VAT on works to listed buildings

LPOC logo

A few years ago, the government imposed VAT upon work carried out to listed buildings. This has had a serious financial impact upon owners of listed buildings, increasing cost of repairs and reducing the incentive to invest in the building. With Heritage Open Days now taking place, we are reminded of the value of listed buildings, which are costly to maintain and preserve.

The Listed Property Owners Club is campaigning for the reduction of VAT on work to listed buildings, and is raising a petition to place before parliament. Your support will help to preserve and protecting these buildings for future generations.

Click here for the petition. https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/223075

For further information, click on the links below:

Listed Property Owners Club (LPOC) website.

LPOC press release

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Listed Properties

A Brighter Future for Farnham ?

A Brighter future for Farnham film image 2019

The Farnham Society has commissioned several films about the Brightwells development and its impact upon Farnham.

The first film in the series, published in 2018 at the start of construction work, is titled A Brighter Future for Farnham? and  you can watch it on on Youtube.  Click here to view

The film sets out to record the current range of views about the development scheme and the hopes and fears that people in the town have about it. Subsequent films (now released) track the development and how it is impacting the life of the town in positive and negative ways. Feedback has been provided by people and businesses resident in the town and visitors to it. Further feedback is sought.  Please email us with your views and thoughts about the development, on

1BWfilm.fsoc @gmail.com   or   farnhamfilms@gmail.com

Three further films, released in May 2019, reflect thoughts and experiences one year after the start of construction, click here for link.



HODS Programme 2018

Brochure cover 2018

Here is a full list of HODS activities in and around Farnham. For further information click on the entry below.




Coxbridge Farm     - New this year

Chapel of Rest, West Street Cemetery

Museum of Farnham, 38 West Street, Willmer House

Guitar Village, 80-81 West Street

Caffe Piccolo, 84 West Street

Farnham Library, 28 West Street, Vernon House

Graham & Co Jewellers, 20A West Street

Goldsmiths Jewellers, Lion and Lamb House, 113 West Street


University for the Creative Arts


Farnham Castle, Keep and Deer Park

Masonic Hall

Zizzi’s, 68 Castle Street

The Giggling Squid

29 Castle Street


Farnham United Reformed Church

The Victoria Garden, Brightwell Road

Farnham Council Offices


The Old Court House

Farnham Vineyard Church


Farnham Maltings, Red Lion Lane

New Ashgate Gallery, Lower Church Lane, entrance from Waggon Yard car park


The Old Vicarage, Vicarage Lane, off Lower Church Lane

St Andrew’s Parish Church, Middle Church Lane

St Andrew’s Infant School, Upper Church Lane

Hone’s Yard, Downing Street, next to Hone’s Greengrocers                            



Badshot Lea Village Hall     - New this year


South Farnham Infants School  – previously The Bourne School


Farnham Pottery, Quennells Hill, GU10 4QT (off A325 through Wrecclesham)

Yew Tree Cottage

Partridge House

St Peter’s Church


Moor Park House, Moor Park Lane (off Moor Park Way), GU10 1FE

Waverley Abbey House, Waverley Lane, GU9 8EP

Waverley Abbey ruins, off Waverley Lane, GU9 8EP


Ellel Pierrepont, Frensham GU10 3DL (off A287 in Frensham) 

Museum of Rural Life     - New this year


Water Meadow Walk

-  NOTE :  Access is via Crosby Way, past Memorial Hall then turn right into Whitlet Close then ahead to field gate.

Architectural Walk in Castle Street

Farnham Park Walk

Farnham Green Spaces Walk

Green Spaces in The Bourne

Waverley Abbey Walk


Trees in Farnham

The Architecture of Castle Street


Farnham Rep in Farnham Library

Morris Dancers – Saturday

Dame Ethel Smyth

The Town Crier






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.


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.


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.


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.


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


AGM 2018



Minutes of the 71st Annual General Meeting held on

Friday 25 May 2018

at St Joan’s Centre, Tilford Road, Farnham



Alan Gavaghan Chairman

Michael Blower Vice-President 

Janet Radley Vice-Chairman/Secretary 

John Cattell Treasurer 

Simon Bradbury

David Howell

John Slater

Ian Soden

98 members of the Society and 7 guests attended

Guest speaker The Rt. Hon. JEREMY HUNT MP

Presentation – Transforming Farnham

by Carole Cockburn, Andy MacLeod and Jim Duffy

The Chairman welcomed members to the Society’s 71st Annual General Meeting and gave a particular welcome to special guest Jeremy Hunt MP and to his colleaguesRichard Nelsonand Morwenna Brown.

Announcing the format for the presentation to follow, Alan Gavaghan said it would illustrate how Jeremy Hunt sees the future of Farnham – visitor friendly and addressing the increasing health hazards of air pollution

Carole Cockburn, with her vast experience of successfully organising public consultations for the Neighbourhood Plan would outline what is proposed for the future as far as this project is concerned

Jim Duffy’s visual presentation, with additional input from Andy MacLeod, would give an impression of how the future is envisaged.

Jeremy Hunt would comment and take questions on the issues raised.

Carole Cockburn talked about spearheading Farnham Town Council’s Neighbourhood Plan, now subject to a partial review as a result of the allocation of an additional 450 dwellings by 2022.

Farnham Town Council would be the anchor for a consultation on Transforming Farnham involving Jim Duffy, local architect, county councillors, borough councillors, Castle Street residents etc – a wide range of opinion would be sought

It was emphasised that the presentation was just the start, not the complete answer. Other people may have better ideas. Although previous studies on Farnham had foundered, the

aim was to finally find a solution to improve traffic flow and air quality in the town. The opinion of Farnham Society members was important

Andy MacLeod outlined the proposals and said a project like this was fundamental to the future of the town

  1. Gestation – where the ideas in the presentation came from

These ideas were a continuation of the 2014 pedestrianisation consultation initiated by Jeremy Hunt.

Some years ago Surrey County Council commissioned the Mott MacDonald Report which found that, as a result of the high traffic volumes and concurrent congestion, the town centre presents an unattractive environment for pedestrians, has poor air quality and discourages shoppers and visitors from choosing Farnham. Their solution was to make Farnham a ‘destination town’, achievable if there was sufficient provision of mitigation in areas surrounding the town.

Subsequently Jeremy Hunt had asked three County Councillors, The Farnham Society, Farnham Chamber of Commerce, Max Lyons and Jim Duffy to work with him on town centre regeneration

  1. Objectives – what the team is trying to achieve

Transformation of the town centre, not dominated by cars, done in a gradual, phased way that is acceptable, realistic and affordable.

     3.The way forward – how this can be done

The way forward was considered to be wide consultation and the setting up of a proper project which would be achievable subject to finance being found

Jim Duffy of Add Architects described the vision for Farnham with a visual presentation.

As it is, cohesive market town architecture is badly let down by narrow pavements and a very poor public realm. The vision was for a café society with calm, authentic streets and squares and a prime retail pitch with an exciting range of national and local outlets

Showing comparisons with other market towns, the gradual phases of the proposals were outlined:

Phase 1a No fundamental change to the traffic system but would re-balance the town centre space between traffic and pedestrians. Ultimately a pedestrianised area with widened pavements, attractive street furniture and tree planting

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. .

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

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

Phase 3 Wrecclesham bypass – redirecting heavy traffic from the village centre and reducing risk of repeated railway bridge strikes on theA325

Jeremy Hunt thanked the Chairman for the opportunity to show the presentation but emphasised that it was not his own plan and he was grateful to everyone who had contributed. Ultimately it was a matter for traffic engineers to say what is practical and what is not.

He said that now is a moment of choice and future generations will judge us on whether we did or did not tackle the great issues of traffic and air quality – a long-standing problem, particularly in The Borough. The two big developments going ahead in the town centre (Woolmead and Brightwells) provided an opportunity to persuade the developers to contribute financially on the basis that the proposals would enhance their developments

He cited Carole Cockburn’s approach to the Neighbourhood Plan consultation as a model of how to obtain a consensus across the town as to what would be the right thing for Farnham

If this vision is to be realised there was a need to be flexible about the details. There would inevitably be winners and losers. North Farnham and Hale would need consideration.

Re a possible Wrecclesham bypass – finance for big road schemes were generally linked to large-scale new housing developments which did not apply here.

One challenge is to find a scheme that is workable – the other is financing it

If a scheme is found which was generally agreed the way to go he would make it his principal job to raise the finance via SCC, Dept of Transport, WBC, and the developers of Woolmead and Brightwells (Berkeley Homes and Crest Nicholson respectively)

It was important to stress that this is a consultation, open to other ideas. The hope was that a broad consensus would be found among Farnham people. Once a plan is in place the developers could be approached.

The Farnham Society’s role was very important, as was the Chamber of Commerce. The short term impact on retailers would be a drop in revenue, but with a significant increase in the years that follow. There were many practical problems but the potential for Farnham was huge, with its green spaces, stunning architecture and the quirkiness of its culture.

It will take many years but these proposals were the start on the journey.


David Lea (Lord Lea of Crondall OBE) referred to previous traffic modelling by professionals and asked the meeting to bear in mind a former proposal for an underpass at Hickleys Corner

David Wylde: Mr Hunt was looking for our goodwill and support but in recent years, citing the East Street development and Dunsfold, contact seemed to have been one-sided

Alan Gavaghan replied that support was being asked for in the context of these proposals and should be encouraged

Yolande Hesse totally supported the idea which would have a huge impact, and felt a lot could be done with it, citing French towns as an example

Celia Sandars expressed concern about the provision of parking if more people are to be attracted to the town, and asked what is being done to plan for that, and for accommodating delivery vehicles, especially in Downing Street and The Borough

Jeremy Hunt agreed the need for the provision of infrastructure and the deliveries issue had to be worked on. Jim Duffy said lay-bys could be constructed for delivery vehicles

Stephen Cochrane pointed out that residents of Castle Hill had not been consulted

There were inaccuracies in the map shown

There would be an overall loss of car parking spaces as a result of the East Street development. If the town is to be vibrant, sufficient accessible car parking is needed.

Have people whose houses back on to the proposed new roads been consulted, given the potential impact on their market value?.

Jeremy Hunt replied that this is a first step only, at a very tentative early stage, to gauge reaction from the people of Farnham

Simon Bradbury asked what financial support can we expect for improvements to the A325 with traffic from the new Bordon developments coming through Farnham via Wrecclesham

Jeremy Hunt said he had talked to Hampshire County Council about developers putting money into the A325 improvements

Mary Parker expressed doubt about financial input from the developers of Woolmead and Brightwells as the latter had already been substantially subsidised by SCC

Andy MacLeod pointed out that the Surrey funding was via a government loan which it was hoped would be repaid from rental revenue from the retail units if the scheme is successful

Jeremy Hunt said that in both cases this kind of vision would make the developers’ flats more valuable – a good reason to support this initiative

Zofia Lovell, Chairman of SOFRA, expressed concerns about the impact of re-routed traffic, pointing out that Farnham is currently impacted hugely by impending developments and we are constantly having to comply with more and more planning applications for housing on greenfield and brownfield sites. We need to support our MP and our county councillors and pedestrianisation is a wonderful idea but planning issues need to be addressed for it to work.

Patrick Webber praised the presentation and the idea behind it and stressed the importance of goodwill and co-operation from Waverley

Mr Hunt concluded by saying that he was in the best position, and it was absolutely his job, to bring together Waverley, Surrey County Council, Farnham Town Council and elected councillors and agree what is best for Farnham. The next stage would be to explore where the finance might come from, for traffic engineers to look at what the options are, and to form a tangible proposal for the people of Farnham

Mr Hunt asked for an indication from the audience that the proposals were a step in the right direction and should be pursued. By a show of hands the majority felt that they should.

The Chairman thanked Jeremy Hunt and the presenters and welcomed a positive initiative for Farnham

The Farnham Society Annual General Meeting

  1. Apologies for absence

Sir Ray Tindle, Brian & Judith Hunt, Michael & Gillian Cubitt, Charles & Franke Stuart

Bev & Heather Fox, Robert & Tempe Mansfield, Gloria & Bob Dyche, Erica Wilkinson Michael and Tandy Murphy, Peter and Wendy Duffy, Virginia Bottomley

  1. Minutes of the Annual General meeting 9 May 2017

The minutes had been circulated and were approved and signed. No matters arising.

  1. Chairman’s report

The Chairman’s report had been published on the website Members’ Area and distributed at the meeting. In view of time constraints he did not elaborate on it but invited questions.

  1. (i) Adoption of draft accounts for financial year ending 31 March 2018

The Treasurer said that the Society was in good financial health and the Treasurer’s Account was doing well. Referring to the Restricted Funds, a ring-fenced account for the balance of funds from donors to the East Street Judicial Review campaign, he said this separation would be maintained in future.

Referring to the Society’s long-term investments, there was concern about the uncertainty of the current market and consideration would be given to changing investment procedure to reduce risk

Adoption of accounts

Proposed: Michael Blower Seconded: Sam Osmond Agreed

(ii) Confirmation of Inspector of Accounts

Roger Smith of Milne Eldridge had agreed to continue as Inspector of Accounts for the current financial year

Proposed: John Cattell Seconded: Dennis Pratt Agreed

  1. Amendment to The Farnham Society Rules

In view of the new General Data Protection Regulations it was necessary to make minor adjustments to the Rules. A draft had been posted on the website Members’ Area and circulated at the meeting. Agreed.

  1. Committee reports

All Committee reports had been posted on the website and circulated at the meeting


David Howell announced updates to his report

  • The Folly Hill Application Appeal Public Enquiry will be re-opened in June or July

Realistically a decision cannot be expected until July/August

  • The Regulation14 six week public consultation of the Farnham Neighbourhood Plan will not commence until the end of June or early July. It is expected the Plan will be discussed at the Full Council Meeting on 14 June
  • Protect Our Waverley (POW) have launched a legal challenge to the Secretary of State’s decision to allow planning permission for 1,800 dwellings at Dunsfold
  • Bewley Homes are not challenging the Secretary of State’s decision to refuse the Lower Weybourne Lane application.
  • It is not yet known whether challenges will be made to the Waverley Lane and Bindon House refusals.

Air quality

John Slater commented on the much improved change in establishing better communication with Waverley, after a long period of lack of response.

  1. Re-election of Honorary Officers

Chairman – Alan Gavaghan

Proposed: Michael Blower Seconded: Janet Radley

Vice Chairman/Secretary – Janet Radley

Proposed Alan Gavaghan Seconded: Michael Blower

The Chairman explained that, pending the appointment of a new Secretary, Janet Radley had agreed to stay in post until December

Treasurer – John Cattell

Proposed: Alan Gavaghan Seconded: Janet Radley


  1. Re-election of Committee

Simon Bradbury

David Howell

John Slater

Ian Soden

Proposed: Alan Gavaghan Seconded: John Cattell


  1. AOB

The Chairman thanked David Wylde for the exceptional amount of work he had done

and for his determination to protect Farnham

Questions from the floor

Patrick Webber expressed concern about the involvement of Surrey police in Waverley’s air quality policy and the perceived possibility of David Munro, as Surrey Police and Crime Commissioner, not remaining impartial

John Slater replied that it is a police matter, not our concern and the Society should not get involved

John Price questioned whether the Society’s records were appropriately stored.

The Chairman assured him on this point. All past minutes are securely housed at the Museum of Farnham

The Chairman thanked members for attending and hoped they would feel that what they had heard this evening would give some hope for the future of the town The Society will continue to do its best to protect Farnham

25 May 2018

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Fairer Road Funding Petition

Pothole image

Surrey County Councillor Edward Hawkins (Surrey Heath), supported by Wrecclesham Village Voice, has set up a petition calling upon the Government to reform its fairer road funding which could result in improvements to the condition of the roads in Farnham and its environs.

The current formula calculates the funding for road repairs given to each local county authority based on the length of roads in each authority’s area. It does not take account of road usage. As a result Surrey misses out to the benefit of other less populated areas with less use of the road systems.

The petition requires 10,000 signatures to ensure that the government responds to the petition, 100,000 signatures and the petition will be considered for debate in Parliament.

The deadline is 2 November 2018.

The petition had 4,555 signatures on 5 June, nearly half way to the first threshold. Log on and sign now at Petition.parliament.uk/petitions/217930

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

A31 Brightwells Access Works

Image 2 A

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 started at the Woolmead and at the Hopfields in autumn 2018.

Preparatory works for the Brightwells Development have already been undertaken, trees cut down next to the A31 east bound carriageway to allow access from the bypass. This construction work 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



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