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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Friday, 20 November 2015

News Roundup - November 2015

Hello everybody, it has been a while since our last News Roundup in July! I hope this one finds you all healthy!

The community group have been given some free fruit trees and bushes which we are hoping to use to create a small community orchard.  If you would be interested in being involved we are looking to form an ‘orchard working party’ of people who would enjoy helping with planting, pruning, watering and keeping an eye on the project. This could be on an occasional or regular basis.  The fruit will be available for everyone to pick. If you are interested please email orchard@abbottsbarton.org.uk.

Fundraising


As you know events and activities often require that we spend some money to prepare them. We have had a few grants but they were all for specific activities, so there never is enough money for the little things, like buying chocolates for Easter, craft materials to prepare events, ink for printing posters etc. It would be great to have some people help with this (anybody?). For now we have signed up with a site called Easyfundraising, it helps gathering funds via your online shopping activities (for example on Amazon, eBay, Sainsbury's, Waitrose, Ocado, Tesco, John Lewis, many more available). Please register with them and sign up for the group as your 'good cause' and we will receive small amounts every time you shop online via Easyfundraising. This would really help us out! You can find our page here:
Abbotts Barton Community Group on Easyfundraising

Winchester City Council


You might have seen in the latest Councillor's Surgery write-up that the planning application for the 13 affordable dwellings to be built along Hillier Way is now available on the Winchester City Council website. You can find all of the details by searching for case number 15/02321/FUL on:
http://planningapps.winchester.gov.uk/online-applications/Comments can be made until 24 November. The decision is due on 20 January 2016. 

Also open for comments is the Local Plan Part 2 (until 21 December 2015).

An exhibition of the proposed new St. Clements surgery will be on display at the Guildhall on 20 November 1.30 - 4.30pm and on 21 November  10am -12pm.

Community Safety


There was a lot of publicity lately about burglaries and phone scams aimed at people in Winchester. Please make sure you and your neighbours are aware of how these activities are working so that you don't become another victim! A big thank you to Elaine Barrett who is regularly publishing Neighbourhood Watch News via our Community Safety page - please take a look there to keep up-to-date!

A volunteer is still being sought for a co-ordinator role for a new Neighbourhood Watch group on the north eastern side of Worthy Road (see existing local groups and info). If you should be interested in helping, please contact us or Dominic Hiscock (contact details on the Council website).

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Finally some personal news - this will be my last post for the Abbotts Barton Community Group. I very much enjoyed my activities here and I will still be around, just not as a committee member of the group.

All the best,
Sylke

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

St Bede's Park and Stride scheme - letter to the school

Local parents who have children at St Bede's will know that last year the school introduced a park and stride scheme to get more families to do at least some part of their journey to school on foot.

This is commendable as the area where the school is located is not particularly easy to go to by car and there are health benefits associated with a) walking and b) having fewer cars (read air pollutants) in the vicinity of the school.

The Park and Stride Scheme as it was introduced in 2014 sent people to the parking area near Riverside Nursery school, so that they can walk from there along the recreation ground to school.

The school issued an updated plan this October offering additional parking at the Rugby Club (parents need to get a sticker from the school for using that, more info in St Bede's school weekly newsletter). This is the map (click to enlarge) as sent out by the school:

St. Bede's October 2015 Park and Stride Map

Of course the scheme has an effect on people living in Abbotts Barton as there are many people who navigate Hillier Way on foot or bicycle for the school run, or to get to the nursery. We had a small discussion in our Facebook Forum about this last year but not knowing what the impact would be I decided to wait and see. This year, after talking to the other committee members and a number of local people who use this route daily, and looking at the responses to our still ongoing community plan survey (36 out of 53 respondents agree or strongly agree with the need of pedestrian safety on the lower half of Hillier Way), I decided to write an email on behalf of the group to the school to request a small but important change to the scheme. 

Many people feel especially unsafe on the lower part of Hillier Road where there is no proper footpath, especially around the corner at Riverside Nursery School. This could easily be avoided by using the car park near Nun's Walk. So we asked the school to point out the car park near Nun's Walk as a preferred option as it would reduce the traffic at the pinpoint near the nursery school and it doesn't really make the walk to school much longer.

The email was sent just before half-term and we haven't received an answer yet. This morning (11 Nov) I quickly talked to the Headteacher Mrs Duck to see where our request had got to and was told that it had been received and the responsible group is apparently in discussion with the Winchester City Council travel planning group - and we should have had some sort of reply and if only to acknowledge that they are looking into it.

As I have been asked to forward the contents of the email to interested people, I decided to do this blog post and here is the entire text:

From: Abbotts Barton Community Group
Sent: 22 October 2015 10:46
To: d.white@st-bede.hants.sch.uk
Subject: Park and Stride scheme for St Bede's - FAO of Mrs Duck and the Eco Reps 
Dear Mrs Duck and the Eco Reps,

I would like to write to you about the Park and Stride scheme the school are promoting.

As a parent at St Bede I welcome any steps to get rid of congestions at the school gate and also of course of a reduction of pollutants in the air around the school and I believe the scheme is a vital step towards that direction.

However, as a resident of Abbotts Barton and a member of the Abbotts Barton Community Group, I and others are slightly unhappy with the promoted car parks, as the scheme is recommending only areas at Riverside Nursery and the Rugby Club.
I was already having these same thoughts last year when you first introduced the scheme and I and some other members of the group talked to Dominic Hiscock who was governor of the school at that point and who is our local ward councillor to see what his thoughts were. I decided to wait and see how many people were really taking it up. As a cyclist myself I go down that route quite late during the school run so I am not fully aware of how many more cars are stopping there (apart from noticing that the parking bays at Riverside Nursery school seem to be all filled up at that time these days), but from your step of including the Rugby Club car park I take it that the scheme is quite popular and more space was needed.

The main problem for us is that the bigger public car park just behind the river at the left before the Air Cadet hut is not mentioned at all and we think this should be the preferred option: this car park also allows free parking for 3 hours (no return for 6 hours), has 28 parking bays open to all, and is only a couple of minutes further up the road from the area you recommend. Furthermore this car park has the advantage that it gives easy access to the Nun’s Walk path that takes you along the river. The path was repaired in June 2014 and will allow people to have a pleasant traffic free walk with a view of the allotments. At the end of the path you have the choice to either turn left into Nun’s Road which will take you back to your advised route along the recreation ground, or to continue on to walk to school past Hyde Abbey. These variations take about the same time as the route along the rugby club and as a bonus there are pavements throughout. 
The Community Group would like to ask you to add this car park to your list as preferred option, as at school run time the route to the promoted parking areas is heavily used by walking and cycling families who live in Abbotts Barton, with some of them having no choice of another route as they need to get to Riverside Nursery. The overall situation is not helped by not having a proper pavement starting exactly at that car park: pedestrians, cyclists and cars have to share the limited space.

By recommending to the participants of the scheme to drive down that far, we fear that there is an increased danger of accidents, especially around the corner at the Riverside Nursery school. Unfortunately not everybody is keeping to the speed limit of 10mph, so the less traffic gets down there the safer it would be.

Asking people to not drive any further down, unless absolutely necessary, would also help keeping the air pollutants (that you so rightly don’t want near the school) away from the pedestrians and cyclists along that route.

It needs to be said that the Abbotts Barton community was very relieved in 2013 when commuter parking along Hillier Way and at the Rugby Club was stopped by introducing a traffic regulation order that limited parking along that route. Seeing more and more vehicles going down there again is a concern to many residents. As it happens, the Community Group is currently running a survey about their draft community plan, and from the results so far, concerns about traffic and pedestrian safety are scoring high with the community: one of the areas mentioned in particular is Hillier Road! 
Of course, we would be very happy to show you the car park and the route along Nun’s Walk path, and hope you will take our request to add the bigger car park as preferred option to your scheme under consideration.

Kind regards,
Sylke Krämer – Secretary of Abbotts Barton Community Group AND mother of year 5 pupil <name removed>
www.abbottsbarton.org.uk

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Councillor's Surgery - November 2015

Sylke went to the local Wednesday surgery. Dominic Hiscock, one of our ward councillors, was there to speak to her.

The planning application for the 13 affordable dwellings to be built along Hillier Way is now available on the Winchester City Council website. You can find all of the details by searching for case number 15/02321/FUL on:
http://planningapps.winchester.gov.uk/online-applications/

There are 46 documents associated with this application that show details for the houses planned. According to the notes in the Weekly List from 25/10/2015 (PDF) comments can be made until 24 November. The decision is due on 20 January 2016. 

Screenshot of one of the planning documents
showing the 13 houses.

As nobody has shown any interest for the Neigbourhood Watch group and Speedwatch project volunteering opportunities, here is a repeat from last month:
"Volunteers are being sought for the Speedwatch project and a co-ordinator for a new Neighbourhood Watch group on the north eastern side of Worthy Road (see existing local groups and info). If you should be interested in helping out with any of these projects, please contact Dominic (contact details on the Council website)."

Please note if you have anything you would like to talk about, the next councillor's surgery is tomorrow! Please see our events list for future councillor's surgery locations, dates and times!


Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Councillor's Surgery - October 2015

Sylke went to the local Wednesday surgery to speak to Dominic Hiscock, one of our ward councillors.

At the moment the City Council is mainly busy with the Leisure Centre project and the Station Approach scheme, but (subject to planning permission) the building of the new houses along Hillier Way might start in spring 2016.

As most of you will have noticed by now, since last Monday we have new double yellow lines in effect on Worthy Road to stop people from parking at the difficult area around Park Road. Winchester City Council published an emergency traffic regulation order for 18 months, which can be seen here on the Council's website. Note that the new double yellow lines will be experimental for a maximum of 18 months, so it might be worth emailing your support or objections within SIX months.

At some point before Christmas there will also be new double yellow lines at the top of Hyde Street around the junction with Swan Lane. These new restrictions will make it easier on evenings and during the weekends to get onto North Walls without having to negotiate around parked cars while there are cars coming down from Jewry Street on the other side of the big junction.

Volunteers are being sought for the Speedwatch project and a co-ordinator for a new Neighbourhood Watch group on the north eastern side of Worthy Road (see existing local groups and info). If you should be interested in helping out with any of these projects, please contact Dominic (contact details on the Council website).

Please see our events list for future councillor's surgery locations, dates and times!

Friday, 11 September 2015

Summary of the Abbotts Walk consultation on 25 July

Lynne attended the event and provided us with following notes:

The City Council held a consultation about the proposed uses of the Abbotts Walk meadow on Saturday 25 July.  Despite only being given a few days' notice of the event around 20 people attended.  The consultation consisted of boards showing examples of possible play equipment, a questionnaire and representatives from the city council in the form of Stuart Dunbar-Dempsey and Susan Lord.  The Wildlife Trust, who have expressed an interest in managing the Abbotts Walk meadow on behalf of the Council, were also present and running some children’s activities.  Rachel Remnant from the Wildlife trust was on hand to answer questions.

The consultation turned into a meeting when one resident asked Stuart to give us an overview of the main issues.  This may turn out to be a good strategy for these events as we all learned a lot more than if we’d just asked the same questions individually one at a time to the representatives. Below are the main topics and what we learned.

Access to the river

Despite Redrow promising the residents that they would have access to the river this was not part of the approved plans and the bottom of the meadow will have a stock mesh fence topped with barbed wire to prevent access.  This will be paid for by the Council but not out of the money which is earmarked for improvements to Abbotts Barton. The Wildlife Trust will pay for the maintenance of the fence.  The fence is intended to minimise disturbance to wildlife living in the River Itchen Special Area of Conservation and was approved by the planning inspectorate.

The pond

The Council have had a drainage specialist check the ‘dry drainage basin’ and it is functioning correctly as installed. According to what existing Abbotts Barton residents were told ‘performing as it should’ was a dry drainage basin becoming marshy in extreme wet weather and flood conditions. This now seems to have changed to being dry or marshy under ordinary conditions and a pond in wet weather conditions. One of the questions asked was whether residents would like the pond fenced for safety reasons.  Rachel explained that the danger with ponds is to do with the nature of the bottom and that the Wildlife Trust could put in plants which would make a mat of roots to help with safety issues.  The stream below the meadow is thigh deep silt.

Facilities

Redrow have given the Council £79,950 for play equipment on the meadow plus a further £200,000 for maintenance of the site.  The Wildlife Trust see the meadow as a natural green space publicly accessible from Abbotts Walk and a place for promoting natural play and enjoyment of nature. They would be happy to work with a ‘friends of the meadow’ type organisation if it were set up.  Residents were encouraged by the Council to get together and come up with a vision for the site. Requests for specifics such as dog bins, mown paths, space for a kick around were all accepted as likely possibilities by the Council and the Wildlife Trust and it was emphasised that the space would be developed flexibly in consultation with residents.


The dry drainage basin earlier this year.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Quick update about Community Plan questionnaire results

It's in the middle of the summer holidays, I'm in the process of getting ready to go away for the last two weeks but I quickly wanted to share some of the feedback we've got so far!

If you haven't actually filled in a version of our questionnaire yet, don't worry, there is still time and we really welcome more feedback from the Abbotts Barton residents: don't forget, the higher the respondent number, the more standing the result has! Please use the link to the online survey on our Community Plan page to let us have your valued opinion.

So far we have had 61 responses and 53 of those are from confirmed residents (thank you so much for everybody who gave us some address details). Please note that we are only using the results from people who live in our area of interest.

A few of the survey results probably have to be taken with a grain of salt as with some of them it looks as if respondents were rushing and possibly not understanding what they were ticking (seems odd but why else would somebody tick Strongly Disagree on most items, even those that don't seem controversial at all - so I'm wondering if that person didn't read properly and actually thought he or she meant Strongly Agree). But that's OK, there are really only very few of those.

The biggest consensus is on the question whether we need a crossing for Worthy Road to make it safer for pedestrians to cross the road: we had 49 people who either ticked Agree (12) or Strongly Agree (37).

As I don't have a lot of time, here are the graphs from our collected results without any further interpretation. You can click on them to see them bigger:

These are the answers for the items that are already in the Community Plan.
Question: "In your opinion, should the items listed below be part of the community plan for Abbotts Barton?"

These are the answers for the items that are NOT YET in the Community Plan.
Question: "In your opinion, should the items listed below be part of the community plan for Abbotts Barton?"
It looks like people are generally happy with the items that have made it already into the plan and that we will add most items if not all that are not yet in there to the plan.

We have also received a number of comments which will be collated and presented after the holidays.

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Before I go, let me take the opportunity to remind you that we are still planning two more picnics in park for this year! Those would be an excellent time to catch Lynne, Jane or myself if you would like to discuss anything with us - but also simply to get to know more people in the neighbourhood! September is also the time when school starts again - so anybody with children starting then, the September picnic would be a good opportunity to meet other local parents.

Hope to see you in September,
Sylke - Secretary Abbotts Barton Community Group

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Thoughts about the City Council consultation in Abbotts Barton

As the community group are working on the community plan, we were pleased by the opportunity to attend the consultation event with our own boards. We talked to many residents and will try to add everything we heard to our plan to give feedback to the City Council about what the community wants. The main topics raised with me on the day were ‘a safer crossing for Worthy Road is needed’, and ‘the houses to be built at Hillier Road being unsuitable for the area and boxing in the people living at Simonds Court’. We were also complimented on what we do as a community group and on our web presence which people seem to really like.

Of course we also wanted to take a look ourselves at what the Council and the Scouts presented. I hadn’t been aware that there would also be people from the football club with a plan of their own about what they want to do with the club buildings.

At the consultation some people seemed to have trouble to find somebody from the Council to talk to, and I agree officers at times weren’t easy to spot as not all of them seemed to have lanyards with identification tags, so residents came over to me to make their points, with them apparently thinking I was Council officer (despite a home-made name tag). Of course we are also interested in what people think about housing developments, so after pointing out that I was from the community group I happily listened to what they had to say.

I had been there for two hours first thing, speaking with residents about various items but didn’t really have a chance to look at everything presented in detail then as the marquee was quite full. Apparently there were about 150 people visiting in total. When I had to leave, Brenda and Keith helped out (thank you!) representing the group, and later our chair Lynne took over.

Landscape Options board 1

Landscape Options board 2
When I joined Lynne later in the day to tidy up, we agreed we were a bit confused by one of the boards presented by the council re landscape improvements. Once again sticky dots were used to collect feedback on what people would like to happen (a practice that was used at the consultation event in 2012 and which we heavily criticised at the time as there was nobody watching at that event how many dots residents actually used), and while there was more control this time on how many dots people were allowed to use, the options presented were grouped and if you opted for one of those things in a group your dot then was also indicating support for all of the other things in there which is not necessarily what was meant. From talking with people I have learnt that many are happy with our green areas as they are and don’t really want much to be done to them.

From what I’ve heard, people are in general not very keen on any houses being built in the free spaces in Abbotts Barton. A sentiment that I share because I love that there is so much green space, but I do recognise the need for more council houses as there are so many people on the waiting list. A lot of residents seem to agree that the main area to keep free of houses is the top of the main park along Chaundler Road/Charles Close - which we were told in a briefing in September 2014 would stay free (‘council listening to residents’), but some residents really don’t want any new houses at all on any of the green areas. Residents also fear that once houses are built in those areas marked for development, more will be added in places that are currently not marked for houses.

The feedback to our community plan as seen so far is interesting but we are hoping to get many more responses, that’s why we have put together an online version of our questionnaire.

Please let us have your thoughts, also about the housing and the consultation! It only takes five minutes!

Thank you,
Sylke - Secretary Abbotts Barton Community Group

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Abbotts Barton Community Plan and the consultation event

Today we had the Abbotts Barton consultation event organised by Winchester City Council to discuss the plans for houses that the council want to build at Hillier Way.

The marquee
Apart from Winchester City Council officers, there were also members from the 6th Winchester Scout Group, people from the Abbotts Barton football club, and of course, members of the Community Group.

We presented our draft Community plan and asked people to give us feedback via a questionnaire. This opportunity was taken up by many right there and then and we are hoping that more questionnaires will be returned to us. It will take us a while to go through all the answers and compile them into usable data but we will let you know of course when we are done with that and will share our findings.

Lynne in conversation
It was very nice to meet members of the Abbotts Barton community and to see how many are taking an interest in what is going to happen to the neighbourhood.

If you should have missed the event and would still like to give us, the Community Group, feedback, please use the link on our Community Plan page to fill out the online version of our questionnaire. It should only take you five minutes. On that page you will also find a link to the version of the draft plan for you to review.

The 6th Winchester Scouts Group, who were there to to present their plans for a Scout hut in Abbotts Barton, undertook an opinion survey and presented their results:
A Scout board showing
support for a Scout hut
in Abbotts Barton

Some of the local Scout group leaders


If you would like to find more information about the information displayed by Winchester City Council at the consultation, please see their website: New Council Housing - Abbotts Barton.


Wednesday, 8 July 2015

News Roundup - July 2015

It's high time for a News Roundup, especially with the consultation event for Abbotts Barton coming up:

On Tuesday 14 July 2015 Winchester City Council will hold an event about new affordable homes and improving facilities in Abbotts Barton. Most, if not all, residents of Abbotts Barton should have received the leaflet at the right.

Members of the Community Group will be present at this event to get feedback on the Community Plan that we are working on. Requirements and ideas change over time and we need to update what has been put together so far; we will ask attendants to fill out a questionnaire to help us do that. Please come along and say hello!

The 6th Winchester Scout Group will also be present to talk about the Scout Hut they would like to build in Abbotts Barton.

______________________________________________________________

Has anybody tried our self led photo trail? If so, bring your results along to the next Picnic In The Park on 2 August. There will be more picnics this year on 6 September and on 4 October!




Found at our Big Lunch - any owners missing their items? A glass jug or a turquoise plastic plate? They are in my cupboards now, until somebody claims them. The Frisbee will become part of the picnic toy collection.







______________________________________________________________

Other news & events


Phone scams are getting more wide spread. Make sure not to fall for these and read up on how to recognise them: Hang Up On Fraud (PDF)!

Have you seen: Community Games organised by Winchester SALT & Mosaic Design Competition

SAVE Britain's Heritage is supporting the campaign to stop the current Silver Hill scheme and to bring about a development that better reflects the charm and character of Winchester. They have set up an online petition through 38 Degrees to ask the Secretary of State, Greg Clark MP, to call in the Silver Hill applications and to initiate a full investigation into the proposals.

Make sure your favourite local project receives a grant, vote via Community First Winchester.

Winchester City Council Press Release: Design competition proposed for Station Approach

Hampshire County Council is working on its cycling strategy, you can read the draft document and give feedback.

Winchester City Council is consulting on the Council tax reduction for 2016/17.

You might have noticed the work being done to the river at the recreation grounds, it's finished now according to the Daily Echo: Work to make Hampshire river 'wildlife-friendly' completed

An interesting proposal for student flats to be built: A £10m flat scheme could kickstart regeneration around Winchester Railway Station, a meeting heard

There seems to be a delay at the Barton Farm building site: Work on the 2,000 home Barton Farm development north of Winchester has been hit by delays

Many more news items have been posted via Twitter, Facebook and Google since the last News Roundup in May. The Twitter feed is part of our website to make things easier if you shouldn't have an account on any of the social media sites mentioned.
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Please don't hesitate to share this email with anybody you think might be interested!

All the best,
Sylke
Secretary of Abbotts Barton Community Group

Councillor's Surgery - July 2015

This month Sylke went to the local Wednesday surgery to speak to Dominic Hiscock.

Recently a resident had brought to the attention of us and the councillors that there are broken bricks at the steps to the garages at the end of Chaundler Road. This has been followed up on and a surveyor has been looking at this for the City Council. It was decided that something needs to be done about this.

I learned that our Neighbourhood Warden (Andrew Murphy) has been saying the mowing around the picnic benches needs to improve, a solution might be to get a surface thing underneath. I believe the maintenance team has been doing a better job in the meantime. The neighbourhood warden is an employee of the council who works for Neighbourhood Services, who we have not yet met but of course want to meet.

There will be no Wednesday surgery on 1 August as Dominic will be on holidays. The Thursday surgery on 2 August is supposed to go ahead but as it's in the middle of the summer holidays, I think it might be wise double-checking with Jim Maynard beforehand if you want to go.

Finally, the rugby club has a new person to deal with lettings, so people can rent their rooms (and bar) again!

Please see our events list for future councillor's surgery locations, dates and times!


Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Big Lunch 2015

Last Sunday we had our Big Lunch - once again we were lucky with the weather, it was just warm enough to make this a very pleasant experience again!

Plenty of food appeared magically on our tables and there were many yummy items there for everybody to choose from!





There are some more photos in the Big Lunch 2015 album.

It was so nice to meet some of our neighbours again that I hadn't seen for the whole year since the last Big Lunch (how crazy is that!), and also to meet some new people! As always I didn't manage to speak to everyone I would have liked to.

If you would like to meet up more often in the park, either join us for one of our regular Picnic in the Park events or use the Facebook Forum to post a message to see if anybody wants to join you at another time! (Other ways to connect with local people are to join at the Fitness With Friends or Football sessions.)

Thank you to everybody who planned, helped set up, tidy away, brought along tables and gazebos, played games with the children, and of course to everybody who made it there and help make it such a nice event!

Hope to see you soon again out in the park!
Sylke

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Councillor's surgery - June 2015

Today Sylke went to the surgery on her own - but it was great to be able to go to the new local one in the Commons Room in Simonds Court. (The new local ones are every first Wednesday of the month from 11 am to noon.) Dominic Hiscock was there to talk to her.

Next week on Tuesday (9 June from 3 pm to 5 pm) the City officers are holding a Street Meet for the Abbotts Barton council house tenants. They are going to talk about items like house maintenance and the new benefit system, and are going to walk about the area to identify possible issues. Did you know that about 40% of the houses of the council estate on the Eastern side of Abbotts Barton are occupied by council tenants (the others are privately owned)? Their rents and rates are paying for the upkeep of the green areas surrounding the houses built by the council.

The community plan which Winchester City Council have asked us to help develop was mentioned again. The community group's management committee didn't really have time to work on this so far. Here is a quote from our surgery write-up in March: "having an agreed plan gives the community a better footing when working with the Council on future projects in the area. The plan is so far based on the 2012 consultation event feedback that came direct from Abbotts Barton residents, and as a lot has happened since then we need to update what has been put together so far. Once the document has progressed somewhat we will work with the community to get feedback on how we have captured what people want. This project is still in the very early stages and it will progress very slowly due to time constraints on our end. (We would very much welcome offers of assistance with this project, if you would like to help developing the plan please contact us! If you would like to find out more about community planning, there is general information available on the web, for example here and here.)"

Sylke reported to Dominic that she had been in contact with Council officers in March about the foot path on Hillier Way next to the football club as it was very muddy then and also the ivy hanging from the football club trees is getting bigger and bigger and forces grown-up pedestrians to step off the path. She was told in March that the maintenance team were going to deal with it when they would have time but to this day nothing much has happened to the ivy. She's not actually sure whether the path has been cleaned by them since then as it got a lot drier in the weeks after. Let's see if Dominic can get them to do something!

Finally there was a quick chat about what's going on with the Leisure Centre as Sylke wanted to know when the multi-games area (MUGA) will come back (the ball games area that has now been taken over by the new skate park was supposed to be moved and not just disappear). The MUGA is dependent on the plans for the Leisure Centre and apparently the City Council are still busy in finalising their report (with proper numbers this time!) on which they will base their decision on how to go forward.

Please see our events list for future councillor's surgery locations, dates and times! The next one is tomorrow evening in Hyde.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

News Roundup - May 2015

The UK’s annual get-together for neighbours.
Only another couple of weekends to go and our BIG LUNCH will be on! You will be able to find us on the main green (corner Chaundler Road/Charles Close) on Sunday 7 June from 12 noon to 3 pm. We are hoping that there will be a nice number of people again, and please don't worry, this time we won't be going around collecting names and email addresses - Jane, Lynne, and I also just want to relax and chat to everybody who wants to chat to us! As every year, everybody is welcome, come along with a plate of food to share, your own drink, and something to sit on. If anybody has some time either before or after to help setting up/tidying away please do let us know, things work so much faster when more people are helping. (We usually start setting up at 11 am, and tidying can also take another hour!)

Big Lunch 2014
Big Lunch 2014

Lucy and I are happy to report that our Fitness With Friends sessions are running nicely with a few more people joining in over the last weeks! We are happy for anybody else joining us! Please note that after half-term we will change the time, so from Sunday 7 June we will start at 4 pm instead of 11 am. This also ties in nicely with the Big Lunch!

We now have three of the big exercise balls and they
provide excellent entertainment apart from being useful as props! :)

If you are after another kind of free exercise, the football on Monday evenings has really taken off! The group is starting at 7:15 pm now.


Thanks to the input from one of our neighbours, Elaine Barrett, we now have a dedicated page for Community Safety on our website! It can be found via the tabs at the top of the page. Please do keep yourselves informed about the various kinds of scams happening, here is just one recent example as reported by the Daily Echo: Scam warning over bogus police taking large sums of cash. There is a lot more happening that can catch out the unaware easily, the Hampshire County Coundil Trading Standards website has a lot of useful information available. Over the last weeks I've also seen various reports about thefts from sheds and garages in King's Worthy and Weekly, please keep yours locked and have items like bicycles stored away safely.

It's not only us who are after a safer crossing for Worthy Road, if you agree that in addition to a crossing further up on Worthy Road it would be good to have one closer to town as well, please sign this petition for a safer crossing that has been set up by local people.

The elections are behind us and it is worth noting that our new St. Bartholomew ward councillor is Rosemary Burns from the Conservative party, so we now have two representatives from the Liberal Democrats and one Conservative. (More about local Councillors and the full results for the Winchester local elections.)

On a side note, I tried to go to the moved Councillor's Surgery on 16 May but it seems there was some misunderstanding and nobody was there to talk to (apologies received). The next one will therefore be in June!

The group has had its first AGM early in May, and the attendees have elected the same management committee as last year:
- Lynne Frost - Chair
- Jane Taylor - Treasurer
- Sylke Krämer - Secretary
Thank you to everybody who was there!

Have you seen our new feather flag out and about last Sunday for the first time? You can't really miss our events any more with this thing out!

If you haven't had a chance to look at the local news recently, don't follow us on any of the social media sites, and would like to catch up on more than I have written about here: please visit our website and have a look at all of the links I've posted via Twitter (they are also on Facebook and Google+). The tweets can be found in the sidebar on the right of the blog posts.

If you know of anybody in your neighbourhood of whom you think they might be interested in the information in this email, please do not hesitate to forward!

Other than that, I'm wishing everybody a nice Spring Bank Holiday on Monday and if that applies to you also a great half-term break!

All the best,
Sylke
Secretary of Abbotts Barton Community Group

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Abbotts Barton gets active: Fitness With Friends

Free fitness sessions are coming back by the end of April!

We will start on Sunday 26 April, from 11 am to 12 noon, with Lucy and Sylke as facilitators in the park. Update: from 7 June onwards we will meet from 4 pm to 5 pm! (For the latest updates please always refer to our Events page!)

Things will be a bit different to what we did last year: for a start there will only be one session per week and not two. Sadly we cannot afford the lovely Charlie this time, so we have decided to make this Fitness With Friends! The main goal is to have some fun while doing something good for your body, and who likes to exercise on their own?!

Lucy and Sylke have been continuing together with the weekly sessions ever since October, and have found that this little bit of exercise helps tremendously with personal well-being, and if it's only to keep back pain at bay and have a little natter while doing exercises!

The sessions will run along the same pattern as they did with Charlie, first a warm-up, then a range of exercises of different kinds, and finally stretching to cool down. 

Please keep in mind that neither Lucy nor Sylke are personal trainers. If you decide to come along, this will be on your own risk and on the basis that you will know how much exercise you can do and when to stop or do a lighter exercise. Update: we have a form about fitness readiness that we require you to fill in before the first session with us, you can either download it and do that beforehand or on the day.

This particular set of sessions will be ending after five weeks on Sunday 24 May after which we have half-term. If there is enough interest we can restart after the break and keep going until Sunday 19 July (seven weeks).

All you need to bring along is yourself in some exercise friendly clothing (think about layering in case you are getting warm), a bottle of water, and if you have one, an exercise mat (a blanket will do too if you don't want to lie on the grass but neither blanket nor mat are essential).

Looking forward to seeing you there!

News Roundup - April 2015 (2)

Haven't we had some lovely weather recently! Spring has definitely arrived and it's getting closer to the end of April which means that we are starting with some of our outdoor activities again:
  • Do you fancy a kick-about? A bunch of people will be playing football on the main Abbotts Barton green, and they would love for anyone to come along and join in! Starting this Monday 20 April, meet at the goalposts from 8pm. This will happen every week - all abilities welcome! 
  • Would you like to warm up and stretch your body a bit now that the weather is getting warmer again? Sunday 26 April we are starting with free exercise sessions, Fitness With Friends, in the park. Please see our separate blog post about this.
  • Sunday 3 May we will have our first Picnic in the Park for the year! Meet from 12 noon to 3pm around the picnic benches near the playground, come along any time. Bringing food or children is not a requirement, these meet-ups are open to anybody of any age who would like to have a friendly chat with neighbours in our beautiful park! For this particular picnic Lynne will be bringing along bubbletastic entertainment for the little ones!

One of our neighbours, Elaine Barrett, has this message for you (as posted on our Facebook forum): "I am trying to set up an initial Neighbourhood Watch Group to cover the Southern End of Abbotts Barton: Oglander Road, Knight Close and the part of Coney Green south of Russell Road. In addition to improving the security of the area by deterring crime, having a Neighbourhood Watch Group would enable Abbotts Barton to make use of Winchester Speedwatch. A few households have offered to help and we will be holding a short meeting soon to decide the best way to set up the Group. If anyone would like to join us, please get in touch with me."
If you would like to get a message through to Elaine, you can contact her either by email (ebarrett6767@btinternet.com) or phone (01962 843356).

Please remember, elections are coming up on 7 May and the deadline to register to vote is Monday 20 April! It should take about five minutes of your time, and you will need your National Insurance number (if you have one). If you are not around on 7 May, read about the deadlines and requirements for making applications for postal and proxy votes in time.

Jane went to this month's Councillor's Surgery but there wasn't enough to report back on to warrant a separate post. Two items are worth mentioning:
  • The next Councillor's Surgery will be on the second Thursday of the month, on 14 May, due to the elections in the week earlier.
  • Several people have mentioned to us that they are unhappy with the litter left around the picnic bench near the football area - so are we. Jane is going to contact a council officer to request for one being installed there, and also for some of the low branches on the chestnut trees to be trimmed to allow for better view lines for parents.

All the best,
Sylke
Secretary of Abbotts Barton Community Group

Monday, 6 April 2015

News Roundup - April 2015

Today we had our first ever Easter community group event - but not a hunt as originally advertised. We changed it to a trail to avoid egg envy! We had 'hidden' 11 letters around the park that our participants needed to find and then they had to make a phrase out of them, it was of course HAPPY EASTER! It looked like everybody who was there enjoyed it and it was certainly great to meet some new people as well! We had a nice turn-out but still so many eggs that everybody got some extra ones. And didn't we just have the perfect weather! Thank you to everybody who helped out in some way, be it in hiding the letters, contributing some eggs or other items!

 

 

Hunting for letters all around the park

Save the date: as our group was formalised about a year ago, we have our first ever AGM coming up! It will be held on Saturday 9 May, 3 to 4 pm, at 10 Francis Gardens. Details are on our poster which you can download as PDF.

Over the last two months, Jane, Lynne and I have been very busy with planning our 2015 programme and creating a new newsletter (download as PDF) which includes again a Big Lunch, Picnics in the Park, Get Active fitness sessions, but also a Treasure Trail and football! Soon the Events section on the website will be updated with this and paper newsletters are going to be distributed (you might even have one already). We are still in need of volunteers to take on small jobs related to these events during the year: please take a look on our Get Involved page if there is something you could incorporate into your busy life! We had some people come forward based on this list (thank you!!!) but we need more helpers! Preparation adds up and takes up quite a big chunk of our time.

Talking about volunteers, they are needed everywhere: parents with children age six and up, our local 6th Winchester Scout Group is looking for more volunteers to run their Beavers and Cubs groups! There are currently 260 children on the waiting list for Winchester in total but without more parents helping out the Scout groups won't be able to take them on. Find out more about the Winchester District Scouts.

I am very happy to announce that we are getting a new logo for the group based on original artwork by local artist Lucy McLoughlin. We asked her to create an image of one of our chestnut trees in the park, the one we have used as a logo so far. We will be able to use this fantastic image in different colours (we'll stick mostly to blue and orange) but here is a preview in black and white next to the photo that you all familiar with by now:

 

Thank you so much, Lucy!

The website now has a map in the About section to show the extent of Abbotts Barton. In addition to that the Links section has been updated to include more useful local information for you. The next project will be a new membership page!

Finally, have you heard about Fruits of Fulflood? They have been busy planting fruit hedges in Fulflood according to this article in the Hampshire Chronicle. Wouldn't it be nice to get something like that for Abbotts Barton too?

All the best,
Sylke
Secretary of Abbotts Barton Community Group

Friday, 27 March 2015

First ever Abbotts Barton Easter Egg Hunt

For the first time we are organising an Easter Egg Hunt in Abbotts Barton and we have found some volunteers to help with this on the day! Yippee!

If you are local and have children please come along on Easter Monday at 11am.

The Community Group is sponsoring this event but as we can't know how many people will be coming along, we have to ask participants to bring along some eggs as well just in case we don't have enough.

Update:
It's now going to be more of a trail rather than a hunt which will hopefully make the whole thing a little more civilised! ;)

Other than that: good hunting!

Friday, 20 March 2015

News Roundup March 2015

Did you know that this website is now two years old? I set it up on 9 March 2013. Happy birthday "virtual" community group! See what we've achieved since then.

So today we had the solar eclipse and the spring equinox, the astronomical start of spring! I had been hoping that it would get a bit darker outside than it did during the 85% eclipse but, alas, it wasn't meant to be. On the plus side: from now on the days will be longer than the nights - yeah!!! And: Hyde Street is open again - what a relief!

Since the last News Roundup we had two events organised by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlfe Trust (HIWWT), one was river dipping at the stream and one was looking for insects and plants on the Abbotts Walk Meadow. Rachel Remnant (the Winnall Moors Reserves Officer) sent this to me afterwards: "People may be interested to know that  in the meadow survey and bug hunt we recorded the following meadow plants: Ox eye daisy, ribwort plantain, scabious, salad burnett, knapweed, sheep’s fescue, yarrow, wild carrot, hawkbit, red clover, white cloverand Yorkshire fog, so come May and June the mead will be full of colour and buzzing with life!"
I believe all of the participants enjoyed these events immensely! There might be more over the summer when local wildlife is more active.

What do you think about an Easter Egg Hunt for Abbotts Barton? While we had some people say on the Facebook Forum that they would help running it, I haven't actually seen many people saying they would like to take part in it. Please pipe up if you think you will be around for Easter - now is your chance! If you would like to take part, please leave a comment with your preferred day (Easter Sunday or Easter Monday). Thank you!

If you would like to help the community group with a little of your time, please take a look at our new page about how to Get Involved. Being a volunteer for a community group is great as you get to know more people in your neighbourhood and of course it gives you a sense of accomplishment!

We would like to thank Winchester City Council (WCC) for installing the lovely new notice boards for us, and I am very happy to report that we have volunteers to look after them!

We would also like to thank Hampshire County Council for a grant to help us with organising our events this year!

Residents in and near the Abbotts Walk development have been identifying some points for discussion with the Council over the last weeks. WCC is promising to have a public meeting with the Abbotts Walk residents, but because of the local government elections on 7 May WCC have to avoid arranging a public meeting until after this date. A letter asking for feedback has been sent out. If you haven't heard, here is what it's all about, as short as possible:

  • The boundary between the meadow and the public footpath along the Winnall Moors Nature Reserve - not everybody is happy with there being no access to the path but it was always a planning condition for the development. Please note, in our last Councillor's Surgery report we wrote about "the fence which Winchester Wildlife Trust are proposing to erect at the bottom of the Abbotts Walk field." Rachel Remnant (HIWWT's Winnall Moors Reserve Officer) commented on the post saying "just to clarify, the Hampshire and Isle of Wildlife Trust are not erecting a fence on the eastern side of the Abbotts Walk mead.  The City Council is responsible for ensuring the developer has carried out all parts of their work set out in the planning process. There is no access from or to the green space to the footpath. There should be a robust, planted boundary along the eastern edge and this already includes a fence."
  • Abbotts Walk Meadow - planned transition from Redrow to WCC and then possibly to be managed by HIWWT. There are many questions about how HIWWT would go about managing the meadow and how that would affect the locals being able to access it. These will have to be answered when it comes to deciding who should best manage the meadow.
  • Abbotts Walk play area - there are some concerns that this might never appear but according to WCC there has been some s.106 money set aside and it can only be spent for this purpose. What could be done for example is a circular path around the meadow with natural play installations along that path.
  • The infiltration basin (or the 'pond' as it has become to be known) - some people are concerned about the safety of this feature for children as it remained full of water for most of 2014.
  • Maintenance of other open spaces in Abbotts Walk - mowing of the green areas between the houses.
  • Removal of the dog bin on the meadow as it doesn't get emptied - this surely isn't a popular and useful solution! (However, for now since the bin clearly isn't being emptied the best option is to tie the bag and put it in a bin at home. This is the responsibility of the dog owner.)

You can find more about this on the website www.abbottswalk.com which is run by an Abbotts Walk resident.

General news:


For parents of younger children this will be nice to hear: Winchester playgrounds set for £500,000 makeover (from Hampshire Chronicle). However, older children are still waiting for the multi-games area to be reappear near the Leisure Centre.

Have you seen that the cathedral got a hat? This is to enable repairs to the roof. Here is a time laps video that shows how it got up there:

Raising the Roof from Winchester Cathedral on Vimeo.

Make sure you know about Changes for Older Person's bus pass holders from 1 April (info from HCC).

The fallout from the Silver Hill ruling can still be felt, here are some recent articles from Hampshire Chronicle:

If you would like to know how the Local Plan 2 is progressing, the Save The Parks website posted this update (based on the Parish Connect newsletter).

All the best,
Sylke
Secretary of Abbotts Barton Community Group

Monday, 9 March 2015

Councillor's surgery - March 2015

At this month's surgery Lynne and Sylke were in conversation with Dominic Hiscock, one of our local ward councillors.

We spoke about a community plan which Winchester City Council have asked us to help develop. Having an agreed plan gives the community a better footing when working with the Council on future projects in the area. The plan is so far based on the 2012 consultation event feedback that came direct from Abbotts Barton residents, and as a lot has happened since then we need to update what has been put together so far. Once the document has progressed somewhat we will work with the community to get feedback on how we have captured what people want. This project is still in the very early stages and it will progress very slowly due to time constraints on our end. (We would very much welcome offers of assistance with this project, if you would like to help developing the plan please contact to us! If you would like to find out more about community planning, there is general information available on the web, for example here and here.)

The new board on Hillier Way
As for the ongoing problems caused by commuter parking on the west side of Abbotts Barton, we have been told that the agreed restrictions will be implemented by 1 April.

We thanked Dominic for the help provided by our ward councillors to get the new notice boards for Abbotts Barton. The one on Hillier Way was installed in February and on our way to the surgery we also discovered that the second one has gone up on Worthy Road at the bus stop near Arthur Road.

We asked about the progress made regarding the Abbotts Walk green area and the 'pond'. For now the area is still under management of Redrow and some stone turning/picking/burying and thistle clearing will have to take place before it can be released from their responsibility. There will be a discussion with residents about how and by whom it will be managed and also about the play equipment that is still to be installed there. The infiltration basin is supposed to be getting some new plants that are 'water absorbing' to make sure that it dries out faster in future, and instead of being a full blown pond we have been told it should become marshy which would make it much safer for children. This is somewhat different from the original assurances the community were given by the developers that “The infiltration swale/basin feature has been sized so as to provide storage for the excess flow over the 1 in 30 year event, up to and including the 1 in 100 year plus climate change event. This feature which is intended to remain dry, but in the extremists of events (1 in 100 year plus 30% allowance for climate change), will store an additional 225m3  without overflowing.”  If you have concerns about the close proximity of a pond next to a children’s play area you can write to our local councillors at dhiscock@winchester.gov.uk and jmaynard@winchester.gov.uk.  

We also discussed the fence which Winchester Wildlife Trust are proposing to erect at the bottom of the Abbotts Walk field. It is worth clarifying that this was requested by the Wildlife Trust and not the residents of Abbotts Walk, as there seems to be some confusion over this point.  During the Council consultation event in 2012 many people in Abbotts Barton requested access to the river at the north of the estate but this was turned down by the Wildlife Trust to ensure that the local wildlife remains as undisturbed as possible under the circumstances.

The Station Approach development project was mentioned and apparently last week there were still a few open spaces on the special consultation events held by the Council. If you would like to have a say in one of those workshops, apply now (email stationapproach@winchester.gov.uk or call 01962 848488). Of course there is also the online survey. We agreed that the developments will have an effect not only on the residents who live nearby the station but most likely on a wider area if not all of Winchester.

We would be grateful if you could forward this email to any local residents who might be interested in the content.  They can sign up for these monthly emails at www.abbottsbarton.org.uk or by emailing info@abbottsbarton.org.uk.

The next Councillor's Surgery will be on Thursday 2 April 2015!

Thursday, 12 February 2015

News Roundup - February 2015

It's nearly half-term and I thought I try to get this month's News Roundup out before I run out of time!

Have you seen that the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust is organising two events in Abbotts Barton? The first one will be during half-term on Sunday 22 February at 10am down at the river (near the hole in the wall) and the second one will be a on Saturday 7 March 10am on the Abbotts Walk green (Abbotts Walk is the new development off Francis Gardens), details to be found on the poster. If you have neighbours who are not part of the community group, please let them know as well! It's also a great opportunity to meet other people around the area and make new friends!

If you have been to our website recently you might have noticed that we have added a new tab called About to the site. This new section gives you a) an overview of what the group wants to achieve, b) a little history, and c) a list of our successes so far. Soon we will add another page on which we will list 'jobs' that need doing in the hope to find a few people to help as volunteers. These jobs should not take too much time out of anybody's schedule and our group would benefit greatly from some more helpers, so please check back soon if you think you can spare a couple of hours a month or so and would like to meet new people!

Congratulations to the Abbotts Barton residents on the west side of Worthy Road: they have persuaded Winchester City Council to vote for parking restrictions on their side too! Roads were made dangerous to navigate by careless non-local drivers parking even at the most inconvenient spots all day. At some point even the bus couldn't get through anymore (see the Hampshire Chronicle article for more info)! From what I've heard there will be similar restrictions implemented to what is currently on the east side (Mon-Fri 11am to 2pm), which in my opinion is a very good solution. It has kept the roads empty enough to allow residents to find parking spaces but still allows non-residents to park at certain times to go for a walk or stop for a play in the local park. Even better, it allows for day-time visits during the non-restricted times without the residents having to pay for visitor's permits (£1 a day). By the way, did you know that there are websites where you can offer your driveway for daytime parking to non-residents in exchange for a little fee? One of them is Use My Space.

I'm sure you've heard about the big news relating to the judicial review of the Silver Hill project, if not: all the main points can be found here (Hampshire Chronicle) and here (Daily Echo).

Have you seen the suggested changes to the Winchester ward boundaries? You can look up the proposal on the Local Boundary Commission's Winchester web page and you can also comment there via a link.
Proposed new ward boundaries as per Local Boundary Commission
If this proposal goes through, the ward of St Luke's and All Saints would decease to exist and some of it (Winnall) would become part of St Bartholomew's (our ward). This combination could possibly shake up the possible voting results for our ward as at the moment St Luke's and All Saints is the only ward in Winchester with Labour councillors (all three of them) whereas St Bartholomew currently has three Liberal Democrat councillors. The ward boundary changes could also see city councillor numbers cut (Hampshire Chronicle).

Have your say: Winchester City Council is currently consulting on a number of projects, one is the Station Approach Scheme and the other is the Winnall Planning Framework. Both have surveys going!

And finally: the first part of the Barton Farm development will be called Kings Barton according to this article (Hampshire Chronicle), which in my opinion, how can I say it, is not too original in this area. Only marginally better than Abbotts Worthy! And why not Queens Barton?!

All the best,
Sylke
Secretary of Abbotts Barton Community Group