TRAFFIC AT THE SOKE
Despite numerous approaches to Hampshire County Council (HCC) over the last 12 months they appear to have done nothing to address the traffic problems at The Soke. The Traffic Management Report promised for February, when the traffic light proposal was rejected, has still not appeared and despite re-assurances there is little evidence to suggest it will be forthcoming in the immediate future. Some suggestions have been made by the Town Council in an attempt to mitigate the nuisance to residents and damage to property, in the short term, which is almost entirely created by the volume of heavy goods vehicles going to and from Alresford Salads at The Nythe on the Bighton Road.
In the short term we are asking for a response to the suggestions below with regard to dates, viability and the likely success:
- The installationof a bollard outside No 2 The Soke to protect that building and the Bridge.
- Hi-Vis signage to be installed on the bridge that will maximise visibility.
- Height/width/length detectors to be installed to prevent large vehicles co-occupying the restricted part of the highway.
- The immediate production of the Traffic Management Report now seven months overdue.
In addition hopefully with the support of our District Councillors, Winchester City Council will be requested to investigate and take action on all alleged breaches of planning consent regarding hours of deliveries, volume of traffic, and business classification. They will also be asked why Alresford Salads pays agricultural rather than commercial rates for what is in reality an import/export business.
Finally we will request the Environment Agency to check and give us assurance that the river and Alresford Pond are not being polluted by Alresford Salads business.
West Street Improvements
Despite assurances at the beginning of the year that the Jacklyns Lane/West Street improvements would be done this summer HCC informed us at the end of July that they have been delayed until February/March of 2015.
There is one major change to the plan, which was publicly displayed this time last year, and that is the provision of a Zebra crossing in Jacklyns Lane. The bus stop, currently outside Shapla has been re-located further up West Street and has been positioned in such a way as not to lose three parking spaces. Changes to the drainage will also be undertaken as well as one or two other detailed alterations. The revised plans can be viewed in the Library, the Coop and the Town Council Notice Boards as well and on the Environment page.
We will keep you informed regarding the proposed start date of the works and in the meantime we are pressing HCC to undertake emergency road repairs to West Street and Jacklyns Lane which were cancelled earlier this year in anticipation of the major work being done this summer.
The first phase of the Recreation Centre refurbishment has now been completed. A new meeting room on the ground floor has been brought into use and allows for a greater number of residents
The 67 Bus
There will be further changes to Service 67 on Mondays to Saturdays from Monday 1 September 2014. HCC have advised us that a new contract has
been given to Stagecoach and it will no longer be necessary for passengers to change buses at West Meon Hut. Some timings will change slightly as a result, while Stagecoach will introduce a small number of additional journeys or part journeys on a commercial (unsubsidised) basis. The timetable for the Monday to Saturday Service 67 journeys from 1 September 2014 may be found on the Stagecoach website
Please note that Xelabus will continue to operate Sunday journeys until 26 October 2014, under a separate contract.
Household waste recycling centres – have your say
Hampshire County Council are reviewing the household waste recycling centre (HWRC) service and recently conducted a survey on how they can continue to deliver a service that meets the needs of Hampshire residents and represents good value for money for the council taxpayer. The survey finished on 22 August and we currently await the results. If you don’t currently use the sites, they’d still like to hear your views in case there is anything they could do to make the service more accessible to you in the future. They welcome any feedback from local businesses, charitable or community organisations and anyone else with an interest in the service.
We are in the process of seeking HCC’s endorsement to the SLR (the lit speed limit sign) being used in Sun Lane in addition to other areas of the town. Following a request from the Town Council a 'Unsuitable for large vehicles' sign has now been installed at the bottom of Sun Lane at the junction with East Street.
Clearance of Public Footpaths
We have received numerous complaints in respect of public footpaths being obstructed by over hanging vegetation from resident’s gardens. We would ask, that where properties abut public footpaths residents ensure that it is not blocking pedestrian passageway. It is the responsibility of the householder to ensure that any growth which overhangs a public footpath is cut back regularly to ensure safe passage of pedestrians or passers-by.
Dog Waste Bins
It is now possible for dog waste to be disposed of in normal waste bins and during the course of 2014 the dedicated dog waste bins will be phased out. Advisory signs will be posted on ordinary waste bins and additional waste bins will be provided when the red bins are removed. This should bring a considerable saving to the Council and hopefully prevent dog owners hanging unwanted plastic bags in hedges.
Roads - Potholes everywhere
Go to www.fixmystreet.com for the easiest way to report them and get them fixed.
The Hanging Basket will be prematurely removed this year due to the breakdown of the water bowser. We sincerely apologise for this inconvenience. We are taking all measures to remedy this for 2015. However we will not be able to go forward with our beautiful baskets in 2015 unless we can secure more watering staff. We have had to survive this year with a single dedicated man carrying out this work.
Market Town Manager
A Market Town Manager has been appointed to work one day a week with the following objectives:
- Increase footfall into the shops and services in town
- Improve communication among disparate community groups
- Develop greater cohesion of community group activities
- Increase residents’ use of town businesses
- Fill in gaps in the existing events calendar and encourage residents’ participation
The Council has funded this part time post and we look to her to provide the catalyst to bring new events and initiatives to the Town. Whilst she is nominally responsible to the Tourism Committee we do not intend to either approve or veto any community event or activity. She will be making contact with key community groups to seek their engagement and to bring greater co-ordination and promotion to current and new events. She will also be looking to introduce one or two new events, with the support of Community Groups, throughout the year.
East Street Lighting
A public meeting in respect of East Street lights was held recently and it was agreed that the three existing street lights would be retained with no additional lights on the south side. The replacement lamps will be heritage style more in keeping with the conservation area as shown here.
Whilst the lights in Station Road, Station Approach and the north of Jacklyns Lane have been replaced they still await the ‘cosmetic’ additions to make them heritage style. This will be done in the next few weeks.
The majority of the other street lamps in Alresford have now been replaced but work still remains to be done to replace existing similar lights in Broad Street and the Churchyard.
Riverside Footpath Repairs
Regular users of the riverside path will be relieved that we have managed to cap the gusher. The work was delayed because HCC could not undertake the work as it was the landowner’s responsibility. However, the landowner of this stretch of the path, by the Memorial Gardens, could not be established from a search of the Land Registry. As no land owner came forward we had no alternative but to step in and take responsibility.
Our proposals for the repair were nearly thwarted by the Environment Agency who insisted on approving them and this would have delayed the remedial work until the spring of 2015. This was unacceptable to us and it was finally agreed that emergency repairs were essential and these could be done without approval. The emergency work undertaken should provide a long term solution and the footpath has now been fully restored and is once again open to the public.
Broad Street Paving
You will have noticed the increasing amounts of tarmac appearing between the paving slabs in Broad Street. This has been done as a temporary measure as Hampshire County Council (HCC) HCC is unable to match the existing slabs with anything currently available. Following discussions with HCC it has been agreed that all vehicle accesses in Broad Street will be laid with ‘cobbles’ as has been done outside the Horse and Groom. This should release sufficient slabs to infill in other areas to replace the missing and damaged slabs.
Bollards in Broad Street continue to be knocked down and it is essential that when these are re-instated they are set in concrete or they continue to be uprooted. Concrete does not sit well with the existing slabs so all future bollard replacements will be set in concrete a little below pavement level and will finished off with a coloured artificial surfacing to match the existing slabs.