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.
Andover 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.”
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]
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.
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 today
The bridge today
Restaurants, takeaways and ready-meals will all be required to provide allergy information under a new EU law which came into force last month
Over 2 million people in the UK suffer from food allergies. They must now be informed if their food contains any of 14 ingredients that cause severe allergies including nuts, milk, celery, gluten, soya and wheat.
South East MEP Catherine Bearder commented: “This new law will make a huge difference to the lives of people with severe allergies. Chefs and their staff already know about these ingredients but they will now have to make it clear what allergens are present in their food at point of sale and could be fined it they don’t. Providing clearer information about ingredients will prevent the number of severe allergic reactions and save lives.”
The Hampshire-based Anaphylaxis Campaign, which helps severe allergy sufferers, also welcomed the changes. Lynne Regent, CEO of the Anaphylaxis Campaign said: “We welcome these new EU regulations and we have been actively engaged in their implementation. These new rules will enable people living with severe food allergies to feel more confident, reassured and safe whilst eating out.”
North West Hants Lib Dem spokesman Len Gates, a technical manager in the food industry, added “This shows the important improvements to food safety which can be achieved through co-operation across Europe. Food manufacturers and ingredient suppliers already routinely record allergen information on ingredients and finished products. This information can and should be available to all consumers.”
Len Gates has written to the head of planning to ask why Andover Town Council was not consulted on the planning application for 350 new homes at Augusta Park. The application site is bordered on two sides by Andover Town parish and all traffic to the site will have to access it either by Smannell Road or Walworth Road both roads are in Andover Town. “When I read the planning officer’s report on the application I wondered why there was no comment from Andover Town Council” he said. “The extra traffic will have an adverse effect on roads in Alamein and St Mary’s wards and especially on Enham Arch and the Enham Arch roundabout but the elected representatives for these areas were not asked to comment.” Barbara Carpenter, town councillor for Alamein ward said “the new developments at Augusta Park have already increased traffic along Smannell Road adding a further 300+ car movements a day without proper consultation is unacceptable.”
The full text of the request to TVBC’s head of planning is as follows.
I have been looking at the above application and applied to speak on it at tomorrow’s northern planning committee meeting. I understand the application has now been withdrawn until a later date.
I noticed there is no comment from Andover Town Council. Although the application site is in Smannell parish it is bounded on two sides by Andover parish and one of the most contentious issues is the extra traffic it will generate on roads in Alamein and St Mary’s wards. Under the circumstances I would expect some comment from the town council but when I spoke to town councillors they advised me ATC was not consulted.
This to me appears contrary to the spirit, if not the letter, of planning guidance regulations. If my memory serves me correctly for similar applications in the past all parishes affected were asked for comments and in some cases spoke at NAP.
Given that the application is currently withdrawn pending resubmission would it be possible to request comment from Andover Town Council please.
Len and Barbara are awaiting a response from Test Valley planners and in the meantime will be ensuring local concerns about this development are conveyed to the planning department and planning committees. The application is expected to be considered by Test Valley’s Northern Area Planning Committee in February.
Alamein Community Association have announced two new classes taking place at King Arthurs Hall in January.
On Thursday evenings starting from 15th January there are aerobics and zumba classes – details here aerobics and zumba
Also on 15th January is a free cookery workshop – details here cookery workshop
Full details of events taking place at King Arthurs Hall are given here or What’s On at King Arthurs Hall or visit the Alamein Community Association website at http://www.alameincommunityassociation.co.uk/
Town councillor Barbara Carpenter is pleased to report that work has started on resurfacing the uneven parts of the footpath alongside the old Shepherd Spring School from Smannnell Road to Augustus Walk.
Barbara said “this path has been neglected and in need of repair for many years. Many local residents have contacted me about the county council’s failure to maintain the path. I am pleased to see that it is finally being repaired.”
In the same area Barbara has arranged with Aster/Synergy for work to be carried out to clear drains in Caesar Close to prevent flooding in the road.
Flooding in Caesar Close