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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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.


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!