Newsletter of the Community Campaign (Hart)
7, Spring 2008
The long running Public Inquiry into the proposals by Taylor Wimpey to
restrict the Bourley Road Car Park and to build over 1,000 new houses
on the former Queen Elizabeth Barracks (QEB) site in Church Crookham
finally drew to a close in early December.
CCH members, Andrew Macallan & James Radley assisted Ken
Blockwell’s QEB Campaign by presenting the Campaign’s proof of evidence
to the Inquiry. This involved them both being subjected to a long,
tough and detailed cross examination by Taylor Wimpey’s QC, Mr Keith
Lindblom. This was in addition to the first phase of the Inquiry which
took place over 5 weeks in the summer. James Radley took 5 weeks leave
of absence from his employer in order to attend every day of the summer
sessions to be on hand during the cross examination of Taylor Wimpey’s
The highlight of the Public Inquiry was the dedicated public
participation evening in November which was held in the Prince’s Hall
Aldershot. A packed audience came to see a succession of heart felt
submissions by members of the public expressing a wide range of
concerns. These ranged from the obvious anger at why Taylor Wimpey
should be allowed to restrict the Bourley Road car park to just 5
spaces, through the unmitigated impact of the traffic and the risk of
flooding due to inadequate provision for water run-off. The Inspector
could not have failed to be impressed by the dignified passion and
articulate way in which all people in the meeting conducted themselves.
The outcome of the Inquiry is expected to be published in early May.
FARNBOROUGH WEEKEND FLYING:
As we reach the deadline to put this Newsletter to press, we are still
waiting to hear the result of last year’s planning inquiry into TAG’s
application to double the number of weekend flights to 5,000. It is now
nearly a year since the Inquiry and the Government has still failed to
publish its decision.
We would like to believe that this delay reflects the fact that the
Inspector’s report has created difficulties for the Government, who
have been very supportive of TAG in the past. Alternatively it may be
that the Government is trying to see how it can reconcile its thrust to
build more and more houses in the area along with an expansion of
flying at Farnborough.
Cllr. James Radley, who spoke to the Inquiry on behalf of Hart
residents (and was one of the few members of the public to be
vigorously cross examined) says of the delay, “I think that TAG’s legal
team were taken aback that members of the public could mount such a
well argued case against them. I am confident that the points we raised
will have made it through into the Inspector’s recommendations to the
Government. TAG are no longer keeping it a secret that they have an
ambition to drastically increase their overall flying numbers – the
outcome of this appeal is therefore of crucial importance to the area”.
Before the CCH became an integral part of the Hart administration in
2005, the Conservatives were in the final stages of a programme to
cease Hart’s funding of the Basingstoke Canal.
Since then, the CCH have been acting to ensure that Hart will return to
contributing its full share of the running costs of this highly valued
pubic amenity. Despite a tight budget this year, a CCH initiated plan
to get Hart and Parish Councils to fully fund the canal was supported
by all parties in the budget setting process. We are proud to be doing
our part to secure the future of this much loved canal.
Parish Ballot, what happens next?
The CCH are delighted with the overwhelming vote by the residents of
the unparished areas of Fleet and Church Crookham to have their own
parishes. This is an issue for which the CCH have been campaigning
since our inception. It was our parish petition which ultimately gave
the impetus to the other political parties to support giving the
unparished area the same level of local democracy enjoyed across the
rest of the District.
Despite the fact that one political party had actively campaigned
against our parish initiative in 2005, it was gratifying to see that by
early 2008, they too had recognised that Fleet and Church Crookham
should be parished.
Over the last few months, Hart has conducted a Parish Ballot to
determine the views of the residents on this important issue. The
results of this ballot show that a clear majority of the people who
voted were in favour of forming new parishes. Also, in Church Crookham
and Elvetham Heath, the majority wanted to see smaller parishes
created. The CCH strongly believes that a huge single parish which
covered the whole unparished area would be too large. Smaller parishes
will have a greater understanding of the local issues and can give a
tighter focus on major local priorities.
Unfortunately the ballot questions asked in Courtmoor were not as
comprehensive as they could have been. Early in the process, Hart
decided to exclude local Councillors from providing input to the final
form of the questions on the grounds of keeping any potential bias out
of the wording. This had the unfortunate result of the omission of an
important choice from the ballot paper. In the event that the vote lead
to the formation of smaller parishes, those residents voting to be part
of one large parish were unable to state whether they would want to be
part of the new Fleet or Church Crookham parish. This is now an
important question as the choice has been made for separate parishes.
Unfortunately there is now neither the time nor the resources to ballot
Courtmoor residents a second time.
The Parish Ballot was an information gathering exercise; the final
decision as to the structure of the new parishes rests with the Full
Council which is currently scheduled to debate the matter at their
meeting of 27th March 2008. The CCH firmly believe that there are
numerous good reasons why Hart should combine Courtmoor with Church
Crookham in the same parish;
In the parish
ballot, the majority of Courtmoor residents who wanted to be part of a
smaller parish, chose the Church Crookham and Courtmoor parish option.
However, it would be presumptuous to make any assumptions about the
preferences of those who voted for a single large parish as these
voters were unable to express their views on this important point in
the recent ballot.
- A parish
boundary which separated Church Crookham from Courtmoor would be an
artificial split based on post codes. In some cases, it would run down
the middle of residential roads. The CCH does not believe it makes
sense to split a community in this way when the canal makes such a
clear and obvious parish boundary.
- People in
Church Crookham & Courtmoor share the same environment and are not
aware of the boundary when going about their everyday lives.
- Such a
combined parish would be better balanced; much of the local amenity
space is shared equally by both Church Crookham and Courtmoor
and Church Crookham are already considered as a single entity in terms
of being part of the same County division seat. It makes really good
sense to avoid having new parish councils straddle County division
If you live in Courtmoor, the CCH would like to hear from you. Would
you prefer to be part of the Fleet or Church Crookham parish? Please
drop us an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know your thoughts
ahead of this important debate.
With 3 Councillors sitting on Hart’s planning committee it would be
improper for the CCH to make any specific comments on the application
for a major distribution warehouse complex on the Pyestock site. This
application has certainly generated much local concern over how the
traffic generated might impact our local roads. The meeting to decide
the application is scheduled to take place in the Princes Hall,
Aldershot on 19th March at 7:00pm. The planning committee will need to
consider many factors when debating this complex application, including
the potential impact of traffic on the wider area.
When I was elected as a ward councillor for Church Crookham East nearly
two years ago, I was aware of the existence of a Hampshire Highway’s
pot of money to build a crossing on Reading Road South. There are a
number of safe crossing points at the northern end of the road but
nothing at the Church Crookham end, except the refuge island at
There is a clear wish amongst local people for there to be a safe way
of crossing this very busy section of road. With more cars on our
roads, a desire for children to walk to school and an increased
footfall at Tesco Express, a sensible and practical location for a
crossing is badly needed.
It therefore came as a surprise to find that Hampshire was actually
proposing to build this crossing between the entrance and the exit of
Tesco Express. CCH councillors have been lobbying both the County
officers and our County Councillor to ask them to reconsider the
placing the crossing in a more appropriate location.
At a recent meeting between CCH Councillors and Hampshire’s officers,
CCH expressed the view that the proposed location was a dangerous and
unsuitable place to build the crossing, being so close to the Crookham
crossroads and lying between the often grid-locked Tesco Express
entrances. It appears that Hampshire may have based their proposed
location on out of date traffic data.
A suitable alternative location might be at a point which is nearer to
Compton Road. This would not only be safer but would assist children
from Pine Grove who are heading to the Church Crookham schools. They
want to cross Reading Road South at a point which is closer to Compton
Road, which they can then use to get to Aldershot Road.
However, our County Councillor seems determined that either the
crossing should go in the stipulated place or not get built at all. We
urge him to listen to and respect all the voices raising serious
concerns about the logic and wisdom of placing a crossing in such an
unsuitable place and to consider the alternative location proposed by
CCH. We have waited far too long for this crossing. It will be
unforgivable if the opportunity to build a safe crossing in a suitable
place is allowed to slip by.
As part of the parishing project, Hart are conducting a review of some
of the existing parish boundaries across the district. Hart is
consulting with Crondall and Crookham Village parishes regarding
possible changes to their boundaries. Crookham Village have given a
strong response supporting the present makeup of their parish and have
emphasised the complimentary nature of the three wards of the parish,
the residents of which all have similar needs and aspirations for their
community. They do however see a need to rationalise the boundary
around the edge of Zebon Copse which currently divides roads and is the
cause of much confusion for affected residents.
The suggested options for Crondall parish arising out of the recent
‘sense of place’ survey are far more significant in nature. This survey
has identified that families in the MoD housing on both Humphrey and
Quetta Park see themselves as being more closely associated with Church
Crookham than Crondall. This has lead Hart to suggest that the parish
boundary should be redrawn to move these communities into the newly
created Church Crookham Parish. There is also consideration as to which
parish the QEB development would belong, if given the go ahead.
Currently this site lies just within the Crondall parish boundary.
If such a break up of Crondall parish were to happen, then Ewshot would
be left with a significantly reduced representation on Crondall parish
council. Parishioners in Ewshot voted at a recent public meeting to
investigate the financial viability of Ewshot breaking away from
Crondall and forming their own parish. It is too early to say if the
split of Crondall parish will go ahead, but I would appreciate knowing
the views of those of you who wish to express an opinion as to what you
think should happen.
Finally, I am
delighted to announce that Chris Hannan will be the CCH
candidate for the Crondall ward in the District elections on 1st May.
Chris lives in Crondall and has two young children, the eldest
attending the village school. He is passionate about local affairs and
will be a great asset to the team. I look forward to working with him
and having someone with whom to share the workload of looking after the
interests of Crondall, Crookham Village & Ewshot residents. When
elected, Chris is looking forward to supporting his residents in a
pro-active manner. The Crondall ward needs and deserves to have two
Councillors both of whom are actively involved with local issues.
Please give Chris
your support on 1st May – thank you
What does the term Fleet Town Access Plan (FTAP) suggest to you? Well
it seems that FTAP may mean different things to different groups of
people. If you are Hampshire County Council looking to build much
needed infrastructure, such as a footbridge crossing over the canal in
Courtmoor or cycle ways running through Fleet, it is about making Fleet
Town centre more accessible. Such initiatives are welcome additions to
making Hart a better place to live. The main problem with the initial
plans was that all of the proposals stopped abruptly at the Fleet
boundary and so were of limited benefit to the communities just outside
the Fleet area such as Church Crookham and Crookham Village.
However, although concentrating on improving access into Fleet, FTAP
funding is drawn from a much wider area. FTAP collects the majority of
the developer contributions not only from Fleet but also from the
surrounding villages such as Crookham Village and Crondall. These
contributions include the pot of money that has been accumulating for
the A287 / Redfields Lane junction and the footway along Pilcot Road to
Dogmersfield School. If the QEB were to get the go ahead then an
estimated £2 million that the developer would give to try and
mitigate the impact on local roads would also be channelled into FTAP.
The CCH believes that FTAP must take a fair approach to ensuring that
money is used for the benefit of the areas for which it was originally
collected. FTAP has been reluctant to engage with Church Crookham and
Crondall Councillors to investigate which projects would most benefit
the local area. We have persisted in our attempts to talk to FTAP and
now have secured their agreement to look beyond the Fleet boundary with
a view to extending some of the cycle ways into the surrounding area.
Despite this limited progress, we still don’t feel that those behind
FTAP are really listening with an open mind as to what local
infrastructure is needed beyond Fleet town centre.
We would have hoped that our County Councillors would have shown
greater support for the CCH efforts to demand that FTAP takes a more
inclusive approach to investing money in all the contributing areas.
Unfortunately, Hampshire’s policy is to set great store by the views
and recommendations of the elected Councillor for each County Division
so without their active involvement, it is difficult for CCH
Councillors to get local infrastructure needs given the correct
priority by Hampshire.
This is why we have to face up to the possibility of having to contest
the County Elections in 2009. We were formed to fight for the needs of
the area which we felt were being ignored by the District Council at
the time. It is now clearly apparent that our area is not always fairly
treated by the County Council.
Before then we will also be contesting the District Elections on 1st
May 2008. Hart District Council seats are contested in ‘thirds’ (1/3 of
seats being contested in each of 3 years on a 4 yearly cycle). The 4th
year, which will be 2009, being used for the County Council elections.
Most wards in the CCH area are facing District elections this year,
apart from Church Crookham West. The CCH will not be fielding
candidates against sitting Councillors who work hard on the Council,
regardless of which party they represent. However, we make no apology
for challenging those who sit on the Council and do little for their
Published by: Julia
Ambler, 39 Du Maurier Close, Church Crookham, Hampshire, GU52 0YA