AGM Report November 2020
We have put together a report for 2020 as it is not possible to hold an AGM this year due to the Covid 19 restrictions.
Therefor the election of the Committee and Chair cannot take place but fortunately all members of the committee and the chairman are willing to continue in office for another year. They are:
Chairman: Cliff Watts
Secretary: James Hill
Treasurer: Jenny Daniels
Committee: Paul Allamand, Gemma Ball, Michael Blower, Brian Drew, Julie Flude, Sara Jones, John Martin.
Despite the lockdowns and various restrictions for most of the time since our last AGM things have moved on. We have been involved with a range of topics and continued to work with our local councillors, the villager hall, the school, Tices Meadow and other residents` groups.
Feedback and Questions
All of the above and the reports that follow cannot give all the details around each subject, our AGM gives an opportunity for discussion but clearly that is lacking this year. So, we would be very happy to receive your thoughts or answer any questions you have on any of the topics covered.
In October 2019, the committee agreed that the Community Association needed a Treasurers bank account to provide funds for planned community wide events and to receive any donations or payments from exterior organizations. The bank account was successfully set up in December 2019, with 3 signatories from the committee.
Sadly, the Covid 19 restrictions have prevented any community events this year but it is envisaged that the Community Association will continue to support the Farnham in Bloom initiatives in the village and other events in 2021.
The current balance in the account is £873.40, of which £700.00 is earmarked for the defibrillator project and £173.40 funding for our website.
Neighbourhood Plan and Farnham Design Statement
We campaigned vigorously for the Farnham Neighbourhood Plan referendum in March which resulted in 95.5% of those that voted showing support for the plan. A big thank you to all that took part. We have also contributed to the updated version of the Farnham Design Statement, the publication of which has been delayed by the virus restrictions.
Bus Shelters and Lay-by
The promised bus shelters have now been provided, funded by developer contributions. Also in the plan was a pedestrian crossing (just lowered kerbs) in what we thought was a most inappropriate place. This prompted us to arrange a site meeting with Surrey Highways and as a result it was agreed to re site the crossing and provide a lay-by for the bus, all funded by the developers.
Ultimately the bus lay-by was a disappointment, we had hoped for something larger, but it is an improvement and does allow drivers to see around a stationary bus and check for oncoming traffic. We now need the real time bus information display and a much better bus service, something we will continue to demand.
Traffic Light Improvement.
All the funding necessary to complete the upgrade of the traffic lights in the village centre is now assembled from various developers. We were told in March, prior to the lockdown, that it would probably be in the work programme for the end of the year or early 2021. We are now told that some preliminary work will take place on site in December with the construction taking place next Spring.
The government launched two major consultations on the planning system in August. We worked with other local groups, particularly South Farnham Residents, and responded to both and objected very strongly, as have many people throughout the country, to the possible reduction of local influence over planning decisions and the huge increase in the housing requirement across the borough due to the flawed algorithm used to determine housing need.
We also contacted Jeremy Hunt MP to raise our concerns, as have many others across the borough. Jeremy has highlighted the issues in parliament and held meetings with Robert Jenrick the Secretary of State for housing. Currently Mr. Jenrick is reviewing the proposals but we must wait and see if we are to be spared from some of the worst aspects of this new planning system.
Easter Egg Hunt and Village Fair
We were working with the school to support the very popular Easter Egg Hunt that starts at the school and ends at the village hall. We were also arranging the first Village Fair to be held at the village hall. Unfortunately both events had to be cancelled but we are hopeful for more success in 2021.
Farnham Infrastructure Project
We have been taking part in the discussions for the Farnham Infrastructure Project that is looking at ways to reduce or eliminate traffic in the town centre and improve access for pedestrians and cyclists. It will be an extremely difficult thing to do without causing traffic problems elsewhere, particularly through Hale.
The consultations are continuing with no proposals coming forward yet.
We are working with local sports groups to provide a defibrillator at the pavilion on the recreation ground. Some funding was donated by Bellway Homes that was originally given to the school for the cancelled Easter Egg Hunt. We need to seek further funding so we are ready to instal the machine when the work on the upgraded pavilion is complete.
Local Plan Part 2 (LPP2)
The consultation on Waverley`s LPP2 starts on the 27th November and runs until the 29th January.
This has been delayed due to some areas within the borough unable to agree where the required housing development should occur. This has not been an issue for Farnham as all the necessary sites for development were identified in our Neighbourhood Plan.
We will keep you up to date and informed about this consultation and will urge you to respond to any issues that we need to support or might have a detrimental impact on our community.
Developer activity in and around the village is proceeding at an unprecedented pace. The following is a summary of the on-site progress and the more significant ongoing applications.
Skylark Place, St. Georges Road. This development of 69 homes is now complete with Devine Homes moving off site in late summer.
Little Acres, St. Georges Road. Bellway Homes are now two thirds of the way through the development of 94 homes and anticipate full completion of the site in April/May 2021.
Waverley Folly, St. Georges Road. An outline application for 23 homes was allowed on appeal in December 2019, a full application is yet to come forward. It is thought that the applicant is trying to extend the development on to neighbouring land.
Green Lane Meadow off Lower Weybourne Lane. The construction of the 105 homes on the Taylor Wimpey site is under way with the first homes due for completion around June 2021.
Green Lane/Monkton Lane. This site, renowned for its poor drainage, is under construction and will provide 43 homes. Completion of construction is expected to be the summer of 2022.
Land off Lower Weybourne Lane (opposite Swiftsure). This application for 140 homes was refused by Waverley in May of this year. It is the second attempt to develop the site with the earlier application refused at appeal by the Secretary of State. It is assumed that the developers will appeal but there is no information available at this time. We objected as the site is not included in the Neighbourhood Plan.
Land off Green Lane, opposite the cemetery and currently used as a vehicle park. An application for 50 homes on the site was refused by Waverley in September 2019 and an appeal decision is pending. We objected as the site is not included in the Neighbourhood Plan.
Crown Lane. An application for 5 homes on land opposite Crown Close is currently with Waverley. We objected as the site is not included in the Neighbourhood Plan.
Badshot Lea Bloomers report.
The Bloomers have been going for over 4years now and a lot of our work is settling into a routine, but like everybody else we have been restricted in our activities by Covid-19 this year.
We have tried to keep residence up to date with what’s going on by monthly posts on our BLCA Facebook page. Your feedback is always appreciated.
School, Church and Alleyway.
Our regular support for the school has continued throughout the year along with our planting up and maintenance of the alleyway flower beds. Cutting the Church hedges has become an annual event.
This was our second year of growing hops at the Hop Kiln. The hot summer gave us some challenges and following the cancellation of Heritage Day at the Kiln we gave the hops away to the School and Church for their Harvest festival.
We only managed one big litter pick this year but our regulars have carried on regardless. Big thanks to all involved.
Farnham in Bloom
Farnham in Bloom has been restricted this year with much of its competitions and activities cancelled or going virtual, but we did manage to get our crossroads planted up and some 600 daffodil bulbs donated which have been used to continue the planting around the recreation ground.
B L Pond
We have managed two very well attended volunteer days at the pond this year, in Feb and Sept. During the last two months a small group of us have prepared the embankment for wildflower plugs in the spring and planted 240 crocus bulbs under the weeping birch tree.
Waverley contractors are due to start work on several projects at the pond soon. These include a new Dipping platform, levelling of the ground at one end plus a new path and long overdue maintenance work to the reed bed.
We are working with our friends at Tices Meadow to design and build a floating nesting platform for the pond which we hope to have in place before the spring.
We are in discussions with Surrey Highways and Farnham Town to look at ways of planting up areas of the green by the new bus stop.
We are looking into the idea of planting up the green space on Badshot Park with an apple orchard.
We would greatly value your feedback and ideas.
Our lovely local nature reserve has now been designated as an Asset of Community Value. This will give time to the local community working with various local authorities at town, borough and county level to raise funds to purchase the site as the current owners have placed it on the market. The owners have no obligation to accept a community led bid and can sell to the highest bidder if they so choose.
The Tices Meadow Bird Group have been very active within our community taking part in volunteer days and providing the very popular cameras in the owl and kestrel boxes on the village hall. We are greatly indebted to them for their contribution to our accessible open space particularly through this very challenging, covid dominated, time.
Please check their website and sign up to support their efforts to save the site and keep it as a wonderful local asset.