Draft Minutes of 5th Annual General Meeting held at Willis Hall, Church Crookham, on Thursday 15th January 2009.



There were 43 persons present including:


Chairman                                           James Radley

Vice Chairman                                   Simon Ambler

Secretary                                            Fran Jones

Membership Secretary                      Gill Butler

Press Officer                                      Pat Lowe

Election Agent                                   Julia Ambler (apology for absence)


In attendance:  P.C. Martin Cole Neighbourhood Beat Officer for Fleet Central.


1.      The chairman welcomed all present to the 5th Annual General Meeting of the Community Campaign (Hart). Despite the lack of chairs (rectified later) he hoped the meeting would be successful and promised to book the larger hall for future meetings.


2.      There were 10 apologies for absence. A few more since than too.



3.      P.C. Martin Cole reported that there was now another helper for the police in this area, namely P.C.S.O. Karen East. He asked that any reports of juvenile nuisance should be reported to P. C. Caroline Webster in the first instance, but it is important to report any incident.

Night-time in Fleet causes problems, and the police are actively engaging with the community   re: their problems. Shop lifting was always being tackled together with parking.

In Church Crookham recently there had been 2 burglaries in the Gally Hill Road area and Operation Shut-out had been activated to advise people who live nearby on closing and locking doors, leaving light(s) on or even a radio, which may help to act as a deterrant to opportunist burglars.

Hart was still one of the safest places in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

Answering a question on the Crondall area, he admitted that juveniles were causing problems but their beat officer, P.C. Martin Bowman, was aware of the problem and was working with the community. John Bennison said that Crondall Parish Council were discussing this problem and he would report back to P.C.Bowman.

P.C. Cole asked members to report in to the police any incident or suspicious activity and the police will investigate. Ring up and report ‘ juvenile nuisance’ and people will be deployed to cope. The number to ring is 0845 045 4545 or 101 if it is not an emergency.


A member asked if the police could become involved in parking nuisances on Elizabeth Drive. Someone was parking over the grass verges, despite the neighbourhood trying to keep the area groomed. This parking was persisting despite bricks and blocks being put out to deter it. P.C. Cole said he would investigate that problem the next day and notify PCSO Karen East.


When asked if the police did attend cases of burglary, P.C. Cole said that victims will be asked to attend an ‘Operation Shut-out’ event, where a letter of invitation is delivered to 100 local residents. He also reported that the ‘Churches Together’ operation in Fleet at weekends was in the car-park opposite Jaxx nightclub and this was a success, as it helps to take the edge off bad behaviour and stops some of the extra drinking and possible punch-ups. The volunteers offer coffee and chat to the people who are getting unruly.

On being asked for his comments about both adults and juveniles riding bicycles on the pavement he answered that under 16s had their details taken and a letter sent to their home, for older people a fixed penalty notice would be given to them.


The Chairman thanked P.C. Cole for giving up his time to attend the meeting.


4.      The minutes of the 4th Annual General Meeting held on 24th January 2008 were approved as a correct record. This was proposed by Gill Butler, seconded by Jenny Radley and was carried unanimously.


5.      There were no matters arising from these minutes which did not occur under the separate headings to come during the meeting.


6.       QEB – What next?  The appeal had been won by local people, the developer had not been given permission to build. Good news all round: this is based on the fact that when they come back, the number of houses that can be built is now based on the size of the site. The developer is currently facing financial challenges which need to be sorted out and then new plans will probably be applied for. Assuming the developer survives the present downturn in the building industry, if they could they would probably like to walk away from it. It is likely that they paid a relatively small price for the site but would then pay the former landowner much more once planning permission was granted. This has not happened and they need to re-negotiate the contract with the MoD, the original landowners.  The Secretary of State wanted more houses on less space but 800 is the new projected number for the site as the developer is unlikely to want to build many flats. If the number of houses is smaller then it is unlikely they will need to close Bourley Road car-park. We hope that Bourley Road car-park is now safe but it is still early days. The developer is under contract with the MoD to pursue planning permission, so until they re-negotiate they will have to look at preparing for a new application. It is likely they will re-site the school. Chris Dickenson asked if this meant a significant change such as starting from scratch? The Chairman replied that it would start from scratch again but it would possibly be a better application as they now have a better understanding. In fact it might be better if Taylor Wimpey stayed on with this development rather than start again with another builder. Questioned again on whether Taylor Wimpey owned the site, the Chairman replied that this was true legally but they were contracted by the MoD to pursue planning.


7.      Harlington Centre: The Chairman reported to the meeting the possibility of closure of this facility. It costs between £350,000 -£500,000 to run it each year. The building is financed out of the Fleet and Church Crookham Special Expenses (F&CCSE) which is effectively the Fleet/Church Crookham (un-parished area) precept, part of the District Council Community Charge.

The Council have recently told users that in future it intends to cut the number of staff right down and will expect only to be run by a caretaker. As there will be nobody to sell tickets, act as security, etc. some users are now in process of finding alternative venues. If the users are pulling out then income will be reduced further giving a real fear of closure of the facility. The building is probably 15 years old and the financial burden has been going on for some considerable time. The thinking was to find out the minimum staff level required and leave it to the new Parish Councils to run. Maybe it is even now too late to keep present users?

The library belongs to Hampshire County Council and it seems that they might re-open their former entrance door to make it separate from the Harlington Centre. If the Centre stands empty for some time it will be a huge challenge for the new parishes to kick start all activities again. Chris Axam declared that with careful thought a smaller number of staff than at present, if they were good, could generate more revenue and business at the centre, but if left empty then the building could be vandalised.

Out-lying parishes don’t see the necessity for the Harlington Centre, their residents use their own village community centres or go to other towns, they do not see that the district should pay for this Centre in Fleet. A member reminded the meeting that Church Crookham rates have always contributed towards the up-keep of the Centre(through the F&CCSE), the worry is that the Administration could effectively close it down by a rushed and ruthless decision. The Fleet Town Centre is aware of this problem. There is to be a meeting for users next week with the executive, who will be recommending an option for Cabinet to make their decision on 5th February.


8.      Peter Driver Sports Centre: This is most a contentious issue. Originally the land was bequeathed by the MoD to Fleet Council, so it has become an asset of Hart District Council. The centre contained a site with a sports facility (fronting onto the road) which was leased out on a long term lease and it was allowed to become a nightclub, Shotts. This was burnt down, twice, the last time in 2000. The owner of Shotts concocted a plan to put in offices/warehouses on the site, not only on the night-club site but on all of the site which included the bungalow on the other side of the current 50 space car-park, right across the access to the playing fields behind. Outline planning permission was granted (basically a formality) with just an 18 space car-park, with just a few spaces to provide for the playing fields and the rest only available out of working hours. 18 car-park spaces is simply not viable for the playing fields. This application is now coming back to Planning Committee very shortly for a decision on reserve matters. However, it seems the developer doesn’t really want to do that development after all, as the market for it has dropped, Instead he wishes to build a nursing home, as he already has a client, so there is another application that has yet to come to Planning Committee. This new application is not a significant change in planning terms, but there may be an opportunity now to get more car-parking retained. By moving the 5-a-side hard court pitch in order to provide a garden for the nursing home, they could provide a 36 space car-park. The main issue is the moving of the 5-a-side pitch, a local benefit to users, especially local children, so it is very important as to just where it is moved to.

There are several other questions: whether there should be 1 or 2 football pitches or 1 pitch plus running track? It is not possible to fit everything in.

If the nursing home project goes through then the re-location of the 5-a-side pitch must be guaranteed. Azalea Gardens is one possible new site but lacks any parking, Basingbourne Park is a possibility but is without changing facilities and local residents may not approve if it is noisy. The Velmead Community Centre site is possible but currently has some other issues. Where the pitch moves to is up in the air at the moment. The developer has offered to build a new pitch to FA specification, which is good news, (as they could simply contribute money which then takes time for the council to decide how to spend and often the amount is not quite enough for what is required). However, the problem is where? It will be another 2 years before Hitches Lane project is ready and the developer needs to start the nursing home now. Hitches Lane was the site that HDC Leisure Services were hoping to move the pitch to but it is too far for local children to reach. User Clubs will not survive for 2 years without a pitch. Sport England are now involved, they have said that it cannot be built until a replacement pitch is built, but will the developer stay motivated to build as required? He needs to build as soon as possible.


There were several items of discussion:


Many residents don’t want either application but they do want a good sports area.

Can the sports pitch be built before the nursing home goes ahead? The Chairman answered by saying it would be at the discretion of the Planning Committee to say that the developer cannot commence work until he does this. Also there could be a distance parameter; to limit how far away the new pitch should be built, but the Planning Committee would have to agree to it. The first bit yes, the new pitch should be built before the nursing home but where would the distance limit be?

Another member stated that the pitch must be free as at present to nearby residents, especially children. Would a multi-use-games- area (MUGA) be the answer? The Chairman answered: Azalea Gardens has a sort of MUGA but it is poor quality, and the residents there might not agree to the new pitch.

How do you decide what is best for most people?

A member questioned about the choice of surface of a new pitch, tarmac or rubber crumb or FA recommendation of a different surface. It is hoped the council will opt for the FA recommendation.

The pitch would be best where it is now, said a member, so is there any way the developer could be bought out? The Chairman replied that in all probability Hart DC did not have the money left that the developer paid in the first place. The sale was complicated as the new landowner had to buy the land from HDC, and buy out the long-term lease and the covenant for recreational use from the MoD. A member said they were dissatisfied that Hart DC had not used rate monies from Church Crookham to supply good sports facilities in Church Crookham area. It was mooted that not having a parish council allowed this sale of the land to get through council. There had been no consultation with users or residents. A member agreed that the situation had become outrageous, The pitch had been there for some time and where else was there where they could play without hindering others? In his opinion there were too many nursing homes in the area already so why take that land? There were varying opinions from those present: What about the adjacent strip of land, who owns that? What about including a new pitch on QEB when it goes ahead? Does the ground plan of the Peter Driver buildings stay? Would it be necessary to improve the nearby junction of Bourley Road with Beacon Hill Road? This was a County Council traffic survey need. There were plans way back for a surgery on the site but the nearness of the junction was a stumbling block and the surgery plans were withdrawn. There was conjecture about the car-parking and the traffic needs of the nursing home and it’s nearness to this junction. Could the developer be squeezed to supply replacement of all facilities, including skateboard park? This could be tricky; Sport England would have something to say about the legitimate uses of pitches but the skateboard park was opportunist use of the derelict site. The council would be unable to force the developer to replace that.

A member said that the HDC administration in 2002 and 2005 had let Church Crookham down by granting the original application and then selling the land. Unfortunately they had complied with the laws of the day and they could not buy it back, HDC do not have the money.


A member representing Crookham Rovers Youth said they were a registered charity representing 200 families. They could apply to the FA for some funding. Thus with the FA and football club, the developer could combining resources in Church Crookham. The Chairman said the developer was keen to do the right thing, so maybe this member should try talking to him direct. A member asked who was responsible for finding an alternative site? The Chairman replied that when the decision was made the developer would pressure the council to find a site.


9.      Farnborough Airport: This has become a very complicated issue. TAG’s Master Plan has been published and it needs to be read very carefully. The promised delivery to every affected resident has not taken place and the distribution area is widespread, mostly to those who do not live under the flight-path. Comments from those seriously affected may be diluted, as most of those replying may not so inconvenienced. In fact there are currently three consultations about the airport, within the same area, at the same time. TAG are consulting on their draft Master Plan, but there is no mention of numbers of weekend or heavy flights in their Plan. The Public Safety Zone that fits for 28,000 flights has conveniently changed and says that 50,000 flights will now fit in. Lots of people are attending the public exhibition days and they are expressing a lot of interest. A questioner asked about the carbon footprint. TAG say that improved jets and other technical improvements made the flights less noisy. We must all remember that the airport is for business use only and is not an airport for commercial use. The Chairman explained that after consultation TAG will apply for an increase of flight movements from 28,000 to 50,000 flights per year.

Also being distributed is Rushmoor Borough Council’s ‘Airport Area Action Plan’ which needs careful reading before you answer the questions within it. Also Rushmoor has a Scoping Report which is out for comment. These are probably the more important consultations as Rushmoor is the local planning authority who should be the ones to condition controls on the airport operations.


A questioner asked about spacing of flights during the day as between 5-6pm the flights were much closer together and they seem to be more medium sized planes. The Chairman said that the airport did not operate scheduled flights so they were not evenly spaced out during the day. If a weight limit were to be imposed by Rushmoor on TAG then they would not be able to go beyond that limit. However, the large business jets that were currently allowed (up to 80 tonnes) were not carrying large numbers of passengers, they were specially fitted out for just a few privileged passengers. However, these were still large aircraft with large engines.

It was general opinion of the meeting that increased traffic in the Farnborough area would be caused as extra cars, etc. would be using local roads.


10.  Parish Councils: The Chairman introduced Alastair Clark to the meeting who was a parish councillor and had been for 14 years. Mr Clark gave a very interesting talk to the meeting outlining the uses of parish councils, the make up and the qualities of personnel to become Councillors. It was envisaged that our area would be setting up our own parish council during 2010. Criteria for being a parish councillor: British, over 18 years of age, a local elector, must have lived in the area for 12 months. No bankrupts, those with a prison record over 3 months’ duration, already working for the parish council, or already disqualified from being a parish councillor. Mr Clark asked the members to volunteer for the places when they become available. (James – I have cut this bit down a lot, so I can re-constitute it in full if you really want it - FJ).


11.  Pyestock: We all owe a debt of gratitude to SPLAT for their fight against this project. Hampshire County Council has done this area a disservice in allowing some routing agreements to and from the site and travel plans. There is no protection for Fleet or Church Crookham on the routes they have agreed. There was a great turnout at the public speaking event and many local people were able to speak about the traffic impacts. We can only hope that the concerns and objection expressed will be taken into serious consideration.


12.  SPA and SANGs (Special Protection Area and Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace): there has been very little garden grabbing in this area over the past 3 years due to the development restrictions because of the nearby SPA. However it has recently been agreed that new development can start provided that developers contribute financially to provide SANGs. If it were not for the current recession in building, we would expect a spike in applications again and for development in back gardens would recur.


13.  The Year Past: The past year has been particularly busy. Thanks to everyone for re-electing Cllr James Radley. Our other candidate Chris Hannan gave a sterling effort in Crondall and we are very pleased to know that he is sticking with us and we are sure he is yet to have his day. He will make an excellent councillor when the next opportunity comes.


However, 2008 has been very sad. We lost a valued supporter when Alison Macallan died, in fact she was the founder of the new parish campaign, which is so important and just about to come into being. She was a such good friend and will be deeply missed.


Meanwhile issues for our members keep coming and we are looking forward to the time when the new parish councils will be able to add voice and weight to support their local communities. It is hoped that when the parish councils are set up then they can take over some of the work currently being done by the district.


14.  Challenges ahead: this coming June there will be elections for local County Councillors. The challenge has been that south of the canal there is little support from the current County Councillor. This position is important to us as items such as highways, education, public transport, etc. and currently this community is underrepresented at County level.

      A member asked if the voting public might think it odd that CC(H) would be putting up for County level instead of staying in District Council zone? The Chairman replied that if the CC(H) did not put up a candidate then someone else would be elected  and the chances were that they would be no better than before. We really have a moral obligation to stand in the area that our current district councillors represented, as we NEED a representative on the County Council. If we don’t put up a candidate we are not properly represented.

       Elections are to be in June so it will be mid-April before we need to act.. There is still much work to be done in the district wards between then and now and we will not be starting our campaign until mid-April. The newsletter will have information for members and the public about this issue.

       We have no intention of standing at national level.


15.  Accounts: These were presented to the meeting. The Treasurer explained that some higher figures represented a change in our year end. The chairman reminded the meeting that expenses had been kept to a minimum by donation of printing, etc. by committee members. Now that the QEB main fight was over the accumulated funds to fight this issue would now be absorbed into general funds. It was proposed by Pat Lowe and seconded by Gill butler that the accounts be accepted. This was carried unanimously.


16.  Election of Officers:


Chairman:       James Radley

            Nominated by John Bennison, seconded by Barrie Jones


Secretary:         Fran Jones

             Nominated by James Radley, seconded by Gill Butler


Treasurer:         Chris Axam

             Nominated by James Radley, seconded by Chris Dichenson


Membership Secretary:     Gill Butler

             Nominated by James Radley, seconded by John Bennison


Election Agent:    Julia Ambler

              Nominated by James Radley, seconded by Pat Lowe.


All the above were carried unanimously.


17.  Any other business: the Chairman gave a short talk about the issue of allotments.

Volunteers were also asked if they could deliver CC(H) newsletters, etc. just in their own road. This would be a great help.


         The Chairman closed the meeting at 9.50pm.