Following the surprise announcement at the Farnham Board last Friday by the Surrey Future Transport Programme manager Neil McClure that £100,000 was being released to support feasibility studies for the initial phase of walking and cycling improvements in the town, the three Surrey county councillors for Farnham want to ensure this money is spent on studies that result in schemes that will attract funding from the DfT Active Travel Fund and not end up sitting on a shelf.
We had been waiting for this announcement.
The approved Phase 1 LCWIP considered walking and cycling separately. As noted in the papers for the Farnham Board meeting in March, local councillors raised concerns about conflicts between the walking and cycling proposals, as well as concerns about whether, with the traffic levels, space, ecological and archaeological constraints, these would indeed be fundable or deliverable proposals.
So, what next? The three Farnham SCC councillors are going to host four consultation meetings in areas around the town based around schools.
The town centre proposals have already been subject to initial public consultation last summer and are now going into the detailed design phase.
Why area meetings? Every area of the town has its own opportunities and challenges. Area meetings will allow people who live, study and work in these areas to:
- Provide input on what would get them walking and cycling more for shorter journeys, eg to / from local schools & shops
- Share input on the ecological and archaeological constraints that need to be considered.
- Share the routes they use today and what they would change to make them more accessible and usable.
We will take an integrated view of walking and cycling facilities and how they link in with public transport for longer journeys. Anyone will be able to attend the workshops.
Everyone will be asked to sign in, identify where they live and their interest in the area being covered by the workshop. Everyone will be asked to respect each other’s views and input and to be concise.
Where and when
Confirmed workshops are:
- Upper Hale – Hale Nursery and Primary Academy, 6.30pm to 8.30pm on July 19.
- Weybourne – William Cobbett Primary School, 6.30pm to 8.30pm on July 25.
Workshops with details to follow are:
- Station, Farnham College and Schools on Menin Way and Waverley Lane.
- West Farnham and Wrecclesham.
What to expect at the workshops
An overview of where we are with the Phase 1 LCWIP, followed by working sessions on the key corridors in the workshop area.
At the end of each workshop, attendees will be asked to pick the scheme they would prioritise from those discussed in the workshop and to advise why.
After the meetings!
The three Farnham SCC councillors will reflect on what they have heard, review the input, and consolidate it. They will use this to inform their view on schemes which should be prioritised for feasibility studies and to provide local knowledge to the design team.
That £100k will fund a couple of schemes, very much the start of a ten-year programme. The final prioritisation will involve input from other councillors and officers.
Once the prioritisation has been agreed then the LCWIP team will complete feasibility studies of the selected schemes and develop packages in line with LTN 1/20 and other relevant guidance to seek funding.
The packages will make the case for change, identify the benefits and disadvantages, and include good maps and drawings, including alternatives considered.
If we work together to gather the best possible information, our chances of getting funding and improved facilities will be much better. Funding is always going to be limited and subject to significant competition.
Surrey county councillor for Farnham North