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News Bulletin: July / August 2008

The move from the old Elizabeth Hall to the new has now taken place and users are delighted with the facilities. The old Hall will be demolished shortly. Landscaping and layout of the car park will then be completed and it follows that car parking will continue to be limited during July and into August because contractors will still be working on site. A formal opening is being planned for the Autumn.

Officers at Hart decided to refuse the application for 37 sheltered apartments on the site of 25-31 Sheldons Road so the application will not be put to Committee. Hart’s key reasons are that the application is out of keeping with the area, detrimental to trees, parking is inadequate, and access would be dangerous. In addition the proposal does not contain any affordable housing or financial contribution to the additional infrastructure which would be necessary because of the development. McCarty and Stone now have the options of accepting the refusal, putting forward a new application in an effort to overcome the reasons for refusal or going to Appeal.

Way back in 2002 residents in the Four Acre Coppice area expressed concern that buyers of houses in Holt Park would use Four Acre Coppice as a “rat run” to reach Griffin Way South rather than drive up to the Crooked Billet and along the A30. A traffic survey in 2003 showed that almost all the traffic entering and leaving Griffin Way South from Four Acre Coppice was very local indeed. Given the significant increase in traffic at that junction a fresh survey was carried out in April which demonstrated that the additional traffic does not come from Holt Park but is made up of vehicles leaving the A 30 to use Four Acre Coppice as a short cut. Peak hour queues at the A30/B3349 roundabout, road works on the A30 and Sat Navs appear to be the main causes. We have the topic on our agenda for our next meeting with Highways which is in July.

The owner of the aged building which houses the Hook Barbers and Dry Cleaners has put in an outline planning application to demolish them and construct a two and a half storey building consisting of four shops and six flats. Although the new building will be taller than the present one it will not be out of keeping with its surroundings and we understand the barbers and dry cleaners will continue to trade from the redeveloped site.

The new skate park opened as planned on Sunday 8th June. In fact it was hard to keep enthusiasts away from it in the few days when it appeared to have been finished but had not yet received its ROSPA inspection. On opening day skaters came along from 6am. Some 200 teenagers and the press attended the opening. The skate park has been funded by a combination of money legally due from George Wimpey as a part of the Planning Permission for Holt Park and a donation from the Big Lottery Fund. At the same time the “teen shelter” at the same location, funded through The Base, also came into use. Both these new facilities are already extremely popular. The surface of the new skate park is proving, as expected, to be very quiet compared to the old ramps.

An appeal against refusal of the proposal for a phone mast on Reading Road was lodged in January. The time for representations against or in favour of the mast is long over but it could still be some time before the Planning Inspectorate releases a decision. Because of the high volume of appeals a case such as this can take up to a year to be decided.

The bench at the Birch Grove end of Wellworths Park has become a regular haunt for underage drinkers yet appears to have little use from anyone else. It is therefore being removed and will be relocated to St John’s Church.

Antony Hunter – Parish Councillor