MP Jeremy Hunt: An incredibly important turning point in the history of the town

By Jeremy Hunt   |   MP for South West Surrey   |
Thursday 30th September 2021 9:30 am
@https://twitter.com/Jeremy_Hunt
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On Friday we held one of our regular meetings of the Farnham Board, charged with finding a way to cut pollution levels, sort out traffic and generally transform the town.

There is huge momentum building and some changes have already started happening - but also much work to do if we are to transform things as much as we all want.

Much has already been achieved. A local walking and cycling plan has now been completed which will make a big difference for many cyclists and walkers as well as encourage the long term trend away from car use that we need to encourage.

The HGV restrictions have already been largely implemented and there has apparently already been a significant drop in HGV traffic coming into the centre of the town.

Twenty mph speed limits across many parts of the centre of town have been examined for feasibility and now approved. The reclassification of the A325 is in process and a Wayfinding Strategy has been drafted.

An initial feasibility study of a relief road for Wrecclesham has also been completed. This has also happened for a Western Relief Road although it is not clear yet whether that was considered viable or not.

Most importantly, traffic modelling for the town centre has now happened which will now feed into the new masterplan (called the ’Optimised Infrastructure Plan’ for some reason).

That was approved on Friday and will shortly be presented to the people of Farnham for a formal public consultation.

There are trade-offs in any traffic changes as well as disruption whilst traffic flows adjust. But the benefit will be much less polluted, pleasanter streets that will allow the kind of cafe society many of us think would suit Farnham well.

But however exciting that vision is, we must be fair to residents in all parts of the town - it is no solution simply to move traffic jams from one area to another.

For that reason it is important to be open about any short term disruption so that we all go into any changes with our eyes open.

As someone who has been campaigning to sort out Farnham’s traffic problems for more than a decade, it is very exciting to have got to this stage.

I am extremely grateful for the commitment shown be Tim Oliver, leader of Surrey County Council and John Neale, leader of the town council.

But I also know this must be a project which comes from the town for the town - and not imposed from the outside.

So for that reason I think it is vital there is a postal consultation in which the plans are sent to every household in the town giving everyone the chance to express a clear view as to whether or not the changes should proceed.

This could happen as soon as the New Year - an incredibly important turning point in the history of the town.

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