Month: October 2015

How healthy is the high street really?

The Week have published an interesting article asking how healthy is the high street really?

This article reports on store closures falling to their lowest level in five years (albeit still at a rate of 14 a day in the first half of this year!), September retail sales 1.3 per cent higher than in August and spending at online retailers slowing.

That’s not to say that High Street retailers can afford to rest on their laurels. According to the article:

But the British high street is adapting to this. New shop openings “were more likely to be leisure or service-based,” Mark Hudson, retail partner at PwC told The Guardian. While traditional high street stalwarts such as clothing shops, pubs and banks are retreating, they are being replaced by health food stores, coffee shops and takeaways.

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Anne Milton MP speaks to Cranleigh Chamber Members

Anne Milton MP speaks to Cranleigh Chamber MembersMember of Parliament for Guildford, the Rt Hon Anne Milton MP, accepted an invitation to meet with the Cranleigh business community on Friday.

During a meeting chaired by Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce president Richard Graham, Anne met privately with Chamber committee members before delivering a short talk to Chamber members and answering their questions.

Cranleigh business owners heard Anne explain how the argument over development continues to ‘rage’ in the village, saying her inbox is equally divided between those for and against further development.

Anne went on to say that a solution to the current development challenges will only be reached by all residents coming together to agree on a shared vision for Cranleigh. This resonates with the government’s ambition to enable decisions to be made locally, she said.

Anne responded to questions on the continued problems faced by businesses accessing finance, reopening the rail link between Cranleigh and Guildford, how to best encourage a ‘live local work local’ philosophy, the European question and an emerging local plan from Waverley Borough Council.

The MP for Guildford explained she was looking forward to a ‘grown up debate’ on Europe, concluding she did not yet know whether she was part of the in or out camp. Regarding a local plan, Anne explained the importance of Waverley Borough Council finishing this work before the government steps in to do so in 2017.

Commenting on the meeting, Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce president Richard Graham of One Forty said:

“Our members were delighted to hear from Anne and have the opportunity to quiz her on government policy. She was keen to hear the business voice in Cranleigh and has asked the Chamber of Commerce to keep her regularly updated on the challenges facing business growth and entrepreneurship.”

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Fundraising dinner at Cranleigh Arts Centre

Cranleigh Arts Centre is holding a fundraising dinner on Saturday 28th November 2015 to raise money for Target 25.

This is a fundraising initiative to modernise and sustain Cranleigh Arts Centre for the next 25 years and beyond.

Tickets for the dinner are £75 to include champagne reception, 3 course dinner, musical entertainment and an auction. Tables of 2s, 4s and 10s are available.

Lots on offer include a private tour of Broughton Castle, Solent Yacht Cruise, House for Salcombe Regatta, Raceday at Fontwell, “The Archers” signed script and Joe Stilgoe Concert tickets.

For further information please call Antonia Wilson on 020 8398 5513 or email

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Cranleigh Businesses Updated on Gatwick Investment

Cranleigh Businesses Updated on Gatwick InvestmentLocal businesses were brought up to date with Gatwick’s investment programme and plans for increased capacity growth at a well-attended breakfast meeting this week.

Hosted by Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce in collaboration with Surrey Chambers of Commerce at Hurtwood Park’s Haywards Restaurant, thirty business owners heard from Hannah Staunton, Head of Gatwick’s Community Engagement, talking about their current £1billion investment programme and their rapid business and holiday traveller growth.

In only five years, since the BAA monopoly ownership in the UK ended and under new ownership, passenger growth has increased from 31 million to 40 million passengers a year. During this time, business travel has more than doubled to 20%, because large and small businesses are looking for lower cost options on new routes to the U.S. for example with Norwegian Air and the soon to be launched new low cost routes to Canada, from West Jet.

Richard Graham, president of Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce said:

“Cranleigh is in that ‘halo’ of Gatwick which provides employees to the airport and Gatwick Diamond business area, local businesses looking to trade overseas and holiday makers looking for a hassle free, quality airport experience.

“We were delighted to welcome Hannah and introduce her to the vibrant Cranleigh business community, as evidenced by the large number of attendees at this breakfast briefing.”

The next Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce networking breakfast takes place on Wednesday 11th November at the Cranleigh Golf and Country Club, with more details and booking links at

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Councils must deliver local plans for new homes by 2017

Councils must produce local plans for new homes in their area by 2017 – or the government will ensure, in consultation with local people, those plans are produced for them.

This was the announcement from the Prime Minister earlier this week, revealing details of a landmark Housing and Planning Bill which is designed to deliver the government ambition of one million new homes by 2020.

Councils must produce local plans for new homes by 2017 – or government will ensure plans are produced for them.

Within the announcement, the Government confirms measures to deliver 200,000 Starter Homes, offer 1.3 million tenants the Right to Buy and cut red tape to boost home building.

You can read more about this at

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Anne Milton MP to meet with Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce members

Anne Milton MP to meet with Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce membersMember of Parliament for Guildford, the Rt Hon Anne Milton MP, will be meeting with Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce members.

Anne has accepted an invitation to meet with Cranleigh business owners on Friday 23rd October 2015 to discuss topical local issues and answer questions from constituents.

The meeting is open to members of the Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce only.

Topics covered are expected to include the support for commercial enterprises of all sizes in Cranleigh and the surrounding areas; strategic measures towards becoming a live local, work local community; provision of appropriate housing for local residents; and infrastructure improvements including sustainable transport solutions.

To reserve your place for this meeting, which takes place at the Cranleigh Arts Centre and starts at 1.15pm, please click here or email

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Chamber launches Cranleigh & District BIG Awards

Cranleigh & District Business, Innovation & Growth (BIG) AwardsThe Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce, in collaboration with Surrey County Councillor Alan Young, have launched the first Cranleigh & District Business, Innovation & Growth (BIG) Awards.

These awards will highlight, recognise and celebrate the area’s entrepreneurial businesses, from micro businesses to large, from newly set up to well established.

The Cranleigh & District BIG Awards were formally launched and open for entries on Monday 5th October, with a closing date for entries of 20th November.

The winner of the inaugural Cranleigh BIG Award will be presented with a £3,500 cash prize and trophy at a sparkling awards evening on 11th January 2016 at the Cranleigh Arts Centre. In addition, a Highly Commended entry will receive a £500 cash prize and trophy.

Businesses can submit their own entry or be nominated to win an award. Entrants can be at any stage in a business lifecycle but should demonstrate innovation, commitment to growth and employee best practice.  It is not necessary to be a Chamber member to enter the BIG Awards.

Alan Young, Surrey County Councillor for Cranleigh and Ewhurst, is sponsoring the awards alongside One Forty, Informed Choice and Cranleigh Arts Centre. This generous sponsorship has enabled Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce to deliver an entirely free competition.

Richard Graham of One Forty, President of the Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce, commented:

“Cranleigh and surrounding villages hold a vibrant business community, often hidden from public view. Alan Young and the Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce want to celebrate their achievements and the Cranleigh BIG Awards represent the perfect opportunity to do so.

“We look forward to receiving entries from a variety of business types across all sectors, ranging from start-ups to established firms, from home based ventures to internationally trading companies.”

Shortlisted entries will be judged by an expert business panel including Alan Young, Rosemary French OBE and Nick Bamford.

The Cranleigh & District BIG Awards are open to any business, social enterprise or not for profit organisation located within Cranleigh, Ewhurst, Albury, Shere, Gomshall, Peaslake, Holmbury St Mary, Forest Green, Ockley, Walliswood, Rudgwick, Alfold, Dunsfold, Shamley Green, Wonersh, Blackheath, Loxwood and all areas in between.

To find out more, businesses should visit

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Cranleigh in Bloom continues to flourish

Cranleigh in Bloom continues to flourish ‘Mrs Bloom’ has handed responsibility for Cranleigh in Bloom to the Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce, following two years of hard work and dedicated service.

Cranleigh in Bloom had another successful year thanks to the drive and determination of Gill Ford, affectionately known in the village as Mrs Bloom, who officially stepped down as chairperson today.

Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce committee member Martin Bamford was voted in as new chairman of Cranleigh in Bloom, as the Chamber works towards establishing a new not-for-profit enterprise to oversee this and other key events in the village.

Commenting on the handover, Martin Bamford said:

“The Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce is excited about taking the lead for delivering another incredible Cranleigh in Bloom next year. We look forward to working with all members of the community to bring flowers and planting to the village, in this annual event which makes Cranleigh look so attractive for residents, retailers and visitors.

“We would like to express our heartfelt thanks for all of Gill’s hard work and also to all of the volunteers; we look forward to continuing to work with you all in the future to promote Civic Pride and capture the imagination of the village.”

The existing members of the Cranleigh in Bloom committee all expressed their thanks to Gill Ford at the handover meeting this week and agreed to continue serving on the committee for the following year.

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Phase one of Gatwick’s £1 billion investment programme takes-off in North Terminal

Phase one of Gatwick’s £1 billion investment programme  takes-off in North TerminalGatwick Airport’s £1 billion investment in its ongoing transformation is being realised with the first phase of a new departures level opening this October in the North Terminal.

Construction work started just one year ago on this £36 million project which will see the World’s largest self-service bag drop zone start a phased opening from 20 October, with a two week period of operational testing taking place prior to this date, and a one-month trial coming to an end on November 18.

The check-in hall will open in two phases between October 2015 and April 2016 – with a better layout and more space, increasing peak check-in capacity from 3,000 to 4,350 passengers per hour.

This follows successful trials of a self-service bag drop in the South Terminal which proved queuing times can be significantly shortened by allowing passengers to take charge of their own journey through the airport.

Self-service bag drop enables passengers who have checked in on-line to take their bags straight to a machine upon arrival at the airport, where they can print their luggage tag, apply it to their bag and load it straight onto Gatwick’s state-of-the-art baggage sorting system. Gatwick will have 60 check-in points with 48 of these being self-service bag drop units, 28 of these will be open for the October date.  This means the check-in process can be completed in less than two minutes.

Gatwick CEO, Stewart Wingate said:

“Gatwick has added eight million passengers since we came into private ownership in 2009, and we are about to reach the 40 million mark. This is a decade ahead of industry predictions and we will continue to grow.

“While we wait for a decision on building a new runway, we are investing billions to ensure we can grow from our existing infrastructure, but this will only take us so far.

“Gatwick remains the best and most deliverable option for expansion – we can go from the World’s most efficient single runway airport to the World’s most efficient two-runway airport while limiting the impact on the environment.”

Behind the complex operations of a working terminal building, a 24/7 construction site has been underway behind the hoardings.

Major projects such as breaking through a completely new staircase linking the ground floor arrivals to the first floor transit shuttle which goes to the train station.  The installation of a completely new escalator, an investment of £1 million, and commissioned in the UK, built in China and assembled at Gatwick, have all taken place through the night.

Other features include completely new flooring, 400 metres of new baggage belts, new lighting, new electrical and mechanical systems, ceilings, wayfinding, retail stores and IT infrastructure.

All this has been achieved while 150,000 passengers per day pass through Gatwick’s terminal buildings.

Other aspects of the North Terminal development programme will include:

•    £30 million to create a world-leading new security area opening in North Terminal in Summer 2016 halving passenger transit times will be halved and giving Gatwick the ability to process 5,000 passengers per hour
•    £21 million invested to create a world-class new departure lounge in North Terminal – more space will make room for future growth while more retail and restaurant space will offer more choice
•    £10 million is being invested to fully refurbish the North Terminal’s arrival area, and is due to open in time for the peak of Summer 2016.
•    £10 million to upgrade the North Terminal border zone – more space, new technologies and 15 state-of-the-art new e-gates will help lead to shorter queues for passengers
•    £250 million to maintain and replace facilities including lifts, escalators and the technology infrastructure, and
•    £80 million to reconfigure the Pier 5 facility and £185m to construct a state-of-the-art new Pier 1, offering new aircraft stands, gate rooms, new lounge facilities, and storage for 2,600 bags.

Join Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce for breakfast at Hurtwood Park on Wednesday 14th October 2015 to hear from Hannah Staunton, Community Management Manager at Gatwick Airport.

Come to this breakfast and hear Gatwick’s response to the recommendation by Airports Commission to consider how the UK can “maintain its status as an international hub for aviation and immediate actions to improve the use of existing runway capacity in the next five years”.

More information and booking details can be found here.

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