A 7.5 tonne weight limit could be imposed in Farnham to restrict HGVs from diverting through the town via Castle Street, Folly Hill and Upper Hale Road, under plans discussed at the Farnham Board meeting on Friday (20 November).
The proposal would restrict HGVs from unnecessarily diverting through Upper Hale and the town centre. It is part of a series of short-term improvements which the Farnham Infrastructure Programme wishes to introduce, while long-term solutions are developed to transform transport around the town.
The board also agreed with suggestions to ease issues with goods vehicles loading and unloading in the town centre by creating guidance as well as temporary loading bays while the Covid-19 pavement widening measures are in place. New digital height warning signs to help prevent HGVs striking Wrecclesham railway bridge, and a town centre and Upper Hale speed survey are also being taken forward.
A study conducted for the programme also identified that there were actually more smaller goods vehicles, like Transit and pick up vans, travelling around Farnham than HGVs. To help reduce the volume of these smaller goods vehicles and their impact on congestion and air quality, the partnership is looking to provide more alternative mailboxes such as Amazon lockers.
The Farnham Board is made up of councillors representing Surrey County Council, Waverley Borough Council and Farnham Town Council, alongside local MP Jeremy Hunt. As many of the recommendations presented to the board were road improvements, the county council is responsible for their development and implementation.
Tim Oliver, Leader of Surrey County Council, said: “While much of the Farnham Infrastructure Programme will be making improvements in the longer-term, I am pleased we’ve identified a solution to lower the number of HGVs diverting through the town, alongside other improvements which will start addressing residents’ concerns.
“However, a key way to cut congestion and improve air quality will be by reducing car use when possible. So we will also need the help of people who travel around the town and encourage them to walk or cycle or use public transport instead.”
The board also heard the results of the recent survey on the programme’s vision statement, which received 885 responses. It found that the majority of responders were in broad support of the vision and the four projects the programme wishes to tackle:
- Short- and medium-term improvements
- Town centre infrastructure
- A31 Hickley’s Corner
- A325 Wrecclesham Relief Road
Comments submitted through the survey are now being considered by the programme team as they develop a new infrastructure plan for the town. The plan will contain proposed ways to tackle the four projects. It is due to be discussed by the Farnham Board in the New Year, followed by a consultation in the spring.
John Ward, Leader of Waverley Borough Council, said: “I am delighted that something is now being done to limit the HGV traffic that has blighted our town for so long. It is very pleasing, both that we’ve received so many responses to the survey, and that people broadly agree that we’re on the right track. Some of the solutions we are looking at will take a number of years to implement and we need to be absolutely certain that we’re putting in place the foundations of a future Farnham that works for, and is supported by, our community.
“We’ll be looking at the detail of the responses over the next few months and considering how your comments can be taken on board to complement or improve the options we’re assessing. I would like to thank everyone who took part and encourage you to make your voice heard again, when we launch the consultation in the new year.”
People in Farnham can continue to have their say on the programme by taking part in the Local Liaison Forum. The forum is running a series of Zoom meetings over the coming months to discuss the infrastructure programme. The meetings are:
- Wednesday 25 November 2020 at 6.30pm: to discuss the community
- Wednesday 9 December 2020 at 6.30pm: to discuss the town centre
- Wednesday 6 January 2021 at 3pm: to discuss the A31 and Hickley’s Corner
- Wednesday 6 January 2021 at 6.30pm: to discuss Upper Hale
- Thursday 7 January 2021 at 6.30pm: to discuss Wrecclesham
- Thursday 14 January 2021 at 3pm: young people (youth organisers and school leaders)
John Neale, Leader of Farnham Town Council, said: “The Farnham road layout doesn’t lend itself to heavy lorries so anything we can do to dissuade HGV drivers from unnecessarily coming through Farnham will be a good outcome for all. We also welcome any intervention to prevent the danger of bridge strikes at Wrecclesham. Whenever a bridge strike occurs it causes a great deal of inconvenience to Wrecclesham residents, people wanting to travel on the A325 and rail users.
“We are working hard to find solutions to other road issues in Farnham and welcome people’s input at the Local Liaison Forums.”
To register to join a forum meeting and to receive joining instructions, visit Farnham.gov.uk/llf.
Jeremy Hunt MP said: “This is excellent news and will, I am sure, be very well received by many constituents who have written to me over the years worried about dangerous, near misses involving HGVs and more recently frustrated with traffic congestion. The move will of course also help reduce pollution levels which has always been one of our primary goals.”
For more information about the Farnham Infrastructure Programme, visit surreycc.gov.uk/farnhamprogramme