CONCERN has been expressed by Farnham residents at plans to re-route Esso’s aviation fuel pipeline through the town centre’s historic streets, within metres of Grade I-listed Farnham Castle.

A consultation on the oil giant’s plans to replace 56 miles of its pipeline from the Fawley Refinery near Southampton to Heathrow Airport will close at 11.45pm on April 30.

Six possible corridors for the new pipeline were exhibited at Wrecclesham Community Centre earlier this month, including one through Farnham town centre (‘Corridor M’) and another through Alice Holt Forest and the Frensham area (‘Corridor Q’).

Esso’s preference is for its replacement pipeline to continue to follow the existing route from Alton through Hampshire and Surrey via Crondall, Farnborough and Frimley, the so-called ‘Corridor J’ which avoids Farnham entirely.

However, the company’s consultation literature states that the area has changed “dramatically” since the pipeline was built in the 1960s, including the creation of The South Downs National Park, meaning that in some areas it can’t simply install the replacement pipeline alongside the existing one.

As a result, new possible routes for the pipeline are being considered - including Corridor M through Farnham, which Esso says “avoids national and European designated sites that Option J passes through” as well as the South Downs National Park.

This has prompted alarm from town centre residents, however, with a group of High Park Road homeowners taking it upon themselves to inform fellow residents of the potential disruption should Esso choose Corridor M.

One of those potentially affected, John Hemsley told the Herald: “Crondall Lane would be closed, Castle Street would be closed, the A325 and all roads in between would be closed - for at least two months each - and no-one seems to be worried about it in Farnham.

“If that happens at the same time as the East Street redevelopment, there will be complete gridlock.”

Following the current consultation, Esso expects to confirm its preferred route this summer, followed by a second public consultation in the autumn and an application to the Government in 2019. Work on the project will start in 2021.

To have your say on the project before April 30, go to