Where exactly is Farnham’s beating heart?


We understand from that glossy, expensive ‘news’ magazine called ‘Your Waverley’ that spins through our letterbox from time to time tells us that now the construction of ‘Blightwells Yard’ has begun it is…’set to give a new heart to Farnham Town Centre’.

In case you hadn’t heard developers Crest Nicholson have renamed it Blightwells Yard in Farnham’s Backyard?

We here at the WW thought Farnham Town Centre already had a well-tried-and-tested beating heart located in Castle Street and along West Street and Downing Street?

It may need a little tweaking here and there,  as one Farnham resident Mark Westcott recently suggested,  a little by-pass surgery wouldn’t go amiss to give Farnham residents a healthier heart with a respite from pollution? But surely not a heart transplant by a second-rate developer and an impoverished council to a location far removed from exquisite ancient buildings, and some speciality shops not just the same old, same old mass high street retailers?

Ah! But when your spending other people’s money  – in fact, OUR MONEY – then we have to admit it certainly has our hearts racing and our blood pressure going off the Richter scale?

• ‘Blatant untruth’ appears on the internet
The Farnham Herald letters page, Thursday 20th September 2018 – Vol.128 No.11


– Weighed down as we are by the constant stream of broken promises and ‘terminological inexactitudes’ emanating from Waverley Council and Crest Nicholson over the Brightwells project, it is hardly surprising that neither party has been quick to correct a blatant untruth that appears on the GetSurrey’s website.

Oh! Not the Sorry Advertiser?

The site states, based no doubt on information provided by Waverley or Crest Nicholson, that Farnham residents and councillors claim “that Waverley Borough Council’s decision to approve alterations to the (Brightwells) scheme (in East Street) was unlawful” was rejected by the High Court.

This is totally untrue.

The court actually ruled that those bringing the action to test the legality of the council’s action by way of judicial review did not have the ‘standing’ to do so. Thus due to a tenuous legal technicality, and much to the obvious relief of Waverley and Crest Nicholson, the claim was never heard.

So there we have it. Yet another example as to how this discredited, defunct and as likely as not illegal monstrous monument to commercial greed and municipal vandalism that is Brightwells has been able, through the shameful denial of any pretence of democratic examination, to insinuate its way into our town.

Andrew Jones, Fox Yard, Farnham


Screen Shot 2018-08-16 at 22.44.40.png

One thought on “Where exactly is Farnham’s beating heart?”

  1. Whilst feelings in Farnham both amongst residents and its many visitors reflect a mixture of grief, anger and disbelief that the town could allow the catastrophe that is Brightwells to crash into its heart, should residents not reflect upon who exactly is responsible. And not just those that drew up the scheme in the first place since it was roundly and rightly rejected immediately by the Farnham public. But what about those that continue to support it now that it can be seen to be so completely outdated in concept and design and has proved to be a commercial flop before a single brick has been laid? Latest in this group is Surrey County Council Leader David Hodge who has at the last minute committed thirty million pounds of local ratepayers and taxpayers money into pulling the scheme from the scrap heap where it belongs?

    In terms of council responsibility, iWaverley’s Joint Planning Committee members cannot take all the blame since only eight of its current members actually live in Farnham against thirty eight that don’t (such is local democracy in the town these days), the latter presumably being only too pleased that schemes such as this don’t take place on their patch.

    There are two individuals, however, that do spring immediately to mind. The Right Hon Jeremy Hunt has maintained a complete and unforgivable silence on what is by far the most massive development ever to take place in Farnham, right in the heart of his constituency, arousing many querulous inquiries as to his motives. Then of course there is Julia Potts, leader of Waverley Council, who seems pugnaciously opposed to any criticism of the scheme or to the deafening public outcry against it whilst taking full advantage of her Conservative councillor colleagues’ abject and cowardly submission to their mistress’ voice.

    For Crest Nicholson’s part, a name familiar to those that attended the 2013 meeting to approve the compulsory purchase and closure of the Marlborough Head pub will be Chris Tinker, the company’s Major Projects Chairman. His ‘evidence’ of commercial funding about to be confirmed for the project tipped the Government Inspector in favour of the purchase so allowing the project to proceed, a promise that evaporated as quickly as it had appeared. A question perhaps of Tinker by name, tinkerer by nature?

    Then finally there is Pam Alexander CBE. Ms Alexander is Chair of something called Design Council CABE who’s raison d’être is to ensure that developers provide us with decent, appropriate, popular and well designed schemes. CABE’s website states that “crucial to inclusive design is consultation with user groups, putting people who represent a diversity of age, ability, gender and community at the heart of the design process” and that “the effect (that such schemes) will have on the surrounding landscape and its distinctive historic and cultural context has to be evaluated as do the implications for the area’s circulation patterns, neighbouring activities and property uses. The views and sensitivities of the surrounding community should also be given weight”. One is led to wonder what advice Ms Alexander gave to Crest Nicholson’s board with regard to Brightwells during the six year period to January this year whilst employed by the company as a Non Executive Director on a salary of £50,000 per annum? I guess a thousand quid a week to turn up to the odd board meeting helped her decide to keep mum on such occasions – £300,000 well spent from Crest’s point of view!

    So there we have it, a list of Farnham’s Most Wanted.

    Now it appears that Waverley and Crest Nicholson have promised £100,000 (of what is effectively our money, naturally) on ‘public art’ for the scheme. Well let’s spend it on on a fitting monument to these people : “In Memoriam – for Services to Social and Architectural Vandalism, Financial Greed and the Denial of Local Democracy”. Other suggestions welcome. And lets start with some WANTED posters for Farnham’s new true blue Berlin-style wall.

    The Waverley Yardie

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.