Fringe Box



Consultation on Cranleigh High Street Proposals To Be Repeated Following Petition

Published on: 31 Mar, 2024
Updated on: 31 Mar, 2024

Cranleigh High Street

By Emily Dalton

local democracy reporter

Plans to make Cranleigh “feel less car-dominated” and safer for pedestrians will be put out for consultation once again.

Petitioners argued there had been a lack of consultation over the proposed changes to the High Street and urged Surrey County Council to stop the changes over fears they would increase traffic noise and pollution, make it less safe for cyclists and pedestrians and damage local businesses.

The proposed scheme would introduce widened footways over car parking spaces, raised traffic tables, pedestrianise Fountain Square and replace Village Way roundabout with a T-junction.

Those behind the scheme highlighted a number of times the changes were put out for consultation, with one councillor commenting: “I have never known a scheme to have so much consultation”. However, the area’s county council representative admitted that despite this, the message was not clear.

More than 1,108 people urged the council to halt the changes to the High Street, more than double the amount who reportedly responded to the initial consultation. The petition was discussed at Surrey County Council’s (SCC) Highways, Transport and Economic Growth meeting on Tuesday, March 26.

Cllr Matt Furniss

The council’s lead member for Highways and Transport, Cllr Matt Furniss, told the meeting that there will be a “further round of engagement”. He added SCC is also considering a mail drop so the public is informed by the council and not “the rumour mill of social media”.

Speaking at the meeting, lead petitioner Philip Chapman said: “Right from the start…SCC has repeatedly broken the bond of trust that should exist between the council, the people and the businesses it represents.”

He added that the campaigners were “pleased to hear via social media” there would be another round of engagement. He argued that there cannot be another consultation on the current proposals but that the council and working groups consider ideas from residents to afford “genuine co-design and collaboration”.

Cllr Liz Townsend

Cllr Liz Townsend has been leading on the issue since she was elected as Cranleigh’s County Councillor in 2021. She told the committee that officers, residents and the Chamber of Commerce met regularly over two years and the issue was discussed regularly in parish council meetings. She said: “To quote a fellow parish councillor, I have never known a scheme to have so much consultation.”

Information displays, flyers and surveys were cited by Cllr Townsend as part of the public engagement for the proposal. She said there had been “high level of consultation” but agreed that “the message is clear, it was not sufficient”.

Meeting documents state consultation was undertaken in 2021 (initial ideas), November 2022 (concept design) and November 2023 (feasibility design). Mr Chapman claimed the event in November 2023 was not a consultation but a presentation of the final designs for the proposal.

But campaigners argued public engagement did not stretch far enough –  with only 472 people responding to the initial consultation out of Cranleigh’s 12,697 population, according to 2021 census data. Mr Chapman claimed the project team paid “lip service” to the consultation and pursued its “own agenda”.

He said businesses on the High Street were approached by council officers but engagement was ad hoc and often at inconvenient times. Campaigners were also sceptical about how the working group for the high street development was set up, claiming there should be representation from local businesses, parish council and the Cranleigh High Street campaign group.

Meeting documents state the proposal was focused on making Cranleigh High Street “feel less car-dominated” and a “more attractive and safer place for pedestrians to visit”. Removing some street parking was proposed to facilitate widening the pavements.

Raised tables were also in the proposal to regulate speed on the street, with the narrower lanes. The mini roundabout at Village Way was also set to be replaced by a T-junction as SCC said traffic modelling showed it would improve the traffic flow.

But campaigners claim the raised tables will create noise and traffic pollution as vehicles will speed up and slow down in an already 20mph zone. Concerns were raised that emergency vehicles and delivery vans would struggle to get through the narrow lanes and removing free parking would discourage customers from visiting local businesses on the High Street.


Share This Post

Responses to Consultation on Cranleigh High Street Proposals To Be Repeated Following Petition

  1. Anthony Mallard Reply

    March 31, 2024 at 6:09 pm

    I note with interest the public and business reaction to the SCC proposed scheme in Cranleigh, particularly the alleged lack of meaningful consultation. Does this ring any bells?

    Maybe the London Road traffic scheme springs to mind. What was the cost of all the work that promoted this failed scheme/ Then there was the Guildford Pop-up Village, a white elephant, if ever there was one. The apparently likely cost of that to the Council Tax payer was said to be over £1million.

    Is there a common denominator in all these schemes? If so, can we afford it?

    • M Callan Reply

      April 4, 2024 at 6:35 am

      Anthony Mallard, in his comment, asked if there is a common denominator in these schemes. Yes there is, it is Cllr Matt Furniss (Con, Shalford (SCC)), who seems to to find it difficult to listen to opposing views and and has overseen taxpayers’ money spent on schemes that local people do not want, eg London Road Burpham and now Cranleigh.

      In the meantime, the the county council whinges about being short of money.

  2. Jim Allen Reply

    March 31, 2024 at 7:35 pm

    This engagement is a lower standard to the eight-week legal consultationand is not legally sustainable if road crossings or parking restrictions are involved.

    This has remarkable similarity to the back story of the London Road scheme:
    1. We know what we are doing!
    2. “Informatives” not discussion;
    3. Clear public notification in secret until contracts signed;
    4. Surprised members of the public express extreme concern.

    When do SCC get the message? The current methods used when making changes to any communities environments are totally unacceptable.

    Secrecy costs money, just because the councillors signed through a largely unread Surrey Transport Plan, reduction of road capacity while increasing the numbers moving into the area is irrational.

    Making the principle method of transport in country areas the least considered is also irrational.

    Time to change operational officers and elected to people with real world experience.

Leave a Comment

Please see our comments policy. All comments are moderated and may take time to appear.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *