Enham Village Design Statement

Yesterday saw the draft publication of the long awaited village design statement (VDS) for Enham Alamein. This has been the result of over two years work by the dedicated team working on the project.

The idea was first mooted when neighbouring Smannell parish started their VDS. At the time Enham had neither a parish council or residents association but residents expressed an interest in developing their own VDS. I and fellow Lib Dem councillor Josie Msonthi petitioned the Test Valley’s executive for funding and support for the village to work on a VDS arguing that it would help develop community spirit and awareness. After several consultative meetings the VDS team was born and the project carried forward by the newly formed Enham Residents Association.

I remember the initial discussions and the debates as to whether the project would work. I attended early meetings and was impressed by the enthusiasm for the project within the village. The fact that the project has worked and has produced a document the whole parish can be proud of is a tribute to the hard work of the VDS team.

The draft has been published for public consultation. Full details can be found on the building and planning pages of the council’s website on http://www.testvalley.gov.uk/. Comments should be returned by 4:30 on Friday 11 July 2008.

Excavations at Smannell Road

Many local residents have contacted me regarding the appearance of a wire fence across Smannell Road play area and trenches dug in the field. The single wire fence was thought to be dangerous and no notification had been given to residents about the works.

The work is being carried out by Southern Water laying new sewers for the East Anton housing development. Test Valley were not advised or consulted about the works.

I visited the site this morning and have arranged for reflective tapes to be strung along the wires so they can be seen after dark. I will also be requesting neighbourhood warden patrols to monitor the site.

Because of this work the proposed funfair on the site this coming weekend has been cancelled. I am liaising with Test Valley and will be consulting with residents about alternative dates.

East Anton tree planting delayed

Local residents hoping to see the start of planting and landscaping of the East Anton MDA this spring have been told nothing will now happen until November 2008.

The landscaping will be in two parts, both areas will be planted with native species:

1)       A woodland landscape feature 25m deep along Dark Lane and a similar feature 25m – 40m deep between the proposed playing fields and Woodhouse/Smannell. Work will start once plans have been approved and must be finished within the planting season after the first house is built on the MDA.

2)       A 20m corridor from the playing fields south to the Smannell Road/Finkley Road junction will start at the same time and be completed prior to the building of the 700th house on the MDA. 

I share residents’ disappointment in the delay and will be monitoring progress to ensure as much planting as possible is finished by spring 2009.

Future development in Alamein ward

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.

No to flats on King Arthur’s Way

On the Northern Area Planning Meeting agenda for 22 November was an application to convert a 3-bed terraced house in Galahad Close to two flats. I requested this be brought to committee because of concerns expressed by neighbours who were worried about parking, overlooking and poor access to the conversion. Surprisingly Cllr North thought it was wrong to bring the matter to committee he thought the application was perfectly acceptable and should go ahead. The most bizarre comment in the debate came from Cllr Mrs Whiteley who also supported the application arguing there were no parking problems on King Arthur’s Way. She found plenty of spaces when driving around at 4:30pm.

The committee went against officers’ recommendations and rejected the application on the grounds of poor access. I will be following up neighbours concerns regarding parking in the area with Testway Housing and Hampshire Highways.