Let's get Farnham behind our plans

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Hickley's Corner ()

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SOUTH West Surrey MP Jeremy Hunt has called for councillors to be unified in their support for upcoming plans arising from the Farnham Infrastructure Programme.

Speaking at a meeting of the programme’s board at the town council offices on Friday, September 24, Mr Hunt said Farnham "veterans" would know that there is a "real risk of this becoming an unnecessarily controversial project".

He said: "This is a town that absolutely hates the sense of anything being done to it by outsiders - people in Farnham [should] really feel that this is Farnham Town Council’s project every bit as much as it’s Surrey’s project.

"It is really important that the town council are able to shape this project in a way that makes sure that they can get 150 per cent behind it - for [town council leader John Neale] to make sure they can get the council into a place where everyone, from whatever party, is giving the same message about support for the direction of travel."

He called for further engagement with residents so plans have the "wholehearted support from the people of Farnham".

And while he recognised that the board was not yet looking into full pedestrianisation of the town, he called for the council’s "traffic modellers" to look at the feasibility of having "some pedestrianisation at weekends only".

Mr Hunt’s comments come after the board approved the draft masterplan - the so-called Optimised Infrastructure Plan - be submitted for publication and consultation.

Surrey County Council leader Tim Oliver said: "I think it’s the plan is a really good piece of work - we’ve done the consultation, we will need to go back to residents to get final confirmation of things, but this is now about getting on and delivering it."

In the meeting, officers also gave an update on Farnham’s ’quick wins’, which are scheduled to be finalised in 2022 with the completion of the council’s ’Wayfinding strategy’ and the implementation of 20mph zones throughout the town.

Work to remove A-road status of the A325 and re-routing HGVs from the town is to be completed next month - with Mr Hunt reporting a 40 per cent reduction in HGV traffic.

And praising the work of officers to ’accelerate’ the work on the ’A31 corridor’ - now to start in 2026 - he called for an earlier target than 2035 for the Wrecclesham Relief Road, so the council can "get both of those two projects opened before HS2 happens".

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