TO:  ALL WHITCHURCH TOWN COUNCIL MEMBERS

 

 

FROM: Tony Corbin – Town Project Officer HCC (for and on behalf of WA/TAPG)

 

31st October 2005

 

PROJECT REPORT

 

Dear Councillors,

 

The usual report is attached for your review and or comment. Please in particular read the text below, which highlights the main progress made since the previous report (2nd Sep). The Team also asks for the Council’s support in respect of specific activities associated with the initial focus of the Town Centre Revitalisation Project namely: Christmas in Whitchurch 2005 (see 2 below).

 

  1. Formal Constitution - Whitchurch Association– as I am sure the majority of you will know, the first formal public meeting was held on 15th October at the Methodist Hall. This meeting adopted the association’s constitution (with a few minor amendments), agreed the area of benefit (and a name change!) and appointed the officers and trustees that will serve on the general committee (eleven in total) including Cllrs. Nethercott and Jackman. Susan Flawith was elected Chair, Harriet Titcomb, as Vice-Chair and Jean Watts, as Secretary. The position of ‘Treasurer’ is currently vacant and I am sure the WA would welcome any suggestions from Council Members in respect of potential candidates. It is likely that the next meeting of the WA committee will want to agree the form of reporting related to its general responsibilities and related to the Community Hall in particular 
  2. Town Centre Revitalisation Project – An outline of the project was included in the last update. More detailed information of this Town Action Plan project – its aims and activities - together with a copy of the presentation used to present the initiative to local traders, community, Church and voluntary group representatives on 18th October were included amongst the papers for members comments. The first initiative Christmas in Whitchurch 2005 is already underway. The main thrusts of this initiative emerging from initial dialogue with the local groups above are

·         To link and promote under a single identity (e.g. Christmas in Whitchurch) the many individual group initiatives planned or being planned over the Christmas period. (We have the tacit support of at least twenty organisations in the Town)

·         To potentially have two Saturdays (provisionally 3rd and 17th December) as the event packed highlights of the Christmas in Whitchurch celebrations (26th Nov to 6th January)

·         A competition for Children in the form of a ‘treasure hunt’ with the ‘clues’ to be found in participating retail outlet Christmas window displays

·         A support your local community/local business promotional campaign under the banner ‘for a stress free Christmas shop locally in Whitchurch’

·         All the events will be promoted via the newly launched www.thewhitchurchweb.org  website, such as posters and established local media. (N.B. Brockenhurst Estate Agency has offered help with printing/laminating and will carry reference to the campaign in their regular advertising). The team is also hoping that the new Community Magazine will be launched (or a flyer distributed) in early December and can feature Christmas in Whitchurch.

 

Clearly this is a fast moving, fast changing project, but the current requests from the team to Council are:

 

                                 i.      For the Mayor or Deputy Mayor to advise if they are available to ‘switch on the lights’ of the Town Hall on 3rd December

                               ii.      At the same time to launch a Photograph Whitchurch at Christmas and the ‘Children’s Treasure Hunt competitions

                              iii.      Consider the possibility of donating a prize for either or both the above

                             iv.      To please publicly endorse the aims of this WA initiative

  1. New Website www.thewhitchurchweb.org was formally launched at the WA 15th October meeting. Members are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the new facility (that has been developed with the knowledge of and complements the parish website) which includes an Events Calendar, Business and Community Group listings, a Youth Project section, Council information and links to existing sites of interest and relevance to the local community
  2. HGV Survey – The HCC Officer’s presentation fell far short of expectations. Indeed the report and analysis is still awaited. As a consequence, I have escalated the issue to my management and I am hopeful of some progress shortly. Meantime, the Traffic Management team under Derek Verran’s stewardship plans to meet to discuss ‘next steps’ during November. Members are very welcome to attend, but will in any case be updated with the outcomes from the meeting
  3. Gateway Signs –Jamie Daly at BDBC is still diligently trying to find a solution that still retains the main features of the original ‘winning design’ yet meets the all important cost and maintenance criteria set by WTC.

 

The above and other changes to status are reflected in the body of the main report (overleaf) by italicised text.

 

 


 

Initiative No. (Category)

Description

WTA Sub Group leader in bold

(= Co opted)

<= WTC Cllr>

Current Status

1 Economy

Tourism Projects to:

 

·         Encourage More Visitors to the Town

·         Bring More revenue to the Town

Susan Flawith

Phil Cooper

Harriet Titcomb

<Gill Nethercott>

(Derek Verran)

(Stephen Bryer)

Includes Town Guide and Circular Walks reprint/update and Whitchurch Web based content. Requires local authority funding or external funding to be applied for when WTA is formally constituted.

Photography (Jake) now completed. Opportunity for leaflet rack in entranceway to Brockenhursts.

Next stage is to approach subject matter experts to write content. The Action on Sub Group to clarify plans with WTC (Cathy B) is still outstanding.

 

2 Environment

Town Centre Project:

·         Improve appearance of Town Centre

·         Advise on and encourage building restoration

Harriet Titcomb

<Gill Nethercott>

Tony Corbin

Derek Verran

Keith Watts

HCC Country Towns Initiative (circa £40-50k) and B&DBC POPPI circa £20k (Pride of Place Partnership Initiative) potentially available for built environment enhancement/conservation related improvement projects. Anticipated timeframe - Planning & Consultation 05/06, Implementation 06/07, completion 07/08. Meantime the Project Proforma has been produced/circulated to WTC members and the first initiative ‘Christmas in Whitchurch’2005’ is underway (see introductory text).

 

3 Community

One Stop Shop:

·         Town Hall utilisation for Community group usage

·         Tourist Information point

 

(Cathy Burt)

Liz Dermody

Tony Corbin

19th Jan WTA meeting proposed Town Hall could be a meeting venue for proposed Community Support Officers and Wardens (e.g. with the public).

CB has reaffirmed that the Town Hall is available on request to local Community serving groups.

4 Economy

Town Business Support & Development:

 

·         Improve economic viability of the town

·         Support/funding for business start ups

·         Encourage collaborative activity

Tony Corbin

Stewart Parrington

(Ed Beckmann – BLWx)

(John Mitchell – Enterprise First)

(Drewett Neate – Comm’l Agency)

(Testbourne Bus Forum members)

 

Town Hall now being used (Tues) for BLWx 1 to 1 one-hour business advice clinics. Newbury Building Soc has shown an interest in participating in Business led community activities.

 

This project is being increasingly merged with 2 above. Agreement in principle to form a Local Retailers Trade Association with links to the Testbourne Business Club has been reached. Related to Christmas in Whitchurch, retailers are being encouraged to display/list their ‘gift offers’

 

 

 

 

 

5 & 6 now Merged Transport

Traffic Mgmt Projects

a)       Reduced HGV through traffic volumes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

b)        

Town Gateway project and environmental calming scheme

Derek Verran

Tony Corbin

(Reg Kimpton)

Chris Setters

(Keith Pauw HCC)

(Cathy Burt)

(John Wall)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Greg Harris

Susan Flawith

<Gill Nethercott>

Chris Setters

< R Dykes>

<Cllr B. Jackman>

(John Wall)

Harriet Titcomb

Tony Corbin

(Jamie Daly B&DBC)

Preliminary results presented to Cathy Burt/WTA sub group reps by KP HCC 17th Aug. These indicate minimal numbers of rat running HGV vehicles.

 

The subsequent presentation by an HCC Officer to members/public on 26th Sep provided limited detail or guidance for the town. Per the introductory text, the matter is being escalated within HCC and the team plans a ‘what next’ meeting in November

 

Again little visible progress in the past month, JD (BDBC) has been liasing with HCC and has just submitted a further modified design in the hope that HCC will accept for mtc etc. Currently WTA/WTC waiting outcome.

7 Community

Local History ‘Display area

·         Accessible display and Learning centre for local artefacts

TBC <Gill Nethercott>

Harriet Titcomb

Tony Corbin

<Cllr. A Wall>

History Soc TBC)

(B&DBC TBC)

Meeting held 11th Oct with HCC (Russell Cleaver- Heritage/recreation ) . Plan is to make an LHI bid.  A kick off meeting involving local stakeholders needs to be organised before the year end

8 Community

IT/Internet Public access:

·         Individual Learning and Information Points

 

Janet Palmer

Phil Cooper

(Linda Cowley)

<Gill Nethercott>

Longer term initiative. Planning permission for new Library and Community Hall granted (May 05)

 

As above

9 Community

Young People’s Facilities:

·         Youth Suite Refurbishment

·         Young people’s amenities

Acting Leader

Harriet Titcomb

Janet Palmer TBC

Susan Flawith TBC

<Alison Wall>

Liz Dermody

<P. Turner>

Derek Verran

Keith Watts

HT, SF & JP have all attended/supported meetings initiated by Cllr. Jackman related to the ‘Whitchurch Youth Project including the ‘Chill to this’ initiative.

 

Still appears to be some dispute between Testbourne School and HCC Building Regs re extent of work needed to make the room compliant. However Testbourne do now plan to obtain quotes for the refurbishment work in order to secure the BDBC funds. 

Newbury Building Soc has shown a willingness to support youth initiatives.

 

10 Transport

Community Bus

(Cathy Burt)

Project Closed – Jan 05 – as apparently working satisfactorily.

 

 

11. Comms

Communications Project:

·         House Style for WTA materials

·         Web site inc open forum for feedback

·         Internal/external and stakeholder comms model

 

Phil Cooper

John Buckley

(Steve Hoffmann)

(? Cathy Burt)

Tony Corbin

Website launched – Community Magazine (quarterly) will potentially launch in December with a ‘Christmas in Whitchurch feature.

 

WTC (Cathy Burt) has now advised it will itself produce 2 more ‘Eyes’ for Quality Council application purposes.

 

12.

Constitution of Whitchurch Association

Acting Leader June Balcombe (BDBC)

Susan Flawith

<A. Wall>

Harriet Titcomb

<Tony Corbin>

Jean Watts, Brian Jackman, Marion Woods

<R Dykes>

Constitution (copies available) now covers Town Action Plan tasks as well as new Ctty Hall Mgmt..

 

The September Drop in Sessions and Public meetings led to the successful launch and formal constitution of the WA on 15th Next meeting 3rd Nov needs to address ‘terms of reference’ and other procedural matters.

 

Future reporting expected to be via WA General Committee.