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Open Forum Meeting to discuss plans for the new Sports Centre
We were very disappointed with the outcome of the meeting held at the Community Centre on Wednesday 11th October to discuss the reserved matters application.
A major issue was the absence of displays of Reserved Matters (RM) plans (just one slide in the presentation), despite the meeting being billed as “an opportunity to view the Plans”. Instead, the display was simply of a few artists’ impressions – clearly intended as good marketing, but actually quite useless in terms of informing the public. The presentation on the facilities was moderately helpful, but spoiled by a desperate attempt to ‘hard sell’ the new building, given the background of poor community involvement.
As expected, there were some challenging questions from the floor, including many from potential stakeholders, who feel they have been short-changed. There were many comments about wasted opportunities; a community facility being run as a profit making business; the decision geared to the vanity of one man, not the sporting public; disdain for the people of Alton; “no point being here”. In the end there was actually some sympathy for Everyone Active, with a feeling that they’ve been lumbered with a contract that will never be satisfactory, most of the criticism being aimed at EHDC for their arrogance.
Pam Jones (on the panel as opposition leader) spoke eloquently, reflecting the dismay and anger that is felt by the public at the ATC appearing (so far) to rubber-stamp EHDC’s plans. She would ask for the RM application to come before Full Council (rather than the mere 5 members that make up the P&T committee), in view of the critical issues at stake.
Overall, the saddest aspect is that what should have been a cause for celebration (state of the art facilities, and a potential flagship for Alton) remains a source of huge resentment – even bitterness and anger. EHDC have dug themselves a hole from which they can’t escape.
The plans to provide a path and route from Will Hall farm development to Kings Pond has received a major boost with a £15,000 grant towards the Wey Walk project. The plan is to use it to employ a project leader and the Wey Walk group are looking for £30,000 to finance the leader who will then negotiate with the various landlords along the proposed route.
We are delighted that the Friends of Alton Station have launched their Phase I funding target to save our Heritage Footbridge. The target is £170,000.00. The plan is to rescue the bridge, refurbish it and restore it to its former glory. If you want to help then visit their website to make a donation.
Alton Health Review The North Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group have published the long awaited report on the Alton Health Review – follow the link and have a look. We have decided with the Alton and District Resident’s Association (ADRA) to propose an Alton monitoring group or Forum to ensure the CCG keep to their targets and deliver on the proposals in the report. We aim to include some local patient participation groups if they are willing to help us with this task.
Alton Sports Centre – Rod Eckles represented the Alton Society at the meeting held on 13th July in relation to the proposed new Sports Centre. His comments can be found here
Molson Coors Brewery Site – It has been announced that the new owners of the brewery site are CALA Homes. Representatives of the Alton Society will be aiming to meet with them at the earliest opportunity to discuss the Development Brief for the site, our own submissions, and the exciting opportunities the site offers our town centre.
We are delighted to support the new Wey Valley Radio. It broadcasts on 101.1 FM. It is a community radio station with lots of local news, comments and music. The Alton Society have had several opportunities to broadcast. Go and have a listen!
Flood Meadows – Come and join the Friends of Flood Meadows to help with tidying up and some maintenance. We meet at the Tanhouse Lane end of the meadows at 10am on the third (3rd) Sunday of the month (next date is October 15th). It is a family friendly group so bring your children and help them learn about our local environment. Bring gardening gloves and wellingtons (though we do have some spares)! We always finish with a coffee or tea and if you are lucky a chocolate biscuit.
We are involved in the Town Council’s Town Team and recently took part in a walk around Alton’s historic town centre. A number of suggestions were made by our representative as well as others. In short the signage from the station needs tackling (the sign to the town centre has gone missing!), certain areas need tidying up (Bakers Alley has been done at last) and some buildings need attention (eg the old Bon Bon shop and the 2nd storey of Boots). We will keep you posted on progress.