Canal restoration plan set to solve road problem

Published: Thursday, 03 December 2020

THE widening of a narrow road is a problem for the council on the route of the Wey & Arun Canal.

But the Wey & Arun Canal Trust has a restoration plan set to solve the road problem of the narrow one-way road at Cranleigh village should the Trust be granted planning permission for a proposed canal restoration project in the area.

Elmbridge RoadReplacement canal bridge

The Trust has submitted an application to Waverley Borough Council to widen the single lane Elmbridge Road that runs from the A281 to create a two-way road and footpath.  The road widening would include a replacement canal bridge, allowing restoration of the Wey & Arun Canal beneath the major obstacle that the current road represents.

Surrey County Council had identified Elmbridge Road as a priority project, setting aside Section 106 funding (developer contributions) from new housing, and these funds will be used for the road widening, while the Trust will fund footpath improvements and restoration of the canal itself.  The project also includes some 'enabling development' on the existing residential plot that will be severed when the canal is reinstated.

New lock to be built

The proposal includes the restoration of 330m of the canal south of Elmbridge Road.  The level of the canal will be lowered by about two metres to pass through the new bridge without excessive raising of the road.  This will in turn require a new lock to be built, towards the southern end of the restored length, and the line of the towpath will be adjusted to cross the canal twice, once via the new bridge and again via a footbridge at the lock.

The project involves extensive improvements to existing footpaths with widening and resurfacing, and the creation of a new dedicated route for the residents of the nearby retirement village to reach Cranleigh’s centre.

Responses to a public consultation held in October last year were overwhelmingly positive, with respondents believing the plans to be an enhancement of the current road situation and enhancement to public access to the canal and countryside, with Project Manager Tony Ford explaining:

Benefit residents in many ways

“For several years, the canal trust has been working with Surrey County Council and the adjacent landowners on this comprehensive project which provides multiple benefits with improvements to road and footpaths and restoration of the canal where it was long-ago filled in within a residential site.  This proposal will benefit Cranleigh residents in many ways.”