District Councillors’ May 2012 Report

Dear Ward Electorate,

By the time you read this report, the new boardwalk and pathways between the Waltham Chase Village Hall and the Winchester Road to St John the Baptist’s Primary School will have been opened as the ‘Jubilee Walk’ named in honour of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II’s 60 years’ of reign. It will be the manifestation of the school’s aim to provide a safer way to school as part of its strategic travel plan. Because it is a permissive way, it benefits only those parents, guardians and carers who want to walk safely with their charges to and from school on a daily basis with the added benefit of views to the east and north of the SSSI and the ambiance of a short woodland walk. It will therefore minimise vehicular use and contribute to reducing our carbon footprint. Congratulations are due to all those, and there were many, who have been involved in its realisation. It has been a triumph of common sense with the added bonus of providing an amenity to appreciate our natural surroundings. Now it is time to turn our eyes into making a safer way from other points in the parish, namely from Shirrell Heath. There are two footpaths from the southern end of the village, one from Smith’s Lane into Black Horse Lane then one from Black Horse Lane to Solomons Lane, both of which could do with some attention to make them more amenable and attractive to tread.

With regard to sustainable travel, Winchester City Council is working both with Sustrans, who oversee the National Cycle Network, and Hampshire County Council, on a project which will ensure that the Hockley Viaduct is repaired. It has a long and useful future ahead; forming an integral part of the final stretch of National Cycle Network Route 23 (NCN23) of the National Cycle Network. It will run south from Reading to Southampton via Basingstoke, Alresford, Winchester and Eastleigh with a spur to Alton. The viaduct was built in the 1880s and has 33 spans and was last used by the railway in the 1960s. Unsuccessful attempts have been made to have the structure listed but the structure is of some historic interest due to its method of construction and the importance of the route in the lead up to D-Day. By working together, the three bodies seek to complete NCN23, providing a very memorable way across the viaduct for leisure walkers and cyclists, with plenty of heritage charm, lovely views and some interesting wildlife. It will also offer a lowcarbon means for commuters to head into central Winchester from the South Winchester Park and Ride (P&R), by using a bike rather than a bus. The funding promised by HCC will help complete the NCN 23 route to South Winchester P&R, where it is hoped to introduce a bike loan scheme. There are also plans to link the northern end of NCN23 at St Catherine’s Hill with the South Downs Way with the assistance of the South Downs National Park Authority.

The LEADER Funding, reported upon last month, run by the Fieldfare LAG (Local Action Group) and where Winchester City Council (WCC) administers their grants’ scheme, continues to be one of the most successful groups across the country. WCC has enabled 91 projects, including the St John’s element of the Jubilee Walk, reported above; awarding grants totalling £1.2m which has helped promote a total investment by these projects exceeding £5m. This is serious investment in our region, seeded by funding from the EU, thereby getting a return on some of our money remitted to Brussels, back into the UK.

I’m sure you all remember, since many of you contributed enthusiastically to ‘Blueprint’ – well, this initiative has earned your local council, WCC, a National Commendation. The council is celebrating after its planning engagement project ‘Blueprint’ was commended at the national Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) awards ceremony in London. Cllr Rob Humby, Portfolio Holder for Planning and member for Owslebury & Curdridge said, “I am delighted. The design and implementation of the project was carried out completely in-house by council officers and was a very effective, yet a value for money way, of offering residents the opportunity to engage with the council on the future of their local areas.”

If anyone wishes to engage us on any of the above or on any matter they believe the district council can help with, please do write or contact us: Roger Huxstep is on 01329 833884 or e-mail: rhuxstep@winchester.gov.uk. Linda Gemmell is on 01489 895023 and lgemmell@winchester.gov.uk or attend the next surgery on 29th May at 6.00 pm in the hour before the Annual Parish Assembly in Waltham Chase Village Hall at 7.00 pm.

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