LORRIES could soon be banned from Castle Street, Folly Hill and Upper Hale Road as part of a raft of plans put forward at the Farnham Board meeting last Friday.
The proposal would restrict heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) weighing 7.5 tonnes and over from unnecessarily diverting through Upper Hale and the town centre.
It is part of a series of short-term improvements which the Farnham Infrastructure Programme wishes to introduce, while long-term solutions are developed to transform transport around the town.
The board also agreed with suggestions to ease issues with goods vehicles loading and unloading in the town centre by creating guidance as well as temporary loading bays while the Covid-19 pavement widening measures are in place.
New digital height warning signs to help prevent HGVs striking Wrecclesham railway bridge, and a town centre and Upper Hale speed survey are also being taken forward.
There are also plans to provide ‘alternative mailboxes’ such as Amazon lockers in the town centre, after a study found there are more smaller goods vehicles, such as Transit and pick-up vans, travelling around Farnham than HGVs.
However, some plans are more controversial, such as a proposal to introduce new on-street parking restrictions in Upper Hale Road, and a new right-turn ban on to Alma Lane.
These are designed to reduce congestion through Upper Hale – but have already been criticised by the newly-formed North Farnham Voice group on Facebook for seeking to speed up traffic, when villagers want it slowed down.
Surrey County Council leader Tim Oliver hailed the potential end to Farnham’s HGV woes – but called on residents to do their bit too to reduce car use.
He said: “While much of the Farnham Infrastructure Programme will be making improvements in the longer-term, I am pleased we’ve identified a solution to lower the number of HGVs diverting through the town, alongside other improvements which will start addressing residents’ concerns.
“However, a key way to cut congestion and improve air quality will be by reducing car use when possible.
“So we will also need the help of people who travel around the town and encourage them to walk or cycle or use public transport instead.”
The board also heard the results of the recent survey on the programme’s vision statement, which received 885 responses.
Comments submitted through the survey are now being considered by the programme team as they develop a new infrastructure plan for the town.
The plan is due to be discussed by the Farnham Board in the new year, followed by a consultation in the spring.
John Ward, leader of Waverley Borough Council and a former mayor of Farnham, also expressed his delight at plans to “limit the HGV traffic that has blighted our town for so long” and at the response to the survey.
He said: “Some of the solutions we are looking at will take a number of years to implement and we need to be absolutely certain that we’re putting in place the foundations of a future Farnham that works for, and is supported by, our community.”
John Neale, leader of Farnham Town Council, also praised further plans to prevent the danger of bridge strikes at Wrecclesham, and encouraged residents to continue to have their say at the many Local Liaison Forums scheduled between now and the end of January.
And MP Jeremy Hunt, who also sits on the board, hailed the action on HGVs as “excellent news” and a win for the “many constituents who have written to me over the years worried about dangerous, near misses involving HGVs and more recently frustrated with traffic congestion”.
To register to join a Local Liaison Forum meeting and to receive joining instructions, visit Farnham.gov.uk/llf