Friday, November 30, 2007


Planning for Winchester's Future

Winchester City Council has just launched the consultation process for the Core Strategy document which will, eventually, form part of the District's Local Development Framework. The document published this week is the Draft Issues and Options Paper from which the Council will need to develop its own Preferred Options Paper by summer 2008. This will in turn go to public examination and a binding Inspector's Report over the following 12 months.

One critical factor which drives this whole process is the government's requirements for housebuilding in the south-east. The South East Plan requires Winchester District to provide land for some 12,240 new dwellings in the period 2006-2026. Of these, 500 have already been built and a further 3,525 are committed. That leaves 8,215 of which roughly half are expected to be located within the so-called PUSH area bordering on Portsmouth and Fareham. The other 4,000 will need to be built in the northern part of the District, in or around Winchester itself or around the market towns like Alresford, or in some combination of these options.

So what does this mean for Oliver's Battery & Badger Farm? Among the "spatial options" in the draft document are a number of possible ways of developing the area in and around Winchester city. These include building within the existing boundaries of the city, but including Barton Farm and the local reserve development sites at Pitt Manor and Abbotts Barton, or expanding the built-up area of Winchester to the north, north-west, west or south.

Obviously I would be very concerned to see the south option going forward as this would be likely to include the land between Olivers Battery and Compton which was successfully defended in the current Local Plan. There's no cause for panic. This is just one option of many, but we need to be aware that the south of Winchester needs defending again. The full document is available on the City Council website, follow this link to read it.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


Wickham By-election Result

There was a by-election today for the Winchester City Council seat in Wickham. Wickham is part of Winchester's southern parishes and is in the new Meon Valley parliamentary constituency. The by-election was caused by the sad and unexpected death of Liberal Democrat councillor Sue Fitzgerald, who had only been elected for the first time in May this year.

Here is the result:
Liberal Democrat (Angela Clear) 630 - 60.9% (May 61.1%)
Conservative 349 - 33.8% (May 36.5%)
UKIP 40 - 3.9% (May no candidate)
Labour 15 - 1.4% (May 2.4%)

An excellent result for Angela who will be a great addition to the Liberal Democrat council group.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007



That’s all we seem to be hearing about at the moment.

First the County Council cut its subsidy to the evening and Sunday services of the No 5 bus. The new timetable with reduced services has been in effect since 1st November. Hampshire County Council has a problem with overspend on the Adult Services budget and the Environment Department had to find its share of savings – it was told to save £500,000 from its total budget of £60m (itself up £1.5m from the previous year). It chose to make ALL the savings on public transport, resulting in reductions in service right across the county, including the No 5 here in Olivers Battery and Badger Farm!

Next, Winchester City Council has also found itself in a financial hole and has decided to reduce the hours of use for elderly persons’ bus passes. Instead of being able to use them between 9am and midnight, bus pass holders will have to limit their travel times to between 9.30am and 11.00pm. So much for early appointments at the doctor, the dentist or even the bank!

Back to the County again, this time the cut is at the Tower Arts Centre. This local centre has played a vital and vibrant role in Winchester’s cultural life for many years. Now the County Council wants to stop its £100,000 annual subsidy to the Tower and hand management over to King’s School, losing the evening cultural programme in the process. A packed public meeting in the Guildhall on 1st November heard many heartfelt speeches in support of the Tower and some feeble excuses from the County Council. As was pointed out, Hampshire County Council spends more than £4m on publicity (telling us how good it is) but can’t find £100,000 to support the Tower.

I will continue to campaign for improving the bus service, maintaining the existing hours for bus passes and for a secure future for the Tower.

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