The Farnham Infrastructure Programme was set up on the basis it would require a series of changes if we were to deliver our core aims of reducing congestion and improving air quality, writes Surrey County Council leader Tim Oliver.
Not just the large-scale projects like the town centre, but also the smaller and more local projects which will all contribute to keeping vehicles moving, and supporting more walking and cycling.
So I’m pleased to see real progress is being made on a number of projects that will improve the experience of residents in Farnham.
The Farnham Board took place today (Friday). This is where councillors from Surrey, Waverley and Farnham councils come together in public with Jeremy Hunt MP to oversee progress of the infrastructure programme.
Top of our agenda this month, once again, are improvements to the town centre.
At our last meeting in December, we heard the public had supported the proposals for Castle Street, The Borough, West Street and Downing Street.
However, there were some comments raised around Park Row, Bear Lane, East Street, Woolmead, South Street, Union Road and Downing Street (from Lower Church Lane to Long Bridge) which we are reviewing in more detail.
Once we’ve an agreed way forward, the programme team will then begin some detailed traffic modelling before final agreement in the summer.
Walking and cycling plans
We are also discussing the new walking and cycling plan for Farnham, looking at improving the key routes to support increased walking and cycling around the town.
If the strategy is endorsed by the board, we can then review the routes for deliverability and start feasibility work.
This is vital work – helping people to walk and cycle, instead of taking the car, is the best way to cut congestion.
We are now in a position to introduce a 20mph speed limit in Farnham town centre and Weydon Lane. It follows a statutory consultation on the proposals last year. It is expected the new reduced speed limits will be in place by the summer.
However, there will be a new statutory consultation over the physical traffic-calming measures needed before the speed limit can be lowered to 20mph in Upper Hale Road – this is due soon.
Lowering speed limits reduces air pollution and traffic collisions, and make our roads a better place for walkers and cyclists.
Following feedback that it would be good to expand Farnham’s 20mph zones, the programme team will look to do this over the coming years in consultation with local people.
We were delighted to hear we’ve been granted money by Waverley Borough Council from the Community Infrastructure Levy – money paid by developers to fund infrastructure development – to improve the approach to the Water Lane roundabout from Sainsbury’s.
There will be a wider junction, with a larger pedestrian island with access controlled by a toucan crossing to help walkers and cyclists.
All this is alongside the new wayfinding signs in the town centre and ongoing discussions on integrating Brightwell’s Yard with the town centre. We have yet to have a decision from the Department for Transport over our strategic outline business case for the A31 corridor but will continue to press government.
Don’t forget you can find out more about the programme and the Farnham Board by visiting www.surreycc.gov.uk/farnhamprogramme