Maybe, Cranleigh Alfold & Dunsfold could become one?
This latest planning application for 162 new homes from local landowner Richard Graham owner of 140, a High Street store, and former Chairman of the Chamber of Trade, has set the townsfolk of Cranleigh reaching for their keyboard to hit Waverley’s Planning Portal… yet again!
Kerching! Mr Graham is on record with his fellow Chamber of Trade members, urging Cranleigh New Town shops and restaurants to receive more footfall. He intends to contribute his share with 162 new homes, some “affordable.”
With 1,743 homes already consented to in Cranleigh and 1,074 built as of September 2022 – along comes an application to build a massive tranche of dwellings on 1.7 hectares in Knowle Lane—a lane with an unenviable accident record. Villagers are pinning all their hopes on Surrey’s highway honchos, putting up an objection – but they can live in hope even if they die in despair.
Letters of objection are pouring onto the council’s planning portal. Some say that the former village bears no resemblance to the characterful place it once was. The Cranleigh Society has already slammed the scheme claiming it will damage Knowle Lane and its access to the High Street. Others say Cranleigh’s Neighbourhood Plan will be in tatters and Cranleigh’s notorious flood issues will be exacerbated.
Who will determine the application? Most likely, a Government Inspector once this scheme goes to Appeal. The applicants are already gearing up for an appeal. It is jumping on the bandwagon, claiming that Waverley recognises it does not have a 5-year housing land supply. (presently 4.9) And a previous Inspector said in an Alfold Appeal letter that there was no minimum housing requirement in Waverley towns and villages. The Local Plan allocated 1,700 for Cranleigh.
Here’s a picture of Knowle Lane a couple of years back – after a heavy downpour. Wet, wet, wet
Says one resident of the hundreds objecting: Some have already suggested that when Planning Inspectors become involved, they should visit Cranleigh when residents queue up for bottled water.
Said one resident:
Access to the site will be onto a narrow busy lane with poor visibility and steep corners. There is no pavement for pedestrians and cyclists also frequently use the lane.
Onward connection to the A281 is via another even narrower lane (Wildwood Lane) which is constantly under repair due to weight of traffic. All construction traffic will have to use that route. Residents of the new development may also use this route in preference to the already congested junction with the High Street.
Cranleigh has reached the limit of what is comfortable for the present population. The medical centre seems unable to increase capacity, there is no school provision post 16 , the surrounding roads are inadequate for the morning and evening rush hours. Sewerage and water supplies already require constant repair.
When considering this application it should be taken into account that some 600 houses on sites already given permission in Cranleigh have not yet been built, due to lack of need by buyers and also the nearby Dunsfold Aerodrome site with permission for 1800 (asctually 2,600) homes has not even been started.