Welcome


This website has been created for the residents of Abbotts Barton and surrounding areas so that you can keep up to-date with what's going on.

Apart from news you can find information about events, campaigns, and how to contact councillors.

Abbotts Barton Community Group is a community association which serves the people of Abbotts Barton and aims to act as a community anchor organisation. The main areas of work for the Group are:
  • ☐ To enable residents to find out how we can make where we live even better and do something about it.
  • ☐ To run events and activities for the benefit of inhabitants of Abbotts Barton.
  • ☐ To strengthen community participation.

Big Lunch 2014
We always welcome people to join us, it's easy and free and there is no obligation to do anything! Please see our Membership page for more info!

If you should be interested in helping out at events, as a street champion, or as a Councillor's Surgery visitor, please don't hesitate to get in touch! Also let us know if you have some ideas for events or skills that could be useful (e.g. face painting at the picnics)! Read more about how you can help on our Get Involved page!

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Sunday, 11 August 2013

Very small but enjoyable Picnic & Play today


Today we had only a small number of people come to our Picnic & Play event. Not really surprising considering that it's in the middle of the holidays and events were going on in Winchester as well. We still had a very nice time and the children were playing beautifully!




Wednesday, 7 August 2013

News roundup

Local news

The next Picnic & Play event is coming up fast, this Sunday 11 August at 12 noon in the main park! The weather forecast is looking good so far, let's keep our fingers crossed! I was happy to see that one of our group members encouraged her friends to come along (using Facebook): a good move during the holidays when many are away and turn out could be low. I hope not too many children will be disappointed but I will NOT bring the water guns this time. :)

Yesterday I returned home to find lots of cones being placed near the roads where cars are parking. We lifted one up to find a hole, no doubt for one of the new signs that will explain the parking restrictions that will come into full force on Monday 19 August. Have you got your permit yet? I went down to the City Offices last week Monday early afternoon and it was a doddle. All I needed was the filled out form (which you should have received in your mail by now), the car registration certificate (to proof car ownership) and our council tax bill (for proof of address). I didn't have to wait for very long and the lady dealing with our request was very friendly. We got one permit for £22 for ourselves and 10 scratchcards (costing £1 each) for visitors. While of course I'd rather not spend money on parking, the only two things I really don't like are a) the fact that the scratchcards are only valid for a year just like the permits and b) that you cannot actually use our Zone 3A permits to park in other parts of town with parking restrictions.

I wasn't aware of this but a meeting between police officers and residents of Highcliffe, Winnall, Hyde and Abbotts Barton took place on 23 July: Biggest concern in Winchester is thuggish behaviour.

More from the King's Worthy A33 situation: Councillor calls for results of speed checks on dangerous Winchester road.

Things to do

I know I've mentioned this before: the Go Rhinos! trail - but I can't recommend it enough now that we've actually done a part of it. We went by train to Southampton and just coming out of the station there are lots of rhinos to be found (hint: don't neglect the City Library and The Marlands shopping centre). We got to walk through all of these lovely parks in the centre of Southampton that I never knew existed and the children just loved discovering the rhinos. There is also a brand new and exciting play park in one of the parks! Bring a picnic and something to sit on and you'll have a wonderful and cheap day out.

 

If you have a car, then close-by Farley Mount Country Park is also brilliant to pass some time in the fresh air. We had a picnic and played hide and seek for two hours at the horse monument and then we moved on to the (unadvertised) play area in the woods and could have easily stayed there another two hours if it hadn't been for time restrictions on our end.

Do you like to go out into the forests? Here's how to build the perfect den and also some information about an interesting sounding visitor/community centre in the Lake District built in the forest.

Environmental news 

Fracking has been in the news big time over the last weeks (we also talked about it in the Councillor's Surgery) and it might start in the Winchester neighbourhood as well, see a graphic from Greenpeace about licenses being issued in the UK. I'm sure you wouldn't like this: Fracking firm Cuadrilla trespassed on private land for geological surveys. And of course: fracking will meet resistance from southern nimbys, minister warns.

guide to 'good' and 'bad' biscuits, depending on whether they contain palm oil (the production of which is a big factor in losing more and more naturally grown rain forests).

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If you would like to contribute to this blog or our Facebook page, please let me know via the comments below or by email (see Contact tab), any help is welcome.

This could be the last proper post on this blog before school starts again in September; if I don't manage to post anything about the picnic on Sunday: have a good second half of the summer holidays and don't forget there will be another Councillor's Surgery on Thursday 5 September!

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Councillor's Surgery Visit


Today, I went on my own to the St. Bartholomew Councillor's Surgery (first Thursday of every month, 7:30-8:30pm at Hyde Parish Hall). As it is the time of the summer holidays, not a lot is happening at the moment, so the answer to most of my requests for updates was predominantly 'no news'. As always a few short notes from my conversation with Jim Maynard:

Council house development

No updates for this at the moment: the next Housing Delivery Committee meeting will be Wednesday 18 September!
Note: The next step should be planning application (which should include the appropriation). Depending on what kind of planning application it is (if it's just with outline planning) there could even be another one (with detailed plans) but as it's just for a few houses, it's most likely going to be a detailed one straightaway.

Pedestrian improvements

Last time at the surgery we talked about the footpath opposite of the allotments and I was wondering why this should be part of the mitigation for the housing development in Abbotts Barton when it's clearly used by many people on a daily basis and we already get more people in the area due to the Abbotts Walk development. A lot of young children don't like to go along there when using scooters as the surface has become very bumpy; this means these families will walk on the road past the rugby club which is not quite as safe without a proper pavement away from the cars. The path is also getting narrower as the edges are crumbling away and at some places it's only wide enough for one person these days. I was assured that a while back Jim Maynard took some photos of the path and that he sent them to the council to show them the bad state of the path. He has asked for an update but there was none at this time.

Play areas

I wanted to know if there was any movement on the MUGA / skate park plans for the North Walls Play Area but there is no news. As I had recently read that the council had got a donation in shape of an inheritance I was wondering if any of that money (it's meant for homes for the elderly) could at least indirectly help the skate park project along which seems to be slightly short of funding. Jim Maynard promised to ask about that.

Again, there are no news on the planned play area in the Abbotts Walk development.

In previous conversations with the councillors Jane was talking about the dilapidated goal post in the Abbotts Barton park and we were promised that a replacement would be requested, if at all possible two of them to allow for a proper game of football: according to Jim Maynard these are on the council list of things to be done, however, they seem to be pushed down again and again. I also asked about adding some benches/picnic benches for outside of the fenced-in play area, it would be very nice to have those and whether or not the new houses are going to be built this is something we should insist on getting!

What is a public meeting?

A while ago I was reading that the Winchester Town Forum wanted to hold some public meetings for some issues (for example the River Park Leisure Centre). As all council meetings are normally public I was wondering what would be different here. It turns out these would be bigger meetings with the public invited that are normally held in the main hall of the Guildhall and they would serve two purposes, a) to inform and b) to get an insight in the public's opinion.

Crossing for Worthy Road

Again, no news, and this is something that Dominic Hiscock is dealing with. Unfortunately he wasn't at the surgery.

Fracking

Lynne had forwarded this question to me, to find out what the council knows about a fracking license being issued in King's Worthy (see this article in Hampshire Chronicle). As the council has no say on this anymore (decisions have been moved to other departments to make it harder to stop plans) there was no answer at this time. I requested to find out whether the council has any position at all as people have concerns about the groundwater getting polluted.

Don't forget: The next Councillor's Surgery will be Thursday 5 September!