? You’ve heard of Pound land how about VRI’LAND? Because Vri in Dutch means Free!

14 thoughts on “Cranleigh’s premier department store goes into liquidation

  1. Pedfantry note – I think “The village that the Chamber of Commerce publicly called for” should be “The vision…” ?

    • That of course is an opinion the is not necessarily shared by everyone in Cranleigh, judging by the numerous comments and e-mails we receive.

  2. Statement from the Directors of David Mann & Sons Ltd.

    Due to the recent challenging retail environment coupled with the impact of COVID-19 the directors decided to take early and decisive action to seek advice on the options for the company to enable it to continue trading, survive the pandemic and trade strongly thereafter.

    As a result, the directors appointed advisors to assist them with the company’s restructuring, to address legacy creditors and future proof the company in this current economic climate.

    Following the guidance provided, the decision was taken to propose a company voluntary arrangement (CVA).

    The CVA proposal will enable David Mann & Sons Limited, with appropriate professional support, to provide a mechanism which will allow the company to have a more profitable and flexible business structure thus making sure we have adapted in these unprecedented times appropriately.

    We can confirm that David Mann & Sons Ltd. is not in liquidation and look forward to reopening just as soon as this current lockdown allows.

    • Thank you for setting the record straight. At no time did we say the business was closing. However the Waverley Web was informed by a Mann’s customer that she had been told by an employee of the company who is dealing with her order, that the company was being liquidated.

      We understand that a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) means that directors believe that their company is a viable business that can return to profitability.

      It can use a CVA to pay an amount to creditors over a period of time, and at the end of the CVA, any balance outstanding to creditors is written off. However, creditors are required to agree to a CVA and if they agree, the company can continue trading.

      As we explained in the article, it is common knowledge that the owners are seeking to re-develop the site, and are currently working on the design of a large number of flats.

      However, it must be heartening if the huge response we have received is anything to go by, that Manns is a highly respected company and its large department store has a very special place in many of its customers’ hearts.

      Let us all hope David Manns remains to serve the people in the eastern villages and beyond for many years to come.

  3. Having recently moved to Cranleigh I have found Mann’s my ‘go to store’ … It supplies this now expanding village with a superb service similar to John Lewis.
    Surely with the influx of so many new residents its future should be ‘rosey’.
    I feel sure that the Council will NOT, under any circumstances, approve a development of flats. Totally out of keeping with the High Street.

  4. Yes, We understand from the locals over there that Manns is a much-loved store – and if it goes will be mourned by many.
    However, as you so rightly say, with the influx of so many new residents Waverley Planners may take the view – if and when they receive an application for a change of use – that the store and its environs should remain exactly as it is.

  5. David Manns are NOT in liquidation and they are NOT closing, They have issued a full statement which you can find on Cranleigh Community Group on Facebook.
    I also had to issue an apology to David Manns for copying this to my Facebook group.

  6. Lets hope it stays open. I did like the idea for it to be broken into smaller units for ‘pop-up’ shops by local people once lock down restrictions ease. I used to be crafty and I would have loved the opportunity to get my creations out.

  7. Perhaps the very idea of closure will urge people to actually shop there. We have bought all our furniture and carpets from Mann’s in the past and still shop there when possible.

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