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 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.

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,
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!