Agenda item

Working Group Notes

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

i)           Tourism and Events held on 11th January 2023                Appendix B

ii)         Strategy and Finance held on 17th January 2023               Appendix C


To receive a briefing update from the informal Cemeteries and Appeals Working Group held on 12th January and an update on matters pertaining to the Community Enhancement Working Group as the meeting on 18th January was cancelled.                          Appendix D


i)               Tourism and Events

Cllr Evans provided feedback from the meeting held on 11th January 2023 at Appendix B to the agenda and advised that there were no specific recommendations from the Working group for Council.


Cllr Evans update Council on preparations for the Coronation weekend.  The Town Clerk confirmed that he had also attended a meeting with Witley, Godalming and Haslemere Councils to discuss their plans for the Coronation. If there was a beacon (and there had been no confirmation regarding beacons for the coronation), Farnham Park had been identified by the Farnham Society as the location for a permanent fixture. It was noted this could pose a problem as it was in a designated park very close to a listed monument with archaeological potential and would probably also require planning permission.


Council noted that there was a meeting at the Bush Hotel for the relaunch of the Farnham Chamber of Commerce that evening, Thursday 26th January 2023. It was very positive for the fledgling Business Improvement District team and the new Chamber of Commerce to work together and make a good case for business in Farnham to sustain itself through the challenging times ahead.


Cllr Hesse congratulated the Tourism and Events team for all their hard work and efforts in putting on such wonderful events in Farnham.

ii)              Strategy and Finance

Cllr Evans introduced the notes from the Strategy and Finance Working Group Meeting held on 17th January 2023. 

a)       The quarterly finance reports to 31st December had been considered in detail including the Income and Expenditure reports, the Statement of Investment and Reserves, and the current debtors list.  Council noted that the position at the 9 month period was good with income running at 117% of budget (including ring-fenced CIL receipts) and expenditure running at 83.5% of budget.  The timetable for the closing of the accounts was noted.

b)       The Fees and Charges report was reviewed and the proposed fees and charges for 2023/24 were discussed. There were numerous proposed changes for 2023/24.

It was RESOLVED nem con that:

·       The fees and charges set out at Annex1 be agreed.

·       The Town Clerk be authorised to use discretion to negotiate the best arrangement for the Council in relation to Sponsorship and items where more complex arrangement are planned using the approved Fees and Charges as the basis for discussion.


c)       The Investment Strategy 2023/24 at Annex 2 was recommended for approval. Council noted the requirement to minimise risk and the short-term nature of investments (less than 1 year). 

It was RESOLVED nem con that the Investment Strategy 2023/24 be adopted.


d)       Cllr Evans advised that Community Grants had been discussed in detail and that the funding proposed in the budget for 2023/24 was as follows:

·       Service level agreements:                       £60,000

·       In-year community grants:                     £18,000

·       Grants funded from other budgets:        £4,500

·       Small Grants (in year allocation):            £2,000

Cllr Evans reminded Council that detailed presentations were made by organisations in receipt of regular grants towards running costs (the Service Level Agreement organisations), noting that the presentations had been very good and there were difficult decisions to make. Cllr Evans presented each proposed SLA funding grant but left the chamber before the Mayor presented the proposed funding for the Hale Community Centre. Cllr Evans returned to present the remainder of the organisations.


It was RESOLVED nem con that the SLA Grant amounts be set as follows:

Farnham Maltings


Citizens Advice Bureau


40 Degreez

£2,000 plus £6,000 for outreach

Hale Community Centre


Hoppa Community Transport in Farnham


Brightwells Gostrey Centre





Members considered the proposed allocations for organisations supported by specific service budgets and it was RESOLVED nem con to fund the following:



Fund from


Farnham Carnival

Tourism and Events. Shared costs with Picnic in the Park

£2,000 (23/24 funding)

Blackwater Valley Countryside Partnership

Community Enhancement

£2,500 (23/24 funding)

Farnham Round Table – Santa’s eSleigh

Community Initiatives Fund

£2,000 (22/23 funding)

The Farnham Museum – Herald Archive Digitisation Project

Community Initiatives Fund

£2,000 (22/23 funding)




Community Grant Applications listed at Annex 3 were considered together and it was RESOLVED nem con to award the funding as set out at Annex 3. 


e)       Cllr Evans introduced the Interim Internal Auditor’s Report at Annex 4 which was received by Council noting the Officers’ responses.:

It was RESOLVED nem con that:

1)    The Internal Auditor’s report be welcomed.

2)      The Town Clerk’s responses be agreed.


f)      Task Groups

i) Coronation Task Group Council noted published arrangements included Monday 8th May being a volunteering day and that FTC staff were looking at options. Preparations were in hand for a whole day event in Gostrey for people to be able to watch the Coronation on a big screen with music to follow. Council supported underwriting insurance for street parties that met the criteria as a means of allowing as many people as possible to participate in the Coronation celebrations.


It was RESOLVED nem con that:

1.   A budget of £20,000 from the Community Initiatives budget be set for the Coronation Celebrations;

2.   The Council underwrite the costs of insurance of street parties that met the relevant criteria;

3.   The position with the gift of the Farnham Society Beacon be noted.


ii)       Assets Task Group

a)     Council welcomed the news that work had begun on the Hale Chapels project on 23rd January 2023. The contractor for the project was Landform.


Cllr Cockburn left the room prior to the discussion about Gostrey Meadow as a Trustee of Ridgeway School.


b)   Council discussed the potential enhancement project recommended by the Strategy & Finance for Gostrey Meadow to replace the Toilets, create an accessible Play Area and build a Community Café. The Café was proposed to be in conjunction with Ridgeway School  to give employability skills for its pupils and others. Town Clerk advised members that approval was required to take pre-planning advice from Waverley to discuss the ideas.  It was suggested there could be a competition for the design where the current toilets are located.

In discussion, the need to move the Falkner Fountain was confirmed, the move of the Borelli Shelter to provide space, and the benefits of creating a formal garden or retaining an alternate community use on the bowling green were discussed, Cllr Attfield was keen to progress with the plan and proposed (seconded by Cllr Dunsmore that the wording of the first recommendation be changed to read ‘FTC commits to the principle of delivering …’.

It was RESOLVED nem con:

1.     FTC commits to the principle of delivering new toilets, an accessible play area, and a Community Space/Café/training facility within Gostrey Meadow;

2.     Plan A Architects be commissioned to apply to WBC Planning for Pre Application advice on the proposal;

3.     Officers meet with the Ridgeway School to clarify their aspirations on the development and usage of the Café/community space

4.     Officers seek possible funding streams;

5.     Farnham Town Council commits £200,000 of Neighbourhood CIL to deliver the three elements of this project;

6.     Officers apply for funding for a Changing Places toilet if one can be accommodated within the scheme;

7.     The Borelli Shelter be moved at a location to be agreed;

8.     Town Clerk be authorised to investigate the potential for Public Works Loan Board funding for the project;

9.     To agree, in principle, to move the Falkner Fountain 2 to 3 metres or to another location for ease of access into Gostrey Meadow for vehicles.


c)   Council noted the bandstand was showing signs of wear and tear and in need of refurbishment.

It was RESOLVED nem con that the Town Clerk be delegated authority to redecorate and refurbish the Bandstand in Gostrey Meadow with a budget cost of £6,500.


d)   Cllr Evans advised that the Working Group had discussed the Croquet Club request for a long lease of the old bowling green for croquet and the construction of a pavilion. Members supported the development of a new club but considered the location was not ideal with the plans for Gostrey Meadow. Some alternate suggestions of locations in Badshot Lea, Weybourne and Wrecclesham were proposed for passing on to the new club.


e)   Council noted itemised obsolete IT and depot equipment that was beyond repair required disposal and removal from the assets register; an intermittent fault with the lift required repair; the replacement programme of fluorescent lighting with more energy-efficient units and redecoration required for some of the recent replacements.  Council noted issues with disposing of collected flytipped items, the proposal to vinyl wrap the Mitsubishi and of the ongoing challenge of fixing the CNG supply. 


It was RESOLVED nem con that the Town Clerk be authorised to:

·       Dispose of the redundant IT equipment and update the asset register be updated;

·       Progress quotes and undertake the necessary redecoration of parts of the Council Offices from within the existing budgets.

·         Change the remaining baton fluorescent lighting unit to LED lighting but defer replacing clam lighting units until decoration is done;

·       Progress quotations to repair the lift with use of up to £35,000 of the Town Hall earmarked reserve if required;

·       Depot assets that were obsolete or too expensive to repair be listed following an inspection by the Town Clerk and Lead Member of the Assets Task Group and disposed of;

·       The Mitsubishi pick-up be repaired, and vinyl wrapped;

·       The issues with the CNG filling system be noted and progressed;

·       The removal of all flytipped items from the depot be noted;

·       The purchase of a container (up to a price of £6,500 to house the Christmas Lights) be deferred.


f)      Council noted that the current lease was due to be renewed and that the Town Clerk was in discussion with the Trustees of the centre about this.

It was RESOLVED nem con that the Town Clerk progress, with the Trustees of Wrecclesham Community Centre, the rent review for the next period.


g)     The retender for the Christmas Lights installation, takedown and testing with options to replace part and lease, or purchase was discussed. Cllr Dickson asked if it was possible to move some old lights to the area next to the cricket field and Town Clerk advised that could be included in the tender for the new lights.


It was RESOLVED nem con:

1)    A tender for the installation, takedown, call out and testing of the Farnham Town Council’s owned Christmas lights be progressed;

2)    New designs and costs (on a lease or purchase basis) for a new scheme of Christmas lights be sought.


iii)     Community Infrastructure Projects Task Group

Council noted that £60,000 of the CIL receipts received to date had been allocated to the Central Car Parks Toilet Refurbishment. In the current financial year £206K had been received on top of some £40k in previous years.

The following 3 priorities had been identified:

·            A new playground on Gostrey Meadow – phase 1 of CIL and using £54,000 committed from the Woolmead section 106 money.

·            New toilets on Gostrey meadow - Phase 2.

·            Community space – café on Gostrey Meadow in conjunction with the    Ridgeway School which would be used as a potential training opportunity for young people.


It was RESOLVED nem con that:

1)      It was a priority to invest in Gostrey Meadow.

2)      An initial £200,000 of Neighbourhood CIL funding be allocated for the Gostrey Meadow playground, toilets and community café project.


iv)         Farnham Infrastructure Programme

Cllr Beaman introduced his updated position paper on the proposed Link Road, at Annex 5, for adoption. The report represented FTC’s contribution in a balanced way confirming that FTC had consistently argued that construction of a Hart Link Road was an essential part of the Farnham Infrastructure Programme (FIP) if it was to meet its objective of reducing traffic passing through Farnham Town Centre and improving air quality.

Council welcomed the agreement reached at the FIP Board meeting held on 16th December that the construction of a Hart Link Road should “remain on the table” for further discussion rather than the proposed recommendation “that further work on the route be paused and that it is removed from any emerging designs”.

Council discussed the report noting some of the positive and negatives aspects of the plan. Cllr Neale considered a through road was not a viable option but agreed with access to the car park.  Cllr Cockburn was concerned that the proposal compromised the integrity and character of Castle Street. Cllrs Hesse and MacLeod both wanted to ensure the paper did not hold up the improvements to the town centre. Good design of the scheme was essential  and having Castle Street as a piazza would be the jewel in the crown of the conservation area. Cllr Ward congratulated Cllr Beaman on an excellent report setting out clearly the aspiration of the Town Council.

It was RESOLVED by 10 votes to 1 with 3 abstentions that the report on the Link Road at Annex 5 to the Strategy and Finance minutes be adopted.


g)   Risk Management Report:

Members received the annual Risk Management Report, which had been considered through the Working groups and at Strategy & Finance.

It was RESOLVED nem con:

i)               The Risk Management report at Annex 6 be welcomed and adopted.

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

iii)             Members received a briefing update from the informal Cemeteries and Appeals Working Group held on 12th January 2023 as well as an update on matters pertaining to The Community Enhancement Working Group, at Appendix C, as the meeting on 18th January 2023 was cancelled. Council agreed with Cllr Dickson’s request for FTC to write a letter in support of the campaign to stop sewage being released into the rivers.


iv)             Consultations

            Council discussed the approach to the National Planning Policy Framework changes at Appendix P circulated to all councillors. It was noted that Rachel Aves would prepare a draft response with any comments submitted by Councillors by 30th January. Cllr Cockburn expressed concern at the lack of protection for neighbourhood plans under paragraph 14 and if Waverley went ahead with major updates of planned Local Plan part 1,the Farnham Neighbourhood Plan would not get the benefit of changes to paragraph 14.

Cllr Ward shared Cllr Cockburn’s concerns and complimented Cllrs Cockburn, Beaman and Dickson for their feedback to Waverley.

It was RESOLVED nem con:

1)      Councillors submit their comments to Rachel Aves by 30th January.

2)      The Town Clerk submit the Council’s response in conjunction with members of the Infrastructure Planning Group.


Cllr Beaman made the following motion regarding the approach to WBC Local Plan Part 2 Main Modifications Consultation:


"Farnham Town Council is very concerned that Waverley Borough Council is considering a comprehensive update of LPP1 since this will undermine Farnham's Neighbourhood Plan at a critical time with a number of planning applications for residential developments in locations not allocated for development subject to appeal having been refused by Waverley Borough Council and applications for residential developments on other unallocated sites are thought to be being considered.


Farnham Town Council urges Waverley Borough Council to only undertake a minor update required to its existing LPP1 as quickly as possible to help protect Farnham from unwanted and unsustainable speculative development". 


Members debated the motion and the impact of any delay to Local Plan Part 1 would have as a result of a full review. There was also concern over unmet housing need from other areas.Suggestions were made for the change of wording to the final motion . After the words ‘…proposing a full review…’ was changed to ‘…considering comprehensive update…’ and ‘…the minimum that is required…’ was changed to ‘… a minimum update…’, there was a unanimous agreement to support the motion.

It was RESOLVED unanimously that

Farnham Town Council responds to Waverley Borough Council’s Local Plan Part 2 Main Modifications consultation via the portal to stress the importance of the adoption of LPP2 as soon as possible. The adoption must be followed by only minor updates of LPP1 to give the Borough an up-to-date Local Plan and protect against speculative development.

V) Draft calendar of events

Council received the draft calendar of meetings for 2023-24 and noted the quarterly meetings for the main Working Groups and ad hoc meetings as required.

Cllr Dickson made a request for a change in time for the Community Enhancement Working Group meetings as some members were unable to attend meetings during the day due to work restraints. Town Clerk responded that there was a trade off as it was difficult to arrange evening meetings due to staffing requirements and commitments, and if there were more evening meetings, there would be fewer staff available during the working day.  He confirmed the new Working Groups would review the times at their first meeting.

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