This edition of the
Community News is long overdue. Ironically the more that we get
involved the less time there is to write about what is happening
In May we saw two new Community Campaign Hart (CCH) candidates, Gill
Butler & John Bennison, being elected to Hart District Council
(HDC) and the re-election of Cllr. Ambler. We owe 2,967 of you a big
thank you - for entrusting your vote to us. We now have a team of 5 CCH
Hart District Councillors. None of the major parties within Hart have a
sufficient majority to form a stable ‘ruling’ group. So for the good of
the District we agreed to join a coalition, to face the daunting task
of putting things right. Community Campaign Councillors, Simon Ambler
& James Radley, are now part of the new coalition Cabinet, which
enables them to be more involved in the strategic decision making
process. While attempting to remain staunchly independent, we recognize
that we're elected to face up to difficult challenges.
Your CCH Councillors
Perhaps the most difficult will be bringing Hart’s financial budget
into balance. We have inherited a Council that would need to spend
roughly £1million more in 2007/08 than it could earn. The days of
offsetting Hart’s running costs against reserves are gone. Yes, we can
save some costs – mostly by sharing services with neighbouring
authorities. However, realistically some very difficult decisions about
service cuts will be necessary. For too long, those running Hart have
failed to make these difficult decisions. We must now do this – no
matter how much it goes against what we would ‘like’ to do. Then in
future years we can start to choose where we want to invest money and
so end the years of uncoordinated and inefficient cut backs. To quote
Hart’s auditors last year, “value for money has been very poor”. That's
what happens when political dogma overrides common sense.
The operator of Farnborough Aerodrome
(TAG Aviation) has lodged
appeal against the decision by Rushmoor Borough Council to turn down
their application for an extension to weekend flying. CCH Cllr. James
Radley spoke up for the interests of local residents at the planning
meeting. The CCH will again be representing local people at the public
inquiry into the appeal.
Based on very strong legal advice Hart District Council have withdrawn
their last ditch legal challenge to the proposed housing development on
. The planning application rejected by Hart was
subsequent appeal. Hart had tried to have the Secretary of State’s
(SoS) decision overturned by legal challenge. However, on seeking a
second opinion from a top planning barrister, Hart was told that there
was virtually no chance of its challenge succeeding. Even winning would
not have stopped the prospect of development as the SoS would simply
hold a second inquiry which would most likely reach the same decision.
The advice was unequivocal; officers were faced with no option but to
pull out of the challenge. The real question is why was the site put in
the Local Plan in the first place?
How to contact your CCH Councillor
Please feel free to contact us with your local concerns;
|| (01252) 625808
|James & Jenny
E-Mail: GillB, JohnB, SimonA, JamesR, or JennyR@ccguk.com
Introduction of ABC
“ABC” is the Council’s acronym for “Alternate (weekly) Bin Collection”.
This refers to the move to collect your black ‘refuse’ bin on alternate
weeks from collecting your blue ‘recycling’ bin. The intention is to
provide a more reliable service by introducing new refuse lorries,
which will be more economical and most importantly, mechanically sound.
The scheme is also designed to increase the percentage of waste that
Hart residents recycle. If Hart does not achieve the recycling target
set by the Government, it may be fined, which would hit us all in our
What happens when?
30th October: The first day of alternate weekly bin collection;
You should receive an information pack from Hart to tell you which day
will be your collection day and the rota for the colour of bin to be
collected. In order to make best use of the processing plants Hart will
be collecting both blue & black bins from different parts of the
district each day.
In weeks where there is a Bank Holiday, collection will be on the day
following your normal collection, extending to a collection on
Saturday. Collection will fall back to your normal day the following
week. The roll over system is no more.
27th November: Start of glass collection for all;
From this date Hart will be collecting glass on the same day that you
put out your blue (recycling) bin.
Hart are currently distributing glass collection crates to every
We need to allow the new system to bed in. No one is working under the
illusion that there won’t be teething problems. This is a major change
for everyone. However, it is hoped that during the next 12 months Hart
will be able to reassess the bag used for the green waste collection –
ideally to replace it with an aerated wheelie bin.
Will you need a bigger blue bin?
You will have to notify the Council if you want to take up the offer
(ends 31st January 2007) of a free upgrade to a bigger blue bin;
Recycling Bin Offer,
Hampshire, GU51 4BR.
or by telephone on;
Phone masts, stark choices
By Gill Butler
A recent planning appeal for a phone mast has gone against Church
Crookham residents who had fervently opposed it. This is a reflection
on the Government’s drive to allow mast applications, no matter how
strong the local opposition.
A new ploy by one operator, who wants more coverage for their new ‘3G’
phone network, is to “offer” a very tall, 26m, mast on high ground
instead of yet more mono-pole masts outside peoples homes. Neither
option strikes me as attractive but I would be interested in hearing
your thoughts on how you view such a choice.
Gill’s contact details please see contacts box above)
By John Bennison
In previous issues of the “Community News” I have written the Crondall
Report as a concerned member of the community. I am still a concerned
member of the community but with the help of the people of Crondall,
Crookham Village & Ewshot I am now a District Councillor. I make no
apologies for re-printing here a piece that I originally wrote for the
A small piece of history was made on Thursday the 4th
May, when the people of Crondall, Ewshot and Crookham Village elected a
non-Conservative candidate for what I believe to be the first time. I
am delighted to have been elected to serve the Crondall ward on Hart
District Council as a Community Campaign (Hart) councillor.
What matters at a local level has very little to do with the antics of
the members of the national political parties.
I would like to thank all those people who heard our plea and voted for
Community Campaign Hart (CCH) and those who had felt disenfranchised
before but made the effort to come out and vote for me in May. With a
majority of just 2 votes every vote really counted
so for everyone who
came out to vote, the effort was worth while - thank you.
I am looking
forward to working closely with the two local Parish Councils in the
challenging years we have ahead and am honoured that I
all the people of Crondall, Crookham Village and Ewshot on Hart
What now for the Parish Petition?
In our last newsletter we introduced the petition to request that the
Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) sets up a parish
for Church Crookham & Courtmoor.
The legislation requires that 10% of the 9,400 registered electors in
the proposed parish sign the petition. Just over 2,000 signatures were
collected – which seemed like a good point to stop. With a few
reductions for unregistered signatures the Council validated the
petition as having 1,979 signatures. This was well in excess of the 940
required. The signatures for the parish were evenly collected across
Church Crookham & Courtmoor. It is clearly what local people want.
We would like to thank everyone who signed the petition – which was
most people who were asked. We would also like to thank the
enthusiastic team of helpers, who felt strongly that we, as a
community, needed to seize the opportunity to do this for ourselves. It
is not easy to knock on doors to ask someone to sign up for something –
and a parish is not the easiest thing to explain. However, many people
did volunteer to help and despite what some of the petition’s
detractors say – getting 2,000 signatures is no easy feat. A huge thank
you to all who helped.
Now, for some of the old Establishment keeping us unparished is high on
their agenda. They don’t want people deciding how to manage their own
community’s funds. You may spend it in ways they wouldn’t; improving
children’s play areas, renovating run down sports pitches, you might
even try to provide allotments. So, they have tried to scare people off
by saying “it’s another layer of Government”. It is interesting how
well the parish councils that represent the rest of the district are
respected. If you are reading this as a resident in the Crondall or
Crookham Village parishes you would probably agree – you pay less
parish council tax than those in the unparished area for starters.
At a special meeting in August the Council decided to reject the
‘petition’ and conduct a parish boundary review instead. Not that they
had ever got round to this “essential” review before the petition. Many
fear that this is a delaying tactic designed to make the parish
initiative go away.
So have they thwarted the petition?
The idea of parish petitions was specifically designed to allow
communities to benefit from the formation of a parish – even if their
District Council tried to resist. By rejecting the petition the Council
have demonstrated that the community was justified to resort to a
It is the CCH’s reading of the rules that you can not override a parish
petition in favour of a parish boundary review - because if you don’t
have a parish you don’t have a parish boundary to review. Despite being
buried in the legislation, this is a subtle but important point. A
parish petition may be delayed (by just 6 months) for a District ward
boundary review but Hart is currently only doing a parish review.
We do need to resolve what happens to the rest of the unparished area
(ie. Fleet). However, this could happen without trying to derail the
petition. Some Councillors even talk about creating a monolithic Fleet
& Church Crookham Town Council. It is rare for the Government to
grant parish status to areas with more than 12,000 residents, as they
consider that larger councils are less able to reflect the wishes of a
A parish for Church Crookham & Courtmoor would be about the most
efficient & appropriately sized parish that can be realistically
The CCH are quietly confident that the DCLG will grant Church Crookham
& Courtmoor parish council status in time for May 2008. Parish/Town
Councils for the rest of Fleet could and should come into effect at the
The public inquiry into the rejected planning application for the QEB
site will start on 15th May 2007 and runs through to July. The
logistical details of how and where the appeal will be held have yet to
be settled. However, we reiterate that the appeal hearing will be a
long process, lasting around 7-8 weeks and that it would be of benefit
if members of the public could attend for at least a day or two – or
for a few hours on a number of days throughout the process. It is vital
that the public demonstrate the level of concern held by the local
community over this application.
It is widely recognized that some form of development could fit
sympathetically on this site but that the proposal to build 1,132
dwellings without any substantial supporting infrastructure is wrong
and would irretrievably blight the area.
Public access to Velmead Common &
As we write this newsletter the MoD and the Hampshire Wildlife Trust
(HWT) are fencing in Velmead Common. This is being done to allow cattle
to be introduced to the area. Cattle grazing will act to help restore
the precious and sensitive heathland and offer a better habitat for the
rare ground nesting birds which breed here. As well as fencing the plan
is to also provide gates and cattle grids allowing access for walkers,
cyclists and horse riders. However, we note with grave concern that the
entrance onto Velmead Common from Florence Road has been fenced off
(see last paragraph).
The fencing work is the responsibility of the MoD. HWT will be
responsible for bringing in and looking after the cattle. The cattle
will be able to obtain drinking water from a number of springs and
streams which are to be found within the grazing area. The breeds of
cattle chosen are docile and live in small herds so that they will tend
to move away from any area of disturbance or human activity.
HWT are now looking for local people to volunteer to become involved in
a variety of tasks, including recruiting ‘stock watchers’. They would
be provided with training by the Grazing Animals Project (GAP) to help
them spot the tell tale signs which may indicate ill health amongst the
herd. Jenny Radley can pass on contact details for the HWT on request.
The Community Campaign welcome and fully support this initiative, we
hope that it a success and wish the project well.
There is a potential concern which we do need to raise. While at this
point in time, it is only speculation, the Community Campaign believes
that the local community needs to be vigilant.
The Government is trying to impose a higher housing delivery target on
Hart than the 200 new dwellings per year currently being planned for in
the emerging Local Development Framework (LDF). The Government and the
big developers are frustrated by the stringent Habitats Regulations
designed to protect the Special Protection Areas (SPAs), such as
Tweseldown and Velmead Common. One reoccurring suggestion is that if
the public were to be denied access to the SPA then the Government
would be free to force a doubling in the number of new houses that they
are demanding for the area.
So, to keep the Government and the big developers happy, Natural
England (previously English Nature), the nature watchdog and the
landowner, the MoD, might agree to have these areas closed to the
public – this has already happened in parts of the New Forest. When the
CCH raised the matter with Natural England and the MoD neither
organization felt able to comment on or to deny this concern.
So we must be vigilant. Fencing off Velmead Common to keep cattle in
is to be welcomed and supported. Fencing off Velmead Common to keep
the public out
is not. People have enjoyed access to this area for
centuries. Any prevention of free access would be abhorrent and an
intrusion on local people’s right to roam. Especially when it would be
just a transparent ruse designed to allow the Government to demand yet
more development in the area.