Not if the townsfolk have anything to do with it as they fight yet another green field from biting the dust.
More than 300 letters of objection from the townsfolk of Cranleigh are flooding into Waverley Towers. Many asking? Why hasn’t it advertised the controversial proposal more widely?
As ‘Your Waverley’s Planning Portal gets another beating from objectors one of THE top planning and development consultancies in the UK prepares to move Conrad Energy onto a site to the West of Stonescapes in the Guildford Road in the settlement of Rowly.
Lichfields claims to have –
“Helped create great places for over 50 years”
and has lodged a planning application for a – Flexible Electricity Generation and Battery Storage Facility, on behalf of its client, Conrad Energy (Developments) Limited [Conrad], for the…
It claims it is a ‘much-needed facility to serve Cranleigh and beyond – in line with Government’s National Policy for Fossil Fuel Electricity Generating Infrastructure (ENI).’
‘As electricity demand increases locally, for instance as a result of new housing and commercial development, the network reaches the point where it needs to be reinforced. Building this facility in this location will help to avoid the need for reinforcement of the distribution network because power is generated close to where it is used at 11 kV, which supports the local grid network. The proposed development, therefore, provides the dual benefit of helping National Grid balance electricity supply and demand nationally, while also strengthening the distribution network locally. Building this facility in this location avoids the need for reinforcement of the distribution network because power is generated close to where it is used.’
Did you see that? – To boost the network “Nationally?”
Be careful what you wish for?
So there you have it Cranleigh folk. All those guys and gals, three of whom live only a few hundred yards from the proposed facility – who wanted more footfall to the Cranleigh shops and were part of the posse of local councillors and developers who met in secret with Waverley Planners to build, build, build Cranleigh New Town – are now going to reap the benefits – along with their constituents?
The case of biter bit comes to mind!
So here’s what the company claims is required to meet the electricity and energy needs of Cranleigh tomorrow – today!
All just a hop, skip and a jump away from the homes of former Councillors Stewart and Jeannette Stennett. The home of former councillors the late Brian and his widow and WB Cllr Patricia Ellis and almost opposite the home of former Mayor Cllr Mary Foryzewski who attended the meeting but claims – she ‘didn’t speak’ and only attended to find out what the others were up too!
So here’s the development that will “fill the energy gap at short notice ‘ locally during high demand – when renewable energy can’t cope.
As the ‘last line of defence’ to prevent serious fluctuations and blackouts.
The flexible power generation plant is part of the Government’s Electricity Market Reform [EMR] package attracting £110 billion of investment to replace and upgrade the UK’s electricity infrastructure. The EMR was introduced by the Energy Act 2013 and adopted in June 2014. It is considered to be the …
‘biggest-ever shake-up of the UK’s energy sector and designed to • Decarbonise electricity generation; • Keep the lights on; and, • minimise the cost of electricity to consumers. It will also provide 15 jobs on the Cranleigh site.
This will be provided: • Up to 3 containerised gas-fuelled power units and a stack height of 7m; • 1 containerised battery storage unit (with a finished height of circa 4.5m); • Radiators; • Oil Tanks; • Welfare Cabin; • DNO Substation; • Gas Kiosk; • LV & HV Cabin; • CCTV • Transformer; • A 2.5m high-security fence surrounding the site; • Gated site entrance; and • Internal access road. Access and Security.
So how do Waverley borough and Surrey County Councils argue against such a proposal when they have both declared A Climate Emergency? Will they be between a rock and a hard place? Though the WW believes this proposal is in direct conflict with the principles of Waverley’s Carbon Neutrality Action Plan 2020 – 2030.
The access to the site is off the existing access point on the B2138 Guildford Road at Stonescapes close to the entrance to the Manfield Park Industrial Estate. It is on farmland and in The Green Belt.
However, The eastern planning committee has already over-ruled an officers recommendation to refuse development in the Green Belt in the Guildford Road! For whom we hear you ask? Yes, you guessed Cllr Stewart Stennett!
Philip Scattergood a former parish councillor in Bramley Surrey says:
“As a Homeowner, I am advised by Government Planning NOT to replace my Gas Boiler with an alternative Gas Based Boiler. To comply with the Green Policies surely this should use an alternative to gas such as Solar Panels so this location would be inappropriate.”
A villager and neighbour says:
We live on Guildford Road only 353 metres from this Green Belt site and have very grave concerns about the impact this application could have on our home and lives as well as that of our friends, neighbours and fellow villagers. This site has a very sorry history and we have already experienced considerable upset and turmoil trying to continually protect our home from misuse for over 15 years. We are saddened, exhausted and distressed that once again there continue to attempt to destroy our rural surrounding and enjoyment of our home in the Green Belt. We wish to most strongly object to this application for the following reasons:
– Unsuitability of the Green Belt Site There needs to be exceptional circumstances for development to be permitted in the Green Belt. A case for exceptional circumstances has not been met by this application so we cannot see any reason for this to be allowed. It’s frankly ludicrous to think that this site and the other sites they propose in Cranleigh/Rowly are the only places in the County or Country where there are a substation and gas supply in the vicinity. Let us not be deceived by the applicant’s weak attempt to say this is the only place this development can go.
Why should it go to Cranleigh at all???
The Assessment Criteria for the site is totally incorrect as follows! Physical Development Constraints – The site is surrounded by residential properties and sensitive receptors!!! Visual Intrusion – It will cause visual intrusion as it will be clearly seen from the Guildford Road and surrounding residential properties to the South, South East, East and North East !!! there is only screening on one side! Also, the Stonescapes current planning permission is not for an industrial site (as they keep quoting) in the application!
The green space is gradually being eroded outside of the permitted area of the current Certificate of Lawfulness and no one is doing anything about it. On 6th October 2015, the Waverley Head of Planning Services wrote to the Traffic Commissioner and said that in Waverley’s view the use of the site as an HGV Operating Centre would result in unacceptable traffic, noise, vibration and fumes. He also wrote it would result in an unacceptable level of visual intrusion in the Green Belt. Thankfully the Traffic Commissioner agreed and refused the licence. We now wholeheartedly hope that the same sentiment from Waverley will be upheld to protect the Green Belt from this far worse proposal.
Many hundreds of other objectors provide a whole gamut of reasons why the development should be opposed. They cite:
- Road danger, policy constraints, no need for more power from out-dated technology – (due to the movement away from gas); noise and pollution, 7 metre-high chimneys; contamination and more, much more.
- There are also some strong objections to the existing Stonescapes facility where the locals claim the owner appear to run rough-shod over the planning system – and nuisance caused by Tunnell Grab Services lorries.
More information on this subject and public comments will be included in future posts on the Waverley Web. – including those of Cranleigh Parish Council.
NB. An application for two gas-fired units was granted Nr Selby in Yorkshire in 2019 by the Secretary of State for Energy & Industry. His decision was appealed in the Court of Appeal – but was subsequently granted by the Court.