CREST Nicholson completed works to install the temporary construction access and bridge over the River Wey last week, with the A31 fully reopening to traffic on Friday, February 8, a week earlier than originally anticipated - as predicted in last week’s Herald.

The temporary access is a planning requirement set by Waverley Borough Council in 2012 to reduce the impact of construction traffic on Farnham town centre over the duration of the works. Construction vehicles now have direct access to the Brightwells Yard site from the A31 and demolition is expected to begin shortly on the remaining buildings - including the rear section of The Marlborough Head, the former County Cinema car park site, the Redgrave Theatre, the former Farnham Centre for Health, the Brightwell Gostrey Centre and Brightwell Cottage.

When the demolition works are complete, construction on the scheme itself can really get under way.

The A31 lane closure allowed the access works to be carried out as quickly as possible and was, says Crest Nicholson, “necessary for the safety of both construction workers and the local community using this important route”.

Borelli Walk was also closed for the construction access bridge to be installed safely and is scheduled to reopen in March.

Brightwells Yard is being developed by Crest Nicholson in partnership with Waverley Borough Council and Surrey County Council.

The new development will provide 239 new homes comprised of one, two and three-bedroom apartments with more than 9,814 square metres of retail, a cinema, restaurants and cafes together with a new town square, public gardens and a multi-storey car park.

The development has a phased opening from spring 2021 and, it is hoped, will be fully complete by autumn 2022.

Julia Potts, leader of Waverley Borough Council, said: “This really is fantastic news for the people of Farnham and the surrounding areas. I am so pleased the bridge is now open and that the work was completed early.

“It’s really exciting that we will now see the scheme start to take shape with more activity on the site. This development is going to bring so many benefits to the town, including a new cinema, shops, restaurants, homes and new jobs, both in the construction and hospitality and retail sectors. I can’t wait to see everything coming to fruition over the coming months.”

Tim Jones, development director at Crest Nicholson, added: “We are really pleased that the construction bridge is now open, and that we were also able to reopen the A31 earlier than communicated.

“Work on the site can now really get under way to create this exciting scheme, which will bring much needed housing into the town alongside an improved retail and leisure offering.”