Venue: Council Chamber - Farnham Town Hall. View directions
Contact: Email: Town.Clerk@farnham.gov.uk
To receive apologies for absence.
Apologies were received from Cllr Mirylees.
Disclosures of Interest
To receive from members, in respect of any items included on the agenda for this meeting, disclosure of any disclosable pecuniary or other interests, or of any gifts and hospitality, in line with the Town Council’s Code of Conduct.
(i) The following councillors have made a general non-pecuniary interest declaration in relation to being councillors of Waverley Borough Council: Cllrs David Beaman, George Murray, Tony Fairclough, George Hesse, Andrew Laughton, Mark Merryweather, Kika Mirylees, John Ward, and Graham White.
(iii) The following councillor has made a general non-pecuniary interest declaration in relation to being a councillor of Surrey County Council: Cllr Michaela Martin;
(iv) Members are requested to make any declarations of interest, on the form attached, to be returned to email@example.com by 5pm on the day before the meeting.
Members are reminded that if they declare a pecuniary interest they must leave before any debate starts unless dispensation has been obtained.
There were no disclosures of interest.
To sign as a correct record the minutes of the Farnham Town Council meeting held on 26th October 2023 at Appendix A.
The Minutes of the meeting held on 26th October were agreed as a correct record.
Questions and Statements by the Public
In accordance with Standing Order 10.1, the Town Mayor will invite members of the public present to ask questions or make statements.
At the discretion of the Town Mayor, those members of the public, residing or working within the Council’s boundary, will be invited to make representations or ask questions in respect of the business on the agenda, or other matters not on the agenda, for a maximum of 3 minutes per person or 20 minutes overall.
Barbara Rogers of Castle Street said that the state of the streets were appalling. She had personally swept leaves and cleaned litter in Castle Street but the state of cleanliness should be to a reasonable standard.
In response, the Mayor thanked her for what she did to keep Farnham looking good. He advised that the street cleaning was a matter for Waverley Borough Council and Farnham Town Council would take it up with the Borough Council.
Town Mayor's Announcements
To receive the Town Mayor’s announcements.
The Mayor introduced his announcements by noting it had been a very busy time for the community as well as for Farnham Town Council and he had been privileged be part of some key local community events.
· Being part of the judging panel for the Surrey Artist of the Year hosted by the New Ashgate Gallery and won by Lucy Nicholls for her amazing paper sculptures.
· The main remembrance service in November with over 350 people in the parade from Castle Street and well over 1000 people at the war memorial.
· The 220th Venison Dinner which included using the Byworth Cup for the Loyal Toast on the 400th anniversary of it being donated to the town by John Byworth.
· A full events programme, with the Christmas Lights Switch-on, the Civic Christmas carol Service with the Farnham Youth Choir, and the Christmas Market all ably arranged by the FTC team.
The Mayor advised that he had been delighted to join FTC contractors, Landform Consultants, to receive the British Association of Landscape Industries Association Principal Award for the repurposing of the Hale Chapels into the Hale Chapels Garden. This was an outstanding achievement for Farnham.
The Mayor concluded his announcements by wishing all councillors, staff and volunteers a very happy Christmas.
Questions by Members
To consider any questions from councillors in accordance with Standing Order 9.
There were no Questions by Members.
1 To receive the notes and any recommendations of the following Working Groups:
i) Environment held on 22nd November 2023 Appendix B
ii) Strategy and Resources held on 5th December 2023 Appendix C
2 To receive any relevant update from the Community Working Group
1 Cllr Brown reported that the Environment meeting in November had been very fruitful and had included a presentation by Ben McCallan of Surrey County Council. He had offered to work with Farnham Town Council to put its proposed Climate Action Plan alongside Surrey County Council’s.
Cllr Brown reported that Libby Ralph of the Farnham Biodiversity Partnership had provided an update of its work, and particularly actions to support beaver and water vole habitats. The group had worked with FTC in creating a new wildlife area in Gostrey Meadow behind the old Bowls Pavilion. This had included a ‘dead hedge’ bee and bug hotels and a hibernaculum. A native hedge was also planned and raised beds for pollinator-friendly planting opportunities. This was an important green corridor in the town centre.
There had been a discussion on supporting the purchase of water ranger kits for volunteers to test water quality.
2 In terms of open spaces, Council noted the likely need for planning permission for the new ‘Another Brick in the Wall’ sculpture and agreed to support the community group with an application.
It was RESOLVED unanimously that Farnham Town Council submit a planning application in conjunction with Keppel Nowson to renew the current position of installing sculptures within the park.
3 Council noted the current position with Council allotments noting that renewals had recently been issued. It was noted these were still in paper form and suggested that consideration be given to future renewals being done electronically. It was agreed to increase the fees from October 2024. It was also noted that there was uncertainty over the ownership of the access to the six bells site and agreed it would be helpful if this were formally registered.
It was RESOLVED unanimously to:
i) Apply to register the access land to Six Bells Allotment for better management of the site.
ii) Increase the cost of a single plot by £5:00 to £67.50 from October 2024.
4 Council noted the outcome of a recent cemetery headstone application.
B) Strategy & Resources
Cllr White introduced the notes of the Strategy & Resources Working Group held on 5th December.
1 Strategy Workshop.
Cllr White said that the workshop led by facilitator David Carden had worked well and one of the outcomes was the inclusion of £90,000 in the draft budget for additional support for Younger People activities in the coming financial year. There would be further consideration on whether the resources should be used to underpin and strengthen existing community groups providing services for young people or whether Farnham Town Council should create a new role to co-ordinate other organisations services or provide direct delivery of youth work. t was agreed that the costs and risks of direct delivery would need to be carefully considered with a preference to strengthen existing organisation such as Hale Community Centre, 40 Degreez and the Wrecclesham Community Centre where there could be an early impact.
Council noted matters progressed since the Workshop, on climate issues, ... view the full minutes text for item C83/22
To agree the draft budget for 2024-25 at Appendix D.
Cllr White introduced the budget report from Strategy & Resources. It had been carefully considered by the Working Group along with detailed notes for specific lines of the budget to explain changes.
Council noted the draft budget had been drawn up based on a review of expenditure in 2023/24 and on the 2022/23 outturn and also in a context of continuing economic pressures and high inflation. It also takes into account evolving priorities of the new administration elected in May 2023 and the Strategy Workshop held on November 4th. . The aim was to create a budget that delivered the aspirations of Council and the needs of the community but without increasing the precept level to a point that would leave a surplus at the end of the year.
Inflation had been running at a 40 year high and was not expected to return to its target rate until 2024. In drawing up the FTC budget, and mindful of the impact on residents, this was a cautious budget and with inflation provision kept low. A prudent approach for potential sponsorship and income from activities has been taken based on experience in 2023-24 but with an increase of some elements. Investment income with rising bank rates had been increased with the expectation that they would continue at a higher level. The potential impact of pressures on the budgets of principal authorities and the increasing likelihood that there may be a need to further top up or take on services such as street cleansing and litter collection to meet the aspirations of the local community was unknown and would need to be absorbed. It was hoped that there may be some contribution from the new Business Improvement District for matters such as CCTV to promote community safety, and the Christmas lights renewal but no assumptions had been made.
Council noted the addition of £90,000 to underpin and deliver much need support for younger people and that the budget included reallocated funding for a part time Democratic Service Officer and fundraiser/project officer to provide capacity to draw down additional external resources for projects being progressed by FTC. The environmental and community initiatives allocation had been maintained.
In discussion, Cllr Woodhouse asked that consideration be given to reducing print and making more publications online where possible.
Overall, Council agreed it was a good budget well put together and noted that how it would be funded in terms of precept level, fees and charges, or use of any reserves would be agreed at the January meeting.
To receive the minutes of the Planning & Licensing Consultative Group meetings held on 30th October, 13th November, 27th November, and 11th December at Appendices E, F, and G and H.
Council received the Notes of the Planning and Licensing Consultative Group meetings held on 30th October, 13th November, 27th November, and 11th December at Appendices E, F, G and H of its agenda.
Cllr Beaman advised that Cala Homes had a short consultation planned for the latest Coxbridge proposals, and suggested the display boards be available at the Town Hall to enable a longer period for people to see what was proposed.
Concern was expressed by Council over the Thames Water response since they now said they have sewerage capacity for 320 homes which was a concern given their track record.
On a proposal by Cllr Beaman, seconded by Cllr Murray, it was RESOLVED nem con that Thames Water be asked to provide reassurance on the capacity of the their sewerage infrastructure.
Actions taken under the Scheme of Delegation
To receive details of any actions taken under the scheme of delegation not already reported.
The Town Clerk advised that an insurance claim had been received on land taken over from WBC that related to an incident when it was under WBC ownership. This was being dealt with.
Reports from Other Councils
To receive from Councillors any updates on matters affecting Farnham from Waverley Borough Council and Surrey County Council.
1. Cllr Martin reported on the Your Fund Surrey allocation for each County Councillor. There was £50,000 to be spent by March 2025.
2. Council recorded its best wishes to Cllr Peter Clark who was stepping down as Deputy Leader of Waverley Borough Council for health reasons.
3. Congratulations were given to Cllr Fairclough on becoming Deputy Leader at Waverley Borough Council and on Cllr Murray on being appointed to the Waverley Executive.
Reports from Outside Bodies
To receive from Members any verbal reports on Outside Bodies where they represent Farnham Town Council.
1. Cllr Beaman reported that the Wey Valley Community Rail Partnership was inviting bids for project funding by 31st December.
2. Cllr Hesse reported on the recent Farnborough Airport Consultative Committee and circulated a note of the points arising. There was concern expressed that Farnborough Airport was not fulfilling its role or legislative requirements. There had been a huge number of complaints over the proposed expansion of the airport.
Date of Next Meeting
To agree the date of the next meeting as 25th January 2024 at 6pm.
The date of the next meeting was agreed as 6pm on 25th January 2024.