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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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


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.

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!