Monday, 7 March 2011

Spending Your Money

The Hedge End, West End and Botley (HEWEB) Local Area Committee (LAC) of Eastleigh Borough Council (EBC) met on 28th February.  This committee meets to consider planning applications and other matters affecting the local area.

Committee minutes are published on EBC's website, but as a service to Hedge End followers, here is a summary of those agenda items which concern Hedge End directly.

  1. The chair in his report referred to the recent pedestrian accident on Turnpike Way, the opening of the Berry Theatre in April and the next meeting of the HEWEB Community Safety Forum (7pm, 4th April at the Hilldene Centre, West End).
  2. The Local Area Coordinator reported on Hedge End Town Council's ambitious plans to improve and expand the skateboard park at Woodhouse Lane.  It is likely that EBC will provide additional funding and Botley and West End parish councils will be invited to support the project.  Unfortunately County Council cuts are putting other youth provision at risk - including the excellent Box Youth Centre in Wildern Lane.
  3. We approved an uncontroversial planning application in White's Way and a change of use for the Dowd's Farmhouse from residential to office/research and development/community or day care facilities.  The farmhouse (a grade II listed building) requires so much work that it is very unlikely that a residential buyer would ever be found.
  4. The most controversial planning application was withdrawn from the agenda at the last minute.  This was a so-called "enabling application" to build another block of flats at Dowd's Farm in order to raise money to restore the farmhouse.  There are lots of issues at stake here and we are going to have a dedicated meeting on it later in March.  If people are interested I can blog in more detail nearer the event (bearing in mind the constraints of the planning process and possible commercially sensitive information).
  5. We agreed to start the consultation process to make two minor diversions to footpath rights of way at Dowd's Farm.
  6. A number of small community grant awards were made  to local organisations including the d.@rt centre, Performing Arts Company, New Music Makers, Explorers Pre-School, Monday over-60s Club, Wildern Opportunity Group, and 2000 Centre Users Group.
  7. £6,000 was confirmed as EBC's contribution to the construction of pedestrian crossing points on Turnpike Way, with £5,000 coming from the County Council and £7,000 from developers' contributions.
  8. £23,000 on new footpath and cycle way links at Dowd's Farm, part developers' contributions and part funding already allocated by the county.
  9. £50,000 of developers' contributions to expand and improve facilities at Dowd's Farm Park.
  10. £85,000 of future developers' contributions to improve community use of Kings Copse School.
  11. £500,000 of developers' contributions towards the construction of the Berry Theatre along with £60,000 of budgeted contingency fund.


  1. This is worth doing Keith, giving us news of matters that would ordinarily be lost in minutes which, although they are a public record, are essentially inaccessible to the citizens of Hedge End

    Unless we actively go chasing them, and how many of us do that...?

  2. When finances are tight across the board, particularly in hard-pressed households across the length and breadth of the UK, should Hedge End Town Council really be considering spending all this money on an ambitious new Skateboard Park...?

    I mean, it is not exactly a priority is it..?

    And its obviously going to introduce maintenance costs that will have to be funded from Council Tax for many years to come...?

    I'd certainly be speaking/campaigning against this expenditure if I were on either Council.

    I suggest that we've got more than enough recreational equipment already, including a perfectly good skateboard facility in Greta Park and another in Woodhouse Lane....

  3. The Town Council does give high priority to the provision of recreational facilities from infants' playgrounds to the bowling green at Woodhouse Lane. Every year there is capital expenditure to replace or refurbish some of these community assets. The aim is to keep Hedge End a pleasant, attractive and interesting place to live.

    Proposed projects for the coming financial year are the skateboard park improvements, extension to cricket nets in Turnpike Way, repairs to the Turnpike Way car park, refurbishment of sports facilities in Greta Park, an ornamental feature in the village centre, a new surface for the Nelsons Gardens play area and a sports wall in Turnpike Way.

    If we provide facilities that people want, here in Hedge End, they save the cost of travel (we all know what's happening to fuel costs at the moment) and it's better for the environment.

  4. As the facilities tend to import as many visitors from outside the area as they do Hedge Enders, witness the paddling pool, I don't buy the argument about saving the cost of travel..!

    And you've nicely highlighted my problem with Hedge End Town Council. They only seem to exist to find ever more elaborate ways of wasting our money on recreational facilities.

    They're an expensive overhead if that's all they are ever going to do...

    Keeping Hedge End a pleasant, attractive and interesting place to live shouldn't mean filling every green space with play equipment.

    Older people in general (not just me) have different ideas of what is pleasant, attractive and interesting, i.e. valuing open space, peace and tranquility rather than noisy play areas...!

  5. I think the skateboard project deserves a blog post of its own, but I would point out that when we have undertaken consultations in the past, some older people have come out in favour of play areas as it gives them somewhere to go when their grandchildren visit!

  6. Lol. True.

    I'm sure some older people would have come out in favour of play areas. Not all of them though. Not by any means.