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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If you want to receive news (approximately monthly) from the Community Group about Abbotts Barton, please enter your name and email address below:

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Wednesday, 17 December 2014

News Roundup - Merry Christmas

17 December! How did we get here? Only another 7 doors to open on our advent calendars!


It might be slightly early for some and not everybody might be celebrating the same way or even at all at this time of the year but whatever you do, as my time is sparse, let me post this already:


May the new year bring you lots of happiness and most importantly good health!

Many of you will have received our winter themed fridge magnets by now, I hope you like them as much as we do:


There was a lot happening over the last months in Winchester. I hope that you took the time to comment on the Draft Local Plan 2 and also on the Silver Hill plans. Now we need to wait and see what happens to all of these.

None of the Abbotts Barton Community Group management group made it to the December Councillor's Surgery, so there are no updates from us at the moment. The next surgery will be on 8 January 2015 (the second Thursday for once), starting at 7:30pm in the Hyde Parish hall. As always, if there is anything you would like us to bring up, let us know. You can either speak to Lynne, Jane, or myself or let us know via the Contact tab on this website.

You might have noticed that over the last months I didn't include many news items into our New Roundups, as they were too far apart and news weren't so new any more by the time I got round to writing them down. If you are interested to find out what's going on on a regular basis but don't want to go and search for the relevant items yourself, please do one (or all) of the following:

  • Like our Facebook community group page and join our forum.
  • Follow us on Twitter.
  • Alternatively, come back to our website often and look at the Twitter feed in the right column. (If you are a mobile user make sure to switch of the mobile view to do so, you can do that at the bottom of the page.)

Have a lovely festive break!

All the best,
Sylke

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Today at the Winchester March

Some pictures from the event:

Quite a big group had assembled on the
recreation ground by 11am. Hazel Agombar
from Friends Of The Earth is leading the way!

Just before we started marching.

If you look closely you can see Councillor Tait taking
a peek at us (he is in front of the white building).

Not the only dog on the march but quite possibly the cutest one!

The crowd is gathering in front of the Guildhall.

Bumped into our ward councillor Jim Maynard!

Ward councillor Dominic Hiscock and
prospective MP Jackie Porter were also present.

Speeches from the stairs, at this point
it was Councillor Gottlieb's turn.

Unfortunately we didn't get to see the dancers, there were simply too many people coming into the area - which actually isn't a bad thing at all!

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

News Roundup

Hello all, just a very quick News Roundup to let you know about the Winchester March and a few other things!

Winchester March


If you have found yourself being unhappy with how Winchester City Council is going about building projects (e.g. Silver Hill) or consultations (e.g. the one about the council house development in Abbotts Barton, or the one re the Leisure Centre), you will have the chance to join other Wintonians on a march from North Walls Recreation Ground to the Guildhall on 29 November! This march is being organised as peaceful and non-political (i.e. not being organised by a political party), and with the help of various protest/action/community groups from Winchester. More details can be found on the (very short) Winchester March website and in this Hampshire Chronicle article. If you are free that day, please join me and hopefully many other people from Abbotts Barton on this march - and bring the whole family, this is about the future of Winchester!

On Wednesday evening I will be at an organisational meeting for this march: the organisers are looking for people to help as stewards along the route. Is there anybody who is able and would like to help? Please let me know via the Contact page! For our street champions: we would also like to distribute postcards about the event throughout Abbotts Barton and are hoping that you will be able to help us again! If there is anybody else who would like to give a helping hand every now and then, please don't hesitate to contact us! Even the smallest contribution is appreciated!

What's going on in Winchester?


Today there will be the open meeting "Shaping our future: the Local Plan for Winchester District" organised by WinACC and the City of Winchester Trust at United Church in Jewry Street: start time is 7.30pm, with refreshments from 7.15pm. The meeting is free, all welcome.

Tomorrow the Council is displaying Local Plan 2 Consultation documents in the Discovery Centre (3pm to 8:30pm). You can find an online comment form and all the documents via this page on the City Council website. I am particularly interested in how the City Council managed to ignore completely the statement from September 2013 and put the same plans back in place without consulting anybody!

Have you seen the analysis of the various options re the Leisure Centre as published by the Council recently? The information is available on the City Council website.

Other


Sadly our free trainer-run fitness sessions are now over, they were so much fun! Thank you so much to Charlie, who managed to keep us engaged over seven weeks in total in the end!

There are still some people interested in continuing a weekly fitness routine, and we are still meeting up in the park on Sunday afternoons repeating the exercises we learned from Charlie. If you are interested in joining us, send me a message with your phone number via the Contact page, so that we can keep you up to date about the time (which is getting slightly earlier every Sunday as the sun is setting earlier every week). This coming Sunday we are going to meet at 3:45! Why don't you just join us?

And finally, with the weather getting dreary and the days getting darker, I thought I share with you a recipe for the perfect winter warmer: Spicy Dal and Carrot Soup. Oh how I wished I had taken a photo earlier - it looked and smelled so very appetising and it did not disappoint! :) UPDATE: here is a photo:


Keep warm and dry!
Sylke

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Councillor's Surgery November

After last month's cancelled surgery, this month Jane and Sylke were welcomed by Paul Williams (Local Campaigner) and Jackie Porter (Prospective MP), instead of Jim Maynard and Dominic Hiscock (two of our local ward City Councillors) who were attending a Council meeting.

The main topic of our meeting were the housing development plans for Abbotts Barton and how little democratic involvement of residents there is by the City Council. We pointed out that there was the Council Leader's announcement in September 2013 in which we were told that the Council in the foreseeable future was only going to build houses along Hillier Way and in place of some of the garages. This statement is getting completely ignored by the current plans as laid out in the documents published recently by the City Council for the Local Plan 2 consultation (see the Save The Parks site for a guide to the draft documents).

We also talked about the City Council's September press release re Abbotts Barton and Stanmore in which Councillor Mike Southgate was quoted saying "The planning frameworks for Stanmore and Abbotts Barton were developed with the community." We have been wondering about this statement and have actually emailed Cllr Southgate to ask for a clarification from him on how exactly these plans were developed with the community. We do not remember any consultation besides the one in late 2012.

We were promised by Jackie and Paul that some questions would be asked about how the development plans just went back to how they were in 2012 despite the 2013 announcement.

We also pointed out that the Local Plan 2 Consultation that will take place on Wednesday 12 November in the Discovery Centre has a very awkward time slot for many people, especially parents of school children (3pm to 8:30pm). It was explained to us that the same plans will be available for viewing at the open meeting that is taking place the day before (organised by WinACC and the City of Winchester Trust) at United Church in Jewry Street: start time is 7.30pm, with refreshments from 7.15pm. The meeting is free, all welcome. So people who cannot make the Wednesday could make use of the Tuesday meeting if the timing suits them better.

Apart from that we asked if they could let us know if there were any news about some additional noticeboards that we were hoping to get which we had been talking about with Jim Maynard two months ago. They promised to get back to us.

The next Councillor's Surgery will be Thursday 4 December!


Saturday, 25 October 2014

Happy Autumn!

Autumn in Abbotts Barton is well and truly in its stride. I think autumn in Abbotts Barton is always lovely and still produces a bounty for us after the glorious blackberries of the summer – we’ve now got a wonderful crop of sweet chestnuts on the green at Dyson Drive as well as on the main park (I confess I don’t like them but Lynne, the Chair of ABCG, recommends pricking the skins and then microwaving them for a couple of minutes).

For those of you with children, the half term break is finally here – we hope you have a great week and find some nice autumnal – and free – things to do. How about a walk through the nature reserve in Winnall, a visit to Riverford’s Pumpkin Day on Saturday, leaf collecting (Sylke. the Secretary of ABCG. has made a gorgeous leaf garland), puddle jumping and of course getting ready for Halloween!

Trick or Treating is one of the highlights of the year in Abbotts Barton – there is a real sense of community as our neighbours open their doors to all the little witches and wizards hoping for a treat!

We’d love to know what you get up to so please send us your autumn and Halloween photos – or maybe post them direct to our Facebook page (more options on the Contact tab).

We’ll be updating you in November with news from our Ward Councillors’ Surgery (Thursday 6 November, 7.30-8.30 in Hyde Parish Hall) and we’ll be reminding you all to attend the Local Plan 2 consultation event on Wednesday 12 November – this is your opportunity to find out what the Council has planned for Abbotts Barton! (The consultation period has started yesterday and will end 5 December.) According to Hampshire Chronicle, on 11 November there will also be an open meeting where Steve Opacic, head of strategic planning at the city council, will answer questions about the plan.

Jane
Treasurer, Abbotts Barton Community Group

P.S. we are always looking for volunteers to join the committee so please contact us if you want to get involved!

Friday, 26 September 2014

News Roundup

It's been over a month since the last News Roundup - but have we been active! As you know we started with our free Abbotts Barton Gets Active sessions in early September and we are just over half way through. So far our sessions had a good number of participants each time, ranging from somewhere above 10 to around 25 to 30 at its best times. You can still join in, no need to worry about it being too strenuous or too easy, there is always a variety of exercises that can be done and our professional trainer is keeping a good watch over us! Just wear something comfortable that allows you free movement. Please note that there will be a session this coming Sunday after all (the events tab has been updated)!

We are aiming for one last Picnic in the Park for this year on Sunday 5 October, from noon to 3pm in the Abbotts Barton Park. Everybody welcome!

Hooray, we have got two goalposts in the park now - and people are using them (and the picnic benches that were installed in August) on a regular basis! Thank you so much for this, Winchester City Council!



Many local teenagers and also younger children are happy to see the new skate park has opened, it does look fantastic! If you can't ride a skateboard yourself, take a look at this video to see what it must be like:



Membership reminder: it is important that we as a group can show that we represent at least some part of the community and therefore we need members! While many have signalled that they would like to be members, we still have a number of people whose email addresses don't show up as confirmed, which means they might not be receiving our emails. If you think you should be getting them and don't currently do so, please sign up again via the Contact tab on this website - and don't forget to confirm the subscription via the link in the email that you should be getting. If you don't get an email after pressing the button, please check your spam or junk mail folder. If there's nothing there, please contact us via the form on the Contact tab, maybe we can help. If you know somebody who isn't online but still would like to be a member, could you be so kind and send us their details (also via the form on the Contact tab) and we will confirm with them offline. Thank you!

Please note: the next Councillor's Surgery for our ward for once will not be on the first Thursday of the month but on the second one, on 9 October from 7:30pm to 8:30pm in the Hyde Parish Hall.

Council news


Winchester City Council has published slightly updated documents on its Cabinet meeting agenda from 22 September. The main bit about Abbotts Barton is still in Chapter 3, starting page 37. You can find a guide to the documents on the Save The Parks website.

There are still lots of development projects being worked on and it seems the Council and the public still don't always agree: Public and councillors clash over consultation on Winchester developments.

Consultations



There is an E-Panel that you can sign up to on the WCC site: "Winchester City Council is establishing a new consultation panel to help when consulting about Council initiatives, activities and various proposals. The panel will be an 'electronic panel' and people will be consulted via email and the completion of online survey forms."

Other news


Winchester Round Table: "Have you got the date of the Winchester Bonfire 2014 in your diary yet? It will be held on Saturday November the 8th in River Park!"

Trading Standards: "Fed up of door to door salesmen? Over 44,000 homes in Hampshire are now within No Cold Calling Zones." Setting up a No Cold Calling Zone - I would love that but would struggle finding time to get this going, anybody?

Solar panels to be won by primary schools! Just nominate your favourite one!


Friday, 12 September 2014

Abbotts Barton housing development plans almost back to square one!

On Wednesday I went to a meeting about the Local Development Framework (LDF) part 2 arranged by Winchester City Council officers to get a briefing on what the Council's housing officers will be presenting at the next Cabinet meeting (22 September) and then in early October to a full Council meeting. Our meeting was held by Andrew Palmer (Head of New Homes Delivery) and Simon Maggs (Housing Strategy & Development Manager).

The LDF part 2 is in the process of being finalised and once it is ready, it will be published on-line for everybody to take a look. One of the reasons why these Local Plan policies are needed is to make sure that new houses don't get built where nobody wants them, for example in the green belt around town, outside of the city borders. If developers could prove that a City Council is not building enough houses (every town has to follow certain government guidelines on that), they could get the OK to build houses outside of the city borders if they appealed and took this to court. So the officers have to identify enough spaces where houses can be built within the city borders to prevent such actions. (Here is a Hampshire Chronicle article that describes how having a Local Plan has worked out for Winchester before.)

The Council officers had invited a number of people from Abbotts Barton (mainly from the Abbotts Barton Action Group and the Save The Parks group) who had interacted with them about the council housing development plans in 2012/2013, to assure us that the LDF is really only about policies. The detailed plans will be worked out later and could look slightly different depending on local feedback via a consultation. These plans are what they called 'the worst case scenario' in terms of the number of houses they want to build; we were told the plan would say 50 houses for Abbotts Barton but the target is more around 35 to 37. This is slightly worrying as the number for the plan has not really changed from what was envisioned in 2012/13 (see STP site and links given below the post) - and I am wondering which ones of these 50 houses are 'flexible' for the Council to get it down to the lower number and to let us keep much needed green space. Compared to a statement by the Council made in 2013 the current plan as explained to us has almost gone back to the original set-up!

Most importantly, we were told that there will be a six week long public consultation for the parts of the LDF that relate to Abbotts Barton, starting 17 October (similar to what we had before in 2012), and that we will hear from the Council again in early 2015 with the results of that. Once all of the comments have been analysed and incorporated the housing development plans will be adapted (if necessary) and eventually they will be sent to an inspector who will then approve the adoption of them (or not).

  • The attending Council officers explained that the Council's first goal for Abbotts Barton is to build houses around Symonds Court at Hillier Way, this is nothing new. The LDF part 2 document will give us an idea of what kind of dwellings are planned, with some example drawings. Apparently the houses planned will be mainly aimed at people who want to downsize and therefore not be as big as people feared in the past.
  • The next location that was mentioned - many will be very disappointed with this one - was Dyson Drive. As many of you know, a village green application has been made by a number of Abbotts Barton residents and the decision about this has still not been made (backlog!) and there is also no time frame on when to expect this either. The Council would contest a decision for this area to be made a village green.
  • The Council officers stated that it was understood by the Council that most Abbotts Barton residents really don't want any houses to be built on the park along Charles Close and that there were no plans for that any more, apart from a couple of houses at the end of Charles Close near to where the big trees are (which would stay). This is mostly good news and residents can voice their concerns about houses at the bottom of Charles Close at the consultation.
  • In the aforementioned statement by the Council in 2013,  the community was told that the Council would look at the garage sites at Chaundler Road to build new houses, so we asked about the current plans for them. Even though the Council now has a better idea on how the 152 garages are used (100 of them are actually let to Abbotts Barton residents, 52 are either void or let to people outside of Abbotts Barton), they have not worked on this idea further so far as according to them it is very difficult to sort this out. They were also waiting initially to see how the new parking restrictions would work out for our area to ascertain how important these garages are. Personally I'm disappointed with this direction (concentrating on green spaces rather than so-called brownfield sites), and I would like to encourage the Council to continue working on the concepts of more open parking and conversion of garage space to smaller storage units that have been mentioned before (without losing all of the garages) - but I do understand that some residents who use them would be very unhappy if they would have to move to a different garage to make things like that happen.
  • Colbourne Court garages are not on the agenda any more due to ownership complications.

In between all of this we also talked about the Scout Hut proposal and the officers seemed happy to hear that the Abbotts Barton residents in attendance supported this (with some reservations) - as they would like to move this along so that they can tackle the antisocial behaviour in this area and the Scouts get to use the land.

We can only hope that the Council will set up a better consultation this time (no more uncontrolled red and green dot exercises please) and that our concerns will be taken seriously. I still believe it is a good start that the Council started a dialogue this time ahead of any announcements!

-----------------
Additional links:
Abbotts Barton Planning Framework part 1 (PDF, 24.7 MB) version from February 2013
Abbotts Barton Planning Framework part 2 (PDF, 22.4 MB) version from February 2013


Monday, 8 September 2014

Local shopping options

One of the items that came up during the Housing Development consultations that were run by Winchester City Council in late 2012 was that local people would really like a local shop again. There probably would have been the option to set up a community run shop in the Barn Store before the 'fish shop' moved in but this never happened as nobody ever took the initiative to set that up. I'm not blaming anybody, that would have been a lot of work! So we are stuck without a local shop. With that in mind we have been wondering what other options there are and have come up with these two which we think might be helpful especially to those who haven't been living for too long in Abbotts Barton:

1) Hyde Newsagent

This one is not exactly in Abbotts Barton but it is still the closest shop to us. Jane put a flyer for the newsagent into the noticeboard a little while ago and on there is a list of useful supplies they sell on it (we've expanded it a bit here):

  • hot and cold food made to order (including rolls, baked potatoes and sausage rolls)
  • hot drinks
  • national lottery
  • newspapers and magazines
  • bread, milk, eggs
  • groceries e.g. biscuits, cake, tea bags
  • a big selection of sweets for 10p each
  • stamps, greetings cards and stationery
  • analgesics

These might also be interesting:

  • newspaper delivery to Abbotts Barton
  • dry-cleaning
  • phone top-ups

2) Milk & More


This is the good old-fashioned milkman with a modern face, check them out on the web! Apart from milk and a good selection of useful food items, you can also order garden compost - who would have thought! For the milk intolerant and/or vegans amongst us they also have soy and almond milk on offer.

Milk & More deliver nice and early here in Abbotts Barton on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and you can change or update your order on-line until 9pm the evening before.


Councillor's Surgery September

Lynne and Sylke went this time and spoke to Jim Maynard and Dominic Hiscock (two of our local ward City Councillors).

Picnic benches and goal posts for Abbotts Barton – the picnic benches have arrived and we are very happy about them. Now it’s time to ask for some ‘normal’ benches that can be used by those people who have trouble climbing into the picnic benches. We are still waiting for the goal posts to be done.

Free exercise classes – we had our first one of these last Wednesday and with about 20 people attending this was deemed a success. Thank you to our Councillors for their support with our grant request!

Local Development Framework Part 2 / housing developments – next week the Cabinet will look at the updated 20 year LDF that will also contain the housing development plan for Abbotts Barton, and following that it will be presented to full Council in October.

Noticeboards – we asked if there would a possibility to get more noticeboards for Abbotts Barton to reach more people. Jim Maynard suggested three more, possibly one wall fixed and two free standing. We would like one at the corner of Oglander Road/Hillier Way, another one on the wall next to the bus stop on Worthy Road just before Hyde Street. A third one should go somewhere on the ‘upper’ side of Abbotts Barton, any suggestions?

Grass cutting – we reported that the grass cutting had become more regular compared to earlier in the year. Soon we will have to see how the collection of leaves will work out.

Abbotts Walk ‘pond’ – we were trying to find out whether anything had been done to the infiltration basin over the summer but nobody knew for certain. Lynne will go and take a look at the state of it.

Francis Gardens alley way lighting – Lynne asked about whether something better could be done to fix the ongoing problem with poor lighting on the alley way (trees are blocking the light from the lanterns). The councillors promised to take this to the County Council.

We asked if any updates were available re Worthy Road crossing, Scouts Hut, and Football Club – but at this time nothing new was available.

Leisure Centre – our councillors are waiting for a report that is supposed to be prepared about the options available and recommendations to be made.

Skate Park – the construction is taking slightly longer than expected but it should be finished in about two weeks’ time!


The next Councillor's Surgery will be Thursday 9 October (not 2 October)!

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Community Group membership

If you were at the Big Lunch in June you might remember that we were asking attendants to become members of our group. We had a very good response and collected many names and emails on the day and all of those have finally been added to our mailing list. (Some of you will have received an automated email asking you to complete the sign-up process for the website blog, please do so as the website is our main means of communication. If you are a Hotmail user, please also check your spam folder and add us to your address book.)

Thank you to everyone who has joined us so far!

We are now a formal entity which allows us to apply for grants, as such we are required to have a membership list. Having a membership also increases our influence when meeting people such as Council officials, as it shows that we are representing a larger group of people.

Being a member can involve as much or as little participation as you wish, and there is always the opportunity to opt out at any stage. The aims of the Abbotts Barton Community Group are to:

  • Assist Abbotts Barton residents in finding out about any local issues that might affect us.
  • Help Abbotts Barton residents get involved in the local community.
  • Find out how we can make where we live even better – and do something about it!

We would like the members of the group to support us in achieving these aims. This would usually be by receiving our communications (either online via website subscription, Facebook, Twitter, or simply by checking the noticeboard) as well as letting us know your opinions about local issues and the direction of the group. There will also be community events, including an AGM. If you are currently receiving the automated emails from our website we would like to count you as a ‘member’; please let us know if you would rather not be counted as one (you can do that by sending us a short message via the Contact tab of this website, there is no need to unsubscribe from the site). Membership is free.

In addition to being a member you could become a ‘street champion’: this would involve promoting events in your street (or nearby) by, for example, delivering leaflets a few times a year.  Please do get in touch if this is something you would like to do.

We would be interested in any feedback you have about membership or other aspects of the group.

And of course, we would welcome anybody who would like to become a new member of the group! If you would like to do so, simply enter your email address into the Subscription box on the Contact tab. Thank you!


Sunday, 31 August 2014

Picnic benches have arrived!

Thank you so much to Winchester City Council for providing us with three picnic benches for our park!

They arrived earlier this week and can all be seen from the road:


Two are near the fenced in playground and one is close to the flat area that's often used for football games:



Sunday 7 September will be the perfect opportunity to try some of those out as we are having another Picnic in the Park from noon to 3pm.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Abbotts Barton Get Active: session times confirmed!

Abbotts Barton Gets Active! Session Times Confirmed: Abbotts Barton Community Group have been awarded funding from Winchester City Council's Small Grants Fund for a series of free fitness sessions in the park at Abbotts Barton! They will be running on Wednesdays 7-8pm and Sundays 4-5pm from Wednesday 3rd September for 6 weeks (a complete list of dates is on our Events tab). No excuses - the sessions will be for all ages (over 16) and all abilities! All you have to do is dust down your trainers and turn up. Charlie Young of Personal Best (http://www.fitclubwinchester.co.uk/) is taking the sessions, so please contact her if you require further information: charliept@yahoo.com
or on her mobile, 07736 937 517.  There will be a form to fill in prior to starting your first class, so come along a little earlier if you can.


Saturday, 16 August 2014

News Roundup

Has it really been two months? Sorry, life simply got on top of me and despite my best intentions I never managed to write an update. But here we are now, I'll keep it short - and I have some great news for you:

Abbotts Barton Gets Active! Watch this space... Abbotts Barton Community Group have been awarded funding from Winchester City Council's Small Grants Fund for a series of free fitness sessions in the park at Abbotts Barton! Details to follow, hoping to start the 1st week of September. No excuses - the sessions will be for all ages (over 16) and all abilities! All you have to do is dust down your trainers and turn up. (Big thanks to Jane, our treasurer, for all of her hard work on this!)

There will be another Picnic in the Park on 7 September (as always from noon to 3pm)! We are also planning one for 5 October. Please come along (to either or both!) if you are around.

In early August there was a public meeting with Council officers for those who had shown an interest regarding the Abbotts Barton Open Space Consultation. This first of all resulted in some urgent cutting of overgrowth down Hillier Road that had been blocking the sight lines for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers. Apart from that three sites were located for picnic tables, two by the children's play area and one close to where the single goal post is now. We will be getting a second goalpost and the existing one will be relocated to maximise the flat space.

Reminder: don't forget that almost one year ago the new parking permits for zone 3A ('lower' Abbotts Barton) were introduced, so everybody who got a permit then will need one soon again! I went down on Wednesday, was sent to a very friendly lady and got everything done in no time at all.

Council news


The most debated item recently seems to be the Silver Hill project. If you haven't seen the latest articles in the Hampshire Chronicle, here they are:
17 July: Winchester civic chiefs to look again at affordable housing at Silver Hill
7 August: Winchester Cabinet approves the dropping of affordable housing from Silver Hill scheme
14 August: £15m profit predicted for Silver Hill, says confidential council report

Health


MP to host second Ask the NHS meeting in Winchester - this one is aimed at "constituents who are at my age and stage in life, with young kids, to come along" (Steve Brine).

Something to think about: NHS Organ Donor Register - it's really fast and easy to sign up.

Events


This Sunday: Winchester CycleFest! On the Broadway from 10am to 2pm!

Bank Holiday Sunday 24 August there will be the City Behaviour Festival at the Winchester Football Club with live music from Winchester bands.

Winchester Football Club are holding a FREE one hour taster coaching session for all children over the age of 5 on Wednesday 27 August, 11-12. Please email prolineacademy@btinternet.com if you are coming along so they have an idea of numbers! If this event is popular, they will hopefully run regular sessions on Saturday mornings from September.



Thursday, 19 June 2014

News Roundup

Yippee, the Nuns Walk path along the allotments has been done completely! We are very grateful to Hampshire County Council (and Jim Maynard for insisting they do all of it)! All Abbotts Barton babies in pushchairs and toddlers on scooters will love this new smooth track; you can tell clearly which part of the path was better liked by this little man:



Apparently his expression changed immediately after he was pushed off the smooth part! (Photo taken during the time when only one half was done.) I've also heard feedback that the new path is making the walk for the not so able a lot easier and safer.

We are renaming our Picnic & Play events to Picnic in the Park, so that everybody feels welcome, not just parents with children! The next one is coming up on the first Sunday in July, noon to 3pm! We are looking for champions for our picnic events, just to say hello to attendees. This is one of the easiest jobs there are, no planning involved, apart from attending yourself. Would you be interested, and if it's only once in a while? Please get in touch. Keep this in mind: Citizens Advice Bureau research proves benefits of volunteering! :)

Who is missing a glass bowl (had pasta salad in it)? It was left behind at the Big Lunch.

Abbotts Walk residents, you might want to get your boiler cables checked according to the experience of one family in this development.

Council news


If you haven't heard yet, Winchester has a new first citizen and a new city council cabinet.

Your feedback is wanted


As we know Winchester Scouts petition families to help them find new home, and you can still talk to them about their proposal. We would also be very interested in your feedback! The article is actually slightly incorrect: the 6th meet currently at Holy Trinity Church Hall, and nobody can really say yet what is going to happen in a new Scout Hut during the day until it's been discussed with and approved by the Council.

The West Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group is holding its annual general meeting on Thursday June 26. It is open to all. This will also be the first chance for local residents to find out about priorities and plans for local healthcare for the next five years.The meeting takes place at 6pm in the Bapsy Hall, Winchester Guildhall.

Winchester City Council is set to crack on with the Silver Hill project (latest proposals) but we might not be getting what we need. Take a look at the Winchester deserves better website to find out more.

Hampshire County Council is running a consultation about Hampshire's waste recycling centres.

(An overview of current consultations and local issues can be found in the Have Your Say section of our website.)

Environment


Earlier in June we had this: Residents could lose rights about fracking under their homes / Concerns voiced over fracking

And now this: Controversial wind turbine plans at Bullington Cross rejected

At least in Lymington a community-owned solar farm takes shape.

Things to do


Has anyone noticed the Fun Fair setting up at the Garrison Ground in Winchester? It will be open this week only, Wednesday to Friday from 5pm to 9pm, Saturday 2pm until 9pm, and Sunday 2pm until 6pm. All rides and inflatables cost around £1.50, £2.00 for dodgems [2 people], £2.00-£2.50 for stalls with prizes! (Info as published by WCC.)

Free events and activities for 11 - 17 year olds this summer holiday can be found at saferwinchester.co.uk.

Winchester bursts into life this summer with live festivals, check out what's coming up.

Other news


Abbey Mill in Winchester handed over to River Cottage



Abbotts Barton Open Space Consultation Results

In regards to the consultation that was running in May we received this from Winchester City Council today:
The consultation over the improvements to the open space at Abbotts Barton has finished and we can now announce the results:

Footballs Goals
Yes24
No10

Picnic benches
Yes30
No5

Use of benches
Yes27
No8

In addition to the votes above we had lots of really useful comments and would like to thank all residents who took the time to complete the questionnaire.

As the majority of residents were in favour of the options proposed the City Council will be taking these forward. Residents who asked for further involvement in the process will be invited to a meeting on the open space to agree the location of the new equipment.

Thank you to everybody who gave feedback to the Council! I am looking forward to being able to sit on a bench in the park at some point! Sylke :)

Monday, 9 June 2014

Councillor's Surgery June

This time it was Jane and Sylke who went to the Councillor's Surgery, and it was great to see all three of our of our local ward City Councillors, Jim Maynard, Dominic Hiscock, and Sue Nelmes in attendance.

Nuns Walk path – we thanked Jim Maynard for following up on the path being only resurfaced half-way and making sure that it would be done all the way over to Hyde. Work on this will continue this week.

Grass cutting – we were told that the contractor didn’t do what was supposed to be done not only here in Abbotts Barton but all over Winchester. The grass should be cut regularly and should definitely not be getting as high as it did in May. Sylke also enquired about the unkempt pavement area on the corner next to her house and was advised to report this to HCC.

Abbotts Walk ‘pond’ – the infiltration basin has been spoken about at the Council and the conclusion is that it was built wrongly and has become impervious due to debris blocking the ground. It will be dug out again to make it work the way it is supposed to work.

Recent Council meetings – we asked if there was anything interesting to report from the recent Council meetings (Council and Cabinet): Councillor Ian Tait is back leading the Cabinet (Housing) Committee.

HCC consultation about the Waste and Recycling Centres – we were wondering what was behind this consultation (could it be that they want to close some centres?) but were assured that this is more about the kinds of waste brought along and how much of them to accept (as in too much builders’ waste that should go to a different place).

Hyde and Abbotts Barton Good Neighbour Scheme – Jane enquired if the Councillors knew anything about this scheme but it was unknown to them.

Community space – we discussed Jane’s recent meeting with the manager of the football club and how we are hoping to work with their new Commercial Manager Jane Carley to publicise events to the community and also make the club more attractive to local youngsters. There is currently no news re the Scout Hut plans.

Leisure Centre – the ward councillors are still very interested in finding out how much people are in favour of the leisure centre staying put rather than moving to Bar End. Sylke said that everybody she talked to really wants it to stay. It is important that local people give this kind of feedback direct to the Councillors to help influence the Council’s discussions about this! We also discussed that if a new centre should actually be built on the area that currently houses the tennis courts and the football pitch, that this does not necessarily mean that Winchester loses a cricket pitch and a lovely field to play on, as there is still enough space for the cricket pitch to be moved. Most of the field would still be there to be played on by children! The important thing would be to make sure that the land occupied by the current centre would be used in such a way that it makes up for the loss - space could be made available there for the tennis courts and the football pitch.

The next Councillor's Surgery will be Thursday 3 July!

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Big Lunch 2014


First of all, thank you to everybody who turned up to our Big Lunch event this year! Especially all the newcomers to our area, it was so nice to meet them all!!! (You can already see, this post will be full of exclamation marks...)


I am so, so tired now, I've talked to a lot of people today! But so have Jane (below in blue dress) and Lynne (below in brown trousers)! If you were there you can't have missed us, the three women with the clipboards (I so wished somebody had taken a photo of us together, nevermind)! We much appreciated everybody being so nice to us and giving us their names and email addresses for various lists. We will work on those over the coming weeks.



Once again, people were very generous and brought along great things to eat, but again, I missed the perfect photo opportunity; I took my photos too early, with only half the lovely things being there:




We had lots of helpers today too, many more than in the years before! Big thanks to all of those who helped set up and to also tidy up afterwards! (I don't have everybody's names, sorry!) Very important: a big thank you to Jane! Without her this event wouldn't have happened! She got all the things you can get from the Big Lunch organisation, she printed posters, created cards and name collection sheets for our Community Group, she got decorations, furniture, cutlery, beakers, serviettes, brought toys for the children, and possibly more! Of course some other people contributed with stuff like that too, not to forget Frank who made sure we had 50 inflated balloons! Thank you to everyone!

We were so lucky with the weather this year, it was perfect, not too hot, not too cold. The children looked like they enjoyed themselves tremendously even though some of the toys of choice looked quite scary (pirate cutlass, Minecraft sword and pickaxe, various types of rackets, and a rocket shooting device). Many played swing ball, and tried their hand at cricket and throwing huge Frisbees.




Good thing is that our park is big enough to allow to be away from it all too:



Update - I received a list of names of all the people who helped with the Big Lunch. So here it comes (in no particular order):

Ben, Frank, Andrew, Colin, Louise, Kevin,
Luke, Hiko, Kerry, Jemima, Caleb, Lexie,
Jane, Sylke, Lynne, Tim, Jasmine, Dylan,
Marina, Oma Gertrud, Kerry, Grace, Noah,
Yannick, Samuel, Christina

Thank you, all!!!

Thursday, 29 May 2014

News Roundup

I guess many of you are busy with entertaining children during half-term but could I just ask you to spend five minutes on this latest News Roundup? Let me get straight into it!

This Sunday we will have our Big Lunch in the main park off Chaundler Road, 12 to 3pm: a one day get together for neighbours across the UK! Come along with a plate of food to share, your own drink, and something to sit on. Some experimental German cakes provided by me! Volunteers for tidying up afterwards would be very welcome!



We still didn't get consistent feedback about how often our greens should be mown, let's hope there will be one more cut before Sunday.

I think it's a good time to mention ticks again, they like long grass. The Lyme Disease Action page describes very well what should be done to remove ticks. You can either use a removal tool or fine tweezers - but do follow what they are saying on the page to avoid Lyme Disease. A good pre-caution is to wear long trousers when walking through long grass.

Your feedback would be welcome on this: Jane had a very positive meeting earlier this week with David Malone, Director of Football at Winchester City Football Club. The club is keen to engage with the local community and we'll be keeping in touch with David about the Club's plans for the future. David has asked us to gauge interest in Saturday morning football coaching sessions at the club, aimed at girls and boys aged 4-9, all abilities. If you would be interested in your children coming along to these sessions,  please let us know so we can give David an idea of numbers.

We have two consultations that come to an end on Saturday, this is your last chance to have your say on them:


As a 'for your information' - I was wondering for a long time why our Facebook page wasn't visible to anyone who is not signed in to Facebook. It turned out it was a setting limiting the audience to the UK. The setting has been removed and the page can now be used as a source of information for everybody. I'm posting things that I find interesting every day, so if you haven't done so yet, please do go and check it out and maybe add it to your bookmarks. Alternatively there's also our Twitter feed. Going forward, I am planning to use the News Roundup posts only for the most important items due to personal time constraints.

I'm assuming most people will by now know the outcome of the City Council elections, if not, you can see the numbers here published by WCC and/or read this article in the Daily Echo. A low turn-out again, with only 43% of people in our ward actually voting. As somebody put it on Twitter, "If you don't use your right to vote you lose your right to complain."

And finally, the next Councillor's Surgery will be Thursday 5 June from 7:30 to 8:30pm at Hyde Parish Hall.



Thursday, 15 May 2014

News Roundup

I can't believe that another three weeks have passed since I wrote the last News Roundup! A lot has been going on:
  • We as a community group have gone formal and have set up a Management Committee with a Chair (Lynne), Treasurer (Jane), and Secretary (Sylke), and we have got a proper Constitution. There are still lots of things to be discussed about how the group should be organised but this is a start.
  • With the help of many people in the neighbourhood we have distributed a leaflet about the group and our summer events around Abbotts Barton. If you are living in Abbotts Barton and haven't received one or if you are living nearby and are interested, you can view/download it here (the PDF file has an empty page in the middle, make sure to continue to the last page to see everything). A big thank you to everybody who helped! And also welcome to all the new blog subscribers, Facebook likers, and Twitter followers that we got over the last days!
  • On our website we now have have a dedicated section to allow you to find ongoing consultations quickly: Have Your Say!

Local issues


Grass cutting

This year the mowing schedule for our big greens (at Chaundler Road and Dyson Drive) seems to have been changed to nine times per year only (enquired with the WCC Twitter people and one of our local councillors) - in the past this used to happen every single week!

We have already had reports of people finding it difficult to walk across after a couple of weeks of growing, especially with a pushchair, and even after the recent cutting session it's still difficult to cross as the grass in many areas has been flattened rather than cut (probably due to its length before cutting). The long grass is also a trip hazard because you can see the uneven ground with its hidden holes even less well than normally. It's also becoming difficult to play football or other games on the greens. On top of that ticks love long grass and it's easy to pick them up in there.

We have always had issues with the cut grass just being left on the greens but the longer intervals between mowing sessions are just not acceptable in our opinion - especially knowing that in other areas (park at the bottom of Teg Down for example) the grass is immaculate. If you agree, could you please let you know our local councillors if you think the grass needs cutting more often, and report to WCC when the grass is getting too long again?

Footpath along the allotments

Even though the councillors were told a while ago by HCC that some emergency repairs would be done soon to the footpath before more would happen, no action has been taken yet. This is because all resources are concentrating on fixing flood damaged roads. If you think the footpath could do with some faster attention please report it to HCC.


Consultations / Have Your Say


Most important to us, the consultation about our park is still on until 31 May. If you haven't done so yet, please fill out the online survey and submit it to the City Council. We would so love to get some picnic benches, possibly some additional normal benches (so that elderly and disabled people can also enjoy the park without the fear of not being able to get up again from the grass), and a second goal for our football playing children. Please specify to the Council what you would like. And if you are against all of this, you can say that too obviously.

The Scouts will come round soon with their leaflet to ask for your support for a new Scout Hut in Abbotts Barton. Please let us know what you think about this proposal.

The bus route consultation is still open until 31 May. WinACC has published an article that might help you along with your answers.

Don't forget, on Thursday 22 May we will have elections for Winchester City Council and members of the European parliament! Hampshire Chronicle published a list of the Candidates for the City Council and Daily Echo told us that ten European Parliament seats are up for grabs. If you are wondering who to vote for, have a look at 30 statements via votematch.eu. Before you do that, you might want to make sure your perceptions are right, here's a test to take and an article on how wrong the British public is about nearly everything when it comes to facts. Oops.

The next Councillor's Surgery will be Thursday 5 June from 7:30 to 8:30pm at Hyde Parish Hall.


General news


You don't need to be green to find it annoying that a walking shortcut to the station has been blocked off!

Station Approach development on track for early 2015

Slower speed limit for Winchester city centre


Environment


From a Greenpeace mail I received in April: 'It looks like David Cameron is planning to sneakily change the law to let fracking companies drill under our homes for gas, without our permission. [...] Until yesterday, this change in the law was just a rumour. But now the Financial Times has run a front page story (free to read but registration needed) reporting that "the coalition will... change trespass laws, allowing companies to drill without permission..." The report says that David Cameron could include these outrageous plans to strip away our rights in the Queen’s Speech in just a few weeks time.' If you disagree with that, here is the Greenpeace petition to sign.

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Finally a couple of photos from the Grand Day Out as organised by Save The Rec:





Saturday, 10 May 2014

Scouts Proposal for a new Scout Hut in Abbotts Barton

By now many of you have heard that the Winchester Scouts are proposing to build a new Scout hut on the wasteland next to the Air Cadets’ building. Yesterday most St Bede’s pupils should have come home with a leaflet that will eventually be distributed by the Scouts all around Abbotts Barton to ask for support for their scheme.

The leaflet and more information is available on the Scouts website. This is the plan for the area as presented in the leaflet:


As a Community Group we are inviting your views on this to find out what the community wants, so that we can make an informed contribution to the Council who will have to decide on this proposal in the end. You can comment at various locations:


We meet regularly with the local Councillors and have also been invited to meet with the Council Officers to discuss your views.  One of our aims is to find out about the process for deciding whether the lease will be approved and with what conditions. The Scouts’ leaflet and petition are only the start of the process.

Here are our thoughts:

  • We are hopeful that this project will finally help the Abbotts Barton community to get access to a local building for community group meetings and other community driven activities.  Some Scout buildings do rent out rooms and in this case the Scouts have offered that community groups can use the building when it is not used by the Scouts.  
  • The main issue is how much access the community will have, how frequently, and at what times.  We will be talking to the Scouts and the Council about this in order to try and put the community needs at the heart of the process.  If you wish to agree to the Scouts’ proposal we recommend that you also put on the form or the petition what community use you would like to see and you think could reasonably be requested.  Please tell us what you wrote, so that we are in the best position to represent your views.    
  • We recognise that the area will need to be fenced off as this project will not happen without that, the fence is needed for safeguarding purposes. The Scouts couldn't use an area for camping that might have needles or dog fouling left around for example. In addition to that, many parents in Abbotts Barton weren't happy with the Council’s proposal to make this an open area (as a replacement for lost play space in the heart of Abbotts Barton) due to ongoing anti-social behaviour issues and not being able to oversee the area; having it properly fenced off will stop the anti-social behaviour issues.
We hope you can take the time to read the leaflet, consider our views and leave us some feedback!

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Councillor's Surgery May

Lynne and Sylke went to the May Councillor's Surgery and talked to Jim Maynard, one of our local ward City Councillors.

Play Areas – we talked about the skate park development and mentioned that it wasn't ideal that the MUGA (multi-games area) had not been moved first so that local teenagers would still have a place to go to for activities. We were told that with everything going on (Leisure Centre plans being under consideration and the skate park grant coming through), the Council had to act fast to a) not lose the grant money and b) to make sure the skate park wouldn't get lost completely in the Leisure Centre dispute. There is still a plan to set the MUGA up on the old putting green (area in front of the kayaking building) but this might take a while.

We reported that we had communications with a Council officer about the Abbotts Barton green space consultation (received an online link that we posted on our various web areas) and that households close to the green got a consultation leaflet to fill out.

Recent Council meetings – we asked if there was anything interesting to report from the recent Council meetings (Cabinet and Traffic and Parking) and were told that residents around the Courtney Road area (‘upper’ side of Abbotts Barton) should expect to get very soon a consultation letter regarding parking restrictions that should alleviate the pressure from commuter parking.
The Council also agreed that the 20 mph speed limit will be introduced in Winchester city centre and Hyde over the corporate year. But rather than being set up all at once it will be rolled out bit by bit.

Road Safety – we mentioned the traffic increase along Francis Gardens due to the blockage of the Worthy Road entrance to Abbotts Walk and the dangerous driving that is partly caused by there being no lines on the roads. This is tricky as the area is still a building site and Redrow is responsible for road markings until the County Council adopts the roads. It might be worth for residents to report this to Hampshire County Council nevertheless (you could email Fiona Mathers at Fiona.mather@hants.gov.uk). Lynne explained that there had been a request for lighting for the little alley way that leads from Francis Gardens to Worthy Road that had never gone anywhere, despite there being an accident some time ago that could have been avoided if there was light. Again, any improvement requests needs to be made to the County Council.

Community space – we asked whether the Councillors had managed to talk to the football club owner about us possibly having access to a room for community group meetings. This is being worked on. We mentioned that there seemed to be a lot more events recently at the club which have an effect on the community, not only by the traffic caused but also in terms of noise levels, and that it would be only fair for the club to give something back to the community.

Leisure Centre - Our ward councillors are still very keen to hear people’s views about where they would like to see a leisure centre: “Many options are being looked and if it is rebuilt there is an outside chance of Bar End and, though that may well not be possible, we would like to know what people think of that.” Please give them some feedback when they come round with a leaflet!


The next Councillor's Surgery will be Thursday 5 June!

Monday, 21 April 2014

News Roundup

This one is going to be a long one, apologies - and I've already omitted all of the items that are not relevant anymore!

First of all, we have some dates and news for the group:

1 June - Abbotts Barton Big Lunch on the main green at Chaundler Road. A one day get together for neighbours across the UK! Everybody welcome, come along with a plate of food to share, your own drink, and something to sit on.

6 July - Picnic & Play in the main park in Abbotts Barton! Bring along a picnic, something to sit on and maybe some outdoor toys for the kids, other than that: enjoy!

On Facebook we have set up a discussion forum for our community group - please join! It's not going to replace the Abbotts Barton Community Group Facebook page as a source of information, we simply wanted a place that lends itself better to friendly chats and informal information sharing.

Not related to this post in any way, but I wanted to have a photo:

Does anybody have an inkling as to where this was taken? Not local! :)


Council activities


According to Hampshire County Council "Majority get primary school of their choice". I hope all of our readers did!

The election date of 22 May is coming closer, this is for Winchester City Council and Members of the European Parliament. Make sure you have your say in the May elections! If you are not already registered you can still do so by 6 May. Don't forget: unlike with the Council elections, small party candidates do stand a chance to get into the European Parliament! If you haven't made up your mind yet, WinACC have produced a list of questions related to climate change that you could present to your local canvassers. Here is also an article about the vote taken by WCC on the electoral cycle from earlier this month.

WinACC also have an interesting article re the Hampshire County Council bus consultation that is still open until 31 May.

Would you like to contribute to the tourism plan for Winchester that is being developed? Consultation open until 2 May.

Work starts on new Winchester skate park - expected to be finished in August. Exciting but at the same time I'm wondering, what will happen to the MUGA (multi games area)? it was supposed to be moved, but I haven't heard anything about this plan any more. It would have been nice if this would have happened first, as then the teens would still have a place to go to.

Let's hope the Winchester Walking Strategy Group can do something to make this place better for pedestrians of all kinds! Martin Tod collected some ideas online.

Bus firm clashes with Winchester's Silver Hill developers - aha, the plan is to have no more buses in the centre! And Winchester businesses express fears over £130m Silver Hill scheme

"The bags that saved Winchester from flooding to be removed" - the gravel that was put into the river to stop the flooding to be released into the flow! And: Floods: counting the cost of keeping people, property and highways safe.

Hampshire County Council to save £140,000 per year as part of street light replacement programme.

Winchester City Council announces solar farm revenue - "Industrialisation of the countryside"? I think that term would be much more fitting for a 'conventional' power plant... And how about fitting solar panels to many more buildings in town? That would save us from having to put too many into the countryside. On that note you might also be interested in the friends of the earth campaign to help schools go solar.

Bin collection time-table: delayed by one day this week!

More info from WCC about the new recycling banks which have also arrived in Abbotts Barton: Textile Recycling.

Proposals for new Winchester City Council-run housing company.

Barton Farm: "Construction is due to start in late 2014, with the first homes expected to be released for sale in the summer of 2015": Final hurdle cleared for Barton Farm development.

Other news


Winchester MP Steve Brine calls for rules over term time holidays to be relaxed - for parents with more than one child I find this idea that schools can choose their own times for term breaks a lot more worrying than not being able to go for a full holiday during term times - but I fully agree that there should be some flexibility for just a few days during the year.

Do you know Grace? She lives in Abbotts Barton and has been nominated for the MAD blog awards with her Eats Amazing website!

Winchester City Football club celebrates one year under new management.

Winchester charity says farewell to staff members after cuts force employee reshuffle.

This is about TAG Farnborough Airport: Hampshire airport's extension plans will increase Winchester air traffic. This might affect us, it might not. I'm just thinking back to how fabulously quiet it was when the Icelandic ash cloud made air travel impossible for a while.

Environment


"Would you consider becoming a member of our Hampshire Renewable Energy Co-operative?" I find the thought very tempting.

I think we would all be able to distinguish milk types without colourful lids? Especially if the labels would carry the colour? Why green milk bottle tops are not a green option.

Things to do


I received this by email from Save the Rec, you probably had a flyer by now: "Save-the-Rec would like to invite you to join us for a "A Grand Day Out" in the the north-walls recreation grounds on Sunday 4th May from midday. Activities and events include cricket, a dog parade, picnicking, a tug-of-war, Juggling Jake, face-painting, tennis, live music, croquet, frisbee, and much more! The day will be a chance to celebrate and enjoy the park in a day out for all the family."

Winchester Discovery Centre general guide and Winchester Discovery Centre Children's Guide both available online.

The new Festivals in Winchester website lists all of the festivals planned for this year. (It would be even better if they would have a list of everything in chronological order so that I wouldn't have to click on every item to find out when it happens.)

Winchester's Round Table confirms bonfire event will be ticketed for 2014.