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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

Forthcoming A31 Brightwells Access Works

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Farnham town centre is about to undergo a considerable amount of disruption caused by building and redevelopment work starting shortly. Brightwells has planning permission although a number of new applications are being processed by Waverley seeking permission to make some changes to the approved proposals. Major works could start at the Woolmead and possibly at the Hopfields in the autumn.

Preparatory works for the Brightwells Development have already started, trees cut down next to the A31 east bound carriageway to allow access from the bypass. It is envisaged that this works will take 12 to 14 weeks and involve the closing of the inside east bound lane of the A31 dual carriageway bypass. A further lane closure is programmed at the completion of the development, likely to be 8 to 10 weeks.

We have identified the following likely problems:

  1. Closure of the inside lane from the Firgrove Hill Bridge through the Hickleys Corner traffic signals to beyond the construction site for 24 hours during the two periods.

  2. Some re-adjustment of the traffic signal phasing at Hickleys Corner. There can be only a small change in timings because of the high existing traffic flows from Station Hill and from the Town Centre.

  3. The major problem will be the capacity of the traffic signals at Hickleys Corner. These operate on a sophisticated program which minimises the overall delay to traffic on all approaches. Recent counts by traffic engineers for the developers gave an morning peak flow eastbound entry flow on the A31 of 1,361 vehicles per hour (vph) [approximately 22 vehicles per minute] and an eastbound exit flow of 1811vph [approximately 30 vehicles per minute]. This latter number includes the traffic exiting South Street onto the Bypass eastbound and that exiting Station Hill onto the Bypass eastbound. The mid morning flows are nearly as high.

  4. The junction already operates at very nearly full capacity and it is not possible to reduce this by some 40% with single lane usage without very serious consequences.

  5. If the signal timings are changed it should be practical to reduce this capacity reduction to about 30%.

  6. Traffic flows from Station Hill onto the A31 should be similar to that at present but if there is no change in the traffic signal timings and that the single lane A31 eastbound from Hickleys Corner is not congested. If the signal timings are changed there would be a drop of about 10% in the traffic flow.

  7. Some longer distance through traffic will divert to other routes, A3, M3 etc but much of the traffic on the A31 is local and long delays, queues and frustration for drivers is likely to become more common.

  8. It is not possible to estimate how long the delays will likely be but many members and residents people are aware of long delays whenever there is one lane closed for grass cutting or other highway works and this is always carried out outside the peak periods. Delays of 20 or 30 minutes are not uncommon.

  9. Delays on the bypass nearly always have an immediate effect on the town centre. Gridlock has occurred repeatedly and recently when there was only a single lane for A31 eastbound traffic through the Shepherd and Flock traffic signals.

  10. We reluctantly envisage the town centre being gridlocked more frequently and for it to occur for long periods throughout the day.

  11. In essence you cannot put a quart into a pint pot without an overflow. ‘Overflow’ in this case will be drivers seeking alternative routes around north and south Farnham, through the town centre, or a lack of trips into Farnham.

Measures that could reduce the impact could be:

  1. Drivers should be encouraged by traffic signing to enter and exit Farnham via Firgrove Hill and Longbridge.

  2. New signage on the A31 and A325 stating: ‘Major works will take place from date X to date Y on the A31 Bypass eastbound. Do not divert into town centre’.

  3. Signs on A31 and A325 stating: ‘Town centre is for local traffic only and no through traffic. This could be controlled and implemented by number plate recognition cameras but is unlikely to be progressed.

  4. Control of the construction traffic timings so that major HGV movements from the Brightwells Development and Woolmead are not at the same time.

  5. All parking for construction vehicles on the Brightwells site must be within then site itself.

  6. Any changes coming from the proposed pedestrianisation or Town Centre Regeneration scheme are introduced after the completion of Brightwells and The Woolmead.

Robert Mansfield

9 May 2018

Click here for full report

Visit to Chiddingstone Castle

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Our first visit of the 2018 season was on Wednesday 23 May, to Chiddingstone Castle and Emmetts Garden in Kent.

Chiddingstone Castle originates from the 1550s when High St House, as the castle was known, was home to the Streatfield family. Several transformations have since taken place, including rerouting the High St to avoid the house. In 1805 Henry Streatfield extended and remodelled his ancestral home in the “castle style” which was then fasionable. The Castle was sold in 1938 and served as a base for Canadian military forces during the Second World War. After the war it became home to Long Dene School until 1954 when the school was closed. In 1955 the antiquary Denys Eyre Bower rescued the house from creeping dereliction and used it to house his eclectic collection of over 8000 objects. On his death in 1977 he left his collection for the enjoyment of the nation. The house is now run as a charitable trust.

The Castle stands next to Chiddingstone Village, which is owned by the National Trust and has houses dating from the 16th and 17th centuries

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Emmetts is a National Trust garden housing exotic plants from around the world. It is known for its beautiful bluebells and spring colour, summer roses and vibrant autumn foliage.

 

Visit to Hughenden Manor, Thames cruise

Hughenden Manor

Thursday 21st June 2018

In the morning we will visit Hughenden Manor, a National Trust property near High Wycombe. This was the home of prime minister Benjamin Disraeli during the 19th century, and was used as a top secret map making base during the Second World War.

In the afternoon we will be joining a boat at Windsor for a leisurely two hour round trip on the Thames. We will cruise upstream going through Boveney Lock, passing Sutherland Grange, The Willows, Oakley Court, Bray Film Studios, Queens Eyot and Monkey Island. There will be classic views of Windsor Castle on the way back.

This trip will include a cream tea.

For further enquiries or to check on availability of places, please use the form below .

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Visits and Tours Programme, 2018

23 May – Chiddingstone Castle, Emmetts Garden

21June - Hughenden Manor, Thames river cruise

1 – 5 September – Liverpool Art and History tour

Full details and application forms were circulated to members with our Spring 2018 newsletter. For further enquiries please use the form below.

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Farnham Air Quality

 

Introduction

Most of us have heard about Farnham having an air quality problem but is it serious and if it is what can be done?

Farnham is a lovely old market town with many narrow streets and pavements and a one-way traffic system which ensures that the centre of the town is rarely free from slow moving traffic. Two main roads (the A287 running north south and the A325 running east west) pass through the town centre which encourages through traffic, including HGV’s, to use the centre of town, competing for space with local commuters and pedestrians. In addition, a number of areas outside the town centre have become heavily congested by increasing traffic, for example; Station Hill, Wrecclesham Road, Hale Road, and Farnborough Road.

As the largest proportion of air pollution in our area is created by traffic it is no surprise that Farnham has a significant air quality problem.

How bad is it, how do we know, and does it matter?

In a word its bad in central Farnham and getting worse in some areas around the town, and it does matter to our health.

The UK and EU governments, along with other international agencies, have established what are considered to be safe air quality parameters. These levels of air pollution are defined in law and local authorities in this country are responsible for monitoring the air quality and where breaches to the air quality regulations occur, taking steps to fix the problem.

For us the main air quality pollutant we need to be concerned about is Nitrogen Dioxide NO2. A level of 40 micrograms of NO2 per cubic metre of air has been set as the legal maximum limit for the average annual concentration of this pollutant.

Waverley Borough Council (WBC) has the responsibility to monitor air quality and to issue annual assessment reports and it is the responsibility of Surrey County Council (SCC) to introduce measures which will improve air quality. Of course, central government has a key role to introduce legislation to change people’s behaviour in relation to their choice of vehicle purchases and use, and to give the local authorities the powers and budgets they might need to alter traffic flows etc.

In 2004 WBC undertook a review of the air quality in the borough and because of air quality pollution breaches, introduced three Air Quality Management Areas (AQMA’s), as was required in environmental regulations. The AQMA’s covered a large part of central Farnham, with smaller areas in Hindhead and Godalming. Click to see AQMA Map from WBC website.

The purpose of the AQMA is to drive the local authorities to introduce measures to improve air quality within the AQMA so that those areas can be withdrawn. In Waverley’s case the only area withdrawn since 2004 has been Hindhead where the new A3 Hindhead tunnel has eradicated the air quality problem.

For Farnham the air quality within the AQMA has not improved over the thirteen years since its introduction and worryingly the quality of air in a number of areas of the town outside the AQMA have significantly deteriorated so that it may now be necessary to extend the AQMA to include them. A good part of West Street, The Borough, East Street and South Street have annual average NO2 above the 40 micrograms per cubic metre level and the same is true for Station Hill and Wrecclesham Road south of the Coxbridge roundabout.

WBC normally issues an Air Quality Annual Status Report which gives details of all the monitoring stations throughout the borough and lists an Air Quality Action Plan to be undertaken Click for link to WBC website for 2016 Air Quality Report.

We do need to be concerned about the high levels of pollution in and around Farnham because it has been shown that when people have long term exposure to such levels of pollution it can have a very significant effect on life expectancy. This is brought about by the adverse effect of pollution on respiratory, heart and cancer disease and brain function. These effects are stated by the UK government to account for some 40,000 early deaths per annum in this country. Air pollution has a particularly bad effect on the development of young children and on the elderly, who may have pre -existing health issues. It is only in the last ten years or so that the full impact of air pollution has become better understood.

What can be done

Firstly, we need to have more up to date and more accurate air quality information and WBC are setting out to hopefully provide that. They have changed the way that they organise the collection of air quality data by utilising the services of outside specialist contractors and consultants and they have started to issue the results from all their (diffusion tube) monitoring stations on a monthly basis on their website. This is very welcome.  Click for link to WBC website page.

WBC now sees this issue as very important and has established a new Farnham Air Quality Working Group which brings together SCC, WBC, Farnham Town Council councillors and officers together with representatives of The Farnham Society. The minutes of this group will be published on the WBC website.

If action is not taken then our air quality will continue to deteriorate until such time as electric powered vehicles become the norm in ten to fifteen years at best.

The alternative is for significant changes to take place in traffic flows through our town and this is possible but may well be disruptive. SCC has the powers to undertake a number of significant traffic control measures but has until now chosen not to introduce them. Part of the problem of course has been the lack of funds to undertake such schemes. This however seems to be changing with central government offering major funding for this type of project.

Behavioural change by us all could have a significant effect on the problem but that will be down to each of us changing our routine and most people seem reluctant to do so. A greater understanding of the issues and seeing the benefits of changing our ways with a few prods from central government by way of higher taxes or incentives may help. Let’s hope so.

JMS 14/03/18

 

 

Rebuilding Shakespeare’s Globe

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4 April 2018, Dr Diana Devlin

Diana was chairman of the committee that planned and accomplished the building of Shakespeare’s Globe with Sam Wannamaker and Prof Andrew Gurr. You may have heard her talking about it recently on Radio 4’s ‘The Reunion’. She is a highly accomplished Shakespeare scholar and presented fascinating and lively seminars at the Globe for many years.

St Joan’s Centre

Our Next Talk

Globe Lecture poster

Rebuilding Shakespeare’s Globe – a tale of trials and triumphs

Dr Diana Devlin

Wednesday 4 April 2018   St Joan’s Centre, Tilford Road. 7:30 for 8:00

Diana Devlin was chairman of the committee that planned and accomplished the building of Shakespeare’s Globe with Sam Wannamaker and Prof Andrew Gurr. You may have heard her talking about it on Radio 4’s ‘The Reunion’. She is a highly accomplished Shakespeare scholar and presented fascinating and lively seminars at the Globe for many years.

Members:            £3

Non members   £6

Students              £1.50

 

Farnham model

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The model of East Street Brightwells displayed at the Farnham Carnival and at the Bourne Show has been extensively enlarged and upgraded. The Stedman Blower Foundation have widened the area of the model to extend from the Lion and Lamb Yard in the west to the Riverside Industrial Estate in the east, and from the north side of Woolmead Road to the Borelli Walk to the south.  The model was displayed in the Long Kiln Room at the Maltings during the HODS festival in September, at the Christmas Market in December and most recently at 40 Degreez, on 17 February 2018.

 

Farnham Neighbourhood Plan review

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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

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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