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News Archive - July 2007

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Get Update(d)

Click to downloadA new source of information about the town, the Whitchurch Update, will be dropped through all Whitchurch's letterboxes this coming weekend.

Working 4 Whitchurch has put together the first edition of this quarterly newsletter featuring its activities and Town Centre Improvement news. Update also includes news of future events in the Gill Nethercott Centre and there's space for Community Groups' news.

This edition also includes a questionnaire aimed at those who work from home who are thinking of doing so. It's to help W4W judge the demand for the new planned to open in the centre of Town in the next 2 months, it will have office space, equipment such as photocopiers, meeting rooms and computer equipment all of which will be available for rental by the half day. The questionnaire is also here so you can save it in order to complete and return it by email.

The banner and title are first versions, there's £25 for the best design for the next edition.

Town Centre Improvements Manager Wanted

The key post of Town Centre Improvements Manager is being advertised by Hampshire County Council.

The job involves managing projects and providing the link between Whitchurch and the providers of the improvements. The job offered is part-time(an average of 18.5 hours per week) and is initially for one year. The projects last for 2 years so, should the successful applicant do a good job he/she will be asked to complete the 2 years. Although employed by HCC, the TCIM will work in Whitchurch for the Project Steering Committee, which is made up of Whitchurch representatives, with the support of the Borough and County Council's officers.

The job calls for a range of skills including, project management, IT skills, report writing and event organisation a calls for a knowledge of local businesses and local authority procedures. The job advert can be downloaded here.

Threat to Evening Bus Service

It is believed that the Hampshire County Council has made a decision to remove the subsidy from the evening bus service between Andover and Basingstoke. If true, this would result in the withdrawal of the service from September.

The decision is reported as having been made by the Executive Member for Environment, Cllr Melville Kendal. No response has been received to e-mails the webmaster sent to the Town's County Councillor and Cllr Kendal. Borough Councillor Keith Watts who broke the news yesterday, has had an acknowledgement to a request for representation at the meeting at which the decision was taken, but the request had no practical effect.

It was not long ago that Hampshire County Council withdrew the subsidy from the Sunday services and now they are trying to do the same to the Mon-Fri evening services between Basingstoke and Andover. This will therefore also affected Overton and Hurstbourne Priors.

There is more, and a chance to air your views at the website set up to coordinate a response to this threat

Nobby Strode Out - Despite The Rain

Walkers in the rainNobby Clarke has returned after his 5th Vier Daagse, the 100 mile walk now in its 100th year in Nijmegen in the Netherlands. He hopes that the £1,000 or so pledged by his sponsors will be forthcoming in the near future.

Last year's event was so hot that, for the first time in its history, it was abandoned. This year the first 3 days were dry but humid but on the last day an dafter walking 87 miles the heavens opened and Nobby was well and truly soaked for the last 13! He was one of 34,019 from around the world to successfully complete the course.

All the money raised is to be donated to the Wessex Children's Heart Circle

Singing for Fun Concert

Ladies singingWeeks of Wednesday evening rehearsals came to fruition in the Village Hall, St Marybourne, and was bus partyappreciated by an audience of around 100.

The choir is pictured on the left with conductor Alison Willis and accompanist Gillian Anderson. One group traveled in style courtesy of a bus from The Bell and enjoyed the feast that went with the performance. Profits will go to the Naomi House Hospice.

Pubs of Whitchurch

Front page of brochureLaunched last week on the visit to the Harvest Home by MP, Sir George Young, is CAMRA's latest Pubs of Whitchurch brochure.

The brochure was produced by John Buckley of and can be downloaded here, collected from any pub in the Town or from John on 892650.

Progress towards a BMX track for Whitchurch

A meeting of potential users, some parents, Town and Borough Councillors and Community Police on 10 July looked at the B&DBC proposed plan for a BMX track. The meeting's comments on the design have been fed back to the Council.

There will be public consultation before any final decisions are made. The users’ group is keen to make contact with everyone who would use the BMX track (or their parents). If this is you please contact David Ridley on 893073.

The plan that was discussed can be seen here.

Sir George Supports Proud of Pubs Week

Sir George with ladylords and customersLocal MP, Sir George Young, supported the Proud of Pubs Week by visiting the Harvest Home. Proprietors Jane Arcott and Chris Benton (and family) are seen talking to Sir George and regulars, discussing, amongst other things, how to improve the future for local pubs.

Sir George is one of 87 MPs who are supporting local pubs in the campaign. You can support yours by just going along to sample the friendly welcome, good beer and food. The Harvest Home has a special offer on for the rest of the week, its guest beer, Skinner's Spriggan Ale, is only £2 a pint.

Town Centre Improvements Progress

The Town Centre Improvements Steering Group was briefed by officers of Basingstoke and Deane and Hampshire County Councils on progress to date in the projects funded by those councils to improve the Town centre.

Representatives of the Town Council, the Whitchurch Association, Working 4 Whitchurch and the Borough Councillors heard that a detailed survey of the centre had taken place and the ideas that HCC officers had on improvements to the hard landscaping. There was also information what was happening about the recruitment of the Town Centre Manager, who will be key to the success of the projects.

After lots of detailed questioning and suggestions for improvements, the Group agreed that the HCC officers should start to develop more detailed plans and costings which they would present at the next meeting in September.

Outlines of the proposals are here and there will be more information about the overall process in the new Whitchurch Update to be posted through all the Town's letterboxes in the next few weeks.

Whitchurch Shows How To Do It

Working 4 Whitchurch hosted a "Skills and Knowledge" Seminar for Action For Market Towns in the South East of England. 44 visitors from other towns and partnership organisations came to learn how to improve the viability of town partnerships and heard how W4W was working with the retail businesses and community to improve the Town.

In the Gill Nethercott Community Hall the visitors were welcomed to Whitchurch by Mayor, Cllr Steve Robbins before being given presentations on managing community projects in rural towns such as Whitchurch. After an excellent lunch of local produce provided by July and Andy Moss of The White Hart, they were taken on a guided tour around the Silk Mill and the Town. Stewart Parrington and Phil Cooper then explained how W4w had worked to produce the website, Christmas in Whitchurch, the Welcome Pack for newcomers and was championing the needs of Whitchurch in the spending of the £240,000 recently won to improve the Town Centre.

Testbourne Rocked

Brilliant sunshine outside and plenty of noise inside met the hundreds of visitors to Testbourne Rocks.

Three stages provided non-stop music from noon to almost midnight asTestbourne Community School put on a fund raising event for the Mityana Project.

In the sunshine there was an open mike stage for anyone to get up and entertain the appreciative crowd,indoors there was an air guitar competition, Metal Mayhem and a Dance Tent. On the main stage no less than 9 bands provided the entertainment

Sun Shines on Parish Fete

Meanwhile around 1,000 Towns-folk and children stayed outside to enjoy loads of stalls,competitions and more relaxed music at the Parish Fete at The Lawn.

Competitions galore, including tests a skill and strength, the duck race, strawberries and cream, plants and cacti, pony rides an barbeque and an island full of children's activities kept everyone busy between the Irish dancing and ladies singing. Whilst enjoying themselves, they raised around £5,000.

There's a page of photographs on this site here and more at

Could you run your own business?

Do you have a hobby which you think could earn you money, or an idea for a small business, or have you just decided to start a business?

Enterprise Gateway has just been set up in Hampshire to help those with just an idea, or those with definite plans to start their own business. It starts with an initial session to find out what help you need and is then followed up with further meetings tailored to those needs, here in Whitchurch.

Two free initial sessions have been organised in the White Hart on Tuesday 17th July one at lunchtime and one in the early evening, with free food!!. There's also a poster with more information on the sessions here, if you want to come along ring 08454 586456. You can also visit for more information on the scheme.

Parish Hall Needs Help

The Parish Hall is 100 years old later this year, but it needs more support if it is to continue to provide the service to the Town that it has done for such a long time.

Since 2001 the Hall has been run as a Charitable Trust by a volunteer management committee. Unfortunately, in January this year the trustees discovered structural problems with the Hall, and so felt compelled to close the Hall on grounds of health and safety. If the Parish Hall is to re-open, its Trustees urgently need more active support from the community, so if you are willing to commit some time on a regular basis, and/or offer the trustees your expertise in, for example, construction, maintenance, project management, etc, then please let them know by attending the open AGM on Tuesday July 17 at 7.30pm in the Gill Nethercott Community Hall or by calling Gill Webb on 892025.

Carers' Event

There will be a support group meeting for anyone caring for an MS sufferer. There will be workshops on Access to Services, Benefits and Rights, Lifting and Handling, Looking after yourself and Symptom Management/Medication

The event takes place in Winchester on 13th October and there is no need to be a member of the MS Society. To book a free place press here.

Cyclists Undeterred by Rain

Twenty children and adults braved the wet weather on Sunday morning to take the free cycle training, based at the Whitchurch Millennium Meadow, as part of National Bike Week.

The sessions covered some of the skills required prior to riding on the roads, such as clear signaling, looking behind, and avoiding hazards. It was an introduction to the new National Standards which can only be delivered by fully accredited trainers and is now available throughout Hampshire. Several of the younger children managed to take a hand off to signal for the first time, while safe starting and stopping were other milestones reached.

Several riders cited parked cars as one of the major problems in the Whitchurch and drivers who open doors without looking. Many of those present are now looking forward to a trip to London in two weeks time, when the Tour de France starts in the UK for the first time ever.

Much appreciation must go to Graham Burgess of the Meadow without whose assistance the event could not have taken place. A collection was also made for Leukemia Research. Further events are planned later in the summer. Call Hampshire Cycle Training on 07963 237619 for all details of cycle training.

Art in Whitchurch

paintingsA labyrinthine network of screen fence panels was arranged in the hall and sanctuary of the Baptist Hall on Friday and Saturday, the Millennium Green Maypole stood in the centre to symbolise the binding together of artistic endeavour in the town.

The green theme was enriched by green yew branches that framed the screens and a giant Gunnera leaf embracing the maypole. Local artists' their works ranged through every sort of painting to photography, glass work, sophisticated embroidery, knitting and pottery.

In the sanctuary the movie made by Lizzie Patel celebrated the artistic works around the Whitchurch Silk Mill. At 9.30am on the Saturday Sir George Young opened the show. Basingstoke and Deane supported this important milestone in the Whitchurch Art Life and volunteers from The Baptist Hall provided excellent food and drink throughout the whole day.

more paintings

Weather Strikes the Meadow Again

The terrible weather at the weekend forced the cancellation of the barbecue and Rude Mechanical Theatre's performance, the latter despite frantic efforts to arrange an indoor venue



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