Newbury Road speed limit update

Following our previous report (see here) we are pleased to report that Hampshire County Council has agreed to review the speed limit along the whole length of Newbury Road north of Enham Arch. This change of heart follows emails from Len Gates and county councillor Tim Rolt asking them to reconsider their previous decision to review the limit only on the stretch between Knights Enham and Enham Alamein.

Highways officers are currently looking at plans to install a pedestrian crossing on Newbury Road linking Roman Way and King Arthur’s Way. This will increase pedestrian traffic in the area and across the road making our proposed 40 mph limit much more appropriate. We haven’t been advised on the likely timescale for the crossing yet but the speed limit review to be put forward for the 2016/17 Traffic Management Programme will now include this section of the A343 and consider the reduction of the 50mph speed limit in this area to 40mph.

Len and Tim advised Roman Way residents of these latest plans at Monday’s residents’ meeting at St Paul’s Church where the news was greeted with approval. Residents also asked for a review of footpaths in the area especially near the King Arthurs Way roundabout. We will be following this up with highways officers.

Alamein Focus team are grateful for the support of county councillor Rolt on the campaign. Councillors and campaigners have put aside party politics and worked together with mutual respect to achieve improvements for the local community without the immature point scoring and claiming credit for everything which has recently dominated local newspapers and websites.

Say NO to a reduction in affordable housing

Alamein Liberal Democrats are calling on councillors to reject proposals to cut the number of affordable homes in Andover. In a recently submitted planning request Taylor Wimpey, developers of the Augusta Park site, have applied for a change of their obligations so the number of affordable homes is reduced from 40% to 30%.

The 40% figure was agreed when planning permission was granted and is a mixture of rented and shared ownership homes. The change would apply to houses yet to be built at Augusta Park and could mean a loss of 200 affordable homes. Taylor Wimpey has recently received permission to build 350 additional houses on land originally intended for a new secondary school at Augusta Park.

Lib Dem spokesman Len Gates said “the 40% figure was part of the legal agreement with Test Valley and reflected the needs of the local community. It has been shown to be economically viable. A previous attempt to reduce the number of affordable homes was recommended for refusal. Taylor Wimpey’s attempt to change it now boosts their profits at the expense of local residents.”

Fellow campaigner Sheryl Scott-Clarke added “on Test Valley’s housing register there are over 2,000 people in housing need. Many of them could be accommodated by the 40% requirement which is part of the council’s planning strategy. New development must reflect the needs of local residents. The council planning department and councillors should ensure its policies and targets are met.”

Campaigners are recommending that local residents join them in submitting objections to the proposals. This can be done via the council website here. The application number is 15/00437/OBLN.

HCC to review Newbury Road speed limit

As previously reported the Alamein Focus team contacted highways officers to lobby for a review of the speed limit between Enham Arch and Enham Alamein village (see here for details). I have now had a reply from the county highways department which includes the following positive comments. As you can see they have agreed to consider a reduction of the speed limit between Knights Enham and Enham Alamein

“I note the points that you raise about the speed limits, particularly regarding the speed limit between Knights Enham and Enham Alamein. Whilst this section has little development, junctions or other road features to justify a lower speed limit, there is a shared use footway/cycleway. As you note there are several changes of speed limit between Andover and Enham Alamein that reflect the changing nature of the area as you proceed from the ring road towards the outskirts of Andover and enter Enham Alamein village. The speed limits as they are currently set do represent the nature of the area and are in accordance with the criteria as well as County Council policy, however there may be a better consistency of travel speed in reviewing the current derestricted section for a 50mph speed limit.”

“A speed limit review to consider a reduction to 50mph as described above has been included on my list of sites to be considered for a future Traffic Management Programme. The 2015/16 Traffic Management Programme has been agreed and is fully committed in terms of both resource and funding. Regrettably, the County Council is unable to progress all requests it receives to investigate traffic management measures, and priority is given where measures would reduce traffic casualties. Other changes that do not directly support the County Council’s casualty reduction programme in this way, but nevertheless support a community’s desire for traffic management measures, may be considered further subject to the resources available, the prevailing service priorities, Transport aims and objectives and whether the request meets our criteria for the particular measure required. Those matters that considered the highest priority when assessed are put forward for the programme that is agreed by County Council Members annually.”

While it is disappointing that the highways department is not willing to consider a review of the whole length of the road this first step is very positive. I have referred this response to county councillor Tim Rolt who agrees the limits along the road need a review and has offered to take the matter further with highways officers. I have asked they look again specifically at the speed limit between Enham Arch and the Smannell Road roundabout.

I will be following this matter up with Cllr Rolt, highways officers and parish councillors over the next few weeks.

Len Gates

 

 

Residents condemn parking restrictions

 

Residents of King Arthur’s Way and Roman Way have reacted angrily to the newly introduced double yellow lines on several local roads. Many have contacted us complaining of no consultation and no notice being given on the plans. The plans were approved last year by Alamein’s conservative councillors. Full details of the plans and the   council officer’s report on local consultation and the decision making can be seen on the Test Valley website here

We were particularly concerned by local comments that the decision to introduce yellow lines on King Arthur’s Way was made by or for local Liberal Democrats. The following letter of clarification has been sent to King Arthur’s Way residents. We will also be contacting Roman Way residents.

Dear residents

 Many of you have contacted us in the last twenty four hours regarding the recently introduced double yellow lines on King Arthur’s Way. These are outside Knights Enham School, in Launcelot Close, and at the junction of King Arthur’s Way and Stuart Court.

 There has been some suggestion that these were introduced at the prompting of or by local Liberal Democrats. This is not true. The restrictions were introduced by Test Valley Borough Council following “consultations” carried out in June of last year on a range of parking restrictions for the whole of Alamein ward. Two public meetings were held and 250 letters sent out. Full details can be seen in the attached council report.

Given that there are about 900 homes in the King Arthur’s Way area it is likely most of you didn’t get a letter. This is confirmed by the fact that only two comments were received on the plans for King Arthur’s Way.

The decision to introduce the parking restrictions was made in July 2014 by your conservative borough councillors Phil North and Janet Whiteley. The third conservative councillor Alex Brook didn’t attend the meeting but later signed off on his colleagues’ decisions. All of this is clearly recorded in the attached report.

 Local Liberal Democrats had no input in the decision making and made no comment on it until November when we lobbied TVBC to take action on road safety outside Roman Way School. We campaigned then and still want to see a controlled crossing outside the school. We were advised of the decision to introduce yellow lines outside the school and that these would be introduced in February. We supported these as a first step to improving road safety at Roman Way School. We did not endorse any of the other parking restrictions.

 The problem here is that your local councillors have signed off on a package of parking restrictions without bothering to adequately consult with you, or inform you on the plans or decisions. Many of you will have recently received an eight page colour newsletter from them. There is no mention of the yellow lines they have approved. This is a disgraceful failure on their part for which they owe everyone an apology.

 We hope to speak to as many of you as possible about the way these new yellow lines were introduced and will raise your concerns with the council. If you have any comments in the meantime please contact us.

Lib Dems call for action on parking at Shepherds Spring

parking at Shepherds SpringAndover Liberal Democrats have asked for a review of parking provisions at the Shepherds Spring Nursery and Children’s Centre where parking controls are being introduced this month. The building of new houses behind the centre has removed most of the parking previously used, and caused problems with unauthorised parking at the nearby St Pauls church. The church cannot guarantee to supply parking for visitors to the centre.

Councillor Katherine Bird raised the shortage of parking when planning permission for the new houses was discussed only to be told it was not relevant to the application. She is now calling for a review of parking in the area. “The Children’s Centre is the only way for some people to access Health Visitor services in a safe environment. The courses run through the centre are essential for some families, supporting new families when they need the most help. Removing nearby parking will reduce the number of people accessing these services, and increase the risk to their health and well-being.”

The parking restrictions are part of a package of measures outside schools in Alamein ward introduced following a public consultation last October. Lib Dem spokesman Len Gates said “we fully support the need to control indiscriminate parking outside schools but are concerned about a shortage of parking here. This has been caused by overdevelopment of the site leaving insufficient parking for clients and staff of the children’s centre and nursery. Test Valley Borough and Hampshire County Councils have created this problem; we hope they will now take urgent action to deal with it.”

 

Latest Focus newspapers now being delivered

The latest Alamein Focus newsletter has now been delivered across the whole of Alamein ward. If you haven’t received one you can read it here Alamein January Focus

Also being delivered across the town is an Andover Focus for your preview click here Andover Winter Focus 2015

Focus is produced and delivered across Alamein ward and the rest of Andover by local volunteers. If you would like to help in delivery or you have any stories for us to include please contact us at [email protected]

Another 350 houses for Augusta Park

 

Augusta Park

In a disappointing debate last night local councillors approved the plans for 350 new homes on the school site. Far too many empty seats and too few of those there made any comment at all. Councillors who can spend hours debating minor changes to a country cottage seemed tongue tied when it came to a massive new development in the town. The only real voice of dissent was Cllr North who tried to build a case against the plan on traffic grounds but failed to follow up on incomplete and inaccurate answers from council officers.

Alamein Focus team leader Len Gates spoke against the application and the text of his speech is attached here (Speech of 12 Feb 2015). His comments and those of local residents who objected by post or on-line were on the whole ignored. Speaking after the meeting Len said “I was disappointed to see Cllr North arguing against the plans on just traffic grounds. His attempts to dismiss other objections and blame the county council for not using the land didn’t help his case.”

Even more disappointing was the lack-lustre performance by the other two Alamein councillors. Cllr Brook half-heartedly supported Cllr North; Mrs Whiteley made no contribution to the debate and voted for the plan.  Mrs Whiteley has previously ignored local concerns and voted for plans to build 50 houses on the Shepherd Spring School site.

All of this is in stark contrast to the pledges made by the three when elected four years ago.

In an election special from May 2011 (Election leaflet May 2011) their contract with voters included promises to

 “Speak up for the Ward in Council Meetings to ensure that Alamein Ward gets the best deal” and “speak up for the area, when planning applications that affect you are submitted and we will always make sure the views of residents are known at Planning Committees.”

In August 2011 Phil North wrote on his website

“The extra houses are not in the Local Plan and instead of jumping in and welcoming these plans we need to go back to first principles and remember that. After the 2,500 houses were approved we warned against any further development north of the railway line – just think about the junction at the Enham Arch. It is clear there may need to be a re-jigging of the plan because there is to be no Secondary School – however over development is not the answer. When the contract with the developer for improvements to local infrastructure was drawn up with the Council it was based on 2,500 homes. To add almost another 400 dwellings will have a huge negative impact on the infrastructure and surrounding villages. ”

So much promised so little delivered.

 

Removing abandoned supermarket trolleys

During on of our regular checks on local footpaths the Alamein Focus team found a “new trolley park.” The photos show supermarket trolleys abandoned along the footpath between Smannell Road and Augustus Walk.

Trolleys cTrolleys d

 

 

 

 

 

We have reported this to Test Valley Environmental Services and look forward to seeing them removed.

If you see any abandoned trolleys or fly tripped litter you can report it to TVBC either

Hedges cut and tidied on King Arthur’s Way

Following several complaints received via our Focus reply slips Len Gates contacted Aster Property about poor grounds maintenance on King Arthur’s Way.

Bushes had been left uncut and overgrowing footpaths and steps or were badly cut with cuttings left in and around the hedges. Some tidying was carried out before Christmas and Aster will be reducing the sizes of some hedges later this year.

Pictures show work already carried out between Camelot Close and the footbridge across King Arthurs Way. If you know of any areas needing tidying up let your Focus team know.

Steps from Camelot Close in November

Steps from Camelot Close in November

Steps from Camelot Close today

Steps from Camelot Close today

The bridge today

The bridge today