Planning

Northbrook Park development

Northbrook plan

The East Hampshire District Council (EHDC) has published its Draft Local Plan (dLP) for consultation. The consultation started on 5 February and finishes on Tuesday 19 March 2019. The dLP includes the provision of 3,723 homes required to satisfy its national housing allocation including an allocation at Northbrook Park which abuts the Surrey Hampshire boundary. The current proposal in Hampshire is the construction of a minimum of 800 houses, a primary school, community hub, ‘village’ centre, sports facilities and a variety of employment and office buildings. The dLP indicates that the development would if undertaken take place between 2028 and 2036.

Bentley Parish Council has expressed concerns at the proposals. Bentley residents attended a meeting at the Bentley Memorial Hall on Monday 25 February, an estimated four hundred people. The parish of Bentley currently has approximately 450 houses with a population of approximately 1,250.

The Society understands that the landowner’s proposals are to extend the development in the Farnham Built Up Boundary Area and construct a further 700 houses.

The Northbrook site was submitted as part of the Farnham Neighbourhood Plan process. The site was rejected, the summary stating ‘A significant development of 15.3ha set in open countryside removed from Farnham and extending beyond the Parish boundary into East Hampshire would have a significant detrimental effect on the landscape of high sensitivity.’ Continuing ‘A new settlement would not represent an appropriate strategy to accommodate development taking into account the reasonable alternative of brownfield sites in more sustainable locations. The site is unsuitable and potentially unachievable as a housing allocation.’

The impact on Bentley will be unmeasurable, but the impact on Farnham will be significant as well. Residents of the development would likely look to travel east to work, to shop, for their social life and entertainment.

Issues that would arise from the inclusion of the proposed development in the EHDC dLP to Farnham would include a significant impact on the infrastructure. If properly managed, the funds levied under the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) could contribute to a western relief road, which would be beneficial and would ease what could otherwise be not insignificant congestion through Farnham town centre. Increased traffic movements would undoubtedly result in some congestion and over demand for parking spaces despite the proposal to operate a bus service, with increased demand on already stretched facilities. Residents travelling to London would require to travel through the town centre, rail tickets are currently 20% cheaper from Farnham than Bentley.

The development would bring a further demand for school places. Farnham is already looking to have 2,780 new houses built in the period up to 2032, so even the 800 homes proposed on the Hampshire side would bring a significant extra demand. The further 700 homes in the Farnham boundary area would create even more demand.

The proposals would result in the loss of greenfields, an area recorded as landscape of high sensitivity. A development would change the A31 corridor immeasurably.

The Society is going to comment and register its concern and objection to the inclusion of the site within the EHDC dLP. Clicking this link will take you to the draft Local Plan.

You can comment on the dLP by clicking here, note that you will have to register to do so. Alternatively you can email your comments to localplan@easthants.gov.uk or write to Planning Policy, East Hampshire District Council, Penns Place, Petersfield, Hampshire, GU31 4EX. Your comments need to be received by the council by 5pm on Tuesday 19 March 2019.

Post Office consultation

300px-Post_Office_Logo.svg

The Post Office has announced a proposal to close its Farnham branch, and to transfer operations into WH Smith in The Borough. This is part of a national reorganisation of Post Office branches. The move is planned for June of this year.

The plan is to relocate into a dedicated open plan area towards the rear of the existing WH Smith shop. There will be three staffed serving positions, one of which will be of the traditional screened type, the other two will be open plan. In addition there will be two self service kiosks.  Most of the facilites currently provided at the West Street branch will continue to be available, though the ATM will not be retained.

The office will be available for a period during the WH Smith Sunday opening hours.

It is not clear whether the planned new location will provide an adequate queueing area for customers within and outside the premises. West Street it is know for a queue to stretch through the doors and into the street.

A consultation is now running, and will close on 6 March. To take part, visit the Post Office website.  postofficeviews.co.uk, enter branch name, postcode GU9 7PJ or branch code 007900

SCC Consultations

Surrey County Council logo

Community Recycling Centres:

Surrey County Council faces severe financial pressures and feel they have no choice but to look for savings. They are undertaking five consultations at the same time.

Consultations end on Friday 4 January 2019. Click here for link.

All the threatened Surrey County Council cuts are important.

Potential loss of Farnham’s Community Recycling Centre (CRC) in Guildford Road.

Surrey has put forward three options for the future of its 15 CRCs. Two of these would involve closing the Farnham CRC and would require Farnham residents to travel to Guildford, Camberley or Witley to recycle their household waste. Using these CRCs would involve round trips of around an hour at quieter times and much longer at busier times. This would be a major inconvenience and unnecessary expense to Farnham’s 40,000 plus residents and would result in very many Farnham residents opting out of using the Surrey CRCs completely and most likely an increase in fly-tipping.

The Farnham CRC is threatened with closure as it is categorised by Surrey as one of the six less used sites, which is supposedly close to alternative sites, which are said to generally offer a better customer experience. Farnham would appear to be the highest used of the six less used sites. This low use would seem to be very surprising as Farnham is the third largest town in Surrey based on the 2011 census figures and all the other CRCs apart from Guildford and Woking are based in smaller towns than Farnham. It is not really surprising as the Farnham CRC is very poor from an access, layout and customer experience point of view. Surrey and Suez management appear to struggle with this site, which is seriously understaffed when compared to the nearby, and well managed and run, Hampshire sites in Aldershot and Farnborough.

The Farnham CRC is now in a cycle of decline as it is thought that many Farnham residents are now using Hampshire sites, particularly since the Farnham site was closed for two days a week and its opening hours shortened. However, the supervisors of the nearby Hampshire sites have advised that in around a years’ time Hampshire intend to introduce checks to ensure that only Hampshire residents will have access to their CRCs.

It is unacceptable for Farnham to be left without a well-run CRC in the town or very close by. It may be that the current site cannot be realistically upgraded. If so it should be used for another purpose and a new site developed in a suitable alternative location nearby. A further option would be to come to an arrangement with Hampshire to upgrade the Aldershot site to serve both Aldershot and Farnham residents.

In any case we would strongly recommend Farnham residents to take part in the Surrey consultation, which runs till Friday 4 January 2019, and to insist that the Farnham CRC is not closed until a suitable alternative facility is provided.

Follow this link to the consultation

https://www.surreysays.co.uk/environment-and-infrastructure/crcs/

 Transforming Libraries and Cultural Services

Surrey County Council’s consultation on “Transforming Libraries and Cultural Services” does not contain any specific proposals to close any libraries. This is in contrast with the consultation on “Community Recycling Centres” which includes proposals, which would result in the Farnham Recycling Centre being closed.

The consultation makes it clear that the Council intends to make substantial savings in the costs of its libraries and library services. Surrey currently has 52 libraries based across the county and the Council currently spends £14 per person on libraries compared with the £9.89 average for similar county councils. Their intention is to reduce their expenditure on libraries to a level close to the national average spend of county councils. This would involve a cut in expenditure of up to 30%, which would most likely have to include some closures of the less well used libraries and service reductions elsewhere.

The consultation document does talk positively about how libraries are an integral part of community life and sit at the heart of lifelong learning. We completely agree and see the continuation of Farnham’s library service at its present excellent level as vitally important for the residents of the town.

We would we would strongly recommend Farnham’s residents, who wish to protect our library services, to take part in the Surrey consultation. This runs until 4 January 2019. Participation can be either online via the Surrey County Council website following this link or by returning a questionnaire available at Farnham Library.

Housing development at Coxbridge Farm

P1070403

Vivid Homes staged a public exhibition on 11 December, in support of a consultation on the proposed housing develpoment at Coxbridge Farm.

Displays from the exhibition: click to download.

Coxbridge_Farm_Board_A

Coxbridge_Farm_Board_B

Coxbridge_Farm_Board_C

Coxbridge_Farm_Board_D

Coxbridge_Farm_Board_E

Coxbridge_Farm_Board_F

Coxbridge_Farm_Board_G

Coxbridge_Farm_Board_H

Coxbridge_Farm_Board_I

SURREY COUNTY COUNCIL CONSULTATION DROP IN

SCC Consultation

Surrey CC have agreed after pressure from our County Councillors to have a Consultation Drop-in session on Monday 17 December between 10am and 12 midday (two hours only) at the Library (The Culver Room) in West Street.

We would urge as many residents to attend to show the strength of feeling about the possible closure of the CRC (Dump) together with the loss of other services in Farnham, the largest town in Waverley.

Draft Farnham Neighbourhood Plan review (Regulation 14)

Aerial-photo-resized dh

Farnham Town Council has loaded all the documents relating to the Review of the Neighbourhood Plan on to their website.

This link will take you to the Draft Plan on the website

Please do have a look.

The other documents can be found by clicking on this link

For the short survey on the Draft Regulation 14 Plan click here

The deadline for responding is Sunday 30 September.

Please respond to the survey. It won’t take long.

The more responses submitted the less likely that the Examiner will require a referendum to be undertaken, the better for the town, the quicker the reviewed Plan can be made / adopted.

Farnham Town Centre Re-imagined

A few months ago we were asked by Jeremy Hunt MP, to join a working party to formulate a view on how the centre of Farnham should be made more attractive and welcoming to residents and visitors and also to address the serious problem of air pollution. This group included local councillors and architects who have worked harmoniously to produce some initial thoughts on what could be achieved. Many of the proposals are not new and have been considered in the past but have gone no further.

Jeremy Hunt requested that the working party’s suggestions should be made public at our Annual General Meeting and this would be the first step in the process of a lengthy period of public consultation. An abbreviated form of what has been put forward as a stalking horse, is as follows:–

Phase 1a, No fundamental change to the traffic system but would re-balance the town centre space between traffic and pedestrians.

FarnhamReimagned2

Ultimately a pedestrianised area with widened pavements, attractive street furniture and tree planting.

FarnhamReimagned3       FarnhamReimagned4

Phase 1b, The current one-way traffic system uses the Borough as an interchange with offset crossroads. Consideration would be given to accessing car parks without going through the town centre or using the one-way system.

Possible changes: reversing the one-way system in The Borough between Castle Street and Downing Street, and between lower Downing Street and Union Road, allowing two way access to Wagon Yard and Central car parks – the beginning of a further reaching proposal.

FarnhamReimagned5

Phase 1c, Reinstating the historic road link between Castle Hill and The Hart, bypassing Castle Street by re-routing the A287 along The Hart and via a new connection to Caste Hill, mainly through The Hart car parks.

FarnhamReimagned6  FarnhamReimagned7

This would facilitate an area for market stalls at the bottom of Castle Street.

FarnhamReimagned8

Phase 2, Hickleys Corner/Station Hill – a very poor junction made worse by the level crossing and likely to deteriorate further with the reinstatement of direct train services to Guildford. Firgrove Hill to A31 link to be given priority.

FarnhamReimagned9

Phase 3, Wrecclesham bypass – redirecting heavy traffic from the village centre and reducing risk of repeated railway bridge strikes on the A325.

These are ideas only and throughout the course of the public consultation there will undoubtedly be many amendments, improvements and inclusion of new ideas. 

This initiative has the full support of The Farnham Society.

Further details posted in the member’s area within the AGM Folder

 

Farnham Neighbourhood Plan review update

FNP update

Over sixty representatives from local Residents’ Associations and The Farnham Society attended an Update Meeting on the Review of the Farnham Neighbourhood Plan held on Thursday 3 May in the Farnham Town Council Chamber. Carole Cockburn was upbeat about progress. All sites originally identified will be re-assessed and all new sites assessed against the same robust set of criteria.

We will be supporting the process and will post further updates in due course.

Click here for Council’s update

Farnham Neighbourhood Plan review

Call for Sites Image

Following the adoption of the Waverley Local Plan, Farnham Town Council are carrying out an early partial review of the Neighbourhood Plan to identify sites for up to 450 additional homes that will need to be built in Farnham between now and 2032. We are also looking to identify a site or sites for Suitable Alternative Natural Green Space (SANG).

A number of housing sites in Farnham and the surrounding area have already been identified and included in the adopted Neighbourhood Plan. We now need to find potential additional sites suitable for the extra homes.

In addition, so that the residents from the new homes do not put recreational pressure on the Thames Basins Heaths SPA, Suitable Alternative Natural Green Space must also be identified.

Link to FTC website

 

The Farnham Society’s Architecture and Design Awards

Website Image 25 06 2018

Michael Blower, Vice-President, and Alan Gavaghan, Chairman, presented Awards for two projects on Wednesday evening, June 20, in the Museum’s Garden Gallery.

Alan praised the high standard of the finalists but the Society’s judges had set the bar very high this year so were only awarding one Highly Commended Award and one Commended Award.

Before the Awards were presented Michael informed those attending how important the client’s brief was to the architect or designer.

Richard Woods and John Winter received the Highly Commended Award for Weydon School’s Medici building designed by the WSW Consultancy, and Debbie Flowerday received the Commended Award on behalf of her husband, Farid Divsalar, for the Oast House, Green Lane.

Presentation Board Medici Auditorium

The citation for the Medici building stated

The Medici building was named after the political dynasty which came to power in the Republic of Florence during the late 14th century, and is credited with creating an environment where Art, Architecture and Humanism could flourish.

The building, which acts a Performing Arts Centre, incorporates a full height proscenium, a minstrel’s gallery, a drama studio and first floor specialist art rooms with generous amounts of natural lighting. There is a designed flow path to the harmonious siting of the building which, in conjunction with the adjacent buildings and the finishes to the cladding, form a cohesive whole.

The incorporation of multiple roof levels, large projecting soffits forming the covered entrance area, together with walkways, varied application of cladding materials and curtain walling window systems, all add to the exciting external appearance.

The judges thought that the building meets the broader educational aspirations of the pupils, provides an invaluable teaching asset as well as providing the local community with an incredibly useful resource widely used outside school curriculum hours.

This is a place to inspire all its users.”

Presentation Board Oast House image

The citation for the Oast House stated

The Oast House project started with a desire to replace an existing small rectangular garage on a restricted triangular shaped site with a building of interest now and in the future.

The new building is formed by a two and a half storey circular tower finished with a conical shaped roof sitting above and abutting a more traditional twin pitched roof on the two storey timber framed structure. Both roofs are finished with Shou Sugi Ban timber cedar shingles and cladding, traditionally blackened but in this instance left in its natural colour.

The rectangular building incorporates a double garage with habitable space above, extending into the tower. There is a galleried entrance hall with a multiple variety of timber board cladding, and an original tree remaining slightly off centre of the tower, around which a specialist curved metal staircase rises to the upper floor which extends into the space above the garages.

The judges thought that the clustering of the strong geometrical forms provided an interesting visual ensemble and the use of wood in a creative way went a long way to making this scheme a joy to experience.”

Click here for list of finalists

Local Plan Pt1 Wednesday Update

LPP1 WBC Image

Waverley continue to load responses on to their website, only respondents names are available at the moment but everyone’s response will be viewable eventually. When the Planning Committee chairman checked on Wednesday 8 November there were in excess of 800 names or organisations listed. Rumour has it there are in excess of 900 responses. You can check to see whether your name is on the list by clicking on this link http://consult.waverley.govuk/consult.ti/LPP1MainMods/listrespondents

He understands that the responses are being printed and dispatched to the Inspector for him to read As soon as we have more information we will post it here.