Alresford Local Plan
Although the meetings held to date have attracted a good number of attendees, and considerable criticism of the current proposals, only the Alresford Society has so far volunteered to work on an alternative. We have learnt that the timescales from Winchester City Council have changed and that our input can be deferred until April 2013.
The government announcement to remove planning restrictions and the need for the affordable housing component has been very disruptive and the financial incentive to build high value properties on our green field sites may be irresistible. In our view it is vital that there is consensus amongst Alresford residents on the use of these sites.
It may be that residents feel that an average of 20 houses a year, as we have experienced for the last 20 years, is so insignificant that we can continue piecemeal, without commanding improvements in our employment opportunities, public services, transport, schools and open spaces. However we must continue to develop a plan for Alresford that incorporates the community infrastructure that will be necessary to preserve and enhance the quality of life for residents, as their number increases.
As part of the process we have to complete a needs assessment and it is this that we will be focusing on for the remainder of the year. Once these have been completed and we have seen the results from The Dean project, we will be able to re-commence the work on establishing how these needs are met beyond 2021.
A full report is available here
Housing target confirmed
The Inspector reviewing Winchester City Council’s Local Plan Part 1 (LPP1) has just produced his report which finds the plan ‘sound’ and it is expected to be adopted as planning policy by WCC in March.
However, the Inspector recommends increasing the total housing provision for the District from 11,000 to 12,500 dwellings (2011-2031). The implication of this for Alresford is that the housing requirement will be at the top end of our range, i.e. 500. Future work on Local Plan Part 2 will need to meet this requirement and any subsequent plans developed will now have conform to the strategy and policies in LPP1.
West Street Improvements
Hampshire County Council has completed the initial work on a scheme to improve the crossing at Jacklyns Lane and West Street. Some detailed surveying still has to be completed but is most likely that the improvements will keep the existing junction layout, as against installing traffic lights or a mini roundabout. Crossing points for pedestrians will be installed in Jacklyns Lane and at the bottom of West Street.
The area in front of the Co-op will be pedestrianised with on street parking extended in front of the store. Detailed plans will be displayed for consultation.
Arlebury Park Car Park
The car park extension has now been completed. We also took the opportunity to repair the damaged areas of the existing car park. The whole area now has to be lined out. This work is scheduled for 6 March but in the event of bad weather it will be delayed until 13 March. The whole of the car park is being re-lined and it will be necessary to close the whole car park and clear it of all vehicles to enable this work to be completed.
On the 1 April the car park will become Pay and Display but the first two hours will be free.
Winchester City Council (WCC) has been approached with a recommendation that parking in the Town Centre should be consistent at two hours in Broad Street, West Street, Station Road and The Dean. Currently we have a situation where West Street and Station Road are restricted to a one hour period. This should avoid the current confusion and is scheduled to be implemented once the necessary Traffic Orders have been obtained.
The River Path
Those of you that walk the river path from The Dean to the Eel House will have had to negotiate flooded and muddy areas. Various suggestions have been put forward as to the cause of the flooding but it undoubtedly results from the record breaking rainfall we have experienced over the last 12 months and the difficulty of controlling the river flow through the Eel House. Negotiations have now taken place between the parties involved and the flow has been increased, reducing the height of the river upstream of the Eel House. In the coming months the situation will be monitored and the flow adjusted as necessary. The long term solution to the problem is the installation of new sluices and gates in the Eel House which will make the control of the river flow far easier. Subject to the agreement of the Environment Agency the New Alresford Town Trust hopes to complete this work by the end of the year. In the meantime temporary repairs have been made to the footpath pending more permanent improvements once the Eel House sluices have been completed.
Old Pinglestone Road
We are trying hard to balance the conflicting needs of recognising the traditional right of way of this ancient route and protecting the natural habitat. In order to ensure that it cannot be claimed in the future that ‘the ancient highway has not been used’, arrangements are made for a pony and trap to make the journey along the Old Road during the Alresford Watercress Festival.
The last thing we want to see is a concrete ramp from the end of The Dean into the river which could attract off-roaders. What we do want to do is to ensure that the historic right of passage is maintained but only for horses and carriages. To this end the Town Council has been negotiating with Hampshire County Council and the land owners to establish a formal entry and egress from the river a few metres to the west of the bottom of The Dean.
This has been agreed by all parties but the work is not near the top of the highway improvement priority list. An alternative may well be for us to get the land owners to undertake the work as part of the improvement to the river environment but all such work will have to be agreed by the Environment Agency and Natural England.