About the Environment Committee
The Environment Committee is made up of 5 members. Councillor Sam Kerr-Smiley, Councillor Lisa Griffiths, Councillor Barbara Jeffs, Councillor Annie Saunders, Councillor Ernie Jeffs and Councillor Stephen Pinch. Councillor Kerr-Smiley currently serves as Chair of the Environment Committee.
The Committee is directly responsible for a wide variety of duties throughout Alresford, from managing the Allotments, Dog Fouling, Litter Control, grass cutting and some vegetation maintenance and tree management. Within our Budget is the cost of maintaining a small number of public lights and the SLR speed sign that moves from road to road in our area.
The Environment Committee has maintained oversight during the West Street Works and is working with others to take more responsibility for our paths and footpaths to try and ensure they are well maintained.
For the 2015/16 Year we have a budget of £11,800. As at the 31st August 2015 our spend stands at £6,998.62. It is likely that because the Environment budget has been allocated cost from other departments in respect of tree management and grass cutting as well as the agreed settlement of an outstanding bill for the emptying of the Dog Waste Bins we will end the year slightly above budget.
All queries and requests for information should be directed to the Committee via the committee Clerk Frances Simpson email@example.com or using the details on the Contacts page.
The vast majority of Alresford’s allotment plots are much loved and well-worked by plot-holders. They are delightful and the result of years of improving work by a dedicated band of gardeners.
Like many towns Alresford has a long queue of residents patiently awaiting an available plot. Therefore it is imperative that existing plot holders regularly work and maintain their allotments. The committee is disappointed that this year it has had to write to a number of plot holders about the state of their plots and, in at least one case, spend public funds to restore a plot to a useable condition.
Two new rules regarding the Allotments have been issued recently. These are aimed at encouraging plot holders to maintain their plots in good order and to reduce the handling cost to the council of managing the waiting list. A small one-off charge is now levied on prospective potholders joining the waiting list and the Town Council will now levy a ‘maintenance bond’, equivalent to one year’s rent per allotment, repayable if the plot is returned or given up in good order.
There is an identified need for more allotments and a new site in Alresford is proposed under the draft Local Plan part 2.
West Street Works
The works are nearing completion, however the final stages are likely to be the most disruptive with considerable disruption caused by road resurfacing. As with most construction projects the end result is not going to be quite what was anticipated at the beginning:
From 6 trees to 1. Due to various technical difficulties caused by underground services and lack of space no trees will directly planted into the ground either on Pound Hill or in front of the Co-op. However a new large elliptical planter will host one tree and various shrubs and bulbs, the planter will have a reservoir system to reduce the frequency of watering and will be maintained under contract for 3 years until established, at the end of which time the Town Council will take responsibility.
Many residents have been concerned by the changes, particularly over dropped kerbs and access for buggies and the difficulties in turning out of the Dean into West Street. A working party consisting of councillors from HCC, WCC and Alresford Town Council, along with the project managers, toured the works recently and resolved a number of snagging issues and reviewed the planned locations of new street furniture:
1) The radius of the new paving on the Dean turning is too wide and is to be corrected.
2) Location of benches: the S-shaped bench near the yew tree has been positioned away from the neighbouring wall. The previous bench located close to the wall gave rise to antisocial behaviour, in its new location the bench will allow people to sit facing either up West Street or Pound Hill in either sun or shade. The benches outside the Co-op have been positioned reasonably close to the kerb to act as a deterrent to cars parking on the pavement.
3) Cycle Racks: It was agreed that we would angle the racks at between 33 – 45 degrees to the kerb-line, to allow further space between them when occupied, and the building curtilage, for passing pedestrians/buggies/wheelchairs.
The Environment Committee has been tasked with setting out a cycling strategy for the town. With the growth of cycling as a popular sport, exercise and method of transport there is now some potential government funding for cycle routes for Alresford, with the cash coming via Hampshire County Council.
As a town we need to decide what we want from and what we want to give to cycling. Do we create a new route on existing roads around the town and link it in to the national network or look at a completely different strategy? How do we make our residential roads bike-friendly and raise awareness of how motorists should treat cyclists and vice-versa? What might be the benefits or disadvantages of promoting Alresford as ‘bike-friendly’?
The Town Council, working with Jackie Porter our Hampshire County Councillor, must have a clear cycle strategy to promote it to the County who will cost and look at the feasibility of any proposals.
So we, and any other interested individuals or groups, will spend some time looking at the evidence and putting together a plan from which the Town Council can form an overall strategy.
All interested parties please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Dog Waste Bins
All residents and particularly dog owners should be aware that it is appropriate and legal for dog waste, suitably bagged, to be disposed of in the green multi-use public bins provided at locations around the town.
A proposal in 2013 by Winchester City Council to exchange the Red dog waste bins with Green multi-use bins is eventually coming to fruition and will see the majority of our red bins replaced with green bins. PLEASE DISPOSE OF YOUR DOG WASTE APPROPRIATELY
East Street Parking Proposal
A proposal to place a number of parking bays on East Street was put to all East Street residents. This was proposed with a view to improving customer access to East Street businesses and to acting as a traffic calming measure. This was not a new proposal and like the previous one a majority of responses were against for a wide variety of reasons. Responding to this majority the Environment committee is not minded to support extra parking spaces at this time. However speeding, in the opinion of residents, remains an issue along the street and on the road to Bishops Sutton. The Council has approached HCC should be approached to measure the traffic coming in and out the town via East Street & to look at data taken from the Town Council’s SLR camera. Update: A number of helpful suggestions have been received from HCC and a dialogue is ongoing as we look for a solution.
Paths & Footpaths
We are determined to take more responsibility for maintaining our own paths and footpaths. Therefore Town Councillors have devised a ‘responsibility map’; effectively splitting the town into areas with individual councillors responsible for one or two areas, generally where they live.
The intent is for each councillor to report problems or issues they find to the Town Council’s Environment Committee which will determine the appropriate action to take – whether that’s reporting the issue up the chain, and ensuring it’s followed up, or taking immediate action ourselves, if possible.
Alongside this the Town Council wants to form a group of volunteers, we already have a number of willing residents, who are able to respond to these reports and if possible undertake action, such as vegetation clearance, with support and training from the Council. If you’re interested in becoming one of these volunteers please write to the Town Clerk at the address below or email email@example.com
The long-running issue of heavy goods vehicles using the Soke, an issue of considerable concern to residents in the area and one for which they have been campaigning hard for a solution, is being investigated by Steve Brine, our local MP.
Following May’s elections Winchester City and Alresford Town Councillor Ernie Jeffs agreed to open a dialogue with Alresford Salads and local traffic campaigners to establish ‘ground truth’ on the numbers of vehicles actually using the Soke, and their ultimate destination.
Our local MP Steve Brine is now actively involved in the issue and is currently working to set up a meeting with Alresford Salads and Cllrs. Kerr-Smiley and Griffiths from Alresford Town Council, Jackie Porter from HCC, himself and Jan Field from the Alresford Society to discuss The Soke later this month.