A Cranleigh developer’s battle to build 160 new homes has begun.


Richard Graham, owner of the Cranleigh store and restaurant 140, has joined the merry band of villagers eager to make a few bucks and bring more footfall into the new town.

As Cranes tower over the village High Street and droves of developers have descended on the former rural village – yet another chunk of the countryside is up for grabs. This time, land adjacent to the Snoxhall Playing Fields and the Greenway.
Despite Waverley planners throwing out the scheme, another government Inspector is sifting through thousands of pages of evidence at an Appeal Inquiry that will end in December.

In the past, Richard Graham, a former President of Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce, has called for more footfall to keep its shops and businesses thriving. Now, he wants to help the cause of “homelessness” by building a swathe of homes across the countryside.

Mr Graham and his family want to build 162 homes through Gleeson Land Ltd on a site they own in Knowle Lane. The lane is already home to the Knowle Park Initiative, which prepared the way for over 300 homes in Knowle Park and Alfold Road and the Berkeley Home estate of over 430 homes. The highly congested lane uses services roads to supermarkets and shops, including Sainsbury’s & Marks & Spencer.

Knowle Lane joins Cranleigh High Street at its junction with Fountain Square.

Waverley’s lack of a five-year housing land supply could hold the key to the Government Inspector ruling that development on the controversial site can happen.

Gleeson Land is hanging its hopes on persuading the Inspector that there is little likelihood of the Dunsfold Garden Village going ahead despite the completion of multi-million new roads and landscaping now linking the site into the A281 Horsham/Guildford Road.

Jeff Richards told the Inspector that information provided by Bidwells (Agents acting for Trinity College Cambridge)  demonstrated the total failure to grasp the complexity of the Dunsfold site and the challenges that it poses. Indeed, only on 26 August 2022 (i.e. just over six months ago), Bidwells confidently considered that 605 new homes would be delivered by 31 March 2027. In just six months, their view had dramatically changed to only 170 homes, a loss of 435 homes in six months. This demonstrates the complete lack of reliance that anyone can afford on this ‘evidence’.

Regarding any housebuilder interest, the Inspector will note that the exact phrasing is used in both documents regarding interest and discussions. However, no update is provided on the names of housebuilders, which could provide evidence that housing will come forward.

“As such, I am of the firm opinion that there is no evidence to demonstrate that Dunsfold Park will deliver any houses within the next five years, and the latest information from the Council fully supports my view.”

“On the basis of the evidence submitted to the Inquiry, including the evidence in relation to Dunsfold Park, I consider that the figure is likely to be closer to the appellant figure of 3.34 years”.


Developers earmark Knowle Lane, Cranleigh, as THE growth area for new homes.

Landscape Expert David Hugh Williams said he had considered the landscape character and visual appearance of the Appeal Site and its role in the local and broader landscape to the southwest of Cranleigh. The proposed change from agricultural land to residential uses will inevitably alter the character of the Appeal Site and result in a change at a local level, which is unavoidable. This is the case for all green field development sites and is an inevitable consequence of providing new housing beyond settlement boundaries.

However, Waverley Officers had only designated the area as having “medium” landscape value. So, based on my assessment of the Appeal Site and the development proposals, I conclude that the Appeal Site can accommodate residential development as proposed and, whilst the proposed development will have some local impacts/harm, the effects of the development on the character and visual appearance of the wider countryside will not be significant. 


To be continued…

6 thoughts on “A Cranleigh developer’s battle to build 160 new homes has begun.”

  1. With over 300 objections and only 2 comments in support if this development goes ahead it would be the final mail in any value in local democracy! Until all the houses are built on the airfield nothing else should be built in Cranleigh!

  2. A link to their Environmental Impact Assessment would be helpful, and how the Developer is going to meet Local Plan Part 1 climate change policies? Unless of course they can conveniently influence the Local Planning Authority to screen out their social and environmental development obligations.

  3. I no longer feel there is any point… Applications are refused (for Good Reason) by WBC and then just simply go to Appeal. Central Government have no idea about the constraints of this application, the impact on the Village of Cranleigh; its existing residents, New residents and those of the surrounding Villages where Cranleigh is the nearest main Settlement.
    This is Green Field land outside of the Settlement Boundary in an area a previous Inspector said there should be no further development due to the issues with Knowle Lane and its inability to handle any more traffic.

    The only thing Central Government look at is the Mantra of we MUST HAVE MORE HOUSES! not where they should be….They have no concerns about the Impact on the Environment and how by destroying so many of our GREEN FIELDS we are one of the worst countries when it comes to the destruction of our Natural Environment our wildlife and ecosystems.

    What will the next generation have left? No wonder so many young people are fighting this sort of thing, but understandably they want New Homes, they can afford. SO BUILD THEM…. But Build them close to where these people can WORK where there is decent Public Transport, Schools, Health facilities etc.

    I am afraid – you will be aware – I have an Issue with the GREENBELT – whilst I understand the reasoning behind it and the historical reasons for it – But if we need New Homes – I simply do not understand why we cannot remove some of the GREENBELT that ISN’T GREEN – Of course I do not want to get rid of what is considered Green Fields in the Greenbelt, but some of this land is on the sides of major A roads and motorways or on land that simply is NOT GREEN.

    I had a look at the WBC Brownfield 2022 List and from what I can gather we have (and I am guessing that PDL ALREADY Developed is Excluded) :

    Approximately 33.66 HECTARES of BROWNFIELD LAND in Waverley ( appx 83 Acres)
    Of which the breakdown is:

    CRANLEIGH 0.94htrs Potential Homes: 83
    FARNHAM 5.84htrs Potential Homes : 360
    GODALMING 6.12htrs Potential Homes: 199
    HASLEMERE 20.76htrs Potential Homes: 369

    Now I understand there are various other Constraints for these other towns – But REALLY?

    I haven’t had time to go through them all BUT it would appear from the WBC Website the following:

    CRANLEIGH of the 5 Sites (inc Bramley) 3 have applications (does not include behind Manns which I think Does)
    FARNHAM of the 14 Sites – 7 have Applications
    GODALMING of the 11 sites – 7 have applications
    HASLEMERE of the 14 Sites – 7 have Applications

    This information can be read on this site: https://www.waverley.gov.uk/Services/Planning-and-building/Planning-strategies-and-policies/Housing-supply-and-delivery/Brownfield-Register

    I am sorry if I am being anal about this – But I still think there is and has been for a long time – a disconnect between the Central and Western parts of Waverley and the East. and I understand that Dunsfold Park is the largest Brownfield Site even without the disputes as to how much is Brownfield /Greenfield. But all of the Inspectors for that site have agreed and I quote from the report below as Cranleigh also falls into the same category due to the lack of Transport Infrastructure and failing Health & Social facilities….

    “171. The recent White Paper ‘Fixing the Broken Housing Market’ indicates that we
    need to plan for the right homes in the right places, where people are not forced into long
    commutes – a test which Dunsfold Aerodrome fails. The White Paper also points out that policies in
    Plans should allow places to grow in ways that are sustainable and that small sites (which would
    exclude this proposal) can create
    23 Document IQ 11
    https://www.gov.uk/planning-inspectorate Page 30

    Report APP/R3650/V/17/3171287
    particular opportunities for custom builders and small developers, and can help to meet rural
    housing needs in ways which are sensitive to their setting while allowing villages to thrive.
    Dunsfold Aerodrome fails in this regard too.
    Paragraph 1.39 indicates that the Government proposes to add to national policy to make clear that
    planning authorities should consider amending Green Belt boundaries to help meet housing needs if
    they have examined, fully, all other reasonable options for meeting identified requirements. So far
    as the use of previously developed land is concerned those reasonable options only include such
    land if suitable for development. Dunsfold Aerodrome cannot be suitable as it is the least
    sustainable site in the Borough….”

    Best as ever

    1. Oh no it hasn’t. It was too good to miss. We will post on your comments and a few others. Thanks dwordsworth you are better than your namesake.

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