There was an excellent turn out at Farnham’s Annual Town Meeting on Thursday when around 100 people came along to receive a report on the town’s year.

The evening began with a welcome from the Mayor of Farnham and presentations from the councillors who lead on areas such as tourism and events, planning, community enhancement and strategy and finance.

John Ward says: “It was wonderful to see such a good show of residents and I would like to thank everybody for coming. It was particularly refreshing to have a group of journalism students joining in the debate and to hear their views on issues facing the town.”

The students spoke about how they want to be a part of Farnham and are looking forward to the arrival of the cinema and having more places to eat. They also voiced concern about a lack of student and affordable accommodation, particularly as many wish to settle in the area when they graduate.

During the public question and answer session, Farnham Town Council came in for praise for the positive contributions it has made to the town over the past year. A debate also took place about whether Farnham is congested and several comments were made about the cost of parking.

John Ward adds: “I felt very proud to hear the Town Council complimented on what it has achieved over the past 12 months. At last year’s meeting, a resident expressed his concern about a neglected flowerbed in East Street. Following the meeting, a group of Farnham in Bloom volunteers set about giving the bed a makeover and so I was delighted to see the gentleman again at this year’s meeting and to hear how pleased he was that we had listened and acted on his concerns.”

The main business was concluded with a factual outline of the next steps involved in the Neighbourhood Plan. Members of the public spoke about their involvement in shaping content of the Neighbourhood Plan during several public consultation exercises over a period of three years. Reference was made to key policies such as where new housing should go as well as proposals for allocated areas for employment sites and sports provision. In addition, the proposals in the Neighbourhood Plan for protecting public open spaces, for improved air quality to be improved and for there to be no loss of public open space or cultural attractions or facilities during the life of the Plan were discussed. It was noted that the Plan would work alongside the Waverley local plan and if adopted, would be used in helping determine planning applications.

The Farnham electorate will be able to vote in the referendum on the proposed Plan on Thursday 4 May, which is the same date as the Surrey County Council elections.

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