The Whitchurch Healthcheck
The Action Plan
For further information on any aspect of the Healthcheck and Town Action
Plan Report please contact:
Town Project Officer
The Town Hall
Telephone: 01256 892107
From the Healthcheck Team
Chairman, Cllr Gill Nethercott
So what were we aiming for by doing this Healthcheck? A Healthcheck is
exactly that, it investigates every aspect of the town and its
surrounding countryside, Whitchurch is the sick patient. The Healthcheck
Team and the project co-ordinator are like a medical team undertaking
the tests. The public have been extensively consulted, and have therefore
contributed toward and agreed to a remedy.
The results of the Healthcheck have provided the Vision and Action Plan
for Whitchurch covering all issues of environment, economy, social and
community, transport and accessibility. Everyone in Whitchurch and its
catchment area had an opportunity to contribute to the Vision and Action
Plan during the consultation. There is no point in trying to turn back
the clock but there are some facilities that everyone agrees the town
must retain if it is to have a sustainable future.
Undertaking a Healthcheck offered an opportunity to find a remedy for
some of the towns problems. Its aim is to bring more life and pride back
into the town for the benefit of its resident and visitors. The
Healthcheck will compliment the Whitchurch Town Design Statement which
is now adopted as supplementary planning guidance, giving further
protection to the towns built environment.
I came to live in Whitchurch over thirty years ago when it was very
different from today. The main A34 Trunk road traffic divided the town
making shopping difficult and indeed sometimes dangerous, as traffic
thundered through. Surprisingly, despite the road, the town centre was
much busier thirty years ago than today. Whitchurch in the 1970s had
four butchers, three greengrocers and six general stores to name but a
few, complemented by three banks a building society, solicitors,
garages, cleaners, launderette, hairdressers and barbers. The town
centre today has fewer retail outlets remaining with fast food and
hairdressers seeming to dominate the town. Some rundown and empty shops
are blighting the town centre and inappropriate repairs are starting to
destroy the character of the Conservation Area.
The coming of the by-pass in 1976 gave the streets back to Whitchurch
residents but surprisingly it also took some of the life out of the town
and it has slowly decreased in vitality. The increase in HGV tonnage has
become an issue with extremely long vehicles now passing through the
town. The increase in car ownership has also brought parking problems on
our streets and with the increase in commuters a log jam around the
railway station. There is rising concern for the future of the town with
an increasing number of interlinked problems brought to the attention of
Town, Borough and County Councils. The Market Town Healthcheck seemed to
offer a positive way forward to took at all the Town’s problems as a
whole; not one isolated from another.
After completing the consultation, the Healthcheck Team have addressed
the issues and resident’s concerns and have public support for ten
initial projects. All of which contribute towards the overall Vision for
the Town and its prospects in the near, medium and long term.
The people of Whitchurch and the surrounding area, working with the
Healthcheck Co-ordinator, have produced this report.
Special mention should go to those members of the Healthcheck Team and
subsequently the Whitchurch Town Association (formed in November 2004)
and especially those people who helped complete the Worksheets, for all
their time and knowledge.
Mention must also be made of the Whitchurch Town Council Officers and
Members,Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council and Hampshire County
Council, who all helped with the information gathering stage and gave
their time and expertise to the Project. Thanks also to the Countryside
Agency (now merged with SEEDA) who also helped through support and
Thanks also to Tony Corbin, Susan Flawith, Gill Nethercroft and Janet
Palmer for the various photographs provided that support the text of
this report and to Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council for helping
with the preparation and printing of this report.
Whitchurch is a small, rural market town in the North West of Hampshire,
with a population of around 4,800 people. The town is surrounded by
beautiful countryside and has several sites for nature conservation
within the town. The clear waters of the River Test flow through
Whitchurch and turns the wheel at the Silk Mill, the town’s unique
tourist attraction. Whitchurch is in a Conservation Area and there are
numerous Listed Buildings in the town.
Councillor Gill Nethercroft initiated the Whitchurch Healthcheck in
September 2002. The stakeholders in the Healthcheck are The Countryside
Agency, Hampshire County Council, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council
and Whitchurch Town Council. Funding for the Project and the Project
Co-ordinator came from the first three organisations, while Whitchurch
Town Council gave their support in kind, by looking after the accounts,
helping on various endeavours and offering room space.
The aim of the Healthcheck was to regenerate Whitchurch and the
surrounding villages. This was achieved by involving the community in a
series of public consultation events to ascertain what the residents
felt were the key issues in the town. The Healthcheck Team worked
through The Countryside Agency Market Towns Worksheets to highlight any
issues pertinent to Whitchurch. All this work culminated in the
Whitchurch Action Plan and Vision.
Please note that the Action Plan, snapshot, worksheets and project
details are all working documents and are subject to change over time.
The information contained in this report was predominantly prepared
during the latter half of 2004. The report was submitted at that time to
Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council for their comment, review and
endorsement. This endorsement came in the form of a statement from the
Economic Overview Committee in March 2005 in which they confirmed their
overall support for the aims and objectives of the report and the
thoroughness and inclusiveness of the Healthcheck process.
The following significant progress has been made since the compilation
of the report for Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council approval.
||1. Formation and launch of the Whitchurch Town Association (WTA) in
||2. The approval of plans for a new community hall and library (April
||3. Agreement that an expanded Town Association will become a formally
constituted body and with the support of Basingstoke and Deane Borough
Council additionally take on the responsibility for the new Community
||4. Town Action Plan Project implementation that has already seen:
||a. Local Economy – establishment of the Testbourne Business Club and
bi-monthly free Business Advice Clinics.
||b. Transport – In collaboration with Local Authorities and Whitchurch
Town Council progress on Town Gateway signs, traffic calming and parking
proposals plus in April 2005 completion of an extensive HGV movement
survey along the length of the B3400 and adjoining roads.
||c. Social/community –
Whitchurch (Town) Association support to the
Whitchurch Town Council led ‘Chill to This’ youth programme.
||d. Environment – A start made on ideas to revitalise and improve the
Every effort has been taken to ensure
that the information in this document is as accurate as possible but no
responsibility is implied or taken for errors or omission.
The Whitchurch Healthcheck
Snapshot Report – August 2003
Whitchurch is located within the North West Hampshire Parliamentary
Constituency and the Basingstoke and Deane Borough of Hampshire.
Basingstoke lies to the east, Newbury to the North, Andover and
Salisbury to the West and Winchester to the South. It is about an hour
by train to London’s Waterloo Station. The M4 passes to the North and
the M3 to the South with the A34 linking them.
Whitchurch is a town of about 4,800 people. Most of the centre of the
town is included in a Conservation Area to preserve its special
character and fine old buildings such as the Church of All Hallows, the
Vicarage and Granary, the Baptist Church, the Town Hall, the White Hart
Inn and the Silk Mill. Many of the residents have lived in Whitchurch
for generations. Whitchurch is mentioned in a Charter of 909AD and the
Domesday Survey of 1086.
Lord Denning (1899 –1999), former Master of the Rolls, was born and
lived much of his life in Whitchurch. Richard Adams, the writer of
Watership Down lives in the town.
There are engineering and printing factories on the Ardglen Industrial
Estate in Whitchurch, with a firm producing and distributing watercress
and salad products across the United Kingdom within easy reach of the
Whitchurch is on the edge of the North Wessex Downs, an Area of
Outstanding Natural Beauty and the town itself is a Conservation Area.
There is one local nature reserve – the Millennium Meadow and two Sites
of Special Scientific Interest, those being the River Test and Bere Hill
Meadows. Along with the Meadows, Cowslip Bank and Clapper Copse are
sites of importance for nature conservation. There are 73 Listed
Buildings, among them the Town Hall and the Silk Mill. Hurstbourne Park
is Listed Parkland. There are 37 footpaths, 2 bridleways and 5 byways
open to all traffic. The Test Way is close by and there is a way marked
cycle trail to the north of the town.
As of September 1998, there were 1,300 jobs in Whitchurch. There are
three job sectors in the town; agriculture, production and construction
and other. The 2001 census showed that the unemployment rate was 2.2%.
Over the period of 6 months up to July 2002, there were 17.6%
unemployed. There are 70.33% economically-active residents, with 45.2%
of those being professional employees.
There is a regular Friday market. There is one supermarket in the town
over 1000 square metres. The Beehive, Tesco and the Spar are the only
other convenience goods shops in the town and are the only shops to be
compared with the supermarket. At the present time there are seven shops
out of twenty-seven that are vacant. The only public toilets are
situated off Bell Street. 21% of residents have post-school
There is one Primary school and one Secondary school in
Whitchurch. There is no post-16 further education college in the town.
There is no Job Centre or Business Link office or a one-stop shop for
business advice. There have been no new industrial units built in the
past 6 years. An average rent for a 4,000 square foot industrial unit in
good condition is around £550 per square foot. Although the market has
dipped over the past 24 months, the rents on the Ardglen industrial
estate have remained fairly static. The rent for a prime retail unit is
estimated at £15 per square foot.
Social And Community
In the Indices of Deprivation of 2000, Whitchurch was 7,905 out of 8,414
English Wards, where 1 is the most deprived. January 2003 statistics put
the population of Whitchurch as 4,814. Since 2001, the percentage of
change in population is 18.3%. From the 2001 statistics, the percentage
of the population over 60/65 was 20.8%, while the percentage of the
population under 16 was 18.6%.
In August 2002, the number of households by tenure were the following:
||Rented – Housing Association
From the 2001 Census, there were 28.2% of households comprising a single
person and 14.3% of households with elderly people living alone. There
are 3.0% houses without whole house heating.
As of March 2003 the average house prices in Whitchurch are as follows:
2001 Census figures
The change in the average house price is 27%. 270 new homes have been
built over the past 5 years, with 140 planned.
The recorded crime rates as of the 12 months to 31 March 2003 are as
||Taking of vehicles
||Theft from vehicles
||Fraud and forgery
||Damage and arson
There is one police station in Whitchurch, which is open between 9 and
10am and 5 and 7pm.
There is a Town Hall in Whitchurch, where the Registrar comes on
Thursdays between 10.30 and 11.00am. The Citizens Advice Bureau is also
based at the Town Hall on Tuesdays between 10.00am and 1.00pm.
There is one fire station, which is staffed by volunteers and one
There is one swimming pool in the town, which is based at the Secondary
school. It is an outdoor pool, so has limited use. There is a small
multi-gym also at the school.
There is one sports hall, based at the Secondary school. There are four
outdoor sports pitches.
There is one Post Office in Whitchurch. There is one bank in Whitchurch,
which is open three days a week and one building society. There are two
cash points in the town. Whitchurch has a local solicitor, and two
accountants are based in the town.
There is not a hospital in Whitchurch. The nearest A&E units are at
Basingstoke and Winchester. There is a Minor Injuries Unit at Andover
Hospital Trust. The nearest maternity facilities are at Andover,
Basingstoke and Winchester. There is a doctor’s practice, which is NHS
and one dental practice, which has now closed its NHS list and is only
There are eight public houses in the town and one hotel. The White Hart
Hotel has 20 bed spaces, 12 ensuite and there is one bed and breakfast
establishment with 3 rooms, with 2 ensuite. There are six restaurants
and cafes, including take-aways in the town. There is a theatre hall
based at the Secondary school.
There are three public halls/community centres in the town. The Silk
Mill is a weaving museum. Whitchuch has a small public library, which is
open four days a week with limited opening hours. There are four
churches for different denominations in Whitchurch and two churches in
the nearby villages of Tufton and Litchfield.
There are three voluntary organisations in the town and 37 groups and
clubs in Whitchurch and the surrounding area.
Hurstbourne Priors has a pub, a church, village hall and an equestrian
There is one train station in Whitchurch, which is on the main line
between Exeter and Waterloo.
There is one coach space at the Silk Mill car park.
As of August 2002, there were 22.24% households in Whitchurch without a
car. There are roughly 25 short-stay car parking spaces and 88 long-stay
car parking spaces in the town. There are two disabled car parking
spaces in the town. There are no cycle paths.
From Whitchurch to Andover (nearest town), it takes 19 minutes by bus
and 8 minutes by train.
There are 5 bus routes that serve the town and the surrounding villages.
Office of National Statistics – Neighbourhood Statistics Census 2001
Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council Research and Information
Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council Business Support Centre
Hampshire County Council Research and Information Department
Whitchurch Design Statement Website
Baker Davidson Thomas, Basingstoke
Vail Williams, Basingstoke
Stratfords Commercial, Andover
The original ten members of the Healthcheck Team consisted of Borough
and Town Councillors, the General Manager of the Whitchurch Silk Mill,
the Community Centre Manager and local residents. There are sub groups
for tourism and traffic/ transport. A part time Healthcheck Co-ordinator
was funded by The Countryside Agency, Hampshire County Council and
Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council.
Members of the current Whitchurch (Town) Association can be contacted via
the Town Project Officer at Whitchurch Town Hall,
Newbury Street, Whitchurch
Central to the Market Town Healthcheck is the involvement of the
community. The aim of the Project was to get the residents of Whitchurch
and its hinterland to ‘have their say!’
Information Day – Saturday 6th September 2003
An Information Day was held at Whitchurch Silk Mill on Saturday 6th
September 2003 to inform the people of Whitchurch and surrounding
villages about the Healthcheck. There were posters giving information
about the Healthcheck process and the benefits of it. A SWOT analysis
was undertaken, with opportunities for people to write their comments on
the flip charts and post it pads. Numerous local clubs and societies
attended to publicise their organisations. In the afternoon, the local
MP, Sir George Young, and the Mayor of Whitchurch, Cllr Barry Jackman,
started the duck race for primary aged children and the boat race for
secondary aged children on the River Test that flows through the grounds
of the Silk Mill.
This event was followed up immediately by an OPEN HOUSE EVENT held at
the empty office adjacent to Piper & Sons. This event was held for two
weeks and was a continuation of ‘spreading the word’ about the
Healthcheck and asking for peoples’ opinions on Whitchurch.
A questionnaire was delivered through the Neighbourhood Watch Network to
every household in the town and surrounding villages, asking peoples’
opinion on a wide variety of issues, such as transport and traffic
problems, leisure activities, the town and its residents, retail,
housing and police coverage.
The Primary school, local shops, town hall, library, community centre
and railway station agreed to have boxes to collect the results. The
return rate was 17%, which is good for a questionnaire. The University
of Gloucester village appraisals for Windows Software Package was used
which is a questionnaire generation and analysis program for village,
parish and community appraisals. It enables users to design their own
questionnaire, undertake data entry and to analyse the appraisal results
all within one programme.
Summary of Questionnaire Results
(This incorporates the results from the Information Day and OPEN HOUSE
The people of Whitchurch and the surrounding villages have had an
opportunity to have their say on their town through public consultation
events. A large cross section of people answered the questionnaire, the
two largest groups being 25–44 and 45–59 age groups.
The car is the most popular method of travelling to the neighbouring
towns. 71.9% of people felt that lorries were the biggest traffic
problem and this was echoed by peoples’ comments at the Information Day
and Open House Event. Improvement methods like traffic calming and
one-way traffic flow received the most support from people.
The majority of people who replied wanted to see the swimming pool
covered. Just under half of the respondents felt that facilities for the
elderly were average in the town; however, 36.6% of people thought that
provision for youth in Whitchurch was below average, with 19.5% saying
it was “abysmal”. This is supported by comments made on the flip charts
at the Information Day and Open House Event.
42.4% of people thought the town looked drab. On the whole, people
thought the community in Whitchurch was friendly (67.1%), however many
people thought that the community were apathetic, insular and dull (in
descending order!). Most people get their information about events in
Whitchurch from the Parish Magazine with 53.4% feeling that the amount
of information available on what is going on in the town is reasonable.
70.3% of people feel that the police coverage of Whitchurch is poor and
83.9% would like a greater police presence in the town. 78% of people do
not think that Whitchurch could accommodate any more new housing. 51.5%
of people use the shops in Whitchurch on a weekly basis with 43.1% using
them daily. 49.2% thought the range of shopping facilities in the town
was reasonable. 61.4% shopped in Whitchurch to get ‘last minute’ items,
while 81.3% shopped out of Whitchurch because there was more choice.
There were a number of negative comments from the Information Day and
Open House Event on the town centre appearance in general.
Detailed results are available in the appendices to the main report
which can be obtained from the Town Project Officer at Whitchurch Town
A representative of the Healthcheck Team spoke about the project to the
Hurstbourne Priors Parish Council and got their views and concerns to
incorporate into the Healthcheck. The Town Project Officer attended the
Community Lunches held every quarter by the Vicar of Whitchurch or his
representative. These lunches were established by the Vicar so that
community groups can come together and talk about what each group is
doing and work together on suitable projects.
Open Day Event – Saturday 24 April 2004
The aim was to consolidate the public consultation process, with a
display of proposed projects that had arisen from the comments, opinions
and results from the Questionnaire. The aim of these projects was to
improve the town and its facilities. People were asked to ‘vote’ by
sticking a coloured dot to the project indicating whether they wanted to
see that project go ahead or not. Various vision statements drawn up by
the Healthcheck Team were on display, so that people could decide by
coloured sticky dot, which one they thought was best for Whitchurch.
Results From The Open Day
|Town Centre Projects
|Reduce HGV Through Traffic
|One Stop Shop Advice at Town
|Local History Museum
|IT Training Centre
|Town Centre Manager
|Anti Social Behaviour
The Worksheets And Key Issues
The Worksheets were part of the Countryside Agency’s Healthcheck Kit and
they, together with the answers can be viewed by contacting the Town
Project Officer at Whitchurch Town Hall.
The Worksheets were another way of finding out the issues concerning the
town – the other way being public consultation. Below are the summaries
of each of the four sections. As will be seen, the Worksheets help
highlight the issues and help determine potential actions/ projects. The
Healthcheck Team, with help from local clubs and Basingstoke and Deane
Borough Council, completed the Worksheets. As the team was small it was
decided to do them on an individual basis, some taking one, others three
or four. A summary was drawn up for each of the four sections, listing
issues and potential projects.
The key issues that came out of the Worksheets were echoed in the Public
Consultation events. Lorries were seen to be the biggest traffic
problem, people wanted to see the swimming pool covered, more provision
for young people and if any new housing was to be built, it should be
affordable housing. The town centre looked drab and the police coverage
of Whitchurch was poor. The need for IT classes and more public internet
access were identified, along with having consultation with local
employers regarding their training needs. The need for business support,
the identification of local meeting facilities and business incubation
units were also highlighted. The tourism Worksheet highlighted the lack
of facilities for visitors to Whitchurch.
The transport Worksheets highlighted the need for transport from the
hamlet of Tufton. Therefore this need was incorporated into the parallel
Community Bus Project, which looked at the route and timetable.
Consequently the new route encompasses Tufton and the hamlets of
Litchfield, Binley and Dunley and the village of Laverstoke.
As a result of doing the economic Worksheets, the lack of any small
business forum in Whitchurch was identified. It was known that there
were a lot of people running small businesses from their homes. The
Healthcheck Team, together with the Town Council, initiated and
organised the first two meetings of what has now emerged as the
Whitchurch Small Business Forum, and subsequently became the Testbourne
The key issues that arose from the Worksheets were put together with the
results of the public consultation events. From this came the selection
of potential projects that were further reviewed in terms of their
feasibility. Those projects that were agreed to be realistic and
achievable informed the Town Action Plan.
For further details on the projects, please see the Action Plan section
of the Report.
The Town Action Plan
The Action Plan was agreed as a result of public consultation within
Whitchurch and its surrounding villages and was discussed and agreed by
the Healthcheck Team. The Public Consultation consisted of an
Information Day, Open House Event, Questionnaire and Open Day. The
Healthcheck Team is made up of residents, Councillors (both Borough and
Town), Community Centre Manager and General Manager of the Silk Mill.
The Team met on a monthly basis to discuss issues arising from the
Public Consultation and Worksheets, as well as following the stages of
the process, as outlined in the Town Handbook. The Market Town Project
Officer was the only paid member of the Team, under a contract basis
with Hampshire County Council. The Action Plan is currently being
implemented by members of the Whitchurch (Town) Association. The
Association was launched in November 2004 and like the Healthcheck Team
comprises a mix of representatives from Local Authorities, Local
Community Groups, Business and Residents. Subgroups have since been
formed to progress individual projects.
The Action Plan is a working document and subject to change over time.
Every effort has been taken to ensure that information contained in this
document is as accurate as possible but no responsibility is implied or
taken for errors or omissions.
Links to Rural Strategy / Community Strategy / LSP
The Rural Strategy (adopted October 1999 with a reviewed action plan
adopted in early 2004) has been developed in order to assist the Council
and other organisations in maintaining and, where possible, improving
the social, economic and environmental well-being of the Borough’s rural
The Strategy’s action plan promotes and supports the development of
village/parish plans and town healthchecks as they enable local
communities to have greater say in their own affairs and create a vision
of their own towns and villages which address the needs of the entire
community. The Council’s support for the development of an Action Plan
for Whitchurch was illustrated through the provision of a sizeable grant
to assist with the completion of the work.
The objectives of the Strategy, which link in with the Whitchurch Action
||To support and promote the
provision of improved and affordable public transport services
||To minimise the dangers, and
other adverse impacts, of traffic on the rural population
||To maximise the range and
viability of facilities and services available to rural
||To improve the availability of
advice, training, information and support for businesses and
farmers and to harness the potential benefits of information
Links to LSP and the Community Strategy
The LSP in Basingstoke and Deane is made up of the various strategic
partnerships in the Borough, these come together under the LSP Board to
support the delivery of the Community Strategy. The role of the LSP
Board is to develop the capacity for partnership working in the Borough
and to coordinate the activities of the strategic partnerships.
The Whitchurch Healthcheck Team is one of the many partnerships active
in the Borough. The vision for Whitchurch reflects many parts of the
Community Strategy for Basingstoke and Deane and shows how aspirations
for the Borough might be delivered at a local level. Finding ways to
voice the aspirations of local people, and deliver services appropriate
to their needs, is a key part of building capacity for partnership
working. The Healthcheck Team / Town Association in Whitchurch is
providing an excellent example of how to take this forward.
The Vision, shown below, was chosen by the people of Whitchurch as the
statement that best describes the Whitchurch they would like to see in
ten years time at the Healthcheck Open Day on 24 April 2004. On display
were five statements to choose from. The Healthcheck Team put the
various statements together, after looking carefully at the results of
the Public Consultation events and the Market Towns Worksheets. The team
went through a call out session, coming up with words and phrases that
they felt reflected the issues that the people of Whitchurch felt
strongly about. These words and phrases were then taken away by various
team members and shaped into vision statements.
The Vision for Whitchurch
“Whitchurch aims to have a welcoming and attractive town square, be
economically and socially self sufficient and to satisfy the needs of
all ages of residents. This can be achieved by residents having a
feeling of pride in Whitchurch; having fewer lorry movements, thereby
making the town more pedestrian friendly and safer; more activities for
the youth; making sure that development does not outstrip the facilities
and acting as a support to the hinterland.”
The objectives of the Action Plan are:
- To strengthen Whitchurch’s economic base by:
||Reviving the commercial hub of
the Market Square
||Appointing a Town Business
||Supporting local traders and
businesses through the Small Business Forum and the Ardglen
||Encouraging the development of
further retail outlets wherever an opportunity occurs within the
town centre to improve the critical shopping core
||Enhancing the tourist
potential of the town
||Providing tourist information,
art/craft gallery and local history museum in the centre of the
||To introduce measures to
decrease the amount of heavy through traffic and supporting the
community bus scheme
‘gateway’ signage to be integrated with the planned traffic
management measures for the Town
||Social and Community
||Encourage participation in the
Hampshire Food Fare and organise other attractions and events
||Support the provision of youth
activities in the town
||Support the provision of and
improved access to core services within the town
||Support the provision of
improved sports facilities in the town
Change the perceived drab image of the town by restoring:
||The historic appearance of
buildings within the town centre
||Consider participation in the
Britain in Bloom competition
Existing / Parallel Projects
The aim is to reorganise the route and timetable and change the day from
Thursday to Friday to coincide with the Country Market, Library opening
days and special meals for OAPs at the local Hotel and pubs. Healthcheck
help will be needed with providing information and promotion. This links
with Rural Strategy Objective T1.
One Stop Shop Service at the Town Hall
The Citizens Advice Bureau successfully uses the Town Hall for a
‘surgery’ one morning a week. The Town Clerk would like to build on this
with other organisations, using the Town Hall as an outreach centre one
morning a week. Relate have expressed an interest and Sir George Young
MP has offered to hold a regular surgery. Other suitable organisations
could be drug counselling and Andover Carers.
The aim of this project would be to improve the facilities in the Town
Hall for the organisations, such as telephone/ internet point and
heating. Healthcheck help will be needed with funding. This links with
Rural Strategy Objective S1.
These projects are coordinated by the Town Clerk on behalf of Whitchurch
Town Action Plan
The following projects are being implemented by the Whitchurch (Town)
Association. The timescale definitions used are:
||Up to 18 months
||Up to 3 years
||Up to 5 years
Project Title: Youth Project
Term Short / Medium
From the public consultation events, the need for a Youth Project was
identified. At present there is no Youth Group for the 11–14 age group.
A Youth Group for this age group needs to be set up with a Youth Worker.
In conjunction with this, the need for the Youth Suite to be updated was
identified. Various Youth Groups use this facility and a new kitchen,
storage and curtains are needed.
A Youth Group for the 11–14 age group with a Youth Worker to organise
it. The Youth Suite to be updated and refurbished.
To find out what sort of ‘club’ this age group want.
To set out what work needs to be done in the Youth Suite.
The project will only be involved with the 11–14 age group and
refurbishing the Youth Suite.
Detailed plans will be produced for the Youth Suite:
||what needs to be replaced in
||where are the new storage
areas to be located
||how many curtains are needed
Identify what the young people in the 11-14 age group want to do/have
available. Recruit a Youth Worker.
No resources available for a youth worker.
Activities on offer do not appeal to 11–14 age group.
Building regulations /
planning / health and safety Issues encountered
Promised funding does not
materialise, therefore Youth Group does not get off the ground
and youth suite does not get refurbished. Alternative youth
activities / initiatives may then need to be encouraged or
A youth group for the 11–14 age group. A refurbished Youth Suite.
Need funding for a Youth Worker. Need funding for refurbishment of Youth
Suite (£15,000 approx).
This is seen as a short/medium term project.
Project Title: Tourism Initiatives
Term Short / Medium Term
From the Market Towns Tourism and Visitor Services Worksheet, the need
was identified for some form of Tourist Information Centre and a town
guide and map. Issues that also arose from the Worksheet were that apart
from the Silk Mill, there were no other activities for visitors to the
town. Therefore a Heritage Trail and Nature Trail were proposed,
together with the Circular Walks leaflet that is already available, but
which needs to be promoted and made more widely available.
To encourage visitors to come to Whitchurch and spend more time in our
Town, by having more tourist activities for visitors to do.
To encourage more visitors to Whitchurch.
Bring more revenue to Whitchurch.
Keeping the proposed tourism projects to four, as we feel these are
manageable and feasible.
The Healthcheck Team will be working with local Clubs and Societies to
produce the Heritage Trail, Nature Trail and Town Guide.
Constraints / Dependencies
This project depends on the cooperation and goodwill of team members and
members of local Clubs and Societies to produce the Trails and Guide.
Insufficient funding for all deliverables.
A Heritage Trail and Nature Trail for visitors. An up to date Town Guide
The work to produce the Trails and Town Guide will be voluntary.
Publishing costs are expected to be met by contributions from
Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council for the Heritage.
The Town Guide
and map funding will need to be finalised and sources identified.
is seen as a short / medium term project.
Project Title: IT Training Centre
From the Training and Education Worksheet, it was identified that there
was a need for IT classes to be run for the public and also to work with
local employers in the town on their training needs. Currently the
Community Centre has to borrow laptops from a College 7 miles away. At
present, there is only one public internet access point located in the
Library, whose opening hours are limited. This links with Rural Strategy
To have an IT Training Centre in Whitchurch with a variety of IT courses
and Internet Access for the public, to be housed in the new Community
To ensure that the project is suitably resourced. To work with the
Community Centre and Library Services. To establish the type of courses
that would be successful.
To plan publicity and promotion.
To ensure that there are a suitable number of computers available and
that there is an IT programme drawn up, which ensures that teachers are
available to deliver the courses.
The building of the Community Centre gets delayed. Lack of computers,
teachers and pupils.
Lack of cooperation between the different groups involved, which means
that the project does not go ahead.
An IT centre teaching IT courses to the residents of Whitchurch and the
surrounding villages, and local businesses.
Need for computer workstations.
Need for staff – to run the courses and to organise them.
This is seen as a medium term project.
Project Title: Local History Museum
Term Medium / Long
Whitchurch is a very old historic town with a wealth of artefacts and
material. It was identified by the Culture and Heritage Worksheet that
there was a need for a museum. Many schools use Whitchurch for field
trips, however there is no town museum where school children, the
general public and visitors can go to find out more about the history of
To have a local history Museum in Whitchurch, with changing historical
To have the use of a building where the wealth of material on the
history of Whitchurch can be displayed for the benefit of residents and
To be another tourist attraction in Whitchurch.
The scope of this project is to find a suitable building and with the
help of the Local History Society and other local groups, display the
history of the town.
The first stage is to see whether there is room in the new Community
The second stage would be to work with the Local History Society and
other local groups to collect material for the Museum.
The new Community Centre proves unsuitable. The Museum is also dependent
on people donating artefacts to the Museum.
A Local Museum / Discovery Centre displaying the history of the town for
all to visit.
This is seen as a medium / long term project.
Project Title: Town Gateways
From the Transport and Tourism and Visitor Services Worksheets, the need
for signage that is able to reflect the town’s history and uniqueness
and to welcome people into the town was identified. Another aim was that
having unique signage at the town’s gateways has a positive effect on
the reduction in speed of traffic entering the town.
To have unique and distinctive signage at the town’s gateways.
The signage should:
||reflect the town’s history
||reflect the town’s environment
||be unique to Whitchurch
The project deals only with the creation of signs at the gateways to
This project now has the backing of both the County and Borough Highways
There is the need to have a design that fulfils the criteria as laid out
above but is also acceptable to the residents of Whitchurch, e.g. a
Identify and assess the costs of the project and identify funding.
Getting authorisation to change the existing signs for unique signage.
The County and Borough Highways Departments may be negative about the
project and refuse to support the project.
To have unique and distinctive signage at the four main gateways into
Need funding for signage. (£10,000+ approx.)
This is seen as a medium term project.
Project Title: Reduction of HGV through Traffic
From the Healthcheck Public Consultation events, lorry traffic was seen
as a major issue affecting residents of the town. This was also
identified in the Transport Worksheets. Many of the town’s roads are
narrow and the lorries are now very long, articulated and wide, causing
congestion in the town. The Atkins survey of 2002 showed that 42% of
lorries were using the town as a short cut. This project links with
Rural Strategy Objective T2 and Basingstoke Environmental Strategy for
Transport Components ‘Roads and Traffic’ and ‘Freight Movement.’
To reduce HGV through traffic, specifically those lorries over 38 tons.
To work with the Borough and County Highways Departments and other
agencies in having signage on approach roads to Whitchurch denoting that
the roads are narrow and cannot take the weight of these large vehicles.
The project will target those vehicles that are using Whitchurch as a
through route to their final destination as opposed to those vehicles
who are delivering to an address within the town.
Meetings will be held with the relevant Highways Departments and any
other agencies to ascertain what we can and cannot do. At the moment the
project denotes signage but this could be expanded to include other
measures such as rumble strips or mini roundabouts. In April 2005 an
extensive survey of HGV movements is planned in conjunction with
Hampshire County Council.
This project is dependent on the relevant Highways Departments and the
support of Councillors and residents.
The Highways Departments are not able to help in any way.
The reduction of HGV through traffic will make the town a safer place to
walk and cycle and improve the quality of life for the residents of
Whitchurch. Will assist in the success of the Town Centre Project.
Funding is needed for appropriate signage to be erected.
This is seen to be a medium term project.
Project Title: Town Centre Project
Term Medium / Long Term
From the Public Consultation events held by the Healthcheck Team, the
town centre was identified as being ‘drab’ (42.2% of those who completed
the questionnaire.) The Retail and Town Centre Services Worksheet
confirmed this view. The deteriorating appearance of some of the empty
shops detracts from the town’s image. The quality of the town centre is
paramount to the image and vitality of the town.
To improve the appearance of the town centre and tackle visual blight.
The enhancement of the town centre will benefit the community,
businesses and visitors.
This project will deal with the town centre only.
With the help of the Borough Conservation Officers, we plan to encourage
the restoration of buildings and identify funding opportunities to the
landlords of buildings in the town centre, using the Whitchurch Design
Statement as a key tool.
Lack of cooperation from landlords.
The landlords do not want to get involved with the project.
Visual and material improvement of the town centre.
This is seen to be a medium to long term project.
Project Title: Town Business Development
Term Medium / Long
The need for a focus in Whitchurch has been highlighted by the
Healthcheck Project, in particular within the Commercial and Industrial
Property Needs and the Business Support Worksheets. A town manager is
envisaged who will work with local businesses to promote and support
business start ups, right through to retail and the industrial estate.
The need is for someone to maintain and improve the economic viability
of the town for all users by acting as a co-ordinator and catalyst and
encouraging co-operation between key stakeholders, users and service
providers. This links with Rural Strategy Objective EC1.
Establish local business support initiatives, for example advice
clinics, business clubs. To have a part time Town
See Introduction above.
The need for funding for such a post and for how many years.
No one applies for the job.
Short term – utilization of a Town Project Officer.
Longer term – recruitment and funding for a town manager who will work
with local businesses and maintain and improve the economic viability of
the town for all users by acting as a coordinator and catalyst and
encouraging co-operation between key stakeholders, users and service
Need for a serviced office with computer facilities (start up business
This is seen as a medium long term project.
Issues for Implementation
The Healthcheck Team
The implementation phase of the Healthcheck project will re-energise the
Whitchurch (Town) Association to legalise its structure. This factor,
together with the risk of experienced members dropping out for various
reasons could be an issue for the continuity of the project. The present
members of the Team have proved to be an effective and hardworking body,
who have given up their time on a voluntary basis, because they want to
do something for their community of Whitchurch. Therefore, it is
imperative that we have continuity and that everyone is clear about
their responsibilities in the new legalised framework.
With one part time member of staff it is important that the Action Plan
maintains a realistic work programme. This programme should clearly
identify what areas of work can be undertaken by volunteers, local
councils and other agencies. Also, timescales and outputs need to be
clearly identified. The Team should review the work of the member of
staff on a regular basis.
The need to keep the Community informed and involved is paramount. There
is a danger of the Community becoming disenchanted about the Healthcheck
process if there is little evidence of results from the Action Plan.
Regular publicity and some ‘quick wins’ are needed to show that the
process is working and producing tangible results.
A small communications sub-group was formed in January 2005 with the
sole purpose of achieving the required awareness level through avenues
such as a quarterly community magazine and website in conjunction with
the publishers of the existing town medians the Whitchurch Eye and the
It will be necessary for the staff member to look into the feasibility
of projects as ideas are mooted. Research into potential funding of
proposed projects will be necessary as the Action Plan is adapted and
changed in later years.
Monitoring, Evaluation and Review
The aim is to report back regularly to the Town Council, Borough and
County on project progress irrespective as to whether funds have been
raised to support the projects. Support from all local clubs,
organisations and societies will also actively be sought. Progress will
also be reported to the public, using the local paper, Parish Magazine
and the Whitchurch Eye.
The Healthcheck Team will evaluate the Action Plan on a regular basis
and identify any problems and propose actions to address them as
The Action Plan will be reviewed regularly and new projects will be
introduced, as and when is appropriate, by the Whitchurch (Town)
Association Town Action Plan Team.
(available from Whitchurch Town Hall)
||Public Consultation Documents
||Results from Information Day Questionnaire and Open Day
||Social and Community
||Bus and Train Timetable, Community Bus Timetable