THERE was heavy traffic throughout Farnham on Tuesday morning as a lane closure on the eastbound carriageway of the A31 Farnham bypass finally came into effect, four months later than planned.

The controversial lane closure, delayed since October, will be in place between Red Lion Lane and the Shepherd and Flock roundabout 24 hours a day, seven days a week until February 15.

It has already added to congestion in the town, with long tailbacks reported on the A31 Farnham bypass and through the town centre.

One beleaguered commuter reported that it took them two hours and ten minutes to travel the 20 miles from Alton to Guildford during the Tuesday morning rush-hour as a result of the delays.

The lane closure will, however, allow developer Crest Nicholson to complete a temporary construction access bridge linking the A31 to its Brightwells Yard development site - after which construction proper of Farnham’s £115 million mixed-use redevelopment scheme can commence.

The developer initially planned to implement the closure in October - but was forced to put its plans on ice after Farnham Residents councillors Andy MacLeod and Jerry Hyman pointed out discrepancies between Crest’s leaflet advertising the 24 hour lane closure, and its consent for the bridge works which outline a closure between 9am and 5pm daily.

Further concerns were then expressed by councillors at the planning meeting to ‘regularise’ the 24-hour closure that it could wreak havoc on busy Christmas shopping period in Farnham, and so Crest agreed to delay the works again until the New Year.

The lane closure is required to construct a temporary construction access bridge, connecting the Brightwells development site to the A31 over the River Wey - as demanded by councillors when extending Crest’s consent for the Brightwells scheme in 2012.

Speaking to the Herald after last week’s meeting, a Crest spokesman said: “The lane closure is in order to build access for construction traffic allowing vehicles to enter the new Brightwells development, which means that all construction traffic will avoid the town centre for the duration of the works.

“We apologise for the disruption caused by these works.”