Councillor Column

The results of the Large Housing site consultation that took place in Autumn 2019 have recently been released. These will form a significant part of the housing allocation that will be part of the review of the East Hampshire Local Plan.

There were 10 sites evaluated by the public during the consultation and only one, in Whitehill & Bordon, has been selected to be included in the Local Plan at this stage. The Whitehill & Bordon site is expected to provide around 1,300 homes by the end of the plan period in 2036. The only other site that was seriously considered following the consultation was at Chawton Park, close to the A31/A32 roundabout, but this has been deferred pending more transport analysis to improve its access. There were significant issues with the other eight sites, mostly involving flooding and/or environmental and ecological impacts.

The site at Whitehill & Bordon together with the other smaller sites identified in the draft plan, including the site on Station Hill, will provide sufficient housing to satisfy government targets but with less margin than desirable. For that reason the Local Plan will include a “Broad area of search” for further sites along the A31 corridor. This area has not been defined yet, but is likely to include Alton and Four Marks. Ropley may be spared due to the nitrate mitigation requirement as the village drains into the Solent.

During the Coronavirus lockdown the District Council has been continuing to supply most of its services and has additionally been supporting local businesses and communities through grants and -volunteer co-ordination. Around £30 million has been paid out in grants to small businesses and charities and almost 150 volunteer group and 8 food banks are being supported by council staff who have been re-deployed from non-essential services. Also most of the key Council meetings such as planning committees are now happening again using video conferencing.

Some of you may have been caught out recently as the waste collection team seem to be visiting Ropley earlier than previously. As the new waste collection contract beds in, some of the rounds have been adjusted to accommodate our experience from the first three months of the new contract. This includes changing the collection routes to avoid collecting from high traffic areas during peak times, so as to minimise delays to drivers, and as a result some less congested areas are being collected at peak times. It has always been a requirement of the collection service to have bins out before 7am and this remains unchanged.

Charles Louisson