Who’s in the winning seat after the debacle over Waverley’s latest water crisis? Certainly not Jeremy Hunt & Angela Richardson.
The plaudits go to the Liberal Democrats for their ongoing fight with Thames Water.
Residents say : ‘I won’t vote Tory again’:
Here’s an article from this week’s Guardian – after Thames Water announced a hosepipe ban which begins on Wednesday in the wake of Cranleigh and Ewhurst’s taps running dry.
The water crisis in blue-wall Surrey could tip the balance at the election
In the village of Cranleigh, where residents are having to get their water from tankers, the mood is mutinous
Here’s The Guardian article, with a few add-ons by the Waverley Web.
The water crisis in Surrey is threatening to turn lifelong Tories into revolutionaries.
“The whole thing needs stirring up, but short of storming the gates what do you do?” asks exasperated retiree Mary Barnby after days of on-off water supplies in the village of Cranleigh.
She lives on leafy Woodland Avenue, where Bentleys are parked in large driveways. Also parked are three water tankers to replenishThames Water supplies that have been interruptedsince last Friday, after years of burst pipes and a pump failure at a local treatment works.
Barnby is furious with the company, on the day it announced ahosepipe ban.“Some of the water bosses should face jail for this rather than £2m bonuses.”
Pointing to one of the water tanker drivers, she says:
“That chappy there doesn’t have bonuses – he doesn’t even have a Portaloo.” The driver, Chris, a subcontractor from Redditch in Worcestershire, has been sleeping in a tanker’s cab since Saturday.
Barnby was an enthusiast for water privatisation in the 1980s. “I thought yippee, we’ll have some efficiency now. But the efficiency has changed to pure greed.”
“I have mostly voted Conservative, but I won’t do it again.” Asked whether the water crisis had changed her vote, she said: “Water and the energy companies – the profits they make are a joke.”
The local Liberal Democrats reckon such anger could help it pick up so-called blue wall seats. Cranleigh is part of the Guildford constituency – which is 11th on the party’s lists of winnable seats.
“We lost by just 3,337 votes,” says Zoë Franklin, who will be standing again for the party whenever the election is called.
Speaking in Bishops Square where another pipe burst on Monday, she said: “In Cranleigh, the water issue comes up on the doorstep all the time.”
Anger peaked at the weekend when up to 9,000 residents had no water during one of the warmest spells on record.
Franklin says: “At the weekend people were confused and angry. The general feeling was: ‘We’re gonna have a hosepipe ban soon. How is that fair, when I see leaks all the time? And now I’ve got no water?’”
Mollie Roberts, a deputy headteacher, said: “I’ve got three kids under eight and we had no water, no showers, nothing on one of the hottest days of the year. We were restricted to two bottles of water for all five of us.”
She added: “In the last eight years there have been at least 20 spurts when the pipes have burst and it’s been like a geyser or a massive leak. There’s frustration with Thames Water because they just don’t listen and don’t come.”
She thinks water could tip the balance at the election. “This area is moving away from the Tories because there’s been so much housing. I’m really in favour of that, but there hasn’t been any investment and the systems are just overwhelmed.
Roberts usually votes Labour, but she added: “I vote Lib Dem and when I think they’ve got a chance.”
Cranleigh’s Lib Dem county councillor, Liz Townsend, has been badgering Thames Water about leaks and supplies for more than a decade. On Sunday, she accused the company of ignoring her repeated warnings. On Wednesday, she wrote another email to Thames Water’s chief executive, Sarah Bentley, inviting her to meet residents.
“We cannot carry on like this, lurching from one incident to another,” she wrote.
Unprompted, Harold Fuller, a retired farmer and driver, praised her efforts as he chatted to a neighbour as they watched drinking water from another burst pipe flow down their street on the Sherrydon estate.
Fuller, another lifelong Tory, said:
“She’s been bloody brilliant. She’s worth a medal.” His neighbour Geoff Trigg, a retired gas engineer and Boris Johnson supporter, agrees. “She’s been terrific. I’d vote for her.””
He remains furious with Thames Water about the latest leak on the estate. “It’s terrible. They said they mended it but it’s still coming out. I feel sorry for them workmen because they take the stick. It’s the worst in the country, they told me. Thames Water should be fined and give us compensation for all the trouble.”
Trigg adds: “There should be some compensation. It’s been terrible, for over 8,000 people it’s been on and off, on and off. And when they tried to put the pressure up it just blew more holes everywhere.”
Thames Water apologised to customers for the problems in the Cranleigh area, which it insisted had now been resolved. It pointed out that bottled water was being supplied to all customers whose supplies were cut.
Works to replace burst pipes continue in several holes in the village. Water was filmed on the Cranleigh Facebook page belching out of a leak in Sherrydon as a TW notice on each road reads:
“We’re fixing pipes. So we can always bring you world-class tap water.”
Thames Water heralding a hosepipe ban. Water running down roads from leaking pipes and they tell developers they can provide water to 180 new houses. We run out of water here every summer and have to be provided with bottled water and a bowser at the hospital. They take us for idiots!
The residents of Ewhurst are following in the footsteps of their neighbours in “Poor old Alfold”.
Alfold residents have appealed to MP Angela Richardson for help, to no avail; however, she may respond to cries for help from the village where her family resides in Ewhurst? Or, will she turn her back on them too and remain silent for her old Tory colleagues?
WHY? Because the eastern villages and the Surrey Hills are alive with the sound of objections from residents fed up with cement lorries rolling through their rural villages.
Former Tory county councillors Victoria & Alan Young want to join other successful developers currently concreting over Ewhurst, and villagers claim they are responding to “greed and not need.”
Mr & Mrs Young have submitted an outline planning application to build 20 homes at Tree Tops, Mapledrakes Rd, Ewhurst, following the demolition of an existing dwelling. Not that there are so many treetops there because lots of them, say The Forestry Commission have “illegally” been given the chop!
Letters are pouring into Waverley Borough Council’s planning department objecting to an application by Alan and Victoria Young, both former Surrey County Councillors for Ewhurst and Cranleigh.
Villagers say Ewhurst’s Neighbourhood Plan lays out in great detail (and after an enormous amount of time and input from numerous parties) why certain sites are more or less appropriate for development.
The recent developments in Cherry Tree Lane, Chanrossa and Firethorn Farm will result in a huge increase in traffic, air pollution, and excessive strain on local services and schools, and this development would only add to these problems. The original overall target number of new homes in Ewhurst by 2032 jas already been well exceeded.
This proposed site was not included in the NP and in fact, lies outside the settlement boundary of the village. As Ewhurst has already met and exceeded the quantity of expected development for Waverley council, it seems even more appropriate that the recommendations of the NP should be respected in full.
Others say in their objections on ‘Your Waverley’s ‘ Planning Portal:
We have been inundated with new houses far and above the original plan for Ewhurst.
The houses being allowed are not suitable for the village’s requirements ( i.e. affordable housing for the young and small homes for the elderly). The number of properties being approved is detrimental to the village, with no allowances made for the infrastructure.
All general services such as doctors, dentists, shopping etc. being located in Cranleigh.
“Mapledrakes Road is already over busy with parked cars causing a hazard for local users ( cars parked are not solely the residents). The proposed buildings are not in keeping with the surrounding area. This village is being destroyed through greed and not need.”
Ewhurst is a small village with limited infrastructure that is already buckling under the strain of two large developments currently under construction. These developments have already allocated new properties over the amount required by the Waverley Local Plan.
The loss of many hundreds of square metres of grassland and woodland to concrete, tarmac and non-porous surfaces will lead to surface runoff into the ancient woodland, and cobblers brook watercourse will result in further damage to wildlife and create an unnecessary flooding risk on the steeply graded site, that not all drainage will capture.
Increased traffic on a quiet residential road. Not only will the increased traffic from residents contribute to damage and traffic for Mapledrakes road and the Glebe (The Glebe recently had pavement repairs due to HGV damage as it is not suitable) but also the 8 wheeled HGV’s needed for soil removal and deliveries driving up and down to the site will further destroy the village, especially as both Glebe and Mapledrakes entrances are virtually single-lane access due to parked cars, not to mention the constructions workers vehicles which have already obliterated the footpath on other developments on the Green in Ewhurst.
. Light pollution from new houses in the proposed new development which will again change forever the quiet Village ambience of the darkness that makes a village a special place to live, adding this light pollution so near to woodland and an AONB is further proof that profits of developers mean more than the feelings of local communities.
Felling of ancient woodland and allegedly breaching Forestry Commissions act 1967 should itself be indicative of the lengths developers will go to in order to circumvent plans and push their developments through. Not only is the site unsuitable for this type and size of development it would destabilise the delicate eco structure of the woodland it is adjacent too and should be rejected in its entirety. I could go on but the dozens of objections expressed by residents and official bodies should give you a feeling that this development IS NOT NEEDED!!!