Q: What has happened so far?
A: The local councils for Farnham - Surrey County Council (SCC), Waverley Borough Council (WBC) and Farnham Town Council (FTC) have joined with local MP Jeremy Hunt to form the Farnham Infrastructure Programme (FIP). So far, residents have been consulted on two key documents - the programme's Vision Statement and the Optimised Infrastructure Plan (OIP).
Q: What are the timescales for the programme?
A: The programme is expected to take around 15 years. Phase 1 of the programme involves looking at 'quick wins' for the town centre. Legal processes must be followed, but it is hoped that the HGV restrictions can be implemented in summer 2021. Phase 2 of the programme will start from 2022, and improvements to the town centre may be implemented within the next three to four years.
Q: Are previous transport studies being considered?
A: The programme is building upon previous studies of Farnham and the A31 Corridor. However, these studies must be considered in the context of emerging policy and strategy from local, borough, county and central government, which address the present challenges relating to place, climate and transport.
SCC's financial commitment for the programme is unlikely to cover the cost of a western bypass. That means additional funding would be required if this project is to go ahead. Any applications for further funding will need to demonstrate that the programme aligns with local strategies and policy objectives to be successful.
Community suggestions for the future of Farnham, including observations submitted at the Local Liaison Forums by members of the public, must also being considered to ensure the programme addresses the current needs of the town.
Q: Have the projects already been predetermined?
A: The Project Team consulted with key stakeholders, which included local councillors, during the early stages of the programme. This helped to create a Vision Statement for the programme. This was consulted on between October and November 2020 and found broad support for the document among respondents.
The vision proposed four projects:
- Short- and medium-term improvements (quick wins)
- Farnham town centre transport infrastructure improvements
- A31 Hickley's Corner improvements
- A325 Wrecclesham Relief Road Project
However, the programme remains flexible so it can adapt to the needs of the town.
Engagement with the public regarding the project proposals will be maintained throughout the programme. The Local Liaison Forums provide a great opportunity for those who live, work, study or travel around Farnham to get involved.
Q: How is the programme being funded?
Some of the funding for the programme will come from the three partner councils. However, it is expected that most funding will come from central government.
To win the necessary funding. the programme is working to gather the necessary evidence to produce business cases. This includes demonstrating the required level of local engagement and support.
Q: What is the decision-making power of the Farnham Board?
The Farnham Board includes representatives from Farnham Town Council, Waverley Borough Council and Surrey County Council, as well as Jeremy Hunt MP. The board is responsible for governing the programme and overseeing the development of potential schemes for Farnham. However, any proposals agreed at the board will need to go back to the relevant council for final agreement and implementation.
Q: How has the programme been secured to ensure that it will withstand changes over the next 15 years?
A: The FIP has been agreed by the Farnham Board, which has support from Waverley Borough Council, Farnham Town Council and Surrey County Council. Members of the board may change over the programme lifetime, however any changes to the programme will need to be agreed by the board members.
Q: How is the climate emergency being considered as part of the OIP?
A: Responding to the climate emergency is a key theme of the OIP. Any proposals for Farnham will support the Climate Change Strategies of the partners.
Read the climate strategies for:
The programme will contribute to the delivery of the roadmap to net-zero carbon by 2030 set out by WBC and FTC, which will include mitigation of carbon; and will protect existing biodiversity and related habitats surrounding Farnham and work to actively enhance them within the town.
Q: How will the changes impact on businesses in Farnham?
A: The aim of the programme's vision is to enable Farnham to become 'a connected and vibrant town, where people choose to live, work, study and spend their leisure time in sustainable ways'. Reducing traffic and congestion will encourage more people to shop and spend time in the town centre. The vision aims to consider the needs of local businesses and increase levels of local employment.
Q: Will Farnham's historic nature be preserved through the programme?
A: Yes, preserving and highlighting the town's historic nature is an integral part of the programme. Any changes will use appropriate building materials and consider key architectural details.
Q: Is the Western Relief Road being considered as part of the FIP?
A: Yes, none of the projects have yet been finalised and everything is still open for discussion.
Vehicle traffic data will be modelled as part of the technical work required to determine if a Western Relief Road is worth progressing to design and public consultation stages. Viability for a western bypass will be explored as part of the business case work before deciding whether it should be progressed.
Q: How will the HGV weight limit impact shop deliveries?
A: The proposed 7.5 tonne weight limited would restrict HGVs from diverting through the town via Castle Street, Folly Hill and Upper Hale Road. The restrictions would apply to through traffic and not to those who require access to the town centre for deliveries.
For further information on the rerouting of HGVs, please visit the programme's short-and medium-term improvements page.
Q: How will the floodplains be impacted?
A: It is known that areas of Farnham are subject to significant flood risks.
The programme will consider any environmental impacts of the proposals with the appropriate level of environmental assessment and appraisal.
Q: Is Upper Hale being considered as part of the FIP?
A: Yes, Upper Hale, and the impact of any proposals on the area, are being considered as part of the programme. A Local Liaison Forum focussing on Upper Hale was held in January 2021. You can watch previous meetings and register to attend future forums on the Farnham Town Council website.