News: August 2020

During the Coronavirus Covid-19 we have forwarded the weekly East Woodhay and Highclere Neighbourcare Coronavirus Support Newsletter to our members. Starting in August, rather than one a week, these newsletters will only be sent out when there are significant changes to report. Recent issues are below:

Below are extracts from our most recent newsletter (late July) which goes out via email to all our members.

A New and Regular Section on Planning

This is the first of a new regular newsletter section on planning. As from this issue we will include a list of new Planning Applications which relate to Highclere so that you can view online and comment if you wish.

Below is a little background on Planning and the role of your Society.

Since the formation of the Society, about 25 years ago, Committee members have monitored all planning applications in Highclere Parish and, if felt necessary, we have commented (objecting or supporting) on behalf of members. To do this we formed a Planning subcommittee with some members from the main Committee and other members with a special interest in planning.

Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council is the local planning authority. They receive applications and register them online so that anyone can view the details. In addition, the application must be advised by a public roadside notice on or near the property concerned. They also usually notify adjoining property owners by post.

A planning officer will review the application against a framework of national and local rules and guidance and recommend acceptance or refusal. Any resident may write in support or object for any reason. If enough such letters or emails are received it will show popular opinion and cause the officer's decision to be reviewed at a public meeting of the Development Control Committee, a subset of the Borough Council. Otherwise the officer’s decision stands. If the case is in a grey area this committee will often favour the residents, so it is worth getting a large number to comment.

For an objection to succeed however the application must be shown to breach one or more of the rules. The Society Planning committee members study the rules and make considered objections. We have considerable standing at Basingstoke. In 2002 we produced the Highclere Village Design Statement (PDF) which was adopted by the Planners as a material consideration. It is being replaced by the Neighbourhood Plan currently in production. This work is led by a member of both the Society’s Planning and Main committee.

So, your Society will take a considered view of each application against the current planning rules and object on your behalf. If you feel strongly about any application, please comment individually in your own words in an email to the case officer.

Access to Newtown HWRC extended by one year

After much conern by local residents about being denied access to the Newtown House & Waste Recycling Centre from August 1st, this decision has been reversed. If it had not been residents would have typically have faced around a 30 mile round trip to their nearest Hampshire HWRC vs around 10 miles to Newtown which most residents combine with other errands nearby. Here is the email local councillor sent to concerned residents on 30th July (a last minute reprieve!).

"Dear Resident,

Further to my email earlier this week, I forward a link to the decisions made by the Leader of Hampshire County Council yesterday.

The key points are that the leader has approved:

This is a link to the decisions made:

Yours sincerely,
Tom Thacker
Hampshire County Councillor
Whitchurch and the Cleres Division

Westridge Studio Planned Opening

The Trustees of Westridge Studio would like to thank everyone involved with the restoration over the last 5 years. From the management team to the fundraisers and the 100 Club members – everyone deserves a huge thank you for realising DR's wishes.

Westridge Studio is celebrating 215 years as a community venue in 2020 which has turned into the most unusual year in it's history. The value of community events and meetings as a community to share arts and wellbeing activities, has never been more appreciated. We look forward to a time when the Studio is fully operational. It is still difficult to confirm dates at this current time but we wish to indicate our proposed opening (subject to changes based on HM Government advice).

Westridge Studio aims to open from 1 September 2020.

If you have previously expressed an interest in booking or would like to visit the facility, please contact us by emailing Andrea.

The building work is now fully completed however work on the Paddock is ongoing to complement the Studio and create an outdoor green space.

We welcome all ideas and offers of support from the community and so if you feel you would like to get involved please email Sue.

Trustees: Mike York, Sally Izett, Mike Jenkins, Angela Tiley

The Westridge Trust providing facilities aimed at improving the conditions of life (including good health and wellbeing) through the Arts (in its many forms). Registered Charity no 1169481

For further information and contct details visit

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