A pledge by the Conservative candidate for the new Farnham and Bordon constituency to put the western and Wrecclesham bypasses ‘back on the table’ has been rubbished as more “Tory empty promises” by political opponents.
Farnham Town Council’s joint leader David Beaman (Farnham Residents, Farnham North West) this week endorsed Mr Stafford’s intent – but dismissed the bypass talk as “political promises the Conservatives cannot keep”.
In a letter published in full in this week's Herald, Cllr Beaman said he “totally agrees” a new relief road would reduce congestion and allow central Farnham to be fully pedestrianised.
But, he added, if the Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt can’t deliver the bypass, what chance does his successor Mr Stafford have?
“The estimate for building a new road varies between £20 million and £60 million a mile,” he said. “The whole budget that the Farnham Infrastructure Programme for making improvements to Farnham Town Centre is £17.5m. In other words not enough to even build one mile of relief road.
“Electors should be wary of false promises.”
Revealing the weariness of Farnham’s more seasoned politicians when discussing the bypass issue, fellow town and borough councillor Mark Merryweather (Lib Dem, Moor Park) also queried whether Mr Stafford’s own party would back the bypasses given the Tory-run county council’s struggles to fund Farnham’s more modest roads project.
Lambasting “Conservative empty promises” in his own letter, also in this week's Herald, Cllr Merryweather said Surrey has publicly budgeted £139m for the Farnham Infrastructed Programme (FIP) – but in reality “is already struggling just to pay for the £17.5 million of FIP spending it approved only a few weeks ago, and in fact actually wants to drain funds meant for schools, the NHS and the police to cover it”.