Godalming Healthcheck Report

2 Transport

Summary of our findings

2.1 One of Godalming's very real strengths is its accessibility through strategic transport links. It lies close to the A3, a major trunk road linking London and the south coast and connecting the town with the M25 motorway and the wider motorway network. By road London is about an hour away, the Channel tunnel around 90 minutes, Dover a little further, and the south coast, including Portsmouth's ferries, between 45 minutes and an hour. The two major airports of the southeast, Heathrow and Gatwick, are readily accessible by road and rail each being about an hour away.

Godalming Station

Godalming Station

Godalming and Farncombe have access through their railway stations to a mainline link to London, less than an hour away, and, through nearby Guildford, to Gatwick airport and to the Midlands and beyond.

2.2 But the town's location produces its own problems. Its attractiveness as a place to live and work has created an increasingly unsustainable level of road congestion within and around the town. One of Godalming's greatest environmental assets - the River Wey and its water meadows (the Lammas Lands) - occupies a large part of the valley bottom around which Godalming is built. Most residents live on the steep hills either side of the valley and this leads to the funnelling of traffic along just three roads that cross the Lammas Lands.

2.3 We know that 17% of the town's households do not own a car. For local journeys these residents must rely on public transport, their feet or their cycles, but in all cases they are poorly served. The town lacks integration between its rail and bus services: there is no bus stop at either mainline station, for example. Bus services are focussed on the corridor through the valley and serve largely working hours. This isolates many of those living at the edges of the town and in the surrounding villages. Access to many key services, for example the Royal Surrey County Hospital on the outskirts of Guildford, is very difficult for those without cars.

2.4 Further the supremacy of the car creates a disincentive for residents to walk or cycle. There is no network of cycle routes and pedestrian access to and within the town's two centres is not attractive and poorly served with pedestrian crossings. This is particularly true of the two main routes across the Lammas Lands, Bridge Road and Borough Road.

Circular cycle route

Proposed Circular Cycle Route (click to enlarge)

Although many children wish to cycle or walk to school the perception is that these are not safe options and our state schools are not well served by public transport. Some 37% of residents have access to a cycle at home which figure suggests an enormous potential to increase the proportion of local non-car journeys, but it is not happening.

2.5 For residents of the central areas who do own a car the lack of residents' parking schemes can act as a disincentive to leave their car at home and instead walk or cycle for short journeys.

Croft Road

Croft Road

Daytime parking in residential streets by both local workers and commuters can cause both congestion and tensions with residents unable to park their own cars.


2.6 As a result of our work on the transport and access issues that affect Godalming we established the following principles with regard to the future of Godalming:

2.7 Market Godalming as a place without big-town problems. Promote specialist shops, quiet streets, pavement cafes, and a children-friendly environment. Farncombe and Godalming should provide a range of facilities that are both attractive and differentiate it from Guildford. Appropriate management of all forms of movement of people and goods must be an inherent part of this. The vision would be that the High Street, Bridge Street, and Church Street are at the very least safe enough areas for children to be able to wander independently [30].

Manual for Streets (DfT)

Manual for Streets
(DfT - click for downlaod)

2.8 Implement the 'hierarchy of users' as described in the Department for Transport 'Manual for Streets' providing a well-researched framework on which to base future developments affecting the local streets in this area, and to enhance the built environment for the town's residents. The hierarchy is: (first) pedestrians, cyclists, public transport users, specialist service vehicles, then other motor traffic [31] [32].

2.9 Have a strong concept that everything possible should be considered to reduce the desire to use private cars and to promote the use of alternatives on the streets of Godalming and Farncombe [33]. The current level of motorised usage actively suppresses non-motorised methods.

2.10 Make it easier to avoid the use of a private car for transport throughout the week by re-introducing bus services in the evenings and on Sundays.

2.11 Create a balance between providing parking schemes for residents, parking for commuters and visitors, facilities for businesses (including retail premises), restricting town centre traffic, and encouraging residents to park cars at home and use other transport. If restrictions are effective in reducing on-street parking by commuters, recognise that measures may be needed to control speeds in an otherwise empty street. Decisions should be made on a street-by-street basis. Town centre parking should emphasise short-term use, and care should be taken to observe the differences between Godalming and Farncombe [34].

2.12 Recognise the fact that cycle use plays a vital part of children's upbringing in fostering fitness and independence, as well as providing in addition an environmentally sound method of travel to older people.

Cyclist in Bridge Road

Avoiding the traffic in Bridge Road

Most of Godalming's streets are not wide enough to provide segregation of cycles from motor traffic, and therefore motor traffic calming, reduction and diversion must be used instead [35].

2.13 Push hard for integration of transport methods such as buses to the rail stations, good footpaths to Godalming station, carriage of ordinary cycles on trains and buses, a stop for long distance coach services and a wheelchair-friendly environment including the stations. Tickets should be for travel for a certain distance, not for access to a particular facility [36].

2.14 Recognise the fact that Godalming and Farncombe/Binscombe are two halves of a community separated by a common highway - Bridge Road. Godalming has most of the facilities whilst large numbers of residents live in Farncombe/Binscombe (note that many parents and young children have to walk between Godalming Junior School and Moss Lane Infants School). Bridge Road should be widened to give explicit room for cycle traffic, and traffic calmed. A parallel Lammas Land route may be a useful addition, but is no alternative at 4pm on a dark wet December day when people are returning from school [37].

2.15 Recognise that any measures to change traffic patterns will take time to show results, and be affected by events external to the area. Plan for at least a ten-year timescale. Consider also the likely effects from new legislation resulting from climate change that will probably affect personal mobility.

2.16 These general principles are developed from very detailed research contained in the Healthcheck Transport Worksheets (see "About this Report" for details of how to obtain copies of the worksheets and copies of the detailed evidence). From these principles and supported by our detailed evidence we recommend the following action points:

Action Points

A3100 Corridor

T.1. Find a way of increasing the attractiveness of the Bridge Road link between Godalming and Farncombe to pedestrians and cyclists. There are two possible recommended courses of action on Bridge Road. Doing nothing is not seen as an option:

(a) Widen the whole length of Bridge Road by 3 metres (10 feet). Use this to insert an advisory cycle lane each side, and do not allow the nominal motor traffic area in the centre to be any wider than the current road width. Restrict the entrances to the roundabouts at each end to be single lanes, and take out the centre white line completely to raise the perception of risk to drivers. Use of a brown road surface to look more like a country lane might be better than the existing surface. Consider a 20 mph limit, and enforce the speed limit whatever it is.

Bridge Road traffic

Bridge Road has high levels of motor traffic

(b) Only if the resources cannot be found to implement (a), then build a path 3 metres wide as close as possible to Bridge Road on the southwest side (on the other side of the road from the fire station). This path would go behind the houses close to the Library, and exit alongside the Library onto The Burys.

This path would not be useable when the Lammas Lands were flooded, and there would be a small personal safety issue where the path was out of sight behind the Library. A significant number of cyclists would find this path too slow for their journey. As the path would not cope with all users and all occasions it would still be necessary to traffic calm Bridge Road by raising the perception of risk to drivers [38].

T.2. Recognise that the A3100 is a barrier to travel for non-motorised users due to the volume and speed of motor traffic, and the narrow nature of the road. Consider traffic calming measures from south of the Catteshall Road junction with Meadrow to the Ockford Road roundabout with Shackstead Lane. These measures could be 20 mph limits with enforcement, and changes to driver risk perception by removing centre lines and change of road surface colouring [39].

T.3. Make it easier for non-motorised users to cross the A3100 by changing to an immediate response for a pedestrian using a lights-controlled crossing. Introduce more crossings at key points, such as on Meadrow outside Godalming Junior School, and the Grove Road junction on Ockford Road.

Pedestrian Light

Change the South Street and Queen Street crossings to toucan (literally - "two can cross" i.e. a pedestrian and a cyclist) types to allow cycles to travel to the town centre more easily. Modify the Flambard Way / Wharf Street lights to include a toucan crossing for the Catteshall Lane junction [40].

T.4. Improve pedestrian access on Bridge Road by reducing roundabout road entrances and exits to one lane, as implemented at the Chalk Road junction [41].

Transport Integration

T.5. Work with bus companies to introduce integrated services to Godalming and Farncombe stations that roughly link with scheduled train services. Ensure that the schools are better served by bus operators and that their services are integrated with South West Trains (SWT) [42].

T.6. Encourage bus, coach and train operators to develop an integrated ticket structure, and publish timetables to complement them. An example journey might be from Aarons Hill in Godalming to the Royal Surrey Hospital on the outskirts of Guildford [43].

T.7. Work with bus, train and possibly taxi companies to implement a pre-payment electronic travel card, similar to the 'Oyster' card in London [44].

T.8. Work with train and bus companies to make it easy to carry full-size cycles on a journey [45].

Coach Services

T.9. Negotiate with national long distance coach companies for a stop in Godalming [46].

Rail and Bus Services

Possible Bus Revisions

Possible bus routing changes (click to enlarge)

T.10. Work with bus companies to improve bus services to include evening and Sunday services. Outlying villages must be part of any plan. Use security or Police personnel on evening buses if the perceived risk of trouble is significant [47].

T.11. Negotiate with SWT for a greater frequency of rail services during the working week, and for at least a half hourly service on Sundays [48].

T.12. Ask local bus companies to introduce a bus service from Godalming to the Royal Surrey Hospital that does not require the passenger to change vehicles. Also a service to link Godalming with Cranleigh via the villages of Shamley Green, Wonersh, Bramley and Peaslake [49].

T.13. Ask Surrey County Council to make the introduction of newer, fuel efficient and more comfortable buses with good disabled access a requirement for all bus operators when negotiating contracts [50].

T.14. Introduce a publicly sponsored shuttle to link the principal destinations in and around the town, including the rail stations, schools, Broadwater Park and the new Catteshall Road medical centre [51].

Shuttle bus

Proposed shuttle bus (click to enlarge)

T.15. Ensure there is a frequent and reliable bus service to the new Catteshall Mill Medical Practice in Catteshall Road [52].

T.16. Ensure the provision of Shelters and seating at most bus stops, with a priority for those particularly serving an elderly population such as outside the Wyatt's almshouses on Meadrow. Provision of real time bus indicators should be regarded as normal [53].

T.17. Negotiate with SWT to ensure better utilisation of existing space for commuter parking at Farncombe and Godalming stations, and that at Godalming parking is available before 09.00 to those who do not hold season tickets. SWT should be asked to provide CCTV cover for the cycle parking at both stations [54].

T.18. Implement "free-phones" to call a taxi at the stations and in the town centre [55].

Private Cars

Godlaming Car Parks

Godalming car parks (click to enlarge)

T.19. Revise the car park charging structures to permit short free periods, payment on exit, and payment other than by cash [56].

T.20. Provide more short-term charged on-street parking close to the town centre and make better provision for cheaper long stay parking for those working in the town.

T.21. Provide initial funding at preferential rates for local car sharing clubs [57].

Bridge Street

Bridge Street

T.22. Implement a residents' parking scheme in Godalming from Monday to Saturday, and consider a scheme in Farncombe around the station from Monday to Friday [58].

T.23. Encourage Waverley Borough Council to show leadership to other local employers by improving the take-up of its TravelWISE travel plan for employees and councillors by progressively reducing the number of parking spaces reserved for their use [59].

Information and Signing

T.24. Make it easy to find bus timetables, by using local shops, the Library, Waverley reception, on the buses themselves and in other places. Make the Hoppa service much more accessible by improving marketing and eligibility. Implement a regular maintenance programme to ensure bus stop timetables are always up to date [60].

Public Bridleway

T.25. Create a Godalming 'Town Hall' or community centre in the heart of the town to provide easily affordable space for community groups, exhibitions, and sports activities [61].

T.26. Destination signs should be erected on all rights of way within the Godalming and Farncombe area to encourage more use of the network of public footpaths and bridleways [62].


Bus trapped by High Street cars

Bus trapped in the High Street

T.27. Implement pedestrian priority seven days a week in Godalming High Street between 10.00 and 16.00, and restrict motor traffic access to an absolute minimum. Delivery traffic access should normally be outside these times. Remove buses completely and research the creation of a bus hub at Crown Court. Create a shop mobility scheme to meet the needs of those who might be physically unable to access the High Street on foot. Recognise two-way cycle access (as recommended by a public inquiry inspector) as part of this scheme [63].

Restricted Zone Sign

T.28. Adopt the creation of build-outs in pavements where appropriate to provide safer pedestrian crossing areas and parking bays for residents' only use [64].

T.29. Implement the repair of and a continuing maintenance plan for pavements, and widen them where possible. Provide a remedy for interrupted sections such as in Hare Lane and Hurtmore Road [65].


Marshall Road route

Marshall Road shared cycle route

T.30. Move away from traditional methods of traffic calming that disadvantage cyclists, such as speed tables and incorrectly installed speed cushions [66].

T.31. Implement the Marshall Road cycle route scheme in Farncombe [67].

Marshall Road

Marshall Road shared cycle route

T.32. Use bridleways and quiet roads to create a signed cycle route around the area of Godalming and Farncombe, aimed at families and newcomers to cycling [68].

T.33. Introduce some secure cycle parking at both rail stations to allow cycles to be left for extended periods if desired [69].

T.34. Provide robust Sheffield cycle stands at journey destination points such as Farncombe and Binscombe shops, Broadwater Community Centre and the Sports Centre.

Disabled Access

T.35. Make provision for disabled parking in Farncombe [70].

T.36. Encourage disabled access to all businesses wherever possible [71].

Street Design

20mph limit

Residential area speed limit

T.37. Adopt the policy that a 20mph limit will be the norm in all residential areas [72].

T.38. Recognise the importance of dropped and flush kerbs to wheelchair, pushchair and cycle users. There are still many inadequate examples around Godalming, such the station taxi refuge, the South Street junction with the High Street, and Home Farm Road and Hambledon Road [73].

T.39. Manage traffic speeds by tightening up the radii of road junctions, and reducing sight lines for vehicles. This will also reclaim pavement space.

Farncombe shops

Farncombe Street

This is particularly relevant for some parts of Farncombe and Binscombe. Consider a pedestrian priority or shared space scheme in the shopping area of Farncombe Street [74].

T.40. Improve the approaches for pedestrians, wheelchair users and cyclists to Godalming station. Implement crossings between Godalming station and the town centre. Create facilities for wheelchair users to transfer easily from one platform to another at both stations. Problems in these areas are already recognised in the Waverley Borough Plan (12.62 & 12.63), yet no improvements have been made [75].

This page updated on 6 Jul 2009