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Plenty of reasons to feel jolly this Christmas

It is coming up to Christmas and Farnham Town Council’s events for 2020 are still being disrupted by COVID-19 and uncertainties about when people can be in close contact again.

We have had to replan or postpone most remaining events this year to comply with the restrictions, including the popular Christmas market and other street markets that we hoped to trial.

Christmas Lights

Amongst all this doom and gloom, we were determined to have the usual Christmas lights around the town, so we hope that this brings the festive mood to Farnham. Since we could not have the usual switch-on event in Gostrey Meadow, we instead staged the neighbourhood searchlight spectacle reported in the Herald last week. This was welcomed across the community as a big success, so I hope many of you were able to see it on a rather wet and gloomy evening. The theme was to bring the neighbourhoods of Farnham together by connecting them with beams of light. In Gostrey Meadow you could see all the beams from around the town. Hopefully, we will be able to do this again in the future.

We Are Farnham

This year has been a difficult time for retailers, so Farnham Town Council has made a lot of effort to support them where possible. Our latest initiative is We Are Farnham. This is an online local shopping website that Farnham retailers can use to promote and sell their products and services. It also allows customers to purchase online from any of our local retailers that participate. Retailers can arrange deliveries or click and collect through the site. We hope many local businesses will take up this service so that it can be a great success for everyone. As local residents, let’s all support our local retailers either in the shops or online.

Christmas in Farnham 2020

You will shortly be receiving a leaflet through your front door, promoting some Christmas events and Christmas shopping in the town centre. The leaflet outlines a competition that you can enter, so long as you have shopped in Farnham on late night shopping events (3, 10 and 17 December). There are some great prizes, including a £1,000 first prize offered by Farnham’s retailers. Good Luck!

Farmers’ Markets

These are continuing as usual; they meet the government’s guidelines for COVID precautions and the requirement to be selling food products. The market last Sunday was busy with as many people as we could allow in at any time, and the next one is on 12 December in the Central Car Park.

Civic Carol Service

Our usual civic carol service in St Andrew’s Church cannot be held with a mass congregation this year, so instead there will be an online carol service, broadcast on 23 December. Look out for it on our Facebook page. The event will be recorded in the church and the only people present will be the clergy, the choir and anyone else directly involved. Not to be missed.

Farnham Infrastructure Programme

This programme is progressing on schedule. Last week we had another meeting of the Farnham Board to get the latest update from the programme team. We have now had three Local Liaison Forums where we are updating the community and listening to their views, so if you are interested make sure you check out the dates and register online; we will then notify you with joining instructions. The Town Council’s half page spread in the Herald each week will remind you of upcoming dates or see to register.

We have made progress on the HGV problems in the town. There has now been a detailed study carried out on the problems and possible solutions. This is reported in today’s Herald where you can see the details. There is no silver bullet to solve these problems, but we have a range of measures that we hope will help. The recommendations to the councils will now be consulted on with Farnham Town Council and the local community, so that measures can be put in place as soon as possible.

These HGV measures are short term changes. The Infrastructure Programme will we aiming to provide longer term changes that will reduce the problems further.

By Councillor John Neale, Leader, Farnham Town Council. Published in the Farnham Herald on 26 November 2020

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