While I generally avoid responding to political rants that appear in the columns of this newspaper, some letters – such as the recent one from Nick Williams criticising the Farnham Residents – are so far off the mark that the disinformation it contains needs to be illuminated and corrected.
But the first thing that needs illuminating is the fact that Mr Williams (according to their website) is one of the leaders of the Farnham Cycling Campaign (FCC), responsible for communications (newsletters).
To my mind there are more effective communication tools than persistent lobbying in this newspaper and the spreading of disinformation.
I have always thought constant lobbying can lead to undue influence, to the detriment of the public interest, and non-disclosure of business or personal interests while doing so certainly doesn’t do much for transparency.
Turning now to Mr Williams’ comments, I can agree the unfinished Brightwells Yard and, in particular, the Woolmead site, continue to blight our town centre.
But he should put the blame squarely where he should know it belongs, with national government that, despite our constant requests, will not give local councils the powers to penalise developers who use our town as a scrap heap.
In one paragraph he accuses our party of having a “weekly spat” in the paper and in the next claims we are autocratic, which is a pretty obvious contradiction.
If he cannot think of anything the Farnham Residents group has done, might I suggest he more assiduously reads the many articles published in this paper and the letters in support of our efforts.
His claim that residents can’t “join their party” is a complete nonsense, as you will see in the forthcoming local elections, all eight wards in Farnham will have brand-new Farnham Residents candidates (as well as sitting councillors).
However, this does give me the opportunity to remind everyone that our membership is open to all who share our ideals and we would really welcome even more people to join us, support us or just help out. Please contact us by email at [email protected]
It’s absolutely clear Mr Williams doesn’t have a firm grasp of the Active Travel bidding process. Farnham’s Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP) was, and is, nowhere near ready to bid for government funding.
Now that Stage One has been achieved with the endorsement of the LCWIP by the Farnham Board, there is still much work to be done in Stage Two, before carefully-selected cycling and walking routes can be brought forward in the next bidding round.
People should be aware the actual bidding process is carried out by a higher tier council that we do not control.
I also understand an Active Travel working group is to be established, and despite Mr Williams’ unfortunate comments, the door is still wide open for the FCC to join in constructive discourse.