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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 06/12/2005
Improved Access Links to the Downs Link in Cranleigh





[Ward Affected: Cranleigh West]
Summary and purpose:

To seek approval for the upgrading and creation of two short sections of path on Waverley-owned land, off the Elmbridge Road in Cranleigh, that will improve access to the Downs Link.
Environmental implications:

The proposals will enhance the local environmental landscape and improve the facilities for cycling in the local area.

Social / community implications:

The proposals will provide a safer environment for walkers, cyclists and the less able.

E-Government implications:

If dedicated, the new links would be shown on the definitive rights of way maps which can be viewed digitally through the Surrey County Council rights of way interactive map.

Resource and legal implications:

Surrey County Council will be funding the works through the rights of way and highways budget. The County’s preference would be for the new routes to be dedicated as a shared use cycleway, this would require a dedication under Section 31 of the Highways Act and would mean the responsibility for future maintenance would then fall to the highway authority.


1. The Downs Link, 15kms of which passes through Waverley along a disused railway line, is part of a long distance walking, cycling and riding route that links the North Downs and the South Downs National Trails. Within Cranleigh, it provides a safe and convenient, off-road route linking communities from the west (Elmbridge Road) and the south (Hitherwood Estate) to the village centre and Snoxhall playing fields. It is a well-used route by local people for recreation and utility and, being flat, is particularly convenient for cycling.


2. As part of an ongoing programme to resurface the Downs Link, Surrey County Council, Rights of Way Department, are intending to carry out surface improvements this autumn/winter through Cranleigh, between Elmbridge Road and Snoxhall Fields (see Annexe 1). As part of this, they would like to improve the walking and cycling access onto the Downs Link from Elmbridge Road by:-

(i) Resurfacing footpath 460;
(ii) Widening and resurfacing an existing tarmac footway in front of New Bridge Cottages and Bridge Cottages, between A and B on the attached map;
(iii) Creating a new, graded access down the old railway embankment; and
(iv) Creating a new surfaced link to the Elmbridge Road north of the railway bridge, between C and D on the attached map

3. Sections A to B (ii) and C to D (iii) are not on an existing right of way and therefore Surrey County Council requires Waverley’s permission as the landowner to carry out these works. The proposed improvements are on common land. Under the Commons Regulation Scheme covering Cranleigh Common, the Council has powers to authorise the construction and maintenance of such new paths on the common as appear to the Council to be necessary or expedient.

4. The proposed improvements mean walkers and cyclists would have a safe alternative to crossing the Elmbridge Road railway bridge which does not have space for an adequate footway. The path improvements will also improve access for the less able and provide a more attractive route with better visibility.

5. The Cranleigh Healthcheck, “Action for Cranleigh”, identified the need for improvements to the surface and general environment of the Downs Link corridor to encourage more people to use the route. The Waverley Borough Cycling Plan has an objective to develop a network of safe, convenient and continuous cycle routes in the Borough and the link between Elmbridge Road with the Downs Link was identified as a severance point in the current network.

6. Surrey County Council has consulted with Cranleigh Parish Council, Surrey County Councillor Cyril Bailey and local residents. The Parish Council is very supportive of the scheme, as were the local residents who replied.


It is recommended that

1. the upgrading and construction of paths on WBC land be permitted; and

2. approval be given to the designation of Sections A to B and C to D of the path between Elmbridge Road and Downs Link as cycleway, as shown on the plan at Annexe 1.

Background Papers (DoPD/DoEL)

There are no background papers (as defined by Section 100D(5) of the Local Government Act 1972) relating to this report.

Name: Sarah Henderson Telephone: 01483 523443
E-mail: shenderson@waverley.gov.uk