Will MP Angie have to say farewell to her hopes of “repurposing” the Downs Link in Waverley?


During her maiden speech, MP Angela Richardson said her mission was to re-purpose the old Horsham to Guildford railway line along the Downslink that runs through her Guildford & Cranleigh constituency. 

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If she’s sticking to her dream, she better put down her pad at the Tory Conference in Manchester and hop-a-long to Waverley Towers. Because it just about to trash her cunning plan.

Guildford MP pitches to open Guildford – Cranleigh trainline.

 Waverley Planning officers intend to recommend approval of – WA/2020/0004 – Erection of new bridges, construction of new canal cut, new footpaths and landscaping at Land Coordinates 502910 142158, Wey And Arun Canal, Rushett Common Bramley.

Officers claim that the proposed canal would represent an improvement to access to waterside leisure and bring landscape enhancements to the Downs Link.

They say:

Whilst it may prevent the Downs Link from being used for large scale sustainable transport infrastructure, such as tram or train, in the future as part of the Guildford to Cranleigh Sustainable Transport Corridor, no such scheme is planned at present or is viable in the past. The benefits of the project outweigh the benefits of safeguarding the land for potential transportation use. The Downs Link would remain as a useable sustainable transport corridor for walkers and cyclists.

Disaster for Cranleigh, Bramley, Shalford and Angie? Or a triumph for the Wey and Arun Canal Trust and all who sail with her?

Works currently being carried out on the Tickners Heath stretch in Alfold/Dunsfold

Former MP Anne Milton feared that opening up the old railway line for any form of transport system would open the floodgates along its length for wholesale development. Surely her predecessor wouldn’t want that – or would she now that she is working with Michael Gove Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.  The man who says he wants residents in future to be the overseers of developments!

The application for changes to the Wey and Arun will be considered by the  Eastern planning committee on 13 October. Officers acknowledge it will rule out the use of the Downslink forever as a sustainable transport corridor.

The Waverley Friends of the Earth has opposed it as it recognises that although there is no plan now for a transport route, no one knows what the future may bring. The private sector has opened many similar lines, and public funding isn’t always required.

Parish councils in Cranleigh, Bramley and Wonersh have no objection. 

Link to report. Public reports pack 20092021 1900 Overview Scrutiny Committee – Environment


4 thoughts on “Will MP Angie have to say farewell to her hopes of “repurposing” the Downs Link in Waverley?”

  1. A totally crazy and unbelievable decision. Never mind the words of politicians (how often are they honoured), the fact is that even more houses (and, therefore, people) are to be crammed onto the green fields south of Guildford. How many more cars will the A281 have to take during rush hours? Future pressure on transportation is certain – to remove the option of the reopening of the Downs Link is shortsighted in the extreme. Viability should not simply be measured in £ and p but should include the pollution created by miles of stationary vehicles and their contribution to the carbon budget. Madness.

  2. I think Waverley have taken a good decision here. I too like the idea of a reinstated train track (like the one between Romsey and Eastleigh) or a busway (like the one connecting Huntingdon to Cambridge), and earlier this year New Civil Engineer published details of 85 schemes like this vying for reinstatement in the UK. But the reality is that without huge compulsory land purchase, it isn’t possible to go any further from Cranleigh than to Shalfold, and not enough people would want to do that to make a train track or busway viable. Much better to encourage people to use buses on the roads instead, and increase bus volume capacity. The UK’s electric bus fleet is set to become the largest in Europe by end 2024, and as more schemes like the UK to Norway wind / hydropower (opened yesterday) go onstream, that has to be the best way to go.

  3. Has the Guildford decision been made? Because taking a deduction on this section has no merit without the part in Guildford. Which has come under intense opposition.

  4. Yes, but if you are on an electric bus in a traffic jam you are still in a traffic jam.
    I’m with cranleighman on this one.

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