Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for attending the eighteenth annual general meeting of the Trust.
2018 ended on a note of optimism, the planning application having been submitted in November 2018. It was then expected that the application would come before the Joint Planning Committee (“JPC”) in early 2019. Indeed, to this end we paid Waverley Borough Council (“WBC”) a significant sum to use their “fast-track” service.
Sadly, our hopes were not fulfilled. The external planning officer handling our case was dis-instructed and was not replaced and thus WBC did not fulfil its part of our agreement but repaid the greater part of our payment. Having thereby missed earlier meetings of the JPC, our application was further delayed by the Borough elections as the membership of the JPC inevitably had to change and new councillors briefed on their roles generally. This and staffing problems in WBC’s planning department caused further delay and the application did not reach the JPC until twelve months after submission. At the JPC, officers recommended refusal based on concerns over the impact of the scheme on the landscape that had not been raised with us in our discussions with them. Approval was not granted as a result of those concerns.
Our determination to restore community beds to Cranleigh remains undiminished by this setback. The Trustees are considering our options, including responding to the specific concerns and re-submitting the original application, submitting an amended application or appealing against the decision. We have taken professional advice and we are confident that an appeal would be successful.
Reflecting the broad remit of our objectives in local healthcare which are not clear in the previous name, on 4 December 2019 the Trustees resolved to change the name of the charity to Cranleigh Village Health Trust following approvals from Companies House and the Charity Commission, which have since been received.
On 4 December, the Trustees accepted Nick Vrijland’s resignation as a Trustee on health grounds. Neither CVHT nor the current project would exist without Nick’s great support over 20 years and we owe him a huge debt of gratitude. Andy Leahy will be retiring today having decided not to seek re-election for personal reasons. The Trustees are grateful for his great contribution and wise counsel over the past nine years.
Both Nick and Andy have wished the Trust every success. David Barry and David Graham Smith retire by rotation today in accordance with the Articles of Association and offer themselves for re-election.
The Trustees will be seeking to strengthen the Board by new appointments in the coming months.