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.



5 thoughts on “A Brighter Future for Farnham ?

  1. What a ridiculously one-sided film! Everyone is crying out for “entertainment” and “experiences” and not more (empty) retail units and yet there is no mention of the Redgrave theatre, shamefully left empty and neglected for so many years!
    Of course some sort of development needs to be completed, with so many forced closures so many years ago, but make it one that increases the cultural value of the town.
    Shame on you.

    1. The film has been considered balanced, neutral and un-biased by several non Society Farnham residents. The film is the first of several and future films will pick up on the Society’s suggestions of the leisure and community facilities lost and those that could be incorporated within the scheme. Thank you again for your feedback. Please look out for the future films.

    2. Thank you again for your comments Christine. The height and massing of the proposed buildings collectively are completely out of scale with Farnham. We agree we would like to see more community space, the number of retail units is excessive and if successful will be at the cost of the vitality of the west end of the town, West Street and Downing Street. One area will suffer and either Brightwells will end up being like the Galleries in Aldershot or the west end of Farnham will have empty shop after empty shop or we fear, a continuous string of takeaways. The shops proposed in the Brightwells development are off the main thoroughfare and have a smaller chance of being occupied than, for example, the shops in the Woolmead. The Woolmead should have affordable flats included but the developer has managed to provide evidence that the scheme is not feasible if they do so. Neither development has social housing despite their size and locations. We have always said that the area requires redevelopment but the right development.

  2. Thank you for the film, I look forward to seeing the others you plan.

    It is a shame that this was produced only after the works on site have been committed. Ten, or even five years ago the film might have started a useful discussion. Now the die is cast so the film only positions itself as a “told you so” forecast.

    I suspect that the comments made about the reduction in retail investment and the high risk of empty shop fronts beneath residential blocks will prove all too true. Government has already warned local authorities that they are too exposed in retail investment for this very reason. There must also be a very real risk that modern shops may draw existing shops from the west side of town leading to the collapse of the existing quite fragile shopping area as well leaving both east and west impoverished.

    The film places emphasis on the cinema and for the younger age groups this will be a considerable benefit though it will reduce income at The Maltings. The loss of the Redgrave Theatre is not mentioned. The pattern of entertainment consumption is that young people go to the cinema and as they become older go to the theatre. The theatre audience is also a reflection of the educational attainment of the community it serves and Farnham has one of the highest educated parts of the country. In failing to mention the theatre you omit one of the greater failings in the development’s ability to serve the community and the wanton destruction of a very valuable asset that could have provided a community organised and funded centre for the development. I hope that your next film includes observations from Historic England and the Theatres Trust.

    1. Michael, firstly thank you for taking the time to respond and please excuse our delay in responding further to your email.
      The idea of the film developed from the desire to illustrate the actual environment and impact from the proposals being developed, using a micro camera within the model made by the Blower Foundation in the autumn of 2017, before Waverley revealed that the contract had gone un-conditional. The concept of a film with views both from local architects, the council and residents developed from there and then the focus of the film had to be changed from increasing awareness of the proposals to many residents unaware of the true scale of the likely works to informing viewers of the works that would be starting, or started.
      We totally agree with your view about the likely result of the Brightwells development, either one ‘centre’ will succeed leaving the other left to become derelict or neither of the two shopping centres will flourish or even survive as enjoyable places to visit or shop.
      The theatre was not mentioned by any residents of any age stopped in the street. The cinema was on several occasions. It was always the intention to follow up the first film and pick up other issues, including the leisure and community facilities lost and those that could be incorporated within the scheme. Obtaining the views of the FTA and HE were on the list. We were, as noted, looking to make the film neutral and un-bias.
      Any further observations appreciated.

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