Fringe Box



Waverley Witness: Will Infrastructure Plans Exacerbate Guildford’s Traffic Jams?

Published on: 14 Oct, 2015
Updated on: 19 Oct, 2015

The Guildford Dragon NEWS is an online newspaper for Guildford but, of course, the borough has connections to all the surrounding areas. Some of the strongest links are to the area south of Guildford in Waverley borough. Many of the villages there look to Guildford as their town along with Godalming. 

This is the second of an occasional column, the Waverley Witness, giving views and reports from that area, many of which we believe will resonate with, or be of interest to, Guildford Dragon NEWS readers.

Which route will be taken?

Which route will be taken?

Will Waverley Borough Council’s plans for its towns and villages simply create a quicker way for motorists to join Guildford’s traffic jams?

That was a question posed by a reader commenting on Waverley’s ‘secret meeting’ in The Guildford Dragon NEWS.

Is Waverley Borough Council creating the infrastructure to attract developers to Cranleigh regardless of the consequences on all the other villages affected by the A281 Guildford to Horsham route?  Is it a bid to create a town to join the borough’s main conurbations of Godalming, Haslemere and Farnham by building more than 1,700 homes? Highway officers aided by the Surrey County Councillor Alan Young are suggesting major road improvements to local roads leading to the A281.

The not so ‘secret meeting’ first reported here on September 25 has provoked protest from parish councilors not invited to take part. However, so far they remain silent on the subject

Councillors Brian and Patricia Ellis, Stuart Stennett and his wife Jeanette (Conservative councillors in Cranleigh East and West Wards – three of whom are borough and parish councilors) claim, after reports in the media including the Surrey Advertiser, that they were merely trying to persuade developers to sort out Cranleigh’s traffic problems with all the developers who want to build in and around Cranleigh. It was, however, only a chosen few developers.

One councillor, Jeanette Stennett, has confirmed publicly in the media that one of the country’s largest house builders, Berkeley Homes, attending the meeting, had its application for 425 homes turned down earlier this year and whose appeal and public inquiry is pending. So ostensibly the meeting was not set up to discuss traffic, but to discuss proposed housing developments, and what they intended to contribute to the infrastructure, with the chosen developers with whom they want to carry them out.

Councillor Stennett refers in a letter to the Surrey Advertiser to the Berkeley planning application by saying: “This site was recommended for approval by the planning officers, not by Cranleigh councillors.”

The Waverley Witness wonders why they were there then? Perhaps the councillors, highway and planning experts know something the planning inspector doesn’t know.

Councillor Stennett continued in her letter to the press saying: “Waverley has to find the way to build 500 homes every year for the next 15 years.”

Villagers asked is this the new housing allocation for Waverley? As the figure had not been agreed and announced.

Now, Waverley has announced its Strategic Housing Land Assessment and its housing need is assessed at 519 per annum from 2013 to 2033 which is dramatically lower than the advice given to it by its consultants. Councillor Stennett alone can be congratulated for revealing the figure a week before it was announced. Is this a new breed of Waverley councillor who is open and transparent at last?

When the new roads, footpaths, and cycle ways have been created, in her words in a bid “to try to get the developers around the table to see what they could give back to Cranleigh out of all the money they would make. She says: “… they can then clear and maintain the river from Alfold Road towards Bramley to expel flood water quicker; a new flood plain created down river – there must be a maintenance agreement for this managed and controlled by the EA. (Environment Agency)”.

It poses the question where ‘down river’ is? Could it be Bramley, Shalford or Guildford?

There is an assurance in Councilor Stennett’s letter that: “none of this gives permission by Waverley Borough Council to any developer to build anywhere but gives some idea of Cranleigh’s needs for infrastructure from permitted development”.

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