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News Archive - March 2007


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Lunar Eclipse Viewing

Moon at various stages of eclipse Viewers

A interested group of burghers assembled on the Millennium Meadow at about 9.30pm on Saturday to view the total eclipse of the Moon.

As the Earth's shadow more than two thirds covered the Moon the part in shadow started to show a rosy red colour, this apparently increased as the direst sunlight receded. Eventually at around 10.45 the whole Moon was a dim red colour with a slightly brighter top left corner.

The resident expert explained that the total eclipse would continue for approximately an hour and then the shadow would recede. The group accepted this explanation, but, given the temperature, none stayed to confirm this.

Explosion in the Town

One of the team working on the Gill Nethercott Community Centre found what turned out to be an unexploded device at around 9.30am on Monday. The police and a Royal Logistics Corps' Explosives Ordnance Device team arrived quickly and 100 meter cordon was placed around the site causing residents from the south of the town to have go via Town Mills to get the town centre for the rest of the morning.

At about 1pm controlled explosion was heard as far away as The Knowlings and the cordon removed. The origin of the device is not yet known.

Spring Clean 2007

Following on from the success of last year's first Spring Clean, the Stead family are planning Spring Clean 2007, with more support than ever.

As last year, Mike Stead has already been promised the active support of Basingstoke and Deane District Council and Community Policewoman, Paula Osmond, will be on hand to ensure the event is conducted safely. In addition, this year, Testbourne Community School's Head Teacher, Hilary Jackson, has promised that the school will also do its bit and the newly formed Working 4 Whitchurch (the team that has organised Christmas in Whitchurch) will be supporting the event.

All that Mike and the Town now need are volunteers to turn up outside the Bell Street Doctor's surgery at 1pm on Sunday 1st April (it's not a joke, honest), prepared to use the equipment provided to pick up litter on the Town's streets, roads and footpaths for a maximum of 3 hours.

Mike would also like help in organising the event, so if you can, please contact Mike on 07789 971749 or 01256 892110 or please just turn up on the day.

More Day-Glo Jackets in Whitchurch

Helen RutherfordA new and highly visible presence has been seen recently in the Town. Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) Helen Rutherford has started her on the job training and will soon be our resident PCSO.

Helen has been quoted as saying that she is looking forward to meeting people here. If Helen doesn't meet enough of us in the near future then Community Policewoman Paula Osmond has promised to make that come true on 1st April when Helen will join her supporting Spring Clean 2007.


Residents to have their say on Town Centre redevelopment

Ideas to improve the town centre will soon be circulated to local residents as part of a public consultation exercise. Basingstoke Borough Council, Hampshire County Council and Whitchurch Town Council are considering improvements to the appearance of the centre. This follows the Town's Healthcheck and formulation of an action plan to promote the economy of the town during 2005.

Extensive public consultation revealed that making the town more attractive for residents and visitors featured highly on the list of local people's priorities. A shortlist of possible works has, therefore, been drawn up by representatives of the local councils and the local community. This includes street improvements in the centre, removing street clutter, grants to improve buildings and tidying up of the Bell Street car park and Great Lane. To help pay for this, a bid for a grant from the South East England Development Agency is being made under the name of the Whitchurch Association. If successful, this will also help fund a town improvement manager whose task will be to help carry out these and other schemes to improve the local economy.

Youth Club Continues to Grow

As so many children are interested in going to the Whitchurch youth clubs, the Whitchurch Youth Project (WYP) has decided to include all the children in a school year group, rather than exclude the younger ones, separating them from friends who may only be a few weeks older. From now on the age ranges will now be as follows:

Chill to This on Friday is open from year 6 (age 10-11) up to 18th birthday for existing members. However, newcomers would not be allowed to join the Friday club after their 16th birthday.

Tuesday Club is open from year 9 (age 13-14) to their 20th birthday

Teenfitness on Saturday is open from year 6 up to their 16th birthday (as this is currently limited to 15 people each week, youth club members are invited from a roster)

The WYP aims to develop potential leaders among the older members and are encouraging younger children to get involved with the club; the Project is grateful to everyone who has helped in whatever capacity So far so good, but to continue being successful the Project needs more people to give their time and energy. The WYP is always keen to encourage adults in Whitchurch to support its activities in any way they can, as the more people who are involved, the more that can be done for the Town's young people and the wider the load is spread.

Anyone over the age of 18 can be a volunteer, so long as you can show that you are a responsible person who would like the opportunity of working with young people. The recruitment process is simple and designed to ensure that volunteers meet the high standards of care that Whitchurch’s young people deserve. You don’t need to be available every week. If you could help, even if it’s only just one evening every month or so, so much more could be done for our community’s young people.

If you are interested in supporting the clubs, please contact the leaders John Wiltshire on 07769 900613 or Lyn Fuoco on 07876 493500, or get in touch with the club secretary Denyse Coles on 07962 116639.

New Whitchurch Gateway Signs Arriving Soon

The new speed limit signs for the town are to be installed during the week commencing 16th April. These will extend the speed limits on the entrances to the town from the directions of Winchester, Newbury and Andover.

The 30mph limit on Winchester Road will move some 200m out of town to just beyond Webbs Farm Close and the 40mph limit approximately 100m to beyond Tufton Barracks Cottages. On Newbury Road, the 30mph limit will move some 200m to just beyond the lay-by. On Andover Road the 30mph limit will Gateway Signmove some 350m to beyond the A34 flyover to where the town sign is now located. Residents of the Weir will no longer be able to travel legally at 60mph along their road as this will now fall inside the 30mph limit.

On each of the approaches to the Town, the 30mph signs will incorporate the new Town Gateways. The project to get these in place has been masterminded by Greg Harris who led the Town Gateways Action Plan Team. Greg took the designs submitted for the Healthcheck back in 2005 and has spent much time with Jamie Daly of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council turning the one that attracted most votes at the Open Day into a practical, maintainable set of signs that met the myriad of planning regulations.

Your Town Needs You!

Elections for Whitchurch Town Council are to be held on 3rd May. Are you interested in the future of Whitchurch? Are you interested in your local community?

Then why not stand for the Town Council? If you would like to know more phone 01256 892107 or e-mail [email protected] - applications need to be with the Borough Electoral Services by noon on 4th April).

Ask not what Whitchurch can do for you, ask what you can do for Whitchurch!

New Community Hall Moves On - Again

Keys handed overIn a ceremony held at lunchtime on 23rd March, the keys for the Gill Nethercott Community Centre were formally handed over by the contractors to Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, with members of the Whitchurch Association in attendance. The building is now complete and furnishing the ground floor rooms and the library can begin.

The main hall seen on the right (from the kitchen), is some 9m x 14m and can be divided into 2. There isMain hall also a small carpeted meeting room and the open area over the Test, with glass floor to view the flowing waters, which can also be used for large occasions. Should there be a Summer, a patio area on the bank of the Test is accessible via 2 large double doors.

The next stage is the formal opening of the Centre, which will be performed by the Mayor, Cllr Hugh James and Paul Nethercott on Saturday April 28th at 12 noon. All are welcome to attend and see the new facility close up. There is more about the Community Centre here.

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