News - September 2009

People who join the Society receive regular email letters ahead of publication on this page.

Below are extracts from the September newsletter.

The Barn next to the Sheiling

This application to allow the site to be used for storage and distribution (rather than for agricultural) on the grounds that it has been so for many years has been rejected by Basingstoke & Deane District Council. Many thanks to all members who wrote to Basingstoke & Deane Council with evidence against such use following the last Newsletter. One of the big strengths of the Society is our ability to inform 257 members of an issue and get fast action.

Editor's note - Full details of the application for a 'certificate of lawful development' can be seen on the council's planning portal - ref BDB/70967

Highclere Castle Walks

An excellent guide to walks on the Estate has been published on their web site (see the walks page or download the leaflet (4.1Mb PDF). The issue that few locals knew of the permitted walks was raised by the Society at the Enabling Development meetings so we welcome this publication. There continue to be signs that the Estate is being well managed and promoted on a day to day basis by the current Earl. The new Egyptology Exhibition is a first class addition that should pull in more visitors.

The Society would however like some circular walks to start from the Highclere gate to minimise car use.

The issue of Enabling Development will no doubt surface from Basingstoke again soon. It is a difficult issue raising strong views either way. Whilst the Society survey last year showed that most members wish the Estate well, the threat of suffering more local housing to support maintenance is still unacceptable.

Penwood Forestry

There has been a large excavator in the Great Pen Wood making a bit of a mess. In fact they have been doing some ground prep works which will prepare the lower clear fell site ready for replanting later this year, or early next. They will also undertake further rhododendron control, in the first instance with the same machine. This will involve some large fires. The Rhododendrons pose a threat to habitat, tree health, recreation and access and security. Whilst it may seem a little brutal in the first instance they have had tremendous success dealing with it elsewhere in this manner.

Penwood Village Hall closure

Sadly the trustees feel unable to continue given the huge amount of money needed to put the hall in order and the lack of support locally. Penwood residents voted for closure at the meeting on the 2nd September.

Patrick Hedgeland

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