It was just under two years ago that Farnham Town Council received the green light to proceed with producing a neighbourhood plan for Farnham.

In the months that have followed thousands of people have got involved and put forward their views on what they see as Farnham’s main issues and how they would like to see the area develop in the future. Ideas have been built on and included in Farnham’s draft neighbourhood plan, which was open for public consultation at the end of last year.

Councillor Carole Cockburn, Lead Member of Farnham’s Infrastructure Planning Group says: “The creation of the draft neighbourhood plan has been an organic process. The first seeds were planted in 2013 during a workshop with local organisations, residents’ associations and groups that represent the Farnham community. Armed with nothing more than blank sheets of paper, coloured Post-It notes and bags of enthusiasm the ideas and issues that were important to people were identified.”

The ideas were analysed and grouped under broad headings such as housing, environment and infrastructure. This skeleton outline of the neighbourhood plan was shared with residents at an exhibition, which travelled to each of Farnham’s communities in summer 2013. People were asked to complete a questionnaire so that support for the ideas could be assessed.

“Constant dialogue with residents has been an essential part of the neighbourhood plan process,” says member of the neighbourhood planning team, Councillor Roger Steel. He adds: “While the neighbourhood planning team has spearheaded the project, the content has been driven by the people who live and work here. We are truly grateful for the input and commitment we have seen from so many people.”

Having been a member of the neighbourhood planning team since its inception, Councillor Paddy Blagden says: “It has been really interesting to observe how ideas that were raised at the very start have consistently achieved support and consensus from the wider Farnham community. Farnham people are united in their desires and aspirations for the town. The draft neighbourhood plan reflects this, making it very much a plan that belongs to the people of Farnham.”

Responses from more than 1,250 questionnaires, which were received during the most recent consultation are now being analysed. The comments are being carefully considered and a view taken about whether the plan needs to be amended. The responses are being made public and available to view on Farnham Town Council’s website. The neighbourhood plan will be redrafted with a final consultation planned for the summer.

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