Agenda and minutes

Council - Thursday 25th January, 2024 6.00 pm

The full agenda with individual reports can be viewed on this page below.

The full agenda with all reports can be downloaded from the Agenda reports pack.

Venue: Council Chamber - Farnham Town Hall. View directions

Contact: Email: 

No. Item



To receive apologies for absence.


Apologies were received from Cllr Tim Woodhouse.


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 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.


Cllr Beaman reported a disclosable pecuniary interest as a Trustee of Creative Response.

Cllr Fairclough disclosed an interest as Deputy Leader at Waverley Borough Council.

Cllr Merryweather disclosed an interest as Finance Portfolio holder at Waverley Borough Council.



Minutes pdf icon PDF 136 KB

To sign as a correct record the minutes of the Farnham Town Council meeting held on December 14th 2023 at Appendix A.


The Minutes of the meeting held on 14 December 2023 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.


Zofia Lovell, Chair of the South Farnham Residents Association expressed her thanks to Council for pursuing the possibility of a Statutory Review of the Waverley Lane Planning appeal decision and saw it as very positive that it had not been dismissed out of hand. 


With reference to item 16 on the Council’s  agenda - the  update on Waverley Lane it was understood  there are three items for the hearing and from a residents’ point of view ‘The Merits of the Case’ was the most relevant.


During the Appeal for Waverley Lane and at other Appeals residents have raised the question about “ how much “weight” ( in planning terms) would be given to the Neighbourhood Plan. 


It was not a question about whether it was  five years old or not it was about the Community view of where housing was wanted, how the environment is protected and the willingness of the community to support it. To Residents it is about the principle on which it stands. Failure to look at the detail beyond the “timescale” is the greatest flaw.


Zofia Lovell said residents were well aware that housing was very much top of the agenda for all political parties and the pressure would be high for budgets, land supply and delivery.  She also said that if residents were to commit to a Review of the Farnham Neighbourhood Plan they need the assurance that it was worthwhile. 


She said that when going to law residents understood that  finance and budgeting would undoubtedly be debated and urged Farnham Town Council to carry the case forward within the budget where possible.  She thanked councillors for the support on the principle of the challenge.


Town Mayor's Announcements

To receive the Town Mayor’s announcements.


The Mayor advised that the first month of the year was always a quieter one as organisations planned for the year ahead.


He was looking forward to unveiling a new Town Council banner at the Farnham Town Football Club and also celebrating Chinese New Year with the Orpington Chinese Language School’s Farnham Branch.


He wished Reel every success with their new venture as they opened their multiscreen cinema in Brightwells Yard. 


In February there would be another first with the arrival of Fiona Byrne as Farnham’s first World Craft Town Artist in Residence funded by the Farnham South Street Trust.  The Mayor would be hosting a welcome reception for her, to which all councillors would be invited, along with the World Craft Town Partners.

Finally. on behalf of Council the Mayor thanked Revd Dr Michael Hopkins for his service to the Town and wished him well  as he leaves the Spire Church for a wider role as moderator of the United Reformed Church’s Wessex Synod.


Questions by Members

To consider any questions from councillors in accordance with Standing Order 9.


There were no Questions by Members submitted.


Working Group Notes pdf icon PDF 239 KB

To receive the notes and any recommendations of the following Working Groups:

i)           Community held on 10th January 2024                            Appendix B

ii)         Strategy and Resources held on 16th January 2024          Appendix C


To receive any verbal updates on the work of the Environment Working Group.


Additional documents:


1            Community Working Group

a)     Cllr Mirylees introduced the Notes of the Community Working Group at Appendix B to the agenda.  Council noted the events that had taken place and welcomed the new events being planned including an extended Music in the Meadow focussing on folk/traditional music and a World Music event.  Council noted that initial discussions had taken place with Reel Cinema over the possibility of hosting a gaming convention or competition in partnership with Farnham Town Council and UCA.


b)     Cllr Mirylees explained that the Gin and Fizz Festival would not be progressed in 2024 because of clashes with other similar events but this would allow for development of other initiatives.


c)     The Working Group had discussed the need for an improved visual presence and marketing for World Craft Town including a sculpture on Coxbridge roundabout.  There was also an idea for a festival of light with lanterns being created by the community, and this concept was being considered for implementation.


d)     Council noted the latest position for the Farnham Business Improvement District following the successful ballot in October.  A Bid Manager was being recruited, the new company limited by guarantee being created and a more detailed business plan being prepared.  FTC had agreed to provide a loan for expenditure until the first levy was received, subject to confirmed agreement for repayment.

On a recommendation from Cllr Hesse, seconded by Cllr Dickson, it was RESOLVED unanimously that Cllr Murray be the FTC observer on the Farnham BID.


e)     Cllr Mirylees reported on discussions on Community Grants for 2024-25.  There had been a series of discussions with organisations that receive a contribution to general running costs or projects and work to a light touch Service Level Agreement (SLA).  Community grants of less than £2,000 for one-off projects also considered. 


It was RESOLVED unanimously that the following grants be approved.



SLA grants 24/25

Farnham Maltings


Citizens Advice South West Surrey (CASWS)


40 degreez

£5,000 (for general running costs only)

Hale Community Centre

£5,000 (for general running costs only)

Hoppa Community Transport in Farnham


Brightwells Gostrey Centre

£5,000 (for general running costs only)






One off grants from the Community Initiatives Fund 2023-24




Farnham Repair Café/UCA


Farnham Youth Choir for World Choir games


I choose Freedom (Women’s Refuge)



Grants to be funded from Service budgets

Green Up Britain

£415.00 (from FIB budget)

Hale Carnival Committee

£1,000.00 (from Events budget)

Community Grants 2024-25


Name of organisation

Farnham Town Council contribution

Badshot Lea Community Association




Creative Response


FADEG. Farnham Art & Design Education Group


Farnham Assist


Farnham Brass Band


Farnham Voices Together Community Choir


Farnham Youth Choir


Helen Arkell Dyslexia Charity


Hive Helpers CIC


Home-Start in Waverley


Kind To Mind


New Ashgate Gallery Trust Ltd


Rowledge Tennis Club


Rural Life Living Museum


Weydon School


Wrecclesham Fete






2        Strategy & Resources Working Group/


In  ...  view the full minutes text for item C96/23


Precept 2023-24 pdf icon PDF 150 KB

To consider the report from the Strategy & Resources Working Group at Appendix D and agree the 2024-25 precept.


Cllr White introduced the precept report at Appendix D advising that the Strategy & Resources Working Group was mindful of the financial pressures on the local community but also of the need to invest in the future of the community particularly for opportunities for younger people and the challenges of climate change.


Cllr White said that whilst there was no capping on Town and Parish Councils, increasingly they were expected to take on services being stopped by principal authorities.  Paragraph 6 in the report was helpful, showing the exemplary stewardship by Farnham Town Council.  In 2013 it was spending £5.60 above the average of town and parish councils but in the current year it was £6.14 below the average. The Town and Parish element of Council Tax represented 3% of the total.


After careful consideration, the Working Group was recommending a £4.93 increase in the band D level for the year ahead, representing just 9p per week.  This would result in a total precept of £78.15 or £1.50 per week per Band D property, still placing FTC below the national average whilst fulfilling the commitment to invest £90k in supporting younger people.


Council noted that further consideration was given as to whether income targets could be further increased and that other inflationary pressures were being absorbed within the budget.  The Working Group had proposed using some reserves to minimise the level of increase. 


It was RESOLVED unanimously that:

1) Reserves of £22,382 be used to reduce the 2024/25 precept increase;

2) The 2024/25 precept be set at £1,424,818 representing a Band D equivalentamount of £78.15 per annum or £1.50 per week.


Risk Management Report pdf icon PDF 282 KB

To adopt the report from the Strategy & Resources Working Group on how the Council Manages its risks and endorse the work undertaken by the Working Groups in reviewing those risk.                                                                                                           Appendix E.


Cllr White Introduced the Risk Management report at Appendix E.  Council noted that each of the Working Groups had reviewed the risks affecting their areas and were supported by an independent risk review by Worknest, financial risks review by the independent Internal Auditor as well as by Council policies and procedures.


It was RESOLVED unanimously that:

1)      The Risk Management report be welcomed and adopted;

2)      The work done by the Working Groups in managing risk be noted.


Planning and Licensing Applications pdf icon PDF 220 KB

To receive the minutes of the Planning & Licensing Consultative Group meetings held on 8th and 22nd January at Appendices F, and G.

Additional documents:


Cllr Laughton introduced the notes of the Planning & Licensing Consultative Group meetings held on 8th and 22nd January attached at Appendices F and G to the agenda.


Some of the highlights included an application for a 65 bed care home next to Bishops’ Meadow where the Town Council supported concerns raised by the Bishops meadow Trust,  and a 26 dwelling application in Wrecclesham Hill which was contrary to the Farnham Neighbourhood Plan.  An application in Vicarage Hill should have a detailed Transport Management Plan as it is a restrictive site and comments had been made to an application in Gong Hill Drive for outbuildings needing to be in line with the building line and not too close to the road.


In terms of licensing there was concern over an application to extend hours to 2.30am which would have a detrimental effect on neighbours.


Actions taken under the Scheme of Delegation

To receive details of any actions taken under the scheme of delegation not already reported.


There were no additional actions to report.


Reports from Other Councils

To receive from Councillors any updates on matters affecting Farnham from Waverley Borough Council and Surrey County Council.



There were no reports from other councils.


Reports from Outside Bodies

To receive from Members any verbal reports on Outside Bodies where they represent Farnham Town Council.



Cllr Dickson reported that the Revd Alan and Revd Lesley Crawley were leaving Badshot Lea and Hale with a final service on 4th February.  Council noted the contribution they had made to the communities in North Farnham in which their churches were located.


Date of Next Meeting

To agree the date of the next meeting as 6pm on Thursday 14th March 2024.


The date of the next meeting was agreed as 14th March at 6pm.


Exclusion of the Press and Public

TO PASS A RESOLUTION to exclude members of the public and press from the meeting at Part 3 of the agenda (if required) in view of any confidential items under discussion. These will usually relate to exempt legal advice, staffing matters or contractual matters which may be commercially sensitive.


On a proposal from the Mayor, it was RESOLVED unanimously that the press and public be excluded for discussion of two exempt items from the Strategy & Resources Working Group.


Any confidential matters (if required) arising from discussions of the Working Group notes.

i)               Update on the Waverley Lane Appeal and the case conference with the Council’s barrister.

ii)              Other matters arising from Strategy & Resources Working Group


Exempt items arising from the Strategy & Resources Working Group.


1)   Younger People Support. Consideration of contractual matters for the allocation of funds for developing activities for Younger people.


     Council reviewed the allocations in terms of agreements that needed to be put in place to ensure the outcomes desired could be delivered by the organisations that would be receiving the funds.  These included future use of building and Service Level Agreements in the initial year of support.


     Council noted that some of the support was to help younger people who were facing challenging circumstances and should be supported by Surrey County Council, particularly given the rise of mental health issues since covid.


Cllr Fairclough and Cllr Merryweather left at this point.


2)     Statutory Challenge for Waverley Lane. Council discussed the approach to the hearing for the legal challenge and the three elements that were to be considered in the rolled up hearing.  The support of the local community was welcomed, and it was important to fight for the Neighbourhood Plan as the decision on the Waverley Lane application was a travesty.