Wey & Arun Canal – v- Transport Corridor on the Downs Link…continued

The Update Sheet provided by Surrey County Council to members of the public and Waverley Planners on the above application bamboozled us here at the Waverley Web and a great many residents too, according to our postbag.  

 It wasn’t that it lied, but by leaving out some key bits of information – like dates – it manages to give completely the wrong impression and manipulate the truth…

Here’s a link to the debate and decision.  Wey and Arun Canal Bramley stretch – sunk?

Here’s a follower’s comment that he was unable to post with parts highlighted in red on our comments page.

The reopening of the railway line was not supported by SCC in its 2013 Transport Strategy – The line was closed in 1965 due to low profitability – Consideration was given by the County Council and the rail industry in 1996 and 1997 as to whether the Cranleigh to Guildford line could viably be reinstated. In 1996 Railtrack decided that this would be feasible from an engineering perspective but would have environmental impacts. –The 1997 report into feasibility by Surrey however concluded that most trips in the area were not between Guildford and Cranleigh and only 3% of capital costs would be recouped in the first year. The 2013 Surrey Rail Strategy notes that in 1997 reinstatement of the Guildford/Cranleigh line.

“was rejected because of the lack of a viable business case.”

Previous detailed feasibility studies into the scheme in 1997 carried out for Surrey County Council concluded that patronage would be insufficient to justify the significant cost of rail line re-opening. As SCC haven’t looked into this since 1997, there is obviously no evidence to suggest that the fundamental drivers of demand have changed substantially since these studies were carried out in the 1990s although they obviously have. The County Council, therefore, for reasons best known to itself (and certain people then in charge at Waverley) decided in 2013 to undertake no further work on this proposal.

It is suggested that improvement to bus services between Guildford and Cranleigh, and the measure to address current traffic congestion are developed rather than a rail solution

 (Well, that’s been a resounding success, hasn’t it?)

Surrey strongly supports the former railway line being used as a transport link for walkers, horse riders and cyclists but as the writer of this update sheet really wants to support this application by the Wey and Arun Canal Trust which helpfully destroys any chance of using the Downslink for other transport he won’t be backing the local walkers, horse riders and cyclists, Cycling UK and Surrey Countryside and Access Forum who all objected strongly to the Wey & Arun Canal Trust’s proposal.

The 2020 Surrey Rail Strategy by Arup also does not support the reinstatement of the line because they didn’t look at the reinstatement of any lines but Arups did say that as one of four major new housing settlements Dunsfold Park needed an alternative to rail but didn’t suggest what that might be.

Based on its 1996 and 1997 studies, and in spite of the fact they are now 25 years old,
SCC still thinks the rail line may not cover operating costs or significant capital costs although in 2009 the Association of Train Operating Companies thought it was one of the top 9 lines in the country with a financial case for reinstatement, but SCC still prefers and relies on its 1997 viability report, but what do they know?


According to Michael Goodridge, MBE, there is no capacity at Guildford Station to reintroduce the line.

Here at the Waverley Web, we find it inconceivable that after taking part in the debate, having their say, and listening to all views, including public speakers, that some councillors then ABSTAINED from voting.


9 thoughts on “Wey & Arun Canal – v- Transport Corridor on the Downs Link…continued”

  1. But the second verse of that rhyme reads
    “But when you’ve practised quite a while
    How vastly you improve your style.”

  2. Most councillors at Waverley committees who abstain are conservatives (carrying plenty of baggage I expect)
    Abstentions should be used sparingly when you cant decide which way to vote. But in many cases they know exactly which way to vote, but would rather hide behind the smokescreen of abstention from fear of recrimination from their residents or other interested “groups”

  3. So who abstained this time? I did watch the last one – the October one – but the Chair didn’t bother to read the result of the vote out – he just burbled with the person next to him and I still don’t really know what happened last time….

    1. Looking back on our notes re-voting, which became very confused during the counting process, Cllrs Heagin, Deanus and Follows would appear to have abstained.

  4. Just to clarify a few things from the meeting on the night….

    Steve Williams (Green Party) wasn’t on the panel but as the Environment Portfolio Holder on the Executive spoke against the Wey and Arun proposal before the main debate began. He made a very strong speech against the proposal. which, let’s remember, will destroy the only route capable of reintroducing sustainable transport to Cranleigh, overriding Waverley planning policy of 40 years. Thankfully he can see the bigger and longer term picture, unlike some of his colleagues in the coalition, so many thanks to him for that. I thought the contributions by Councillors Cosser, D’Arcy and Reed were also very well made on the night.

    Cllr Maxine Gale had the good sense to call for a recorded vote for the first vote, on whether or not to grant or refuse which made it a lot easier to follow.

    It was 4 for the Wey and Arun proposal Cllrs Townsend (Lib Dem), Rivers (Lib Dem), Goodridge (Conservative) and Ellis (Conservative), 7 against doing this – Cllrs Gale (Ind), Cosser (Conservative), D’Arcy (Green Party), Henry (Conservative), Howard (Conservative), Sadler (Conservative) and Reed (Lib Dem), and 3 abstentions, Cllrs Follows (Lib Dem, Council Leader), Deanus (Conservative) and Heagin (Lib Dem).

    So it certainly didn’t split down party lines.

    Then there was a debate about the reasons to refuse and then a second vote on the reasons. That wasn’t a recorded vote but I think the 4 who voted against continued to vote against and 2 of the abstainers switched to support the reasons to refuse as I seem to recall it was 9:4:1 on this, but I could be wrong. Cllr Follows switched to support the reasons to refuse but I’m not sure who the other was but I think it may have been Joan Heagin with Kevin Deanus continuing to abstain.

    1. Here at the Waverley Web, we only wish that the Chair of committees could read out the voting figures. Why is it so difficult? The Chair looks at a clerk, the clerk whispers something incomprehensible, and the public, who pays their wages, is continuously left in the dark. It is high time ‘Your Waverley’ shaped up. Remember, meetings are PUBLIC MEETINGS – not private taking shops!

      1. WW – I couldn’t agree with you more ….but recorded votes take up time, which they don’t like,
        Perhaps there is a compromise, perhaps if the Chair had a list of those on the committee and voting perhaps she (as it is at the moment) could read the list out and how an individual voted for the benefit of the public so we know how our representatives have voted. Councillors may not realise themselves that the webcam camera remains fixed on the Chair during voting, it doesn’t pan back to show the chamber.

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