Local Issues

04 Jul

HAMPSHIRE LIBRARIES REOPEN

As Hampshire County Council Executive Member for Recreation & Heritage I am very grateful for the support that residents have shown during the lockdown period and the way people have responded positively to the different ways of accessing Hampshire Library Service through the innovative use of technology.

During lockdown there have been many tens of thousands of eBook loans as well as services such as Baby Rhyme Time being delivered via Facebook. Our staff have worked very hard throughout and now extra hard to get our libraries open again.

There are some changes that visitors will notice:

Ready Reads: We Select You Collect

· Library staff will handpick a selection of books for customers who complete an online form call us in advance. These can be collected without queuing.

Book Lending and Short Visits

· To reduce wait times and allow as many people as possible to visit our libraries, people are asked to limit their visits to a maximum of 30 minutes and to keep browsing to an absolute minimum.

· Reserved items can also be collected at this time.

· Newspapers and magazines won’t be available for the time being.

· Customers are asked to use self-service machines to borrow or return items where possible or download the new Spydus Mobile app to check out books by mobile phone.

· Our toilet facilities will remain closed to the public for the time being.

Government guidance on Test and Trace

· New Government guidance has been produced to help organisations in certain sectors collect details and maintain records of staff, customers and visitors on their premises, from Saturday 4 July onwards, to support NHS Test and Trace.

· We have been asked to keep a temporary record of our visitors for 21 days to help NHS Test and Trace to help identify people who may have been in contact with the virus and help minimise the onward spread of COVID-19. This could help contain clusters or outbreaks.

04 Jul

RIVER HAMBLE FOOTPATH AT SWANWICK REPAIRS

The Hampshire County Council Countryside Service is undertaking 3 phases of works to secure and improve the extremely popular footpath that runs along the River Hamble – Fareham 3a (Hamble Causeway). Walkers will be aware that there are some structural and public safety issues affecting the path, which means that it critical that we move forward with the works.

Phase 1 (Universal Marina to Crableck Lane) was completed last Autumn. I have flagged a number of issues on this section and at the same time as undertaking the phase 2 works the contractors will also undertake the repair work required on phase 1 following the winter storms.

Phase 2 (Crableck Lane to Chinese Bridge) was due to start in April but was put on hold whilst the contractors were furloughed. They are now able to start works on the path on Monday 13th July. The works are planned to be substantially completed prior to the start of the summer holidays (24th July) but may last until the end of the month. The works include installation of rock rolls, bank repair works, a small amount of path surfacing where the path has been eroded away and some bank works adjacent to the Chinese Bridge and the bridge on Footpath 3b where the water is starting to scour out the bank and overtop the path.

The path will be subject to a closure for the standard 6 months which includes the period of works (13th July – 31st July) and some time to undertake any snagging issues, which may involve occasional closures over the coming months but these will be kept to a minimum. The assent for the works from Natural England extends only until 30th September (as works are likely to disturb the overwintering birds) so the service is limited in the timings of the work. Closures will only happen when necessary, not for the entire 6 months.

The Council has written to as many affected landowners as it is aware of and has posted some informal notices on site. The official ‘closure notice’ will go up on 6th July, with the closure notice proper going up on the 13th.

The contractors are aware that the path is very busy and their work programme and H&S requirements include this as a consideration.

Phase 3 – Chinese Bridge to Pink Ferry terminal has received external funding and is due to be implemented in 2021 and will include the creation of a circular route.

03 Jul

PLANNING APPLICATIONS JUST RECEIVED

Two new planning applications have been received which are in the Fareham – Stubbington strategic gap which are essentially revisions of previously refused or withdrawn applications:

Persimmon Homes has submitted an application for 209 houses south of Oakcroft Lane, Stubbington (previously 261 houses) and Hallam Land has submitted an application on Newlands Farm for 1,200 houses, an 80 bed care home, two-form entry 420 place primary school, a local centre including a community centre and healthcare facility. Access is via Longfield Avenue and Peak Lane. Public open space includes the laying out of a new country park and sports facilities; drainage infrastructure; walking and cycling infrastructure and other associated works. There is no access onto the Stubbington Bypass which is now under construction.

I believe that these applications are premature to the consideration of public comments on Fareham’s emerging Local Plan (including the Supplement consulted upon in early 2020) and to the Council approving a Publication Plan for statutory consultation later this year. This will be followed by independent examination by a government inspector at a public inquiry.

The applications will be uploaded to the Council’s planning application portal for public comment once they have been validated.