Alamein Community Association

King Arthur’s Hall


Alamein Community Association was set up in 2007 to promote the benefit of all the inhabitants of Alamein ward, to provide facilities in the interests of local residents and to maintain the King Arthur’s Hall for the benefit of local people.


A set of priorities were agreed in 2007 and the association set out to work with other groups to achieve these. After two years work by a number of agencies all of these have been achieved including computer classes and IT access, after school clubs, health advice, evening classes, bingo and other social events, arts and music projects (including the film Inside Out) and a community newsletter. The association has built links with many other local groups and obtained funding of over £38,000 for local projects.


The association now hopes to build on that success by finding more funding for the coming year to increase its work in the area and involve more local residents from across the ward in its activities. It aims to expand the facilities and use of King Arthur’s Hall and become a voice to represent the people of Alamein ward.


Meetings are held monthly in King Arthur’s Hall and all local residents are invited to come and join in this exciting project. The next meeting is on Tuesday 4 August at 6:15 in King Arthur’s Hall.


If you’d like to find out more about the association and its activities, please call Marianne Piggin on 01264 368623.

Council meeting 29th June

Yesterday’s meeting was a fairly short one. It was too hot in the Guildhall to stay for too long. I wonder how much hotter it will be when we have a pizza restaurant downstairs.

Among items on the agenda were the regular updates of the council’s finances.

The treasury management report showed how well council officers had managed the portfolio getting a 5.6% return on investments. However this is unlikely for the future where returns are liekly to be only about 1% leading to inevitable pressure on future budgets and council services. The capital expenditire report showed worrying slippages in projects meaning important projects such as refurbishments on Walworth Indusatrial Estate and improvements to the lifts and toilets in the Chantry centre are behind schedule. I was told that this work will be completed in the summer and I will monitor progress to ensure it is.

I joined Cllr Rod Bailey in questioning why the council had suddenly found a £1 million surplus. This was due to underspends and additional government funding which surely should have been known about before the very severe cuts implemented early this year. I was unable to get assurances that this money would be used to protect or improve essential services rather than just be squirreled away in the council’s savings accounts.

Alamein Community Association

The annual general meeting of Alamein Community Association takes place at King Arthur’s Hall, King Arthur’s Way at 6:30 on Tuesday 30 June.

The community association was set up to represent  residents across Alamein ward and has been very succesful over the past year. Come along to find out what they’ve done and how you can get involved.

The evening will include a showing of “Inside Out” the film made by, and featuring local residents. Refreshments will also be supplied.

See you all there – Your community association needs you.

PHAB back in Guildhall


Today I visited Andover Guildhall to see the return of PHAB.

As one of the long term users of the Lower Guildhall PHAB they were very much a part of the town centre scene and it’s good to see them back in the Guildhall in the High Street. Their forced removal to the Rendezvous proved to be a disaster with next to no-one attending their coffee mornings and complaints about the alternative facility especially about the poor quality of the toilets.

Attendance in the Upper Guildhall today was similar to previously attained in the Lower Guildhall and many locals welcomed them back.  I wish them well for the future and hope those councillors who foolishly voted to relocate charities from the Guildhall to an unsuitable side street shop will now admit their mistake.

PHAB will be in the Upper Guildhall on Thursday’s for the next month at least. A lift is available for those unable to climb the stairs.

Waste and dog bins – update

Regular readers will know I have been calling for additional dog bins and rubbish bins in the ward. I am pleased to report the campaign is beginning to have an impact. In addition to the new bin previously reported on Hadrian Road. TVBC and Testway Housing have now installed extra bins on King Arthurs Way and Roman Way.

King Arthur’s Way (north)   Roman Way (bus stop)   Roman Way (central path)

 If there are other areas which need extra bins please let me know.

Tories reject Lib Dem budget

Test Valley Borough Council has now set its budget for 2009/2010 after a 2 ½ hour debate during which the Liberal Democrat opposition questioned many aspects of the proposals.

Test Valley’s council tax will rise by 4.5%, 23 vacant jobs have been deleted and a further 20 – 30 redundancies are expected. The Lib Dems argued that while the increase in council tax was inevitable it should be tempered by a freeze on increases in fees and charges, set to rise by 5%. Deferring increases in charges would cost the council £50,000. This could be more than met by savings in the cost of councillors and the mayoralty we argued. The mayor’s office currently costs taxpayers £126,000 a year. A further Lib Dem proposal to reduce councillor numbers to save an additional £500,000 per year from 2011 was also rejected.

I am disappointed that we lost the vote but feel we did win the arguments. It was heartening to hear that the economic portfolio holder is willing to work with us to look for future cost savings. This problem is not going to go away we will need to continue to look for economies throughout the council and that must include the cost of the councillors themselves.

Lib Dem budget proposals

Test Valley’’s Liberal Democrat group are proposing amendments to the Borough Council’s 2009-2010 budget designed to reduce costs and soften the impact of the credit crunch on local taxpayers. A number of measures are being considered and these will be tabled at the council’s budget meeting on 23 February. Among the proposals are:-

The deferral of increases in council fees and charges for one year.
A reduction in the number of Council Cabinet members.
Savings in the cost of council meetings in line with savings elsewhere in the council.
A review of the number and cost of Councillors in the Borough.
A review of the cost and need for a Borough Mayor.

Many of the proposals are long term objectives which could result in savings of several hundred thousand pounds per year. The council is currently facing budget deficits of between £1,300,000 and £2,000,000 over the next two to three years.

It is becoming increasingly clear that we face a long and deep recession and the Council must take the necessary steps to prepare for this. For many years we have relied on investment income to balance the books. This will no longer be possible. We need to rebalance our income sources while looking at cost savings across the Council. This must include the costs of Councillors as well.

Lorry park for Andover?

Lorry park

Andover Lib Dem councillors are calling for a purpose built lorry park for Andover. I and St Mary’s councillor Mike McGarry have tabled the following motion to next month’s borough council meeting

Council notes the increase in the overnight parking of heavy commercial vehicles in Andover’s town car parks and on residential roads in and around Andover.
Council believes the parking of commercial vehicles in public car parks and on residential streets is unsatisfactory for the drivers of these vehicles and unacceptable to local residents.
Council therefore resolves to investigate the establishment of a purpose built lorry park in the Andover area.”

Andover is an important centre for the distribution industry and needs adequate facilities for lorry parking. It is unacceptable that lorries are parked in residential areas and public car parks because there is nowhere else for them to go.

Mike McGarry added “This is an issue I have raised on a number of occasions at planning meetings. There are plenty of possible sites that could be used. The council must take action to deal with this problem and find a suitable site.”

Tell us what you think – does Andover need a lorry park?

Council’s increase in charges condemned

Test Valley’s Tory administration has been slammed by a leading Liberal Democrat councillor for overcharging the bereaved and youth groups with its proposed increase in charges for services.

In  a statement issued before the borough’s Overview and Scrutiny committee meeting Cllr Cooper said “A Cabinet decision to increase most of Test Valley Borough Council fees and charges by an inflation busting 5% – and other fees and charges by as much as 100% – was rubber stamped last Wednesday. The main increases impact especially on youth groups and the bereaved. The Cabinet members present were Cllrs Hatley, Busk, Giddings, Hawke and Nokes. Cllrs Carr and Boulton were absent.”

“Some of the key changes are outlined  in an email I have sent to Overview and Scrutiny Chairman, Cllr Drew, in an attempt to call-in the decision for further consideration. At present, call-in at Test Valley is quite difficult. Call-in either has to be agreed by the Chairman and vice-Chairman of Overview and Scrutiny who are members of the administration OR has to match a whole set of criteria.”

“The decision of the Cabinet is a resolution not a recommendation. So FIVE Councillors from the 48 total that makes up Test Valley Borough Council have made a decision that may markedly impact on the pockets of a large number of people at a time when it is quite clear there will be economic stress and anxiety through 2009-2010.”

The fee increase recommended by officers was 5% based on inflation on September 2008 but inflation is now estimated at 3% and forecast to drop to as low as 1.8%. Under these circumstances the proposed increase in  charges are unacceptable. Within the proposals are a number of increases well in excess of inflation such as 15% increases for cemetery and burial charges, and up to 80% for some youth sports facilities.

The committee agreed not to call in the decision but to refer it to the committee’s finance panel which I chair. We will meet before 14th January and review all of these charges to ensure local residents get value for money and that they are not overcharged for services.

New recycling centre for Andover

Robin Hughes at the new site

Andover’s new Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC) located in Scott Close, on the Walworth Industrial Estate, will open to the public at 8:00am on Wednesday 3 December 2008. The existing Household Waste Recycling Centre at Shepherds Spring Lane will close permanently at 4:00pm on Tuesday 2 December 2008. Diversion signs will be in use to redirect users from the old HWRC to the new site once it is up and running. The new centre’s opening hours will remain the same as those of the existing facility.

County Councillor Robin Hughes said, “After several years of waiting, a bigger and better Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC) for Andover will open in early December. I congratulate the contractors and the county officers for completing this new facility ahead of schedule. Local residents will no longer have to put up with cars parked nose to tail back from the site and on to New Street and beyond.”

 The new  £1.2million Household Waste Recycling Centre incorporates a split-level layout, providing an upper area dedicated entirely to customers. Twelve containers for recycling and disposal, plus increased space for other recycling amenities such as a sales area and bottle bank. There is a separate access for lorries to the lower area to carry out bin servicing. This removes the need to temporarily close the site to the public during bin changeovers, so queuing times will be significantly reduced.   Extra parking spaces have been provided to improve customer access and has been designed to prevent cars queuing on the road outside the entrance in busier periods.