Have your say on bus service

Hampshire County Council has launched a public consultation about three services it helps to fund: street lighting, subsidised transport services, and the concessionary travel scheme.

Don’t miss the bus says Jim

It’s particularly relevant to Stubbington and Hill Head, because one of the services being looked at is the 21/21A bus service.
You can view the consultation and download a response form and information pack here
The consultation closes at midnight on Sunday, August 5, and we urge residents to take part.

Builders challenge Old Street decision

Bargate Homes has appealed against Fareham Council’s refusal of 150 homes on land west of Old Street, near the nature reserve. Deadline for appeals to the Planning Inspectorate is June 15.

Planning appeals are decided by the Government’s Planning Inspectorate, not Fareham Borough Council.
The Planning Inspectorate will hold a Public Inquiry to discuss the appeal. Residents who commented on the original application are able to attend – the date and venue will be announced later.

Jim Forrest and ALex Brims helped residents campaign against homes in the countryside gap

Previous comments about the application will be forwarded to the Planning Inspectorate. Residents can make further comments now, and all comments will be considered by the Planning Inspector assigned to this case.

You can view the appeal documents at http://www.fareham.gov.uk/casetrackerplanning using the application reference P/17/1451/OA.

If you wish to make comments on the appeal you must do so to the Planning Inspectorate by 15th June 2018.

You can comment online at https://acp.planninginspectorate.gov.uk. Or you can write (quoting the appeal reference APP/A1720/W/18/3200409 and providing three copies of your comments) to:
The Planning Inspectorate
Room 3/O Kite Wing
Temple Quay House
2 The Square

Developers eye up more countryside

A company calling itself Fareham Land, part of the Pegasus Group,has published a proposal to build 200 homes on land between the old and new routes of Newgàte Lane, surrounding the historic Peel Farm house.
They say it would “provide a naturàl extension” to the 475-home community proposed east of the new road in Fareham Council’s Draft Local Plan.
They don’t mention that under the Draft Local Plan, the land west of the new road remains part of the strategic gap separating Stubbington frrom Fareham. Nor do they mention that the land on which Fareham Council is proposing to allow up to 475 homes under its revised plan is itself being sliced from the strategic gap as it was agreed under the original Local Plan in 2015. (Local Conservatives also neglected to mention that in their recent election literature).
Despite the company’s name, Fareham Land has nothing to do with Fareham Council. Their publicity mentions “pre-application discussions with the Council’s planning officers”, but that that doesn’t imply Council support – officers are obliged to have talks with anyone who proposes a development.

The company has not yet submitted any formal planning application. We’ll alert residents if they do, and we’ll publicise the timetable for residents’ comments.
The company is holding a public exhibition on Tuesday, May 22, 3-7pm at St Matthew’s Church, Wych Lane, PO13 0JN. Their website, with further details, is https://www.newgatelanepegasusgroup.co.uk/

Upgrade for Woodcote Lane

Woodcote Lane  – gravel and potholes

How the new surface will look

Residents in Woodcote Lane have suffered for years from a potholed, unmade road leading to their homes. It’s caused damage to their cars and made access difficult for visitors and deliveries as well as themselves.
Bus passengers from Newgate Lane and Albert Road who live closer to the new stops in Newgate Lane East than to the ones in Gosport Road have to pick their way through potholes and puddles (see Newgate Lane story below).
That makes it very difficult for people with walking aids to get to the buses.
But residents have been told the whole lane will be given a new asphalt surface, similar to that already laid near its exit on to the new road.
It won’t be full highways-standard surface because pipes and cables close to the surface prevent excavation to the depth required for a full remake.
But it will be some improvement for Woodcote Lane residents – something the Ad Lib team have long urged as part-compensation for having the new road so close to their homes.


Newgate Lane

Jim Forrest with Lesley Davies, who has been delivering Ad Lib since Jim was first elected in 2002

Ad Lib campaigning helped Lesley and residents in Newgate Lane to win an end to the noise and pollution of constant traffic outside their doors. Jim says: “The fight goes on to help thousands of other Stubbington and Hill Head residents with day-to-day problems.

The picture right, taken shortly after the opening of the new road to the east of Peel Farm, helps to explain why I serve as a Fareham Councillor.

But the real credit goes to the residents themselves, for keeping up the pressure for a decent life for their families.

That day I was delighted to see children out playing on their bikes where they never could before because of incessant traffic.

Liberal Democrats are in politics to help people achieve the things they need, not to say what we think is good for them.

Dorinne Burton-Jenkins and I strove for years to restore Newgate Lane as a quiet backwater. So did councillors from other parties – I don’t claim it as just one party’s achievement.

Jim at the temporary bus stop

There’s still more to do – bus users now have to walk through potholed gravel in Woodcote Lane to get to the new stops.

Residents have been told work to improve Woodcote Lane will start in May. In the meantime, temporary stops near the Gosport Road Pelican crossing are an easier if slightly longer walk away, and will be made permanent soon.

Revised local plan will be crucial for village

Fareham has to find sites for almost 3,500 extra homes in the next few years.

This is because of delays to the 6,000-home Welborne plan which the Tories said would meet housing need.

So a revised local plan is being discussed to find sites for these, while as far as possible preserving strategic gaps between built-up areas.

A recent Tory leaflet rightly pointed out that the Draft Local Plan rejects the Old Street proposal quoted above, and the plan for more than 1,000 houses at Newlands Farm. Both of these stay in the Strategic Gap

But the leaflet fails to mention that the Draft Plan redraws the Strategic Gap to allow for 475 homes east of Newgate Lane.

Isn’t that what used to be called “being economical with the truth”?

New houses being built in Daedalus

Mailbag boxes

Mailbag store in Crofton Lane

Royal Mail

A resident who used to work for Royal Mail tells us the postbag stores, like this unsightly one in Crofton Lane, are no longer used. There are others around locally. Now posties usually come to their rounds by van.

Postbag stores like the rusting one in Beresford Road were used to store the delivery mailbags for the local posties.

The unsightly boxes are an obstacle to crews cutting our grass verges.

We are enquiring if there are plans to remove them soon.

Traffic-free at last

The new route of Newgate Lane South, from Collingwood to the Peel Common roundabout, is due to be opened on the weekend of April 7/8.

Newgate Lane residents will at last see an end to constant traffic past their doors, says Jim Forrest

Buses on the 21/21A route will use the new road from Monday, April 9. There will be several overnight closures of Newgate Lane during the rest of April to enable completion of the construction. These will involve diversions via Longfield Avenue, Mays Lane and Gosport Road. See full details here. http://tinyurl.com/y9pbay7o

On board hospital bus campaign

We reported in the January Ad Lib that Lib Dems  put a question to Fareham Council calling for the return of bus services to Fareham Community Hospital.

Fareham Community Hospital

Fareham Community Hospital

Patients from Stubbington and Hill Head are increasingly being directed there.

We’re pleased to note that Fareham MP Suella Fernandes is on board, with a petition calling for hospital buses.

Jim Forrest asked Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage – now a health minister- to back her colleague’s campaign. Ms Dinenage replied that she would give what support she can, but that any help to the bus company would have to come from councils.

Jim also raised concerns about waiting times for appointments at the local surgery, and time taken to answer phone calls. The MP suggested that concerns should  be raised with the Care Quality Commission at www.cqc.org.uk

** More on buses – we’ve asked if the 21/21A route can be gritted in snowy and icy weather.

Council Tax hike outpaces incomes

At the Budget meeting, Fareham Council raised its tax again, with a £5 increase for band D properties.

Lib Dems supported the budget as a whole because of the need to maintain services.

But Lib Dem opposition leader Roger Price had concerns about the tax increase. Cllr Price said: ‘This will be the third year in a row that the council has increased council tax beyond the rate of inflation.

‘Sadly, residents’ incomes do not increase beyond inflation. In some cases they don’t even match inflation.

‘Therefore these increases could cause more people to get into arrears with their council tax payments.