I was sorry to learn John Neale will not be standing again in the local elections, due to his disappointment with the record of the Farnham Residents party.
Heaven knows John and I have had our clashes over the past four years but they were more about process than substance.
Our passions are very different but our determination to improve the town is very similar. He remains very focused on roads, while I remain focused on planning matters. For two years we walked along parallel paths but, in recent times, we have become more sympathetic to each other’s point of view.
I cannot support full pedestrianisation without further improvements to local roads, although I remain very supportive of Jeremy Hunt and Tim Oliver and their joint desire to improve the town centre and will continue to work with them on the matter.
John was initially unaware of the Farnham Neighbourhood Plan and didn’t share my frustration when it lost its two-year protection, thanks to Waverley’s ineptitude. I was lobbying parliament alone on behalf of the town council, as he simply didn’t fully understand the issues.
However, he has since become a great supporter of the Neighbourhood Plan and voted for a speedy update to Local Plan Part 1 at Waverley, the only way to maintain the strength of its policies.
He also supports my current campaign to get Paragraph 14 of the National Planning Policy Framework updated in time for some of the forthcoming appeals, giving us half a chance of defending the borough’s decisions to refuse planning permission.
The town centre has never looked worse and I share his frustration at the lack of direction under the Farnham Residents. However, I know he will continue to work for the good of the town and I wish him well.
Cllr Carole Cockburn BEM
Farnham Town Centre and Waverley Borough Council councillor, Farnham Bourne