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Post Office consultation

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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

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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.

A Cracking Christmas Evening

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On Monday 3 December, Brenda Longman, Ray Murphy with Farnham Rep presented an evening of Christmas inspired entertainment.

The performance included exerpts from the following books

“The Age of Bewilderment” by David Sherrington,

“An Almost Perfect Christmas” by Nina Stibbe,

“Rebecca” by Daphne DuMaurier,

“Toast” by Nigel Slater,

“Recollections” by Gervase Phinn,

‘Le Bumper Book de Franglais’ by Miles Kington.

“Truce in the Trenches” by W.R.M. Percy and

“In Jamaica” Noel Cowerd

They read the following Poems

“Christmas Day” by John Betjeman,

“Ivan Who Shopped Online” Chris Addison,

Four poems by U.A.Fanthorpe’s book of “Christmas Poems”,

“Old Sam’s Christmas Pudding” by Marriott Edgar,

“Parson’s Lea” by Charles Causley,

“Christmas Thank Yous” by Mick Gowar,

“Night Before Christmas” by Harvey Erlich

“Christmas Roses and Mistletoe” by Reginald Arkle

And sang the following Songs

“A Christmas Carol” by Tom Lehrer

“Have yourself a Merry little Christmas” by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane

Draft Farnham Neighbourhood Plan review (Regulation 14)

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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.

VAT on works to listed buildings

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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 ?

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The Farnham Society has commissioned a film titled A Brighter Future for Farnham?, which you can watch on Youtube.  Click here to view

This film is the first of a planned series about the East Street/Brightwells development scheme which has now started and will take over four years to complete.

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 will track the progress of the development and how it is impacting the life of the town in positive and negative ways. It is hoped that people and businesses resident in the town and visitors to it will provide feedback and views about the development over the coming years.

Please email us with your views and thoughts about the development, on

1BWfilm.fsoc @gmail.com

 

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.

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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

 

Fairer Road Funding Petition

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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

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 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

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.”

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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

Esso Pipeline

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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.

Information is available on the website www.slpproject.co.uk .

There will be a full public inquiry in 2019 with the works starting in 2021 and lasting two years.

Waverley CIL Consultation

Waverley Borough Council

Waverley Borough Council

Message from Waverley Borough Council

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.

For further information, please contact the Planning Policy team by email at planningpolicy@waverley.gov.uk or by telephone at 01483 523291.