The eastern Town is first in Waverley’s line-up for a High Street boost.
The Waverley initiative, supported by Cranleigh businesses and the Chamber of Commerce, is set to beat Farnham and Godalming in the race to improve the borough’s high streets.
Cranleigh High Street has been in the doldrums following the Pandemic and the closure of its premier High Street Store, Manns of Cranleigh. When the 150-year-old store shut up shop 18 months ago – it was like losing three front teeth in the street vista. It is set to become a Churchill Retirement Complex with several small shops. The townsfolk also lamented the closure of the Popular adjacent cafe and shop in Cromwell Cottage.
Waverley has recognised that the Pandemic and the move to online shipping have affected all the borough’s high streets and plans to create Business Development Districts to encourage more footfall.
In Waverley, retail offers 6,000 jobs, second to the education sector with 8,000 jobs.
Waverley Borough Council (WBC) is a business ratepayer and will have several votes (relating to the number of rateable properties) to cast on the ballot. If the poll outcome is positive, the Council will be required to pay the levy contribution, regardless of how the Council voted on the ballot. The estimated cost to the Council in the event of favourable votes in each town is set out here:
Councillors suggested that Cranleigh could benefit from improved WI-Fi coverage in the High Street, which currently has scant mobile phone coverage. It also suffers considerable anti-social behaviour and low-level crime. Businesses say the police presence is one officer who periodically visits the area and is unavailable when required.
The bid would improve connectivity and improve police liaison – deal with graffiti and litter, and enhance the ambience.
Here is the Cranleigh Group leading the initiative with Waverley Officer’s help.
The business communities in Cranleigh, Farnham and Godalming are progressing with developing Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) and intend to go to the ballot in June (Cranleigh) and October (Farnham and Godalming) 2023. Haslemere has withdrawn from the process.
The Farnham and Godalming BIDs will have slightly different local flavours to their destination marketing, cleaning, business support and safety proposals.