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Visit to Birmingham

Birmingham Statues

Birmingham’s Industrial Heritage

Wednesday, 13th July to Friday 15th July 2016

We led a three day visit to Britain’s second largest city and powerhouse of the Industrial Revolution. It was once said that “if it wasn’t made in Birmingham, it wasn’t made anywhere”. We explored Britain’s Industrial Heritage with a visit to Soho House, home to Matthew Boulton the industrialist and associate of James Watt, with whom he worked on the development of the steam engine. There was a grand tour of Birmingham with a Blue Badge guide and a trip along some of Birmingham’s canals, again focusing on the Industrial Revolution. Finally there was a day’s visit to the Black Country Museum, a Living History museum, where we could walk the streets and sample the delights of Victorian Britain. For the more adventurous there was a visit a coal mine or a boat ride through some of the tunnels under Dudley from which lime was extracted. For the less adventurous was a stroll down a Victorian street with a cone of fish and chips in one hand and a slice of bread pudding in the other. We also visited Birmingham’s Art Gallery which has a particularly fine collection of Pre-Raphaelite artwork.

The cost of this tour will be £215 per person based on two people sharing a room and £280 per person for single occupancy.  This includes coach travel and driver’s gratuity, admission to venues plus hotel accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis and lunch on the first day. Lunch on the second and third days and all evening meals are not included.

Priority is given to Farnham Society members. There are still places available.

Click here for full details of the tour.

Please complete the form below for booking information. 

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Visit to Bowood House

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Thursday 9th June saw the first outing of the Farnham Society for 2016.

Our destination was Bowood House near Chippenham, Wiltshire. After coffee we had an opportunity to visit the house. This was originally the service block for the “Big House”, demolished in the 1950s. The current property was an E shaped building with an orangery added across the front in later years to hide the service block from the main house. The orangery is now a sculpture gallery and an exhibition space. Currently there is an exhibition devoted to the work of Lancelot Capability Brown. The grounds at Bowood are considered to be some of his best work. The house contains many treasures including Napoleon’s death mask and jewellery given to the fifth marquis who, being down on his luck, had to get a job –as Viceroy of India.

After a particularly good lunch we were taken on a guided tour of the private walled gardens. There are four one acre gardens leading one into the other and these were looking magnificent. We visited the vegetable garden, the cutting garden, the wild flower garden and the glass house garden. Finally there was an opportunity for some to visit the lake and view the cascade. Members were astonished to learn that the grounds are managed by a team of just four gardeners. Everyone was sorry to have to board the bus back to Farnham after such a magnificent day out.

Recrafting Farnham

7 Flyer _ Layout

The second meeting of Recrafting Farnham took place at Farnham Maltings on the evening of Monday 18 April.

Recrafting Farnham’s originator, Laith Anayi, presented the results of the first meeting, the consultation held in January and attended by some 700 local residents. Then the architect Robert Adam presented Tomorrow’s Home, funded by ADAM Urbanism and Grainger plc. This investigated the housing needs of today’s 18-34 year-olds. The findings ought to shape how we all think about homes for ‘Generation Y’ and those who come after them: where housing ought to be and therefore the future shape of Farnham.

For more information, contact:
Jenny Peterson
Architectural Communities Coordinator
RIBA South/South East

Farnham Station Car Park

Farnham Station : 
by Ray Stanton, licensed under Creative Commons

Farnham Station : by Ray Stanton, licensed under Creative Commons

Changes to the car park at Farnham Station will add a new deck, to provide 170 additional parking spaces. Work was originally planned to run from April to August of this year. However, the start date was postponed until 9 May, while emergency repair work was carried out between Farnham And Alton.

A presentation on the changes took place at Farnham Station, on 8 March.


For further information visit the South West Trains website.

Farnham Park nomination

Farnham Park

Farnham Park

Farnham Park is one of 19 parks in the south of England to have been nominated in the Fields in Trust competition, to run for the title of UK’s Best Park 2015.

Two other parks in Waverley were also nominated, Broadwater Park in Farncombe and Phillips Memorial Park in Godalming. Broadwater and Farnham Parks have both been awarded Green Flags by Keep Britain Tidy, in recognition of their high standards and excellent facilities.


Consultation on Recycling Centre


Surrey County Council has conducted a public consultation aimed at reducing the cost of operating recycling centres. This included the Farnham recycling centre in Guildford Road. Notably, the consultation looked at the options of closure of recycling centres, restricting opening hours, and charging for disposal of certain types of waste.

The consultation closed in September 2015.

For further information, see the Surrey County Council website.

Demolition of Tennis Club pavilion

Waverley Borough Council

Waverley Borough Council

Following the approval in June of a Non Material Amendment, the Tennis Club pavilion was demolished at the beginning of August. This allowed both Waverley Borough Council and Crest Nicholson to claim that work on the Brightwell site started before the planning consent expired, thus eliminating the necessity to submit a further planning application.

Some clearance work along the northern side of the A31 was undertaken in August, and red marker posts have appeared in the grass verge alongside the carriageway, at the site of the proposed temporary access bridge. However there has been no anouncement relating to funding, leading to speculation that Crest Nicholson are considering proceeding without construction of the bridge (to save money).

Timber framed buildings


Friday 2 October 2015

Bill Fergie gave a talk titled “The evolution of the timber framed house in the later medieval period”. Bill is a retired architect and has spent 14 years as chairman of the Hampshire Buildings Preservation Trust.  His talk was based largely upon his work with the Hampshire Buildings Survey Work.





Heritage Open Days 2015


The 2015 Heritage Open Days ran from 10 to 13 September.

This year our theme was Hops. Farnham has a long tradition of a local hop industry. Numerous local buildings – for example Farnham Maltings and Daniel Hall – are associated with the industry, and many of the fine Georgian houses were built using profits from the industry. Our programme included venues and events linked to this tradition.

Full details about venues, guided walks and other events were listed in our 2015 brochure, which is still available online. Click here to view.





Stowe visit


Our third visit of the 2015 season took place on Wednesday 22July, to Stowe House and Gardens in Buckinghamshire. The current neo classical house and gardens date from the 18th century, the work of Vanburgh and Capability Brown among others. In the twentieth century, the estate was divided, with the house becoming home to Stowe School, and the gardens coming under the ownership of the National Trust.


Firle Place Visit

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Our first visit of the 2015 season was to Firle Place and Sheffield Park Gardens in Sussex on Thursday 21 May.

Firle Place, near Lewes, has been owned by the Gage family since the 15th century. The present house dates from the Tudor period, having been much altered in the 18th century to achieve its current appearance. Inside is an extensive collection of art, ceramics, furniture etc. The house was opened specially for us and two very knowledgeable guides showed us around. A delicious lunch followed.

P1040870 (800x600)

Lunch was followed by a guided tour of Sheffield Park Gardens, a National Trust property. The history of the estate can be traced back to the Saxon nobleman Godwin, whose son Harold Godwinson lost the estate to the Normans following his defeat at Hastings. A house, dating from Tudor times, was subsequently remodelled in the Gothic style and is now privately owned. The National Trust took over the gardens during the 1950s. The garden design dates originally from the 18th century, with a group of four lakes, connected by waterfalls. There was extensive planting of trees and shrubs during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Glorious weather meant that the gardens were displayed at their seasonal best.

Waverley Local Plan Consultation

waverley map2

Waverley’s Making Waves special edition on the Local Plan

Waverley distributed 56,000 copies of the special edition of Making Waves with feedback questionnaire to Waverley households. Unfortunately due to a postcode error some areas of Farnham, namely The Bourne, Hale, Tongham, and Seale & Sands were not included. Following complaints from Society members this was corrected but not until around half way through the six week consultation period. Even by the end of the consultation some residents had not received the questionnaire.

 Farnham Society’s advice on how to respond to the consultation

The consultation asked residents to answer eleven multiple choice questions and to rank four potential housing scenarios  in order of preference. The Society advised its members on how to answer the multiple choice questions and to rank Scenario 4 as their preferred choice. The society’s full advice to members is set out below.

Scenario 4 offered the lowest level of development on greenfield land throughout the borough and in Farnham and the highest amount of development on the largest brownfield site available in the borough at Dunsfold Aerodrome.

Results of the consultation

Waverley has published the results of the consultation on its website. Results link

4265 responses were received via the on-line questionnaire. 80% of the respondents chose Scenario 4 as their preferred option and 81% chose Scenario 1 as their least preferred option. Scenario 1 is the option which has the most development on greenfield land and no development on brownfield land at Dunsfold. 

Rather curiously the Winter edition of Making Waves contained a two page report on the consultation without mentioning the outcome, which had been available on the Waverley website for some time. The comments from two members of the public, neither of whom were recorded as having  actually submitted a response to the consultation, did not relate to the main outcome of the consultation. The first one complaining about the traffic on the A281 would be a representative comment of the 20% who did not wish to see housing at Dunsfold Park, rather than the 80% who do.

In a tiny box at the end of the article Making Waves informs us that “A summary will be produced in the next Making Waves”. This will be in the Spring 2015 edition, many months after the outcome of the consultation was known.

What happens next

Waverley state that they will now consider all comments received during our Local Plan consultation, together with the outcome of work undertaken with local stakeholders. These will be used to inform the draft Local Plan.

The timetable Waverley is  working to is as follows:

March 2015 Publish Draft Local Plan and consult on soundness
June 2015 Re-submit Plan for examination
September/October 2015 Examination hearings
December 2015/ January 2016 Inspector’s report
February/ March 2016 Adopt Plan

NB: All dates are provisional.

The Society’s email to members

Peter Bridgeman, the Chairman of the Society’s Planning Committee,  issued the email below to Society members with advice on the completion of the feedback form:

Dear Farnham Society Member (and please pass this on to friends and neighbours if you think appropriate)

You should all have now received the Making Waves leaflet from Waverley Borough Council (WBC) enclosing the Local Plan Feedback questionnaire.  If you have not already done so, we urge you to complete and return by the closing date of 17 October.  In case you are not sure about any of the questions, the Society’s Planning Committee has prepared some suggested answers – but of course it is up to you to form your own opinions. The background to all this is the new Local Plan which WBC currently intends to re-submit for examination in June 2015. Subject to a successful Examination in Public and obtaining approval from the Planning Inspector, the plan will be adopted by March 2016. This plan sets out the amount of suggested new development within Waverley until 2031.  Waverley’s Strategic Housing Market Assessment indicates that 8450 new homes are required in this plan period or 470 dwellings per year throughout the Borough.  It is clear we shall have to see an increase in the 230 new homes per annum proposed for the Borough in  the previous version of the plan, but we are anxious to ensure that the level of development for Farnham will not spoil our wonderful historic town or overburden our already creaking infrastructure.   We would wish to maximise the use of brownfield sites (those that have already been built on) to lessen the need to build on greenfield sites,especiallylarger sites on the edge of the town. The major brownfield site in Waverley is Dunsfold Park, a former WW2 aerodrome. This is the first time WBC have included Dunsfold in any draft plan and the four scenarios give differing numbers of proposed new dwellings for this land.  Clearly the more houses at Dunsfold the fewer will be required elsewhere.  Against that background, our recommended responses to the feedback form are as  follows:-

1. Recommend tick box – Slightly agree as we shall have to accept some increase in housing numbers.

2. We recommend that you tick box – Strongly disagree. This is an ambiguous question but we have established that WBC intends it to mean developments on greenfield sites on the edge of the built-up area of the town not the town boundary. We wish to see developments focused as far as is possible on brownfield sites, including Dunsfold park.

3 to 11.  We recommend you tick box Strongly agree to all of these questions as they support the best use of land and thus help protect Farnham.

2. This requires you to give your views on the four scenarios.  It is our view that only number 4 is acceptable and even that will require building on greenfield sites. We recommend proposing that Scenario 4 in the Farnham’s greenfield allocation should be reduced from 700 to 454, the number proposed in the previous version of the plan.  Scenarios 1, 2 and 3 are totally unacceptable and not even deliverable as there is little prospect of  Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace (SANG) capacity being found.

WBC also invite your views on  any different scenarios and we suggest a 5th option making even greater use of Dunsfold with 5000 plus homes, thereby avoiding the use of greenfield sites in Farnham and the rest of the Borough.

3. We recommend  ranking  Scenario 4 Box as 1 in your order of preference and leaving the   others blank to give no support to Scenarios 1,2 or 3. We are assured this is a valid response.

4. We recommend making the following points in your own words

  • The 8450 number is unrealistic as a target in the timescale, being equivalent to producing a new town the size of Godalming.
  • It has not been justified as presenting real housing needs in Waverley.
  • The public should be given the opportunity to comment on the appropriate level of housing development in the Borough, as they were with the previous versions of the Local Plan.
  • We have no confidence that adequate infrastructure improvements can be or will be provided to support this  proposal to more than double the level of housing in the Borough.

We hope this information will assist and encourage you to participate in this important consultation and thereby help control new housing in Farnham.