At today’s borough council meeting the council approved the “core strategy” for future development in the borough. This will now be printed for public consultation.
No further housing development is recommended for Alamein ward. This was as expected because of the extra allocation made to East Anton in the current local plan. A further 600 houses are proposed for Picket Piece but I gained assurances from planners that development in that area would remain south of the railway line and not extend towards Finkley.
A local gap is recommended between Enham and Andover and at my request a similar gap will be recommended between Smannell and Andover. I could not however get approval for a continuous gap around the north east of Andover to protect Little London, Woodhouse and Finkley as well.
I have also gained assurances that broadband access for the East Anton MDA and the north east of Andover is to be improved. This will mean an improved service for residents of the parishes of Enham Alamein and Smannell.
Andover Lib Dem councillors have tabled a motion to Test Valley Borough Council supporting the Campaign for an Andover Town Council. The motion will be debated at the next council meeting in Crossfield Hall, Romsey on January 10th.
The full text of the motion is as follows:
“Council notes the current Campaign for an Andover Town Council, the non-political nature of the campaign and their plans to petition all the unparished area of Andover in favour of a town council.
Council regards such a campaign as good for local democracy in that it will increase public participation in, and increase public awareness of, the democratic process.
Council endorses the campaign’s aim to determine whether there is local demand for a town council and resolves, that if such a demand is proven, to fully support the establishment of a town council for Andover.”
The Campaign for an Andover Town Council will begin petitioning the unparished areas of Andover in January. I am pleased to be proposing this motion which congratulates the campaign committee for raising public awareness of local democracy and for their work in canvassing public opinion on the issue. For too long the residents of Andover have been denied the same level of representation as enjoyed by other residents of the borough. It is only right that they should be consulted on this and given the choice as to whether they want a town council to represent their views. The final decision must be made not by local political parties, nor Test Valley Borough Council but by the residents of Andover themselves.
Four by-elections, one for the Borough and three for Romsey Town Council were held yesterday. The net result is one Liberal Democrat GAIN, two Liberal Democrat HOLDs and one Conservative HOLD. The position on Borough Council is unchanged where Conservatives have a majority (33:15). On the Romsey Town Council Liberal Democrats now have a majority of three (9:6) Full results are as follows
1: Test Valley Borough Council; Cupernham Ward.
Karen Dunleavey (LD) 793 (59.7%. Last time (May 2007) 55.6%) ELECTED
C. Lewis (Con) 460 (34.6%. Last time (May 2007) 44.4%)
B. McCabe (UKIP) 73 ( 5.5%. Last time 0)
Turn out 33.5% LD Majority 333
Liberal Democrat hold. Liberal Democrats up by 4.1%. Conservatives DOWN 9.8%. The by-election followed the death of long serving Borough Councillor, Alan Marsh.
2: Romsey Town Council; Cupernham Ward. TWO SEATS within a five seat Ward.
Louise Broomfield (LD) 798 ELECTED
R Hargreaves (Con) 459
B Marsh (Con) 505
I Paxton (Lab) 53
Michael Wenman (LD) 747 ELECTED
LD Majority 293 and 242. Turn out 33.43% LD is up 2.9% and Cons are down 5.0% The by-elections were caused by death of long serving Town Councillor, Alan Marsh and resignation of recently elected Conservative.
3: Romsey Town Council. Abbey Ward. One seat within a five seat Ward.
I Richardson (Con) 794 (53.8%) up 1% ELECTED
Sandra Rispin (LD) 625 (42.3%) down 1%
Wyeth (Lab) 57 ( 3.9%) unchanged.
Once again Tory county education chief Cllr David Kirk has been forced to write a long detailed narrative on the workings (failings?) of his education department as furious parents and governors have condemned his plans to relocate Shepherd Spring juniors into the infant school. His excuses for the sudden decision to close Shepherd Spring junior school two terms early and force the children into alternative accommodation are just not good enough. The mishandling of the closure of both Shepherd Spring schools shows a department with no coherent plan and no thought for the welfare of the children attending these schools against the County’s “every child matters” policy. To add to the insult of closing the schools to meet financial targets whilst touting for a new school half a mile away we now have relocation to compensate for their total lack of planning.
His claim that the proposals are to save money merely re-enforces local opinion that his department is solely interested in asset stripping local schools to meet financial targets. Why else are they planning to build on the Shepherd Spring playing fields? Why else are they pressurising Shepherd Spring Preschool to relocate unless to sell their site for development? If he wants to save tax payers money should he be offering to open school premises so councillors can use them for free rather than pay to use the Guildhall? If he wants to convince local people he is consistent in saving their money should his department be making what could be seen as politically motivated grants to other schools?
Cllr. Kirk and his department have messed up. They and he should pay for it rather than inflicting more disruption on the children of the Shepherd Spring Schools.
New safety railings have been installed on the approaches to Newbury Road footbridge. The old wooden railings were rotten and dangerous. Hampshire Highways contractors immediately began work to replace them after the problem was reported to me and county councillor Robin Hughes by a concerned local resident. Action has also been taken to clear fly-tipped rubbish and curt back grass in the area.
The old railings posed a serious danger to residents particularly school children using the bridge. The broken railings and rubbish also gave a rundown appearance to area. I am pleased to see council officers acted promptly to resolve the problems.
The October council meeting backed calls by Lib Dem councillor Alan Dowden to impose alcohol free zones on all the built up areas of the borough. Cllr Dowden raised the issue because of drink fuelled vandalism in Valley Park . Having seen at first hand similar problems particularly around the Smannell Road play area and on Cricketers Way I fully supported his proposals. Local residents should not have to put up with such behaviour and the police need every help we can give to combat it. The order which covers the whole of Andover now needs Home Office approval.