Whitchurch's Old News - What happened in Whitchurch in January 2007

Travel Tokens and Bus Passes

Those currently receiving a bus pass or travel tokens from Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council will be able to collect their 2007/8 tokens or pass from Seeviour's Court between 9am and 3pm on Monday 29th January.

If you can't turn up make sure that you claim your entitlement before the end of June or you will lose some of your full year's allocation. More details are available on 844844 or here.

If your 60th birthday is between 1 April 2007 and 31 March 2008 you will need to visit the Civic Offices in Basingstoke as soon as possible after your birthday to ensure that you get the maximum entitlement of tokens. Postal applications are accepted only for those who are registered as disabled.

Blood Donor Sessions (Without the wait)

The National Blood Service is holding its next donor sessions at Testbourne on 10th Jan between 1.30 - 3.25pm and 4.30 - 6.45pm. If you are between 17 and 59 and can answer the questions on the website or are between 60 and 70 and have donated in the last 5 years, then your help is needed. You can even book the time of your appointment by visiting the website and enter RG28 as the location then click on the or call 0845 7 711 711 - or just turn up!

Evening Classes in Whitchurch

There are places on 4 classes in Testbourne in the Winter Term.

The first to start is a 5 week introduction to Excel on 17th January between 7 and 9pm �25 to cover expenses for running this course. The cost of the course is �25 please contact Catherine on 895920.

There are still some  places on a Pilates course  starting on Wednesday January 10 at 6.45pm. Contact the Community Office on 892261.

BCOT are sponsoring 2 floristry courses. There is an introductory course, which repeats the very successful one run last Autumn (see the story here). It runs for 8 weeks on Wednesdays from 7 - 9m and starts on 24th January. The second is a follow on from that course - A Step Further and runs on Thursdays from 7 - 9pm and starts on 25th January. Both courses are run by Flower Power's Lucinda Cox and cost �52, this includes materials. For more details press the blue underlined text or ring 01256 306484.

Whitchurch January Sales

A sale with a difference is on at the White Hart. There are reductions on some meals and drinks from now until the end of January, and that's in addition to the buy one get one get one free meals at lunchtime for the over 60's!!

Ladies Singing for Fun - Again

The Singing For Fun Ladies� Choir in Whitchurch, under their Musical Director, Alison Willis, goes from strength to strength and this Christmas they were in much demand for carol singing at the �Turning on of the lights� ceremony in the town centre and at The Whitchurch Day Centre for the elderly.

Their main event was a concert on December 13th at the Methodist Church which they performed to a large and appreciative audience. They presented a varied programme which included pieces for full choir, solos and readings as well as some robust audience participation in the singing of well-known carols. In the Choir pieces, the traditional was represented beside the contemporary and, with Linda Cowley�s and Diane Ward�s solos, all conveyed the magical simplicity and wonder of the season.

The Choir�s new term will begin on Wednesday, 10th January 2007 at the Whitchurch Methodist Church at 7.30pm, and anyone who feels that they might like to join the Choir are very welcome to a �taster session� on that evening.

Charities Shop to Remain

The shop premises currently used by charities in London Road will not be converted to office space. Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council (BDBC) have refused permission on the grounds that it is against the policy "which seeks to prevent the loss of essential local services and facilities, including local shops".

The applicant was advised by the planning authority that "it may be possible to achieve an appropriate alternative scheme".

Details of all planning applications and decisions made in the last 15 months are here.

New Houses to be Built off Micheldever Road

George Wimpey UK Ltd has been given planning permission to build 14 new homes on the site of the former 30 Micheldever Road.

There are several standard restrictions on the development including the need to conduct "a detailed ecological survey and report in relation to badgers" in conjunction with Natural England; to "assess the archaeological potential of the site" by having a programme of trial trenching carried out by a suitably qualified archaeologist and no development until samples of materials and finishes to be used for the external walls and roofs have been submitted to and approved by BDBC "in the interests of the visual amenities of the area".

Once work commences it will be restricted to 7.30am - 6pm Mon - Fri and 8am - 1pm on Saturdays, deliveries are restricted to the same hours and there is to be no burning of waste material on the site.

Details of all planning applications and decisions made in the last 15 months are here.

New Year's Resolution?

Proud certificate holdersGiving up smoking is a resolution that you could keep if you follow the path recently trod by 8 residents with the help of the Whitchurch Surgery.

The Surgery recently hosted a very successful Quit Smoking Clinic, helping 8 local residents to give up smoking � congratulations to all of them - 6 are shown proudly displaying their certificates! The clinic was run by two advisers from the Mid Hampshire Quit Smoking Service, a free NHS service which supports people who want to quit. Those taking part in the clinic attended for seven weeks, receiving support from the advisers and each other as well as medication (such as nicotine patches) on prescription. The clinics are friendly and informal and if you thought giving up smoking couldn�t be fun, then this group could have proved you wrong!

Smoking is the biggest cause of preventable death in the UK and 70% of smokers say they would like to give up. For anyone who smokes, the new year is often a time when they think about quitting, and even more people will be thinking about it now with the ban on smoking in enclosed public places starting on 1st July. The Quit Smoking Service hopes to run another group clinic at the surgery in 2007, but in the meantime, there are plenty of other group and one to one options in Andover, Basingstoke and Winchester. To make a fresh start in 2007, phone 0845 602 4663 to find out about the range of services on offer. Further information can be found at www.quit4life.nhs.uk.

Parish Hall Temporarily Out of Use

Damp rot has been found in some joists in the Parish Hall. This has resulted in the toilets having to be closed. It is unlikely that the Parish Hall will be available for public hire in the near future.

Whitchurch Potato Festival

Following on from their success with the street theatre at Christmas (see the story), WADS will be putting on what may be a world's first with "Potato Street Theatre" on Saturday 27th Jan.

There will be 2 performances, 12 noon and 2pm, outside the Town Hall.

Fair Trade Goods Available

In response to the Reverend Inglis' campaign to make Whitchurch a "Fair Trade Town", the Beehive Farm Shop is now stocking Fair Trade Tea. This is trial and will only be continued if customers come forward. So, as ever, use it or lose it.

The tea and coffee served on Thursdays and Saturdays each week in The Cottage and this coming weekend at Potato Day are Fair Trade.

New Parking Signs

The shiny new poles (see below) will have new parking restriction signs on them which are explained below.

Start of controlled zone

Signs marking the start (left) and finish (right) of the new weekday only 8am to 6pm parking limit "zone".

A single yellow line will show the exact extent of the limit on the road within the zone.

A letter from Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council appears to indicate that there is no need for a separate sign on each piece of single yellow line.

Parking bay signs will each have a sign showing either the new 30 minute limit (left) or the restriction to disabled drivers only (right) - a valid blue badge is required to be displayed to use disabled driver bays.

At weekends and overnight (6pm - 8am) the time limit does not apply

Disabled parking bay sign

The double yellow lines and the white zigzag lines near the pedestrian crossing, of course, mean no parking at any time.


Parking Changes Move On

- at what price

Old sign post

The town's parking restriction signs are being replaced, but so are the poles. The reason, given to resident Keith Watts is that they must now be black.

When asked if they had heard of paint the workmen responded "Ask your local council" - Would any councillor like to comment?

New sign post




Parking Changes Start

Marking out new parking bayIn addition to the Town being highly decorated by the Hampshire Highways signs about the A34, work started on Monday on the changes to parking arrangements. Another parking bay has been added further up Newbury Hill from the one outside Lloyds which is seen on the left being repainted. It is believed that the bays will allow 30 mins parking instead of the current 20 mins and the restrictions on parking on single yellow lines will no longer apply on Saturdays.




Potato Festival

Bright sunshine dominated the weekend and shone down on both WADS' Lazy Root performance in the Town centre and the activities at Testbourne.

Visitors select potatoesAttendance at the main event was just slightly down on last year's record figure, but 1,565 adults and uncounted numbers of children came along (the others presumably put off by the road works which are causing long delays during the week on the A34). Even Big Brother asked to come along to recruit participants for its next series, but, given its current problems, the organisers thought it wasn't a good idea.

The usual vast range of seed potato varieties - 145 - was available, this is thought to be the largest available in any one place for gardeners in the world.

Expert, Dave Chappell, gives potatoes and advice to children There was loads for children to do organiser by Barbara Cooper and a team of ladies from Whitchurch Primary School with a free potato to grow from expert Dave Chappell from Wales. Whitchurch Gardens Association, Testbourne Parents, Teachers and Friends Association and the Hampshire Organic Gardening Group all provided the large team of helpers necessary to make the event happen. They will all share in any surplus funds raised.

Other local involvement included The White Hart providing refreshments on site and the Harvest Home and Longmeadow Sports & Social Club attracting many departing visitors for food as they were all forced to go through Whitchurch on the way home. Jill Hallett interested many visitors in her paintings, whilst Harroway Organic Gardens and Tufton Plants offered them plenty of goodies to take home.

Sophie Cole, Testbourne's Food Technology teacher, provided cookery demonstrations each day and Chris Bird from Sparsholt College gave talks on how to grow potatoes.