Should Waverley hand over ownership of Farnham Park to Farnham Town Council? That is the question posed by Farnham Society president Alan Gavaghan after a spat over the town’s proposed new permanent beacon.
The society opened discussions with the town council in October, proposing to fund a “substantial and permanent town beacon” in Farnham Park, to be lit on occasions such as King Charles III’s coronation.
However, the society’s beacon offer stalled after Waverley Borough Council – which owns and maintains the park – became involved, says Mr Gavaghan.
“ I am sure if our discussions had been limited to Farnham Town Council the offer would have been accepted and the beacon now installed,” he said.
“Unfortunately, the appropriate position for the beacon is Farnham Park, which is owned by Waverley Borough Council – and this has opened the door to multiple interests with conflicting views and the resultant long delays in reaching a conclusion.
“With Gostrey Meadow back under successful Farnham Town Council control, has the time come to also return Farnham Park?”
A Waverley Borough Council spokesman said the council was “sympathetic” to the idea of a public events beacon at Farnham Park. But they added there were “some challenges” regarding the location proposed by the Farnham Society on high ground near Farnham Castle.
Concerns have been raised by the Surrey Archaeological Team and the Friends of Farnham Park, they said, while the concrete base needed to support the beacon and the proposed height of the structure “could have an archaeological impact”.
Attempts to agree on an alternative location have so far proved fruitless, but Waverley said it “remains committed to discussing the options with all stakeholders”.
Once a location has been agreed, a planning application will likely follow because of the permanent nature and size of the beacon.