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.
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.
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 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
Thursday 21 June - visit to Hughenden Manor and Thames Cruise
Wednesday 26 September – St Thomas on the Bourne
Dr Claire Harman, biographer - A Nightmare of a Book
Friday 19 October – Farham Maltings, Great Hall
Prof. Sophie Scott, neurologist and Duncan Wisbey, actor/impressionist – Speech and the Brain.
Prof Sophie Scott is giving the 2017 Christmas lectures at The Royal institution, titled ‘The language of life’, exploring how humans developed language, how laughter links us to our animal last, and the subtle cues we send out through facial expression, tone of voice and even smell.
Wednesday 14 November – St Thomas on the Bourne
Joanne Watson, retired BBC Sports Producer – title to be confirmed
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
If the signal timings are changed it should be practical to reduce this capacity reduction to about 30%.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We reluctantly envisage the town centre being gridlocked more frequently and for it to occur for long periods throughout the day.
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:
Drivers should be encouraged by traffic signing to enter and exit Farnham via Firgrove Hill and Longbridge.
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’.
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.
Control of the construction traffic timings so that major HGV movements from the Brightwells Development and Woolmead are not at the same time.
All parking for construction vehicles on the Brightwells site must be within then site itself.
Any changes coming from the proposed pedestrianisation or Town Centre Regeneration scheme are introduced after the completion of Brightwells and The Woolmead.
There will be a presentation of The Farnham Society’s biennial Architecture and Design Awards (formerly known as Amenity Awards) in 2018. Date to be announced
Winners of the 2015 Awards were Daniel Hall, the Farnham Pottery, The Forge in Upper Church Lane and Mr Simms Olde Sweet Shoppe.
The finalists for this year’s new Architecture & Design Awards are:
New Shortheath Road bus waiting room
Garage and workshop, Lawday Farm
Heron Court, Ford Lane
Medici Centre, Weydon School
Hawthorn Lodge, Long Bridge
Houses at Bourne Mill, Guildford Road
Oast House, 10 Green Lane
Residential development at 60/61 West Street
The purpose of the Awards is to encourage and stimulate architects, developers and contractors to undertake the highest level of design and workmanship in new buildings, and in preserving and improving existing ones.
Nominations were for a contemporary new build, or an improvement /modernisation, which should be sympathetic to the existing building and integrate well with its surroundings. The judges’ appraisal of the nominated buildings is based on good design for their location, whether they fulfil their purpose and, ideally are environmentally sustainable.
Esso have run a consultation on the proposed route for their replacement aviation fuel pipeline that runs from Fawley Refinery near Southampton to its West London Terminal storage facility at Hounslow. The result has now been announced, click here to download. The preferred route avoids Farnham.
For the northern section of the pipeline. between Alton and Heathrow, the consultation considered three ‘corridors’:
Option J, adjacent to the existing pipeline which runs west of Farnham, south of Fleet;
Option M, travelling through Farnham town centre;
Option Q, that skirts south of Farnham through the Alice Holt Forest, Frensham, south of the Bourne Wood before turning north towards Moor Park Way and on towards the old A31.
The Farnham Society suggested that the new pipeline should be routed in the corridor adjacent to the existing pipeline (Option J). This route has now been put forward by Esso as the preferred route. Their analysis recognises the status of Farnham as a historic market town, also acknowledging traffic problems in the town.
There are many pressures on the use of land in Surrey – this includes the need for new homes and employment. The management of waste is also a pressure and it’s really important that we think carefully about how and where we want waste to be managed in the future.
If waste is managed well it is a resource that can be used to make things and to produce energy but, if it isn’t, it can impact negatively on our communities and environment. The Surrey Waste Local Plan will include a strategy and policies to ensure the benefits are maximised, and to minimise any negative impacts from waste management. It helps provide certainty for communities and developers, like waste management companies, about how and where the management of waste can take place. The current plan was adopted in 2008 so work is taking place to review and update it.
Last year SCC consulted on the issues and options and the responses received were used to prepare a draft of a new plan.
A consultation was held, closing on 7 February 2018, before submission of the plan to the Secretary of State for independent examination.
Waverley Borough Council has run a consultation on Community Infrastructure Levy.
The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) is a levy that councils can choose to charge on new developments to raise funds to provide infrastructure. The money raised could be used towards improvements to roads, schools, parks, playgrounds and other community facilities.
Earlier this year, as part of the preparation for the introduction of CIL, the Council consulted on a Preliminary Draft Charging Schedule, which set out a proposal for the developments that would be liable to pay CIL, and what the proposed charge would be. The Council has considered the responses made and updated its evidence base accordingly.
A consultation on the next version, the CIL Draft Charging Schedule, ran for a six week period from 15 December 2017 to 26 January 2018.
A decision on the Waverley Lane, Lower Weybourne Lane and Monkton Lane appeals is to be made by The Secretary of State’s (SoS) office. The decision, expected in November 2017, was postponed in the light of legal proceedings.
In December 2016, a Written Ministerial Statement (WMS) was issued by the Minister for Housing, which supported the use Neighbourhood Plans in determining housing supply. This statement was challenged by a group of developers, and went to Judicial Review (JR). The challenge has now been dismissed, so the WMS stands.
The SoS decision on the three planning appeals will now be postponed until the inspection of the Waverley Local Plan has been completed. the decision is not now expected until 15 March 2018.
Farnham Society Norfolk tour, 15 – 18 September 2017
Building on the success of tours in previous years, our 2017 tour comprised four days in Norfolk.
We were privileged to have a private visit to the home of Sir Antony Gormley, the renowned sculptor and creator of such works as Angel of the North – which we had seen on our 2013 Northumbria visit. Sir Antony spoke of the evolution of sculpture from classical times to the modern day. Classical and Renaissance works were based upon biblical and mythological events, for example the sculptures in the Piazza della Signoria in Florence. Nowadays, following the Age of Enlightment and the Industrial Revolution, people find themselves living in a much changed world, and contemporary sculpture is inspired more by the uncertainties which characterise the modern age.
Works by Sir Antony treat the human body as a space, rather than depicting movement or representing an event. We also saw something of the task of bringing a concept to its final physical form. A work would start as a model in clay, cardboard or polystyrene. The finished item, typically a large metal figure weighing several tons and displayed outdoors, required modern manufacturing techniques.
The theme of sculpture continued with a visit to Houghton Hall. The house is currently host to a temporary exhibition by the sculptor Richard Long, as well as being home to a number of permanent sculptures.
The present house was built in the 18th century by Robert Walpole, the first British Prime Minister. His son Horace, the novelist, later created Strawberry Hill, in Twickenham – which The Farnham Society has also visited.
We visited two sites with a religious heritage. The first was Ely Cathedral, dominating the surrounding fenlands from its elevated position on the Isle of Ely. Beside the Cathedral are extensive former monastic buildings, now retained mostly as official residences.
The second was Walsingham, a major site of pilgrimage in the middle ages, up to the dissolution of the Priory under Henry VIII. Pilgrimage was revived at the end of the 19th century, with the development of two shrines. The Catholic shrine is centred around a restored medieval chapel, the adjacent 20th century chapel emulating the form of a barn. The Anglican shrine sits in the village centre, surrounded by houses from medieval and Georgian periods.
Felbrigg Hall, a national Trust property, is a very different house to Houghton. Much smaller, it was Jacobean in origins though much altered in 18th century. A family home until the mid 20th century, it still has a feeling of being lived in.
Our final day offered something less ‘serious’. A visit to Bressingham gave the opportunity to explore the magnificent gardens developed by four generations of the Bloom family. We were able to enjoy rides on the train and carousel in Alan Bloom’s collection of steam engines and railway carriages.
The exhibition also featured some of the sets and vehicles from the BBC series Dad’s Army, filmed nearby.
Waverley Borough Council ‘made’ or adopted the Farnham Neighbourhood Plan on Friday 28 July after a judicial review challenge, mounted by developers, was rejected in a decision handed down on Tuesday 18 July.
In the referendum held on Thursday 4 May 2017, 88% of votes cast were in support of the Farnham Neighbourhood Plan.
WBC has now implemented the Plan as part of its policy.
The Neighbourhood Plan, prepared through consultation with residents and businesses in Farnham over a four year period, provides a vision for Farnham and guides the future growth of the town and its surrounding countryside for the period up to 2031.
There are 32 policies that will support the vision guiding and controlling development within the area covered by the Plan, including sites identified for housing and business development. Page 5 of the Plan has a map showing the designated area.
Since the decision by Mrs Justice Lang, two planning appeals for housing developments at 35 Frensham Vale and Lavender Lane, Rowledge have been dismissed, citing the Plan which is now being given ‘very significant weight’ by planning inspectors.