County chiefs have signed off £14 million for changes to Farnham town centre they say will increase traffic congestion but “improve the quality of the public realm”.
Surrey County Council’s cabinet approved the capital funding for the town centre works on Tuesday. These works include wider pavements throughout the town centre, and new right-hand turns out of Castle Street and Waggon Yard, reversing sections of the one-way system in Downing Street and The Borough.
Further funding will be sought from Section 106 developer contributions and Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) payments from Farnham and Waverley councils – adding up to a total project cost of £17.5 million.
The town works will not, however, include any pedestrianisation – after the county council-led Farnham Infrastructure Programme (FIP) board agreed to scrap plans to pedestrianise East Street between the Brightwells and Woolmead junctions earlier this month.
The FIP’s 2020 vision statement laid out the project’s key objectives to “reduce congestion and improve air quality”, coming after a long process of public consultation.
However, the June FIP board meeting, comprising town, borough and county councillors, as well as MP Jeremy Hunt, was told the proposed town centre changes will increase car journey times through Farnham – in return for an improved “pedestrian experience”.
Detailed plans for new footpaths and cycle tracks in Farnham are yet to be approved.
A report to Tuesday’s Surrey cabinet meeting read: “The Farnham Town Centre Improvement scheme aims to improve the quality of the public realm with improved access to walking, cycling and bus infrastructure.
“The safety and user experience across low-carbon, low-cost and healthier forms of travel will contribute to decarbonisation targets, improving health and wellbeing and increasing transport inclusion.”
Cabinet members also heard £505,000 has been secured for a new roundabout at the A325/Water Lane junction – including £405,000 CIL funding from Waverley, and £100,000 Section 106 cash sourced by Surrey.
See this week's Herald for comment from Farnham and Surrey council leaders – and we'd love to know what you think about the town centre proposals. Email [email protected]
Watch a recording of the Surrey County Council cabinet meeting here. The Farnham infrastructure works are discussed under item 12.