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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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.


"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.

Sunday 20 April 2014

Councillor's Surgery April

Jane, Lynne and Sylke were at the April Councillor's Surgery and talked to Dominic Hiscock and Jim Maynard, two of our local ward City Councillors.

Play Areas - we briefly talked about an information request from WCC to our group to find out if the group and its various information outlets (e.g. Facebook, Twitter) could help with determining whether the community would like to get a second goalpost and how this could possibly achieved (with the manhole cover being where it is). We have replied that we would be happy to help and are now waiting for a response.

Repairs to footpath along 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 via:

Community space - as we are still without a room to meet in, the topic of the football club came up again. We have asked our councillors to arrange a meeting between the football club owner and local representatives.

Local Plan 2 consultations - there are still many open questions concerning the Local Plan 2 as it was presented by the Council (consultation closing date was 4 April):

  • We were wondering if there would be a review of the town boundaries to make it possible to build on some of the areas outside the town boundaries (marked at pink on the plans) but it seems the Council is not in favour of that. More information can be found Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA): http://www.winchester.gov.uk/planning-policy/evidence-base/housing/strategic-housing-land-availability-assessment/
  • We were also wondering why there were plans for another community centre in Weeke while we have nothing. Apparently the money for that centre has been available for some time but local groups cannot agree on what exactly to do with it. We have asked our Councillors to find out what the numbers need to be to fulfil the community centre criteria.
  • The Winchester Adult Education Centre (ACE) will be moving into the new Barton Farm development, near the planned shops.
  • Apparently the local CCG (West Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group) has stated that there are enough health centres in Winchester, therefore the Local Plan does not have anything in store for that. However, Avalon House in Chesil Street, which has been vacant since 2007, will become home to Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust (provides community health, mental health, learning disability and social care services).
  • We were also intrigued by the mention of a District Heating System. This could possibly supply heating for schemes like Silver Hill or a new Leisure Centre (think swimming pool).

Leisure Centre - Our ward councillors are 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 (contact details)!

Wednesday 2 April 2014

Today the City Councillors will vote which electoral system they prefer

Today there will be Special Meeting of the City Council (at 7.00 pm):

"All Members of the Council are summoned to attend.
Under Sections S33 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007, as amended by the Localism Act 2011, a resolution of a special meeting of Council is required to enable the Council, should it decide to do so, to make a change from the existing system of election by thirds, to whole Council (all out) elections.
(NB. A majority of at least two thirds of the Council present and voting, is required to make any change to the Council’s electoral cycle)"

Earlier this year a public consultation was held with these results (see CAB2567 on the meeting page):

Public Consultation Results Summary (to date) 
Retention of one third system - 80 (52.3%)
Change to whole Council (all out) - 73 (47.7%)

Parish Council responses (to date) 
Retention of one third system - 7
Change to whole Council (all out) - 1

Other organisations (to date) 
Retention of one third system - 2
Change to whole Council (all out) - 0

As you can see there wasn't a lot of public participation in the consultation, 153 votes hardly represents a whole city - but looking at the results in total, it seems there is a slight tendency to keeping the one third system, and a strong preference for this in the Parish Council responses.

As the Council has described it, both systems have their advantages and disadvantages:

Advantages of the one third system 

  • The Council is more frequently accountable to the electorate 
  • Voters are more regularly engaged with the democratic process 
  • The number of new Councillors being elected is usually far less than with whole Council elections. Therefore some experience is retained and change can be managed more effectively 

Advantages of the whole Council (all-out) system 

  • It provides a four year term of office for an Administration to deliver its programme 
  • It avoids ‘voter fatigue’ by not asking the electorate to vote so often 
  • It costs less to hold whole Council elections 

I'll be interested to find out what the result of tonight's vote will be. The result will not only affect how we are going to vote in the coming years but also more immediately the way in which the future warding arrangements are implemented (to be done by the Local Government 
Boundary Commission for England (LGBC) later this year).