Wey & Arun Canal Trust on its way to Guildford?

Waverley Planners have given the Canal Trust the all-clear to forge its way towards Guildford – by just one vote! 

 A decision which could scupper in its wake an end to plans to open up a rapid transport route along the Downslink from Horsham to Guildford!

Disaster for Cranleigh, Bramley, Shalford and Guildford MP Angie’s “repurposing” ambitions? Or a triumph for the Wey and Arun Canal Trust and all who sail with her?

The eastern planning committee has considered and approved plans for the erection of new bridges, construction of a new canal cut, new footpaths and landscaping at Land At Coordinates 502910 142158, at Rushett Common Bramley.

Cannot imagine what MP Angie make of this decision? She used the phrase “repurposing” the Downslik for transport as her primary ambition in her maiden speechDid she mean boating to work along the Wey and Arun, we wonder?

Will MP Angie say farewell to her hopes of &#8220, repurposing ” the Downs Link in Waverley?

Guildford MP pitches to open Guildford – Cranleigh trainline.

 The vote to end the Downs link as a sustainable transport link (against all Waverley local plans and Surrey County Council’s policies) was passed by one vote at an eastern planning committee.  Officers claimed that the proposed extension to the canal would improve access to waterside leisure and bring landscape enhancements to the Downs Link.
Officers referred to saved policy (DM33)  from 2002 for a sustainable transport corridor in the draft LPP2 (now out to public consultation).   The Draft LPP2 is not yet a material consideration, so the new policy did not apply.
Those Against and Those FOR.
Godalming Extinction Rebellion, Waverley Friends of the Earth, Waverley Cycle Forum, Waverley Ramblers are all furious! However, some Waverley councillors are “very excited” at the prospect.
Can you commute from Horsham to Guildford via Cranleigh & Bramley by Canal Boat – is this what councillors envisaged??
Is this really what all those environmentalists among ‘Your Waverley’ really think is the way forward for sustainable green transport. 

Planning Officers said:

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.

Cllr Richard Seaborne (Con, Bramley) said a survey in 2017 revealed that two-third of residents backed the Donwslink for use by walkers, cyclists and horse riders and half were “strongly against” bringing back the railway. One third were against the extension of the canal, and 20% supported the scheme. In other words – Bramley wants the status quo.
Here’s a clip of what Cranleigh Cllr Liz Townsend  said:
Cllr Ruth Reed Lib Dem Cranleigh was against the proposal, claiming it would “put a spanner in the works” of introducing a transport corridor from the South Coast through West Sussex into Surrey. She said she recognised Cllr Seaborne’s concerns as he lived in Linersh Wood, an area of Bramley affected by the return of the railway.

Cllr Martin D’Arcy (Con Bramley, Busbridge & Hascombe) said he supported the canal trust’s efforts, saying:
“It seems to me quite clear this scheme will prejudice any future transport schemes – so we simply cannot permit this. The applicant should have kept to its own route. This will create a complete obstruction”
Neither was the scheme compatible with efforts to sustain the biodiversity of the areas. Removal of trees,  habitat and wildlife, including bats, will affect the wildlife corridor. Motorised craft along the canal was not compatible with biodiversity, though a 650-metre long pond might be quite pretty.
“We cannot fool ourselves. I say to the Wey Arun Canal Trust – build your canal but not on the Downslink please we need it for our future transport needs.”
Pictures of recent Trust works carried out.

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