Thursday, 26 September 2013

Save The Rec and Save The Parks / the Council's plan for the Leisure Centre

As today's leading article in the Hampshire Chronicle confused our campaign with the newly set up Save The Rec group here are few items to help you along:

There are a number of concerns about the Council's plans:

Loss of open space
During the Save The Parks campaign a number of residents of Abbotts Barton have been told by city officers that the parkland in Abbotts Barton is not that important to keep intact as there is always North Walls Recreation Ground. Needless to say, we disagree with that completely: a) North Walls is not in view by houses in Abbotts Barton (important when you have children), and b) always very busy, you can't just go there and do a community event on the weekend without colliding with many other people and groups. And now a big part of it is supposed to be built on? If the councillors keep coming up with more ideas for the destruction of green spaces in Winchester, soon all of Winchester will have to make do with whatever little space is left at North Walls! Great prospect.

Yes, we do understand that the Leisure Centre can't go on for much longer in its current state and we also understand that it needs to cater for more people than just Winchester residents -  and we also love that it's close to us. But maybe there is another way, for example splitting it up into two, with possibly a swimming pool at Bar End and an update to what exists currently?

Also a new improved Leisure Centre as per the current plans of the Council would create quite a lot more traffic into the dead end system of Gorden Road, right past a busy school, St. Bede's. This of course is troubling parents who want to make sure they and their children can walk to school safely. And of course it would also affect the people living along those roads.

Even if the traffic flow would be changed to a one way system (in at Gordon Road, out via Park Avenue) this would not be great as there are currently a play area and a skate park which would then possibly be right next to the road, or even worse divided by it.

Equally, the path along the field in question is already very busy as it is not only one of the main walking routes to school and into town but also used a lot by cyclists (it is a shared path). Careful planning would have to be done here to make this safer for both parties, pedestrians and cyclists!

The main thing to remember is that once open space is gone, it's gone forever!

If these plans trouble you, we can only recommend for you to write to Winchester City Council once again.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Winchester City Council has removed the Abbotts Barton parks from its current council house building programme!

At last week's Cabinet meeting Council Leader Keith Wood made an announcement about an update to Winchester's council house programme. He detailed which local housing schemes will be going through and which won't be due to limited finances.
Over the next three years Winchester Council will not be building any new houses in Abbotts Barton! However  - when more resources will become available again -, Hillier Way and the two garage sites (also Westman Road in Weeke) are still supposed to be developed, probably within five years.

The main park in Abbotts Barton and Dyson Drive green which we were fighting for to be kept as they are (clear of houses) were not mentioned at all, so for now these should be safe. What a shift in focus by the Council!

Of course this is great news for the Abbotts Barton community and Winchester in general, and we are very happy that going forward we will be able to use our parks as we used to!

Many thanks to everybody who supported our campaign in so many different ways:
  • Preparing and handing in an application for a village green status for Dyson Drive green.
  • Writing petitions and spending hours going from house to house to get signatures.
  • Researching numbers, laws, and maps to help with the campaign.
  • Reading through Council meeting papers and reports to find information and report that back to the group.
  • Attending and speaking at Council meetings on behalf of the community.
  • Writing letters and emails to councillors and city officials.
  • Engaging in regular conversations with councillors about what is going on.
  • Engaging with the media in various ways to get our campaign out into the public.
  • Running a website and Twitter account to keep everybody informed.
We are also very grateful to have received so many messages of support via our petition website!

How to stay connected
We are planning to keep an eye on Council's development plans for Abbotts Barton. If you would like to stay up-to-date over the coming years, you have a several options to do so. Using these automated options saves you from having to come back to our website manually every so often to catch news:
Alternatively you can stay in touch with what is happening via the Abbotts Barton Community Group:

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Watch this spot!

We have received some very exciting news about changes to the council house building programme that were announced in today's Cabinet meeting. However, before we can give you any confirmed details we are still awaiting more information. Watch this spot!