Month: June 2016

Breakfast at Cranleigh School

Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce members were treated to breakfast, networking and an informative presentation at Cranleigh School this morning.

The venue for our June networking breakfast was the Reading Room at Cranleigh School, with headmaster Martin Reader presenting a potted history of the school before sharing details of its business model and future plans.

Guests were fascinated to hear the story of Cranleigh School along with its role as the largest employer in Cranleigh, employing over 350 staff and making extensive use of local businesses for other services.

Cranleigh School is a community focused institution, with many pupils and staff playing an ongoing role in various aspects of village life.

Chamber members heard about how seriously Cranleigh School takes its responsibilities to the village as a large local employer and how it plans to sensitively manage any future growth in an increasingly global economy.

Following breakfast, Chamber members were taken on a guided tour of the school, learning about the history of the buildings and hearing some interesting stories about how life at the school used to be.

DSC_9000 DSC_9003 DSC_9006 DSC_9009 DSC_9011

Continue Reading

Cranleigh Decides – Exit Poll Results Revealed

Residents and local business owners took part in a spirited EU Referendum Debate yesterday evening at Cranleigh Arts Centre.

Hosted by Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by Hart Brown Solicitors, Cranleigh Decides was arranged to give people another opportunity to hear both sides of the argument and get questions to their questions ahead of the big vote next week.

A panel of experts with equal representation from both sides of the debate had the opportunity to present their opening arguments before answering questions from the audience.

Mark Nottingham, Nick Hopkinson, Ian Brown and Harry Aldridge covered topics including immigration, the economy and sovereignty, with questions asked by the audience, who also shared their passionate views.

Chairing the debate was Philip Calvert, a Fellow of the Professional Speaking Association and award-winning social networking entrepreneur.

Audience members were invited to participate in a confidential ballot at the start and end of the evening.

The entry poll revealed audience voting intentions of 21% Undecided, 33% Leave and 45% Remain.

These voting intentions changed dramatically during the course of the debate, with the exit poll showing 49% Remain, 46% Leave and 5% Undecided.

Our thanks to the panel members, chairman, event sponsor and, of course, the audience members who brought their questions and opinions to this debate.

DSC_8969 DSC_8977 DSC_8983 DSC_8986 DSC_8989 DSC_8997

Continue Reading

Additional panel members announced for Cranleigh Decides

With less than a week to go until the Cranleigh Decides – EU Referendum Debate, two additional panel members have been announced.

Nick Hopkinson and Ian Brown are joining Mark Nottingham and Harry Aldridge to form the expert panel for this debate.

Representing the Remain side is Nick Hopkinson.

Nick is chairman of the Liberal Democrat European Group (LDEG) and chairman of London4Europe, the London branch of the European Movement.

During Nick’s 23 year career at Wilton Park, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s policy forum, Nick progressed to Director, including acting as chief executive for a year.

He wrote more than 100 policy reports and articles, notably on the Eurozone crisis, the EU ‘Budget’, world trade negotiations, financial regulation, the EU constitutional treaty, EU accession, and lessons of the EU’s Eastern Accession for the Arab Spring.

On the Leave side of the debate, Ian Brown is South East Chairman for Business for Britain, the cross-party business campaign for Britain to Vote Leave.

He is Managing Director of Portsmouth based Industrial Maintenance Services Ltd (IMS) which he founded in 2003. Previously, Ian worked in London having founded marketing services group Fennstreet in 1991.

Ian has never been a member of any political party. He has two teenage daughters and lives on the Isle of Wight.

Tickets for Cranleigh Decides are only £5 each, with all proceeds going towards the cost of the Cranleigh Christmas Lights this year.

You can find out more and book your tickets online at

Space at this debate is strictly limited and tickets must be purchased in advance.

Our main sponsor for this event is Hart Brown.

Hart Brown is a leading law firm with offices throughout Surrey and in London.

Established in 1919, their continued success and ability to build long term relationships has been based upon their unique understanding of the law and their clients and their commitment to making the process as straightforward as possible, in the most professional way.

Find out more at

Continue Reading

BT Broadband Outage in Cranleigh

Residents and business owners in Cranleigh woke up on Friday 13th May to find they had no broadband. 

It soon became apparent that they whole village had been affected and this was not going to be a short term outage. 

Initially, BT reported that broadband would be back on at midday, then early afternoon, and as evening approached, villagers were assured it would return on Saturday. 

In the end, the village was without BT broadband for 36 hours.   

This is an example of a tweet from Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce member, Martin Bamford of Informed Choice seeking information which was very poor and proved to be incredibly inaccurate.   

Many Cranleigh residents were affected, some of whom were able to use mobile phones to access the Internet socially. But it was the businesses and retailers which suffered the most.  

Tills and credit card machines were affected and retailers were asking customers to visit the nearest ATM machine to get cash to pay for goods.

Phone operating systems operated through broadband were also affected and those businesses in that situation would have been unable to take orders for the whole day. 

For example, Cranleigh Arts Centre could not take bookings or calls by phone which only recently had been linked to broadband. Informed Choice sent staff home and closed its doors. 

It is not known just how many local businesses were forced to take the same action.

Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce investigated how compensation could be obtained for local businesses and retailer members. This proved to be extremely difficult since there is no clear information on the website. 

Residential customers may claim for 36 hours rental as long as they reported the fault. Business customers have to prove their losses and negotiate on a one to one basis with BT, but again, only if they reported the fault at the time. 

The problem is that most residential and business customers did not report the fault because BT were already publishing online that there was a fault as witnessed in the tweet earlier in this post. 

Rosemary French, who runs Ivyhurst Bed & Breakfast in Cranleigh, followed up on a compensation claim only to be told that since she had not reported it, she was not entitled!

It was not ‘some customers’ as quoted by BT but everyone in the area that used the Internet socially or for business using the landlines. Every service provider in Cranleigh, whether BT or not, has to use the BT fibre and copper network. 

There has already been considerable debate recently amongst MP’s about ending BT’s unhealthy relationship with its service provider OpenReach, formally separating the two companies. 

£1.7bn of taxpayers money has been pumped into subsidising BT’s monopoly and yet 5.7m people in the UK cannot access the Internet at the Ofcom required 10 megabits per second and even worse for the economy, 42% of small and medium sized businesses have insufficient broadband speeds.

Continue Reading