Churchill Retirement Homes are on their way to Cranleigh town – as Waverley Planners approve 38 apartments on the site of the 138-year-old department store.
The national retirement home provider initially wanted 90 apartments on the site! But their ambitious plans were trimmed by ‘Your Waverley’s’ local councillors concerned about the integrity of the ‘building of historical and local merit’ adjacent to the Conservation Area in an Area of High Archaeological Importance.
However, not everyone is happy about the huge change in the centre of Cranleigh High Street – though the chamber of Trade gives its full backing despite the trading floor area on the front of the site being slashed to around 5,000 sq ft. It believes it is far more important to provide the town with more footfall.
Some of the townsfolk are wondering how Thames Water intends to supply the site after the town hit the national headlines when it ran dry during August. It tells the planners – no problem.
There are no affordable homes provided but the developer will contribute £245,176 to provide 1.2 units elsewhere in Waverley.
The elephant in the room for Waverley’s beleaguered planners is the fact it doesn’t have a 5-year housing land supply – in fact, it only has 4.3 yrs. So if it refused the scheme, it would go back to a Government Inspector who would most likely give the go-ahead.
WHY? As it cannot demonstrate a Five-Year Housing Land Supply, the most important policies for the determination of this application are out of date.
The failure of the Dunsfold Garden Village to begin the development of the first phase of 1,600 homes of an eventual 2,300 – has opened the floodgates for development everywhere in Waverley.
And neighbours are non too happy either. Here are some of their concerns.
- Under provision of parking. Unclear whether a boundary wall between the application site would remain or be removed. The removal would lead to parking and access concerns. Concern relating to a Tree in Onslow Mews Housing density is too high for the site. Allocated parking spaces for Oliver House do not provide adequate turning space and signify that the use may change to residential.
- The proposal removes rear servicing to the commercial/ retail units fronting the High Street, which will result in congestion on the High Street. Increased traffic and noise disturbance. The area does not need more retirement homes.
- Pedestrian access is unsafe vis Victoria Road. Concerns regarding drainage on Victoria Road to support new development. There is currently a large diesel storage tank under the current car park of the site. Conditions should restrict vehicular access to the site to avoid school traffic and protect residential amenities. Victoria Road will be damaged by construction vehicles.
Letters expressing support: as ‘ Good use of a brownfield site.’
Heritage Assets potentially affected: • Grade II listed building – Oliver House (93-97 High Street) • Building of Local Merit – 101-105 High Street • There is also a row of listed buildings to the west of the site however, it is considered that they would not be affected by the proposal. Oliver House (93-97) is a 17th-century timber-framed house which has more recently been used as a retail/café, clad in red and blue brick with tile-hung return walls and hipped plain tiled roof with 19th and 20th-century alterations including a slate roof at the rear.
101-105 High Street is a 19th-century tile-hung shop that David Mann opened in 1887 (it may have been in use as a dwelling or another shop before then).
The shop is an important part of the social history of the area as a local department store which has survived for over 100 years. Between 1914 & 1933 it was connected to a slightly earlier timber-framed cottage which was altered to include the shop windows. The rear of the site comprises a collection of buildings from various phases relating to the commercial use of the site, apart from the early 20th-century workshop, they have no heritage value. The frontage plays a significant role in the street scene of the conservation area.
View the report to the Eastern Planning Committee here: