Tuesday, 18 October 2011

What Is The Town Council To Do?

Planning for the next financial year has started and the Town Council has come up with an initial "wish list" of capital projects for 2012-13.  It is not finalised or prioritised and there is no guarantee that everything on the list will be affordable and make it into the budget.  It would be good to know what people think about the importance and desirability of these proposals.  You can either comment here or email me (hedgeendblogger@gmail.com).

Items on the list at the moment with rough order of magnitude costings are:

Scheduled Maintenance rolling programme for the upkeep of Council properties/boundary fences/infrastructure - £20,000.

To replace the play area of Nelsons Gardens - £50,000.
This is the oldest set of play area equipment in Hedge End and due for replacement.

Sports Walls, Turnpike Sports Field and Greta Park - £15,000.
Informal sports facilities to discourage the use of recently renovated building frontages for football games.  (The picture shows one recently installed at Dowd's Farm Park.)

Kanes Field Grazing - £10,000.
Improved fencing and land improvements to enable land earmarked for a new cemetery to be hired out for grazing in the meantime.

Planting and repair of village centre Brick Planters - £5,000.

Heritage sign - £3,000.
Probably to be installed in Lower Northam Road.

To replace the village centre notice board, donated by the late Ms. Violet Cook - £1500.

Paddling Pool seating/picnic tables - £3,000.


  1. Scheduled maintenance is important. That should go ahead.

    Kanes field grazing is OK.

    I'd agree with replacing the old play equipment in Nelsons gardens (bet I surprised you there Keith).

    But the sports walls, the heritage sign and the paddling pool seating/picnic tables would be new facilities that will introduce an additional ongoing requirement for maintenance, repair and replacement in the longer term. I suggest that such items should be shelved in the current economic climate. It is important to reduce pressure on Council Tax.

    I would actually be minded to completely remove the brick planters in the village centre. I'm not sure they do a great deal for the area, other than provide somewhere for people to sit. At the very least I would expect the council to discuss that option and justify why we need to retain them, rather than automatically assume we'll repair them.

    £1500 seems like a lot for a Village Centre notice board. If it needs replacing it needs replacing, but the Town Council should check that it we are not being ripped-off. I'm sure there's a local carpenter who would love the opportunity to make a good quality noticeboard and would do so for much less than £1500...

  2. A couple of years ago, the HE Gardening Club offered to look after the planters and provide the plants but the Council wouldn't let them for 'health and safety' reasons! At the time I thought it a shame as the Gardening Club would have produced a good result in a project in which local people took pride thus fostering community spirit. The added bonus was it would have been at minimal tax payer's cost.

  3. That idea does seem to fit in with DC's vision of a "Big Society" Jenny. Maybe HETC should think about it again....?

  4. Thanks for the comments. All these points will be discussed over the next couple of months, so it is good to get other points of view. The £ figure will get refined as well - these are just first guestimates at the moment.

    Interesting point about the planters. I have a feeling that to dismantle them, remove the rubble and soil and make good the paving would be even more expensive than to repair and plant them up with some shrubs and perennials. Especially if volunteers are willing to take them over.

  5. Demolition probably would be more expensive Keith. I agree.

    But it would also be a one-off cost, saving the Council £5k every subsequent year...

    I can see the health and safety problems with the planter outside the Cotswold shop, which would put volunteer gardeners very close to the road. The other two don't seem so bad from that point of view, but we obviously don't want any of the Co-Ops customers treading on a carelessly discarded rake and knocking their teeth out.

    So HETC would still need to be involved to some extent, even if volunteer gardeners were used. At the very least, the work area would have to be coned-off and made safe...