Agenda and minutes

Community Forum (Whitehill & Bordon, Liphook, Headley, Grayshott, Lindford & Greatham)
Tuesday, 19th January, 2016 6.30 pm

Venue: Forest Community Centre - Pinehill Road, Bordon, Hants. GU35 0BS. View directions

Contact: Lisa Papps  Democratic Services Assistant - 01730 234073

Items
No. Item

14.

Apologies for Absence

To receive and record apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Cllr R Standish.

15.

Confirmation of Minutes

Please note that it is helpful if Councillors could give advance notice, to Democratic Services, of any questions they wish to raise in respect of the Minutes.

 

Minutes of the last meeting held on 20 October 2015 previously circulated.

Minutes:

The minutes of the previous meeting held on 20 October 2015 were agreed and signed as a correct record.

16.

Chairman's Announcements

Minutes:

The Chairman announced that Squadron Leader Geoffrey Whittle, a former Chairman of the Community Forum, had sadly passed away the previous week.

17.

Declarations of Interest

To receive and record any declarations of interest from members present in respect of any of the various matters on the agenda for this meeting.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

18.

East Hampshire District Council Budget 2016/17

There will be a short briefing to outline the draft 2016/17 budget

proposals and financial projections to 2016/17. Some of the financial

issues likely to impact on the Council will be outlined and feedback

and comments are sought on the proposals.

 

For Discussion/Information

Minutes:

The Chairman introduced Cllr Cowper, Leader of EHDC and Portfolio Holder for Finance, who gave an overview of the council’s strategy.  This had the aim to remove reliance on central government grant funding by 2019/20 and although radical, this was not unique.  The unique element was that all key services to the public would be maintained and where possible, improved.

 

Financial support to town and parish councils would continue in 2016/17, as would the EHDC Councillor Community Grant Scheme.  Where possible, EHDC’s element of council tax would be decreased and it was hoped that this might be reduced to Nil Tax by 2024.  A brand new ‘state of the art’ leisure centre with swimming pool would be built in Alton.  Also, as part of the regeneration in Whitehill & Bordon, there would be the construction of a brand new leisure centre with a six lane swimming pool.  East Hampshire District Council would continue to lead on the Whitehill & Bordon regeneration which was one of the biggest in the UK with inward investment by 2028 of around £1 billion.  All of this was against the backdrop of a decreasing government grant, which was predicted to reduce by 48% between 2016 and 2020 before eventually disappearing completely.

 

It was intended that this gap in funding would be closed and the council’s goals achieved through new business ventures and by selling services to other authorities.  EHDC would also continue to invest in ‘blue chip’ commercial properties, which realised a far greater return than saving in banks.

 

In response to a question raised, the Leader stated that the Council was well placed to cope with the uncertainty caused by devolution of business rates, which exposes the Council to the loss of funding via the appeals process.  In 2016/17, there was one large appeal which the Council was currently dealing with.

19.

The Development of Whitehill & Bordon

Find out what’s in store for your town in the next 12 months and meet the people who will make things happen.

 

Following an introduction by Cllr Ferris Cowper, Leader of East Hampshire District Council, there will be panel discussion to provide an update on the regeneration of Whitehill & Bordon.

 

Members of the public are invited to ask questions of the Panel on matters of concern or interest on the topic.

 

Displays highlighting the various developments in Whitehill & Bordon will be available for the public to view from 6pm.  Town and Parish Councils are invited to have a display of items that may be of interest to the public.

Minutes:

The Chairman introduced Cllr Cowper, Leader of EHDC, who opened the discussion.  Each panel member introduced themselves in turn, they were Gavin Board (Senior Project Manager, Radian), Stuart Goodwill (Head of Planning, Barratts), James Child (Whitehill & Bordon Project Lead for Taylor Wimpey Dorchester) and Steve Pearce (Director, Whitehill & Bordon Regeneration Project).

 

In response to concerns about commuter links, the Director of the Whitehill & Bordon Regeneration Project confirmed that S.106 contributions could go towards this and provide improved bus connections.  He clarified that he was also investigating the use of new technology (apps, etc.) that would make transport more responsive to residents’ and businesses’ expressed demands.  The Leader said whilst there was no solution as yet, there was total commitment to resolve this issue.

 

With regard to the relief road, the route through Louisburg Barracks had been dictated by the topography of the area and by the need to ensure good connections to the existing highway network.  The speed limit would be 40mph, reducing to 30mph through the Louisburg development.  Traffic models showed this would always be the quickest route for through traffic.  Physical measures would be introduced along parts of the existing A325 road to slow traffic down which would make it easier for existing residents to get about within the town.

 

In response to concerns regarding healthcare provision, the Leader confirmed that, as he had said 12 months ago, there would be a care home and discussions were underway for a ‘state of the art’ health campus following a positive meeting with Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health, confirming the Government’s support.  A proposed investor had also expressed interest in delivering this facility.

 

The Director of the Whitehill & Bordon Regeneration Project was keen to dismiss rumours that migrants would be moving to Whitehill & Bordon, they would not, he said, or the town becoming an overspill from Aldershot which would not happen.

 

A comment was made that some of the former service family properties currently stood empty and its future was queried.  It was confirmed that whilst some homes had now been vacated, it remained in the ownership of the Ministry of Defence and would be re-occupied by military personnel in the next few months.  Discussions were taking place to try and improve the appearance of these properties.

 

Representatives from Radian, Barratts and Taylor Wimpey Dorchester outlined the affordable housing provision for their elements of the development.  Quebec Barracks (Radian) would provide 35 affordable homes – 25 affordable rent and 10 shared ownership.  The Louisburg development (Barratts) would provide 100 affordable homes – 60 affordable rent and 40 shared ownership.  The main part of the site (Taylor Wimpey Dorchester) would provide 360 affordable homes – 216 affordable rent and 144 shared ownership.

 

In terms of the future of the eco-house as a dwelling, it was explained that it had been constructed to showcase different energy saving solutions and nobody would have built a house to this specification to live in.  Consequently, it was hard  ...  view the full minutes text for item 19.

20.

Public Questions

Minutes:

A question was asked of the Police regarding an increased number of non-domestic break-ins and what information could be given to the public.  In response, it was stated that the Police were aware of commercial/non-dwelling related break-ins and to date, had made it a priority to visit those affected, give reassurance and provide crime prevention.  They had increased their patrols of both plain clothed officers and high visibility.  As of yet, no arrest had been made as they had no suspect.  If members of the public had any specific concerns, they were advised to contact 101.

 

A member of the public raised a concern regarding the expansion of the town and the capacity of the doctors’ surgeries in the area to cope.  In response to this concern, it was advised that the health provision that would be provided, including the health campus referred to under the previous item, would meet the need of the expanding town.