COUNTY leader Tim Oliver has given his reassurance that Surrey County Council “will always engage with people in Farnham before any changes to infrastructure in and around your town”.

But the Tory council chief’s vow was undermined somewhat this week after a promised open meeting with residents was kicked back four months to September.

Cllr Oliver’s letter (published in full on Page 25), comes after councillors expressed concerns at the Farnham Town Council meeting in June that residents and representatives are being sidelined by the Farnham Infrastructure Programme team.

The upset related to Surrey’s proposed overhaul of the A31 Hickleys Corner junction and its plan to submit a business case to the Department for Transport (DfT) later this year, possibly without public scrutiny.

But Cllr Oliver clarified the ‘strategic outline business case’ was just the “first part of the process”, adding “no design proposals will be sent to the DfT before we’ve spoken to councillors and the wider public”.

He added: “It remains important to us all that everybody in the town has the opportunity to have their say on what could be some fundamental changes to transport and the public realm in Farnham.”

But in awkward timing for Cllr Oliver, the next meeting of the programme’s public-facing Farnham Local Liaison Forum, originally scheduled for July 15, was kicked back this week.

A new date has not been set, but a Surrey spokesman confirmed it would be held “after September’s Farnham Board meeting”.

He did, though, add the public meeting would include an “informed discussion about the future of Hickleys Corner and the A31 ahead of the strategic outline business case being submitted to the DfT”.