Newsletter of the Community Campaign (Hart)
6, Autumn 2007
In June & July the QEB Campaign (led by Ken Blockwell) represented
local people at the QEB Planning Inquiry. James Radley of the Community
Campaign took a period of leave from work, attending every day of the
appeal to actively support Ken. It was important that there was a
continuity of public representation so that witness statements could be
challenged as necessary.
We challenged what we consider to be the key issues: traffic, loss of
access to Tweseldown, noise annoyance from Farnborough Aerodrome and
the overall scale and design of the enormous 1,100 home mini-town. We
told the Inquiry that the Highways Agency did not believe that the M3
Junction 4A could cope with the extra traffic & drew Hampshire
Education Authority's attention to how Taylor Wimpey were trying to
avoid addressing the serious short fall in secondary school provision.
The QEB Campaign are grateful for those who supported us in preparing
our extensive proof of evidence which we submitted to the Inquiry,
helping with our detailed research and by making the journey to
Aldershot to add weight to our arguments by simply being there.
However, the most important stage of the Inquiry is yet to come. This
is the opportunity for everyone to play a part. The Inquiry will resume
on 27th November, in Hart’s civic offices. Third parties (including the
QEB Campaign) have the opportunity to present their cases and we expect
to be aggressively cross examined by Taylor Wimpey’s legal team.
The Inspector has granted our request for an evening session (see box)
so that the public can turn out in numbers to indicate how widespread
the feeling is against this application. No matter what concerns you
have about the application you really should attend this meeting and
add your presence to demonstrate the of weight of public concern.
You may be concerned that the increase in traffic will clog up our
already over stressed road system, you might worry how schools will
with this new development or about other infrastructure issues. How
will it affect rain water run off? This massive development will sit
higher than most properties in the area.
You may be particularly concerned that access to the Tweseldown area is
going to be drastically restricted and controlled through a set of
‘Visitor Management’ measures, of which the reduction of the Bourley
Road Car Park to just 5 spaces is just one. The developer will argue
that opening a new car park on Beacon Hill will make an acceptable
alternative. The Beacon Hill area is characterized by steep terrain, is
heavily wooded with just a few small ‘open areas’. Being a water
catchment area it is often boggy & muddy. If you don’t think this
is a fair exchange then please – you really need to be at this meeting,
(see box below).
Please remember this is a formal Public Inquiry and is governed by
strict rules of engagement. If you would like to speak at the meeting
then please contact Ken Blockwell (622470) who can give you details on
how to register as an “interested party” with the Planning Inspector.
SAVE the Bourley Car
Wimpey want to reduce to just 5 spaces the Bourley Road Car Park as
part of their QEB planning application. This car park is how most
local people access the Tweseldown area.
main public participation event of the QEB Inquiry is on: Wednesday,
28 November 2007, at 7:00pm in the Prince’s Hall,
local people are to stand a fighting chance of keeping
unhindered access to Tweseldown then as many of us as possible must
attend this meeting. It will hinge on the numbers who
turn up to show the strength of feeling; that a restriction of access
is an unacceptable loss of amenity.
meeting allows members of the public who register before hand to make
statements to the Inspector on any issue relating to the QEB
by Jenny Radley
When in 2005 TAG, the operator of Farnborough Aerodrome, submitted an
application to double the number of weekend flights, the request was
met with a huge number of fierce objections from the general public.
The application was refused and TAG subsequently appealed. We still
await the outcome of the appeal at time of writing.
TAG were shocked that so many people felt aggrieved about their
operation. They decided to try and mitigate some of the noise annoyance
which they clearly cause people. So, in May TAG introduced a trial
initiative which they call the Quiet Flying Programme (QFP).
The QFP includes a number of measures designed to reduce the impact of
noise on local residents. The most significant for us living here in
Hart, being the alteration to the flight noise abatement procedures.
Prior to 1st May an aircraft leaving Farnborough could turn anyway it
liked (subject to Air Traffic Control) once it had acquired an altitude
of 1,800ft. Aircraft will acquire 1,800ft at different distances from
the aerodrome & most aircraft easily reach 1,800ft before crossing
over Church Crookham. Consequently aircraft taking off from Farnborough
were spreading themselves widely (& evenly) across the local area
thus producing a uniform and dissipated spread of potential noise
annoyance. However, from TAG’s point of view, this did create a large
population resistant to any future expansion plans that they may have.
On 1st May TAG introduced a number of measures to counter this spread
effect and instigated a trial flight plan that narrowed the area over
flown by departing (& arriving) aircraft. The idea was that
aircraft would climb as rapidly as they could (the higher they are the
quieter they would be from the ground) and to stop the spread of
annoyance they would not be allowed to turn until 2.5 nautical miles
from the aerodrome (a point roughly out towards Zebon Copse).
In the first month the number of complaints dropped by a factor of 4,
and those of us who lived under the flight path noted that the extra
height did appear to reduce the impact of noise. However, RAF Odiham
raised a concern about departing aircraft having an impact on their own
activities and so they requested that aircraft be allowed to turn at
2.0nm. This change was instigated on 8th June 2007. Since that date the
number and intensity of complaints being raised both with TAG and with
us has risen considerably.
It should be said that TAG’s acceptance that they are a noise sensitive
airport and willingness to try to do something about it should be
welcomed. It is a sign that they have shifted from the state of
indifference which they have historically shown towards the impact they
had on local residents. They are now demonstrating an awareness that we
are all their neighbours and they are acknowledging that they should
try to lessen their impact upon us.
So why are these good intentions causing such intense annoyance? We
believe that it is down to the interaction of a number of factors;
We must hope that just as a simple tweak in the noise abatement rules
on the 8th June caused a dramatic negative effect in the QFP’s
effectiveness that there are some simple adjustments which will improve
concentrating flights over a narrower area those who are
over-flown are done so more often and so these movements cross a
perception threshold, after which all flights become annoying.
- The 2.0nm
turning threshold has increased (by a huge amount) the
number of aircraft over flying some densely populated areas.
steeper climb means that the aircraft are higher in the sky and
are therefore obvious across a wider area.
publicized the QFP widely in the media – this will have raised
awareness and expectations of the noise issue (even if just at a
- TAG has
had their busiest summer on record (with a 26% increase of
traffic compared to last year). This will have increased the baseline
level of noise annoyance.
We will continue to work with TAG, representing local people to ensure
that the most equitable solution can be reached. Neither TAG nor the
local residential population are going to go away – so we have to
continue to work together.
If you feel that an individual flight
has been particularly annoying
then you should report it to TAG’s complaint line (01252 526001).
Please give as much detail (date, time of flight, your location) as
possible – by understanding which flights cause the most annoyance then
it is easier to focus in on what changes could have the greatest
by John Bennison
On 7th & 8th
July, Ewshot held its Village Show, with
hall being used extensively in support of this important community
event. Five days later the village hall was vandalised: windows
smashed, fire extinguishers let off, paint daubed on walls &
equipment broken. This mindless vandalism caused many thousands of
pounds worth of damage.
Village Halls are often the focus and heart of our village communities
and it is vital that these important facilities are preserved.
Therefore I am delighted to report that just three weeks after this
incident the Village Hall was back in business. I would like to pass on
a big thank you on behalf of the residents of Ewshot to all who made a
huge effort to bring about these swift repairs.
The culprits have been identified and one has already appeared in
court, others may still be charged. The police are hoping that the main
culprits will be involved in ‘restorative justice’. This would
typically include them meeting the victims – perhaps the village hall
management committee in this case. This gives the committee the
opportunity to explain to them what this kind of incident does to local
communities. Hopefully, the swift action by our local police will mean
that this is an unfortunate but unique episode.
20th July saw Crondall, along with many other areas in Hart, suffering
from flooding. I had opportunity to meet with the main agencies in the
following week. Many hard questions were asked. The outcome of the
meeting is that Crondall along with other areas will be reviewed to see
what can be done to alleviate the flooding problem. Much work has been
put in by the Parish Council and I will continue working with them on
You would not think that Ewshot has a flooding problem and generally
the village does not. However, Ewshot Marsh, a Site of Importance for
Nature Conservation (SINC) has been neglected for many years. This has
culminated in the loss of over 50 per cent of plant species. Invading
trees which now grow in profusion on the marsh have the affect of
drying it out. The result is that water which would have taken two or
three weeks to seep through the marsh now flows over it in a day. This
contributes to the flooding at the end of Ewshot Lane around Redfields
and Zebon Copse. Now Taylor Wimpey propose to drain the proposed QEB
development into the Sandy Lane stream – which itself already causes
flooding lower down in Fleet. It is rather naive to blame the flooding
just on our having too much rain!
Getting Stuff Done
by Chris Axam
Having been elected to represent Fleet Courtmoor in May this year
(thank you) I have been learning just what you can and can not achieve
as a Hart District Councillor.
For a start you can’t make things happen as quickly as you would like.
I knew Local Government was complex and that there were differing
levels of responsibility but after the heavy rainfall on 20th July I
was not prepared for the difficulties associated with helping residents
who were badly affected by flooding. Although no expert on this subject
I was surprised at the difficulty in getting a co-ordinated response to
I quickly learnt that you have to approach and deal with a number of
different agencies all with their own priorities and financial
constraints. Having said that the individuals I have spoken to in Hart
District Council & Hampshire County Council recognise the problem
and are trying to resolve the situation but they also need the
co-operation of the Environmental Agency and Thames Water. So one thing
I have learnt is that as a District Councillor you need patience and
persistence to get things done.
What you can do as a Councillor is to make yourself available to help
people, either by taking on board their concerns over a planning
application or the absence of a regular service like street cleaning. I
am not going to suggest that you can always deliver the right result
from their perspective but you are able to offer advice on the way
local services are provided or how the District Council operates.
Although I have only been a Councillor for a few months I am finding
the “job” highly rewarding and enjoying it immensely. I hope that I
will be able to make a continuing contribution to the Fleet Courtmoor
ward and the wider area of Hart as a whole.
If you feel that you have any issues that you would like to discuss
with me then please do contact me either on 626341 or by e-mail at
Parish Petition update
It is now over a year since Hart’s Council voted against the Community
Campaign and resolved to delay progress on the formation of a parish
for Courtmoor & Church Crookham. The decision has delayed the
initiative which we had kicked off with the petition that we ran in the
spring of 2006. Hart chose to hold off the formation of a parish until
after it had conducted a ‘parish boundary review’. Effectively instead
of moving to fill the hole in the otherwise fully parished district of
Hart, they decided to tweak the shape of the hole. We were all promised
that the boundary review would not delay the formation of the parish –
but it has.
A process has been started to identify a strategy for defining the
parishes which might be formed. The process is looking at if the
unparished area is to be parished should a number of smaller and more
locally focused parishes or one large centralised parish be created.
Already a “sense of place” questionnaire has been issued to a random
selection of households in the area and this will be followed in the
new year with a postal referendum for all electors in the unparished
area asking if they want to be parished and if so which size of parish
they would prefer.
The Community Campaign is determined that once the results of the
referendum are known the Council should not continue to delay the
formation of the parishes any longer. We shall insist that the Council
accept what we expect will be a reinforced mandate from the electorate.
We shall look to the Council to accept the need to separate the
formation of the parishes from any further delay caused by the boundary
To make the newly formed parishes as effective as possible we suggest
that when the referendum is held residents vote for the formation of a
cluster of smaller parishes; for instance, a parish for Courtmoor &
Church Crookham, a parish for Fleet and perhaps a separate parish for
Elvetham Heath. Theses parishes would naturally work together to
support wider strategic initiatives such as the well being of Fleet
Town Centre & allotment provision, while maintaining a tight focus
on local issues – such as providing youth facilities & play areas.
Keep up to date on the most recent developments on our
Dr David Fearn
by James Radley
The Community Campaign would like to take the unusual step of marking
the passing of a remarkable individual. David Fearn has in his lifetime
contributed a considerable service to our local community. From his
tireless support of local athletics to his defence of our local
environment through the Fleet & Crookham Civic Society, David Fearn
has touched the lives of so many in this community. His unexpected
passing in late August came as a shock to the many people who knew and
worked with David. His loss will be felt right across the community.
Thank you David, for all that you have done for us over the years.
Published by: Julia
Ambler, 39 Du Maurier Close, Church Crookham, Hampshire, GU52 0YA