Who cares about Farnham’s roads or the frequent gridlocks in our town centre?

Certainly not Surrey County Council (SCC) whose highways department (responsible for our roads) seem desperately out of touch and unable to cope or communicate effectively.

The only people who do care about Farnham’s traffic problems are the people who walk, cycle and (attempt to!) drive in and around the town. That’s why we must listen to them and why we need local politicians who live in Farnham and also live with the town’s traffic problems themselves.

For example, it was only the local knowledge and persistence of Farnham Residents councillors Catherine Powell and David Beaman that managed to defer the closure of Park Row, another ill-informed SCC decision that would have further increased the town centre congestion while West Street remains closed. The well-intentioned Farnham Infrastructure Programme (FIP) is now seemingly being used by SCC to delay taking action on the disgraceful state of the roads in the town centre.

Farnham cannot rely on external authorities to act in the town’s best interests. By digging up West Street with no consultation with the town council, South East Water has brought Farnham to a standstill. This cannot happen again.

The recent incident denying emergency services access through Downing Street is yet another example of the failed, unbalanced relationship with SCC. Farnham residents want the removal of the planters in Downing Street, yet they must remain until SCC finally implements what it has agreed to do and widen the pavements.

Farnham residents can’t wait for expensive, long-term ‘solutions’ that will take years to happen. They want a localised commonsense approach that delivers practical, affordable, answers to our town centre gridlock – now.

They want dedicated traffic wardens patrolling the circuit around South Street, Union Street, Downing Street and The Borough, preventing and penalising parking on double yellow lines or unloading outside permitted hours.

They want the direct rail service to Guildford (a boon to Alton and Bentley that often makes Station Hill a no-through road, increasing the congestion on Firgrove Hill) reconsidered. 

None of the above involves massive capital expenditure and all would reduce congestion in and around the town centre. The residents of Farnham know this and so do Farnham Residents candidates.

It’s time both were given greater responsibility over Farnham’s roads.

Tony Fairclough

Farnham Residents councillor for The Bourne