Jeremy Hunt, MP for South West Surrey announced this week further details for the referendum on Pedestrianisation of Farnham town centre.
After several years of dialogue with architects, road traffic experts, Surrey County Council and local town and borough councillors the referendum will go ahead with the first information leaflets being delivered to households on Tuesday 3rd June with the voting deadline set for Thursday June 26th.
The leaflet will present an example plan involving a combination of ‘Shared Space’ with the possibility of a part-time pedestrianisation zone included within it. Existing shared space areas include the highly acclaimed scheme in Exhibition Road, London and New Road in Brighton. Shared space, whilst not fully obstructing traffic, operates on the principle of prioritising pedestrians with a combination of high design, adapted and levelled road and pavement surfaces, slower speed restrictions and additional signage. Such schemes have been hugely well received elsewhere in the UK and Europe with a proven reduction in traffic and emissions and an increase in pedestrian safety with the pedestrian taking priority over cars.
Residents will have several weeks to consider their vote and also be given an opportunity to view the example plan for the scheme and attend a public meeting so they can put their questions to Mr Hunt and others prior to deciding their final vote. The referendum literature was compiled having solicited input from groups both for and against the idea, including The Farnham Society and Surrey County Councillors, in order to ensure that information presented is fair and proportional with clear presentation of the arguments for and against. The referendum will not be funded by the tax-payer but by private donation to the South West Surrey Conservative Association who are producing the information and the entire process is being overseen by the Electoral Reform Services.
Jeremy said, ‘I am delighted that the day has come where we can ask the people of Farnham to signal their firm views via this referendum. I believe that Farnham is a stunning town which people could enjoy even more if the type of scheme we are presenting could be implemented. I am firmly in the ‘yes’ camp but I do understand that some will have reservations about the impact such a scheme could have and this is precisely why it’s so important to give residents a voice prior to any further push with developing a plan which puts pedestrians first.’