Cranleigh’s premier store to become Retirement Homes?

Waverley Planners are currently considering the re-development of the famous local department store David Manns.

The demise of the popular store designated as a ‘building of local merit’ which has dominated Cranleigh’s High Street for 150 years closed its doors in 2021.

Although application information states that the whole site is to be demolished – thanks to the efforts of local councillors, the frontage will remain, and according to former owners, Richard Womack and Nick & Rowena Vrijland 5,000 sq ft will stay as retail unit/s.

 Agents for the developers say a  detailed assessment of the existing buildings was undertaken to understand, whether in their opinion,  they are of heritage interest and how they contribute to the significance of Manns of Cranleigh furniture shop and café (identified as a building of local merit; no. 101-105 High Street).

Their assessment concluded that the existing buildings within the site are not commensurate with identification as buildings of local merit nor comprise non-designated heritage assets.

Removal of these buildings would not diminish or affect the ability to experience and appreciate the Manns of Cranleigh furniture shop and café (no. 101-105 High Street) and its key setting would be retained. Consequently, no harm has been identified


Churchill Retirement Homes want to build 38 units to include 18 parking spaces, two reserved for an adjoining property (Cromwell House) the former cafe, subject to a further application for residential use.

WA/2022/00657 Rear of David Mann and Sons LTD, 101 High Street, Cranleigh Erection of 38 retirement housing units including parking, pedestrian access, communal facilities and landscaping following demolition of existing buildings.

Cranleigh Parish Council has objected to the scheme as have some residents. They say a flood report should have been included;  an exercise should have been carried out on the viability of the retail use before sanctioning its loss, and the type of housing is not required as there are plenty of retirement properties at Elmbridge Village and the new Renaissance Retirement flats recently opened in Horsham Rd.

Members agreed that the public engagement was minimal, given the impact the proposal will have on the surrounding area.

The only positive Members could find with the application is that “it is within the village and High Street.”

 Parking for only 16 cars was  “extremely inadequate,’  for the High St location and the volume of housing proposed. It fears Churchill residents will be forced to park In Victoria Road in Rowly’s Car Park or the congested areas around the site. 

Access for emergency vehicles in Victoria Road to the back of the site would be difficult as would lorry delivery to the future retail units from the High Street.

The wall between the site and Onslow Mews must be retained to keep the areas separate and prevent through traffic.

The access to and from the site poses dangers to pedestrians and vehicles entering and exiting the site.   The Parish Council claimed the applicants had misunderstood the needs of the elderly demographic in a rural village setting.

  • There may be negative impacts to the existing pub and school, due to future complaints of noise and disruption to the potential occupants, therefore preventing the future growth of Cranleigh.
  •  There is a lack of convenient access to the High Street for the potential occupants who use mobility scooters or walking aids, due to the narrow nature of the alleyway between the shop front of the site and Oliver House. This would result in many of the potential occupants accessing the High Street via Victoria Road. • Members would like to see the pictures of Victoria Road retaken to show a true view of the road, as it has been taken at a rare time of day where cars are not parked as they usually would be, and the angle of the picture suggests the road is wider than it is. •
  • The only positive Members could find with the application is that it is within the village and High Street.

Senior highway authority officer Richard Cooper has also raised serious concerns about delivery lorries doing three-point turns in the middle of the high street near a pedestrian crossing. 

Here is his comment.

document 8572108

Here’s a Letter from one of the owners. document 8464158

Here’s an objection letter from a resident.

It will be up to officers to determine the application under their delegated powers – so it will not be determined by the Eastern Area Planning Committee.

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