Tim Oliver is the leader of Surrey County Council and county councillor for Elmbridge. In the latest of his regular columns for the Herald, he discusses exciting plans for the Farnham Infrastructure Programme in the new year, new community bus transport, warm spaces and more...

One of the most important things about Christmas is taking the time to see friends and family and enjoying the best of the festive season together.

However, for many people it can be a time of loneliness and financial concern, and with the cold winter months ahead, our still-high energy costs could put added pressure on household budgets.

I hope you all received a copy of the Surrey County Council essential services directory which was delivered to households last month. 

It included information on a wide range of services that the county council provides, along with advice and support from local and national partners.

The directory also included information on services such as the Surrey Crisis Fund which provides financial help to those that need it most, as well as information on food banks and local charities who can help.

Additionally, there were details of our Warm Welcome spaces all across the county, where you can drop in, get warm and meet others. They include Farnham and Haslemere Libraries, and Hale Community Centre. Please check opening hours before travelling to make sure you get the help you need.

Copies of the directory are available in libraries, and it can be found on our website – along with details of other ways the county council can support you – at www.surreycc.gov.uk/welfare or you can call 03456 009 009. To hear what’s going on across Waverley borough you can also follow the county council’s community link officer on Facebook at www.facebook.com/WaverleyCLO

Farnham Infrastructure Programme update

We’re approaching the end of another busy year for the Farnham Infrastructure Programme, and we’ll be receiving a full update at the Farnham Board on Friday, December 15, which will be available to watch as usual on the Farnham Town Council YouTube channel.

All works to support the new 20mph speed limit in the town centre and Weydon Lane are due to have been completed. A lot of work went in to ensuring the zones are right, and the signage is correct and in keeping with the town. I hope the new speed limits improve safety and the local environment for walkers and cyclists.

We’ve also received news from the Department of Transport that we’ve passed the first hurdle in our bid to win funding for improvements to the Shepherd and Flock roundabout, Coxbridge roundabout and Hickley’s Corner on the A31, but there’s still a long way to go. We expect to have a public consultation on a preferred option next year.

Also next year, we’re due to start on the town centre improvements. Lots of detailed work is continuing to prepare for the changes. 

This includes the inclusion of some of the road changes which were proposed in the 2022 consultation in a parking review for Waverley borough which is open for comment until January 5, 2024.

You can also comment on traffic camera enforcement in Upper Hale Road and Odiham Road, which will support the HGV restrictions, until 15 December 2023. If you wish to find out more about the consultations, you can find links at www.surreycc.gov.uk/farnhamprogramme

Surrey Connect

I’m pleased to hear that the number of journeys on Farnham’s Surrey Connect service are steadily increasing. Since it launched in September, people have made an average of 120 trips per week. 

As an on-demand door-to-door transport service, those figures are showing how it’s really helping people to get around the town when they need to, while taking cars off the road. 

Find out how it can help you by visiting www.surreyconnect.org.uk, downloading the Surrey Connect app or calling 01428 681710, Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.

And finally…

On behalf of the councillors and staff of Surrey County Council, I would like wish you a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.