Cranleigh Village Hospital was England’s first cottage hospital. Established in 1859, the hospital was the brainchild of local GP Albert Napper, who recognised the need for in-patient beds in Cranleigh.

Archdeacon J H Sapte, then Rector of Cranleigh, shared Dr Napper’s belief in the benefits of such beds, and generously made available a cottage, rent-free, in which the hospital could be created.

For many years and throughout two World Wars, Cranleigh Village Hospital served the community, becoming part of the NHS in 1948. When, in 1949, it became obvious that state provision would struggle to keep pace with local requirements, the League of Friends of Cranleigh Village Hospital was formed. Through their hard work and local generosity, the League of Friends has enabled the hospital to maintain and expand its out-patient services and is now in the process of supporting the development of a state of the art diagnostic unit. In the first stage of this process, the League of Friends will provide funding for an X-Ray department at Cranleigh Village Hospital.

In the late 1990s changes in policy and funding priorities threatened in-patient care at the Village Hospital. In response to the community’s concerns and acknowledging the need to maintain in-patient beds in Cranleigh, Cranleigh Village Hospital Trust (CVHT) was formed in 2001. Its focus has been to maintain the long tradition of in-patient care in the village.

The campaign received an early, major boost when a local benefactor generously offered a plot of land to Cranleigh Parish Council for the provision of local sports facilities in exchange for a smaller Council-owned site close to the heart of the village. Consequently, CVHT was able to acquire its Knowle Lane site.

In 2002, the initial plans for the new site included both a hospital and a replacement GP surgery. This concept was supported by the NHS, and subsequent detailed planning permission for this new facility was granted in March 2006.

In May 2006, the NHS closed all the beds at Cranleigh Village Hospital ‘for urgent, temporary financial reasons’. The former local Primary Care Trust (PCT) then undertook a consultation process, resulting in the decision to adopt a model of care which did not require the provision of in-patient beds at Cranleigh Village Hospital. The decision to close the 14 beds permanently was taken in January 2010, and brought to an end the 150 year history of in-patient care at the Hospital.

Having tried to engage the PCT in a mediation process to discuss the closure, the Trustees sought professional advice to establish whether the decision should be challenged on legal grounds. CVHT was advised that there was a case to answer and subsequently the Trust instigated a Judicial Review of the PCT’s decision, with the assistance of a pro bono solicitor. Consequently, formal mediation discussions between CVHT and the PCT took place in June 2010, and a way forward was agreed.

The PCT undertook to look again at the redevelopment of the Health Centre site (leading to the creation of new premises for the Cranleigh Medical Practice) and, subject to value for money and affordability, the PCT agreed to commission in-patient services but stipulated that this would only be viable in a new health facility.  CVHT was advised by the PCT that, to comply with Government policy and to meet the needs of the NHS commissioners, the community beds should be in a nursing home setting.

CVHT undertook a consultation, bringing together all the key organisations responsible for providing healthcare services in Cranleigh and the surrounding villages.  This led to the creation of a Stakeholder Group and following extensive discussions, it was agreed that 20 community beds should be provided in a dedicated wing of a new care home which would be built on CVHT’s Knowle Lane site.  A care home operator would be required, and on the recommendation of RSCH, CVHT approached leading care home provider, HC-One.

In 2017, a Heads of Terms Agreement was signed with HC-One to return in-patient care to Cranleigh through the provision of 20 community beds within a new care home for the village.

Click to enlarge images

“From the founding of Cranleigh Village Hospital Trust in 2001, the Trustees worked against a background of huge and continual change. Demand for medical services has increased whilst funding of the NHS has not kept pace. At the same time, new practices have altered the way in which patients receive medical treatment. Crucially, local NHS management has been repeatedly overhauled, resulting in decision making becoming that much more of a challenge. Despite this we have held firm to our original objective: to ensure that the long tradition of in-patient care in Cranleigh should continue. We are delighted now to be in a position to realise this vision.” Robin Fawkner-Corbett, Chairman, Cranleigh Village Hospital Trust

Albert Napper

Albert Napper (1815 – 1894) Founder of the Cranleigh Cottage Hospital.

Archdeacon J H Sapte, Rector of Cranleigh

  • Cranleigh Village Hospital established

    The brainchild of local GP, Dr Albert Napper

  • Cranleigh Village Hospital Trust established

    CVHT established to protect beds in Cranleigh Village Hospital

  • Local benefactor gifts land to CVHT

    This enables the Trust to propose a land swap with the Parish Council

  • CVHT secures planning permission

    CVHT secures planning permission from Waverley BC for new hospital and health centre on the Knowle Lane site

  • Plans to close beds announced

    Primary Care Trust (now NHS Surrey) announces plans to close beds at Cranleigh Village Hospital

  • Hospital beds at Cranleigh Village Hospital are closed

  • CVHT can pursue the construction of a new health facility

    CVHT wins a Judicial Review in the High Court and can pursue the construction of a new health facility on Knowle Lane

  • Land swap completed

  • CVHT funds Feasibility Study

    CVHT funds Feasibility Study to demonstrate how the use of Cranleigh Village Hospital could be optimised

  • CVHT initiates a Healthcare Consultation Group

    CVHT initiates a Healthcare Consultation Group to create greater cohesion in meeting healthcare needs locally

  • CVHT secures Heads of Terms Agreement with HC-One

    CVHT secures Heads of Terms Agreement with HC-One to return 20 community beds to Cranleigh and to create affordable accommodation for healthcare workers

  • The planned opening of the care home and healthcare worker accommodation block

    The planned opening of the 20 bed community wing of the care home, together with a 26 unit healthcare worker accommodation block