SSEN signed off on the new location of the sub station, resulting in Lindford being dug up for cabling on 2nd November. They erected road signs on 3rd November and works began on 13th November. SSEN applied for the Lindford road closures back in August. They have now acknowledged that they did not consult with Lindford Parish Council, its residents or businesses.
Utility companies have free reign to dig up the roads and Hampshire County Council (HCC) hands are generally tied when it comes to approving their permits. The only requirement for SSEN before beginning works was to erect the road signs 2 weeks before commencing, and distribute letters 1 week before. We are aware that not everyone has received a letter notification and have suggested HCC issue a fine. Unfortunately, the maximum fine for noncompliance is £120.
Lindford Parish Council have now been included in a monthly zoom call held by SSEN but hosted by Ian Ackerman for HCC. Other Parishes have been involved in these calls for many months.
The Beehive Nursery invited our MP Damien Hinds along to discuss amongst other things, the impact of the SSEN roadworks on them. A number of Parish Councilors and local business owners attended this informal discussion. Although there may be very little he can do, we did feel heard. There would need to be an appetite at national level to change the current requirements for these utility companies so that they would have to consult with Parish Councils as well as potentially undertaking traffic surveys before any road closures can be agreed.
Damien Hinds is currently the Schools Minister. The impending road closure of the B3004 for 8 months next year will have a significant impact on travel to and from Alton. Part of the permit restrictions on this closure mean that all roadworks have to halt during the Jalsa Salana annual event in Kingsley. We raised concerns about the closure impacting children traveling from Lindford and surrounding villages to schools and colleges in Alton, potentially if traveling by bus having to follow the 35 mile diversion during their GCSEs and A levels. If the road can be opened for an event, then can it be opened during the summer exam period? This was supported by Damien Hinds and we are awaiting scheduling for a follow up meeting. All of our feedback will be passed on to the Department of Transport.
Councilor Ron Ruttle has spent a significant amount of time researching the detailed technical requirements for the works being undertaken and has come to the conclusion that the works do not need a full road closure and traffic management, such as stop/go boards or traffic lights would be sufficient and safe. It is felt that the closure has been requested to save time and money. MP Damien Hinds suggested we look at the possibility of an independent survey. District Councilor Andy Tree broached this with HCC. Unfortunately, there is no desire from them to enter into a battle with SSEN.
Please continue to support our local businesses during the road closures.
Everyone Active Leisure Centre:
Village residents use the leisure centre on a regular basis, there are ongoing problems with water leaks and the general maintenance and upkeep of a relatively new building is very poor. These are having a significant impact on all users but particularly the disabled who are unable to access toilets or showers. This has been taken up with East Hampshire Council who own the building and they are in discussions with Everyone Active. Although concerns have been raised in the past, they have not been followed up recently and the problem is only getting worse. We will endeavor to keep on top of this.
Norse Glass Collection:
The glass recycling bin on Chase Road had been full for some time. We are aware that Norse removed the full bin and left an empty one. However, they left a large number of carrier bags full of glass bottles littered around the site. One of our residents took it upon themselves to empty these into the new bin. We would like to thank them for their actions. If you notice the bin is full, please call the number on the side and ideally do not leave bags of glass by the bins if this can be avoided. We can not guarantee that Norse will empty it any sooner but at least we know they are aware that it needs to be done.
There are rumours that despite extensive cabling works Swish Fiber will not be switching on in our area. This is being investigated to confirm if this is the case and we will bring you more information when we have it.
Council have been in discussions over replacing a number of trees in the village. Unfortunately, we lost a large number of trees previously and we had hoped to be able to replace some of these. The cost of more mature trees is significant and they must be planted at the correct time of year as well as correctly cared for. It was felt we didn’t have enough information to agree to planning at this time and that we may have left it too late in the planting season. We will review this again in the near future with our newly appointed tree warden to support us.
A huge thank you to the councilors and their families who have given up their time to prepare for, and decorate Lindford for Christmas. We have attempted to use rechargeable batteries in all of our displays however we have experienced a few teething problems with the cold weather impacting the charge of the batteries. To change the batteries in the wreaths we need 2 people and a ladder. We are very grateful to Ron and Los who have been undertaking this task for us, however we have decided that these lights will work best with alkaline batteries. We will continue to use rechargeable batteries on all accessible lights and will be looking into other options for next year such as solar powered. We are very grateful to the businesses who have donated towards our Christmas lights this year. Thank you to Lindford Club, The Royal Exchange and Tame The Taxman as well as Altis who have provided equipment.
Citizens Advice Bureau:
Bordon CAB is open to Lindford residents to use if needed. We are therefore pleased to confirm we have been able to award a small amount of funding so that they can continue to support our residents.
We wish you all a lovely Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year. For those who may be alone on Christmas day there is a Christmas lunch at Whitehill Village Hall please contact firstname.lastname@example.org 01420 475993
P.S Bin collections will be one day later than normal due to the bank holidays. Wednesday 27th December collection will be on Thursday 28th and Wed 3rd January 2024 will be collected on Thursday 4th January (hopefully)