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Farnham Voice

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Councillor John Neale, the Leader of Farnham Town Council writes Farnham Voice, which is a regular column in the Farnham Herald.

Farnham Voice – latest edition

It’s all happening here in Farnham

Farnham Literary Festival

Last Saturday, I joined a full house at the inaugural session of the Farnham Literary Festival. It was held in the wonderful space of the Spire Church, which is fitted out with a dais on which guest authors were talking to the audience. The event was the first of many in the festival, but what struck me most was the enthusiasm of the audience, made up of all age groups, coming together for the first time in ages.

On Monday, I attended ‘Weydon Ignite’ where around a dozen Weydon students each gave a short talk on a subject of their interest. Again, a great performance by them all and wonderful to see what our young people can achieve in their schools today. Whilst talking about the schools, I must also congratulate both Weydon and All Hallows on their recent ‘outstanding’ rating by Ofsted.

The town council is holding around 50 events for this festival and going by the success of the sessions so far, I would expect that we will want to repeat the festival in future years. Maybe it will become known nationally. All credit goes to the organising team comprising volunteers, council staff, venue hosts and numerous other contributors, led by Councillor Kika Mirylees.

What the festival also revealed is the huge breadth of artistic talent that lives and works in our town. Many of these people quietly carry on their work ‘behind the scenes’ but the new Literary Festival provides an opportunity for them to perform in the town and bring us all together for enjoyable, social events. We are grateful to them.

We’re so fortunate to have such a talented community, whether actors, musicians, painters, sculptors, writers, crafts people, singers, dancers, sports men and women; we enjoy creating opportunities for them to showcase their skills and inspire the next generation. 

Working with young people

Another focus of the town council over recent years has been on young people and our desire to provide more for them in the town. We know how our youngsters like to meet up in various locations and how they like the skate park and other facilities. The town council, with a grant from the Police and Crime Commissioner, has now installed a new shelter in Borelli Walk, which should become a new place to meet, close to the new Brightwells development. We are working with Waverley to improve the landscaping of this open space area by the river, to make it more attractive and accessible.

We are also considering other outdoor facilities for young people, both in the town centre and in other parts of Farnham. Some of this is in conjunction with the borough and county councils; there will be more news on all this in coming months.

Brightwells Yard

You will be aware of the new buildings under construction in the area to be known as Brightwells Yard. Much of the area is three stories high, so it is very conspicuous.

The town council is liaising with the developers to make sure that the site works well with the existing town centre and provides improvements in line with the community facilities that we are developing elsewhere. I have been able to visit the site from time to time with the Community Liaison Group; recently we could see some of the buildings nearing completion. I am glad to say that there is a lot of attention to detail, which is a positive sign.

As we currently understand it, part of the site will be opening in the autumn. The western and northern area should be complete, including the landscaping. The remaining area, where there is still much to be done, will be closed off behind hoardings, whilst the construction continues.


I could not leave this edition of Farnham Voice without sharing our dismay about the war in Ukraine. We have voiced our support for the country and the citizens by displaying the attached emblem on the town hall and providing a list of contacts where we can individually support the community as they face appalling hardship.

By Councillor John Neale, Leader of Farnham Town Council

Published in the Farnham Herald on 10 March 2021

Farnham Voice – older bulletins

So much has been done – and so much still to do… – 24 December 2021

Council of the Year – 25 October 2021

Star Council awards – 12 August 2021

Town Council shortlisted for top award – 26 July 2021

Town has a busy year ahead – 23 May 2021

Town’s jab roll-out a remarkable achievement – 8 February 2021

Great ideas – now it is time for some real plans – 19 January 2021

Looking forward to 2021 – 28 December 2020

Challenges of 2020 – 17 December 2020

Plenty of reasons to feel jolly this Christmas – 23 November 2020

The Big Question: What type of town do we want in the future? – 9 November 2020

Town Council is well placed to take on more responsibilities – 24 September 2020

Farnham in the 21st century – 2 July 2020

Emerging from lockdown – 25 June 2020

Exciting plans for town centre – 4 June 2020

Helpline answers its 1,000th plea for help – 7 May 2020

It’s wonderful to see so many organisations helping us all – 2 April 2020

Our community working together – 19 March 2020

How we use your council tax – 6 February 2020

What action can we take? – 20 January 2020

Looking forward to 2020 – 2 January 2020

We can make a difference – 3 October 2019

Help us to help the climate – 12 September 2019

It has been a hectic start – 15 August 2019

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