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News Archive - January 2010

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Wonderful Whitchurch Weekend

Several events came together at the weekend to make the centre of Whitchurch a very busy place.

1 – Haiti Appeal Fund Raising

The Parish Hall was the scene of an amazing effort from the organisers, who are responsible to the Rotations Charity Shop in London Road, those who donated items for the sale and those who bought items and made donations.

In just 2 hours, £820.36 was raised. The donations filled the charity shop on Friday evening and it was touch and go as to whether they could all be moved to the hall in time for the 10am start. One of the organisers, Jim White was amazed by the level of support and thanks everyone for their contribution.

2 – Silk Mill

The sunny if cold weather saw visitors to the Silk Mill at the same level as a mid summer weekend. A combination of newspaper publicity, the opening of the Mills Trail and those in town for Potato Day meant that staff were remarkably busy.

3 - Potato Day(s)

Yet again record crowds visited the event, around 2,200 adults over the 2 days were able to choose from over 150 varieties of seed potato, from Charlton Park Garden Centre, and lots of other items of interest to gardeners from businesses in Whitchurch and specialists from as far away as Lincolnshire.

The event, organised by Working 4 Whitchurch was again made possible because the support from members of Hampshire Organic Gardening Group, Friends of Whitchurch Primary School and the Parish Hall Committee. Visitors from as far afield as Shrewsbury, Colchester, Rochester and Exeter made what for many is now an annual pilgrimage to the largest selection of seed potatoes available in the United Kingdom and - as there are no similar events in other countries – the world.

A considerable number of those visiting went on to visit or even stay in the Town. The Town centre eateries reported bumper sales on Saturday and Sunday.

The large numbers of visitors, 10% up on last year, mean there will yet again be surplus funds which will be distributed to the charities supplying helpers; last year this totalled just over £2,350.

Lots more photos on the Potato Day website

Bank Closes

Whitchurch's HSBC branch closed promptly at 3.30pm on 22 January. Alison and Bobbie, who will now be moving to the Andover branch, were thanked for their work by many during the week and even children came in to say goodbye.

A small group waited outside in the rain until 3.30 when Mayor, Vince Bradbury, presented them with flowers to say thank you from the town. They then went back inside to spend several more hours tidying up.

Fund Raising Sale for the Haiti Disaster

There will be charity sale on Saturday 30th January in the Parish Hall 10am - 12noon in aid of the DEC Haiti Appeal. Download a poster here.

There will tea/coffee, home made cakes, preserves, bric-a-brac, toys, etc. etc. This is being organised by individuals from local charities who use Rotations Charity Shop. Any donations would be much appreciated and can be brought to Rotations Charity Shop in London Street on Friday evening between 6 - 8pm.

Extended Opening Hours for Royal Kebab & Pizza

Basingstoke and Deane planners have approved longer weekend opening hours for the Town centre's take away. The shop will be open until 0.30am on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

Objections had been raised based on the previous problems with litter, noise and public order. Following an agreement to install CCTV in the shop, the police withdrew its objections and the application was granted.

Road Repairs

Emergency repairs have been made to the holes created by the cold weather. A contractor team was seen on Winchester Road/Street filling in the largest of the pot holes that were revealed when the snow and ice melted.

If you spot a pothole or other problems on the roads in the Town you can use the Hampshire County Council website to report it.

Another Bumper Year for theWhitchurchWeb

Just over 29,000 visitors looked at theWhitchurchWeb in 2009, that’s 43% up on 2008. The Festival Committee donated the hosting fee for a year, which is the first financial support the site has in over 4 years.

5,000 visitors were interested in the goods and services offered by the town’s retailers, hopefully supporting them during a difficult period. Over 3,500 looked at the information for visitors and a similar number were interested in the events happening in the town whilst 2,000 looked for information on community groups.

The site now includes a section on special offers from the retailers and dedicated sections for groups such as Cats Protection and Whitchurch Welfare Trust. If your group would like similar pages then use the contact page. The Forum now has a sales and wants section so that you can find , sell or give away whatever you want.

If there’s anything that you think is missing or something you’d like to add, again please use the contact page – it’s all free!!

And many thanks for looking.

Latest on Refuse Collection

It's all back to normal - grey and green bin collections are scheduled for Friday 22 January.

New ATM for Whitchurch

The promise that the Co-op Bank made last year, following a request for help from Bill Judge, to install an ATM in the Town appears to be coming to fruitition. A planning application has been made to change the Somerfield frontage and it includes provision for an ATM on the corner of The Square and Bell Street.

The ATM is shown in the existing plans as it's believed that the Co-op have had plans to install an ATM for some time. So thanks to them for preempting HSBC's move from the Town - which allowed them to respond so quickly to the request for help.

The plans, which can be seen at on B&DBC's website, also show the move of the entrance to Church Street.

Latest on Refuse Collection

The green bins have been emptied!!!

For up to date information visit the B&DBC website, where the advice is still to leave your bins out.

On Friday morning the site states that snow on Wednesday 13 January caused another delay. But thanks to the crews planning to work on Saturday and Sunday this week, the council is planning that by the end of the weekend all areas will have had at least one refuse and recycling collection since Christmas, despite the extreme weather conditions.

To help get things back to normal, the plan is that next week - from Monday 18 January - all households in the borough will have both refuse and recycling collections on their normal collection day. Residents usually have a refuse collection once a week and a recycling collection once a fortnight, with households either on a ‘green’ or ‘purple’ recycling week. But the normal collection days had to be changed as crews struggled against the weather conditions to try to get round the borough.

So the message to all residents is from Monday to put both your grey and green bins out on your normal collection day, regardless of whether it would normally be your recycling collection week.

The site lists areas for collection on Friday 15, but Whitchurch is not included.

Latest on Refuse Collection

For up to date information visit the "B&DBC site, where the advice is still to leave your bins out.

More snow yesterday (Wednesday 13 January) caused another delay. But thanks to the crews planning to work on Saturday and Sunday this week, the council is planning that by the end of the weekend all areas will have had at least one refuse and recycling collection since Christmas, despite the extreme weather conditions. And, to help get things back to normal, the plan is that next week - from Monday 18 January - all households in the borough will have both refuse and recycling collections on their normal collection day. Residents usually have a refuse collection once a week and a recycling collection once a fortnight, with households either on a ‘green’ or ‘purple’ recycling week. But the normal collection days had to be changed as crews struggled against the weather conditions to try to get round the borough. So the message to all residents is from Monday to put both your grey and green bins out on your normal collection day, regardless of whether it would normally be your recycling collection week.

Haiti Disaster Appeal

Just in case you have missed it, you can donate to the DEC Haiti Earthquake Appeal on-line.

Dangerous Pavements Update

Although the Town Centre is now almost clear of ice, there are still problems. Many elderly folk are still not happy to venture out because of the state of pavements away from the centre. As a result, this week's bingo session at the Parish Hall has been cancelled; the Friday Market will be open.

Station Improvements

Network Rail are promising to improve 50 stations in Hampshire and Surrey including Whitchurch. The investment will involve sums ranging from 10's of thousands of pounds to millions and will take place between now and Spring 2014.

Later this month, a 3 month research project will start involving an on-line survey, telephone surveys and focus groups to identify what passengers rate as most important.

Network Rail say that improvements will include things like:

  • New passenger information systems
  • New toilets, waiting rooms and shelters
  • New, longer or resurfaced platforms
  • Bigger and refurbished ticket offices
  • Better lighting and CCTV
  • Smarter stations - redecoration and more seating.

Dangerous Pavements Update

Following on from the work done by the shopkeepers, the Mayor's fund paid for a ton of sand and Tony Hardy, a local builder, lent the trailer; volunteers provided the labour.

A dozen locals came out at short notice to clear snow from main footpaths on Sunday. More residents lent a hand as the 'sand train' rolled into their street. It was wonderful to see Whitchurch's community spirit alive and kicking.

Streets included London Street, where sheets of ice 6" thick were broken up; Mulberry Mead and Seeviour's Court, where paths were cleared and gritted for residents; Newbury Street up to Firsway and the footpath up to the Knowlings from Mann Close; and over both bridges in town, and Town Mill lane bridge - a major school route.

Reports were received of residents unable to easily get out of Kingsley Park and Bell Yard so a fair amount of sand was spread there and on the walkway to Firsway and Oakland road.

Pictures by Andrew Reeves-Hall

Dangerous Pavements Update

With no grit available, shopkeepers have taken action to make the Town centre safe for shoppers. Hampshire County Council has promised Working 4 Whitchurch to install a grit box for use in the town centre and refill those elsewhere but cannot give a date when this will happen. This is despite the high business rates that the shops have to pay to central government.

No other salt is available elsewhere so Bill Judge of Working 4 Whitchurch crushed up water softener salt tablets from Clacy's Garage and mixed this with some garden sand and distributed this in buckets from House 'n Home to shops that were open. Those that weren't he gritted himself.

New!Delays to Bin Collections

Basingstoke and Deane stopped collecting green and grey bins on 5 Jan and so are now around 3 days behind its published schedule (Saturday 9th). The recorded message on 01256 844844 advises that bins are left out and they will be collected as soon as possible.

Schools Update

Whitchurch Church of England Primary School is expected to open on 9 Jan. Testbourne is still closed.

Travel Update

Latest on the trains is available at SWT website (add All Stations as the destination, press Go and then "find" Whitchurch).

Currently (1pm 9th) no problems are being shown

Latest on buses is on the Stage Coach website. Currently (1pm 9th) 76 and 86 are running ok but missing out Bere Hill.

Christmas Cheer from the Whitchurch Welfare Trust

Each year the Whitchurch Welfare Trust distributes “Christmas Cheer” to individuals and organisations based in Whitchurch.

The total value of the Christmas 2009 distribution was £5,405.

Small gifts of money, flowers or fruit were sent to over 100 individuals, including people who have been seriously ill or recently bereaved. Donations were also sent to local organisations covering a range of age groups and interests, including both Whitchurch Primary and Testbourne Community Schools, the Citizens Advice Bureau, the Kingfisher Trust, the Lunch Club, the Whitchurch Carers’ group, the Ambulance and Fire Stations, Testbourne Teapot (parents and toddlers), Chill to This (youth group), and the Guides and Brownies.

The Trust’s main objective is to provide financial help for people suffering hardship or distress, and also for students towards the costs of their training courses. The Trust’s income comes from a number of legacies, the oldest dating back over 300 years!

The Trustees welcome applications, in writing, from local organisations and individuals, addressed to – “The Whitchurch Welfare Trust, c/o Town Hall, Newbury Street, Whitchurch RG28 7DW”.

 
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