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Our Community Working Together

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Farnham Voice by Councillor John Neale. Published in the Farnham Herald on 19 March 2020.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

We all find ourselves in very difficult times. The worldwide spread of the coronavirus has now moved uncomfortably close to our community, so we all must take steps to protect ourselves, our families, our friends and our colleagues.

You will all be well aware of government advice on how best to protect yourselves and those around us. You can also find this advice on our Town Council website, and further information on the NHSWaverley Borough and Surrey County Council websites.

In line with government advice regarding large gatherings and close proximity to others, Farnham Town Council is suspending most gatherings until the situation improves. In particular, the Annual Town Meeting (26 March), the launch of Farnham in Bloom 2020 (19 March) and the Music in the Vineyard (29 March) events are cancelled. The outdoor Farmers’ Market (22 March) is still planned to go ahead to support our local producers but we will ask customers to observe proximity advice. Please check our website for any updates before attending events.

The Council has also convened a meeting that included Farnham Maltings, the Herald, and some community representatives to see how we can coordinate actions to support our local community. We have accordingly set up the ‘Farnham COVID-19 Coordinating Group’. Farnham Maltings and Farnham Town Council will provide staff and facilities as needed and we expect that we will be supporting local groups that will be helping at the neighbourhood level. These local groups will be helping their neighbours, especially those vulnerable or unable to visit shops. We will announce further details on our websites and in the Herald.

Farnham Neighbourhood Plan

On a brighter note, we are very pleased with the result of the local referendum that ratifies community support for the revised Farnham Neighbourhood Plan. 95% of those who voted were in favour of adoption of the plan. This means that Waverley Borough Council is bound to refer to the plan when determining planning applications. The Neighbourhood Plan lays out sites where new houses should be built in the Farnham Town Council area. 

Farnham Town Council has been in the forefront, nationally, in the development of neighbourhood plans. Our efforts, and those of our army of community volunteers, are often cited as an exemplar for others to follow. Our first plan was adopted – ‘made’ – in 2017, however soon after it was completed, the government mandated that we, and other councils, provide further housing for the growing population. That meant that we had to provide for an extra 450 homes in addition to the 2,330 already catered for in the 2017 plan. 

We would, in particular, like to thank the Farnham Society and the Residents’ Associations who helped us with this work and without whom we could not have achieved such a positive outcome.

Look after yourselves and please look out for your neighbours, whilst we all fight this nasty virus.

By Councillor John Neale, Leader, Farnham Town Council Published in the Farnham Herald on 19 March 2020

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