Ferris Cowper’s County Council Newsletter

Dear villagers,

This is my first divisional newsletter since the county council election. In this edition, I will be covering the two very large road schemes in my division; The Square in Liphook and Crossways Road in Grayshott.

If you’re new to these newsletters, I write one newsletter for the area I am responsible for, (a “division”), but I adjust the amount of content for each of the three parishes. Also, I attend every other parish council Full Council meeting for all three parishes and I write a short resume of my work for each of the three parishes every month. In the case of Grayshott, all of these updates are posted on Grayshott.com and for Headley and Bramshott and Liphook, it is posted on the parish council websites.

I expect to publish the next newsletter of this type on or about the 29th October.

County Councillor News for Grayshott

Crossways Road

The project is scheduled to start on the 29th July. Quite a few people are surprised at the “Road Closed” signs. The best way to understand how this will affect you is to consider the project as a series of quite small and localised works. Examples are building a speed ramp or a traffic island.

Each of these small works is going to be completed in a sequence commencing at the A333 Portsmouth Road end of Crossways Road. Hampshire County Council, (HCC), will start with the new traffic island at the junction of Crossways Road and Portsmouth Road and then when they have done that, they will move towards the village to start the next part which is at the Kingswood Firs junction. Then so on, along the road until the project is completed in the middle of the village close to the Fiveways junction.

So you can see that whilst the road will not be open as a through road at all, almost all of the road will be open almost all of the time. There will always be access to either Headley Road or Portsmouth Road for everyone in Crossways Road. For much of the time, shopping traffic entering the village from Headley Road will have its journey to the village car parks completely uninterrupted for almost the entire duration of the works.

This afternoon, (29th July), I took a look at the first part of the works on the junction with the A333 and chatted to some of the crew there. At that stage things seemed to be going quite well, however, with the experiences I’ve had lately, that does not make me complacent at all!!!

The duration of the works is expected to be about 50 days.

Other Highway Projects

Woolmer Hill School Footpath

This long running problem now has a solution!!! Discussions between HCC and the Ministry of Defence have resulted in agreement from the MoD that their land can be used to build the footpath. As a result a project is being developed now to lay a footpath on the open land side of the road. This will enable pupils at Woolmer Hill School to walk all the way to school from Grayshott, Bramshott and Hindhead on a safe footpath without having to walk in the road.

I’m awaiting a start date now we have agreed the location.

Kiln Way

I reported on this situation in my previous newsletter. However, since then, residents have obviously decided to run a bit of a campaign. Quite right too! There are several aspects as follows.

Firstly, the permitted speed along the Headley Road as it passes the junction with Kiln Way. I have received the results of the speed and volume monitoring data that I requested earlier this year and the speeds recorded are consistent with the permitted speed of 50mph. That means there is no case for additional measures. The HCC Safety Team has debated the permitted speed with me and I have argued hard and I thought, persuasively, for 40mph, based on the visibility at the junction. However, these measures are almost entirely dependent on accident data and basically there haven’t been any. I realise this is all about trying to prevent accidents but that is not the way any of the highway authorities work. Daft? Well, in my view yes, but I’m afraid I hit a brick wall there.

Second, there is a request to extend the recently completed footpath to Applegarth, further along the road to Kiln Way. This will be an expensive project and I have arranged for it to go into a competitive bidding process, to be completed later this year.

Third, the road is worn quite badly in the gutters and also either side of the Give Way line and I have arranged for road repairs to be carried out there.

Other County Activities

I was delighted to receive an invitation to present prizes at the Grayshott Primary School Prizegiving Assembly. This has been an annual event for me for some years and it is always one of the best things I do as a councillor anywhere. It’s truly inspirational. My congratulations go to the Head Teacher, the staff, the Governors, the PTA, the parents and of course, most of all, the pupils.

My General Activities Covering all Three Parishes

County Councillor Devolved Grant

Each year £8,000 is made available to me by HCC so that I can make local grants to local organisations with a very high degree of freedom. I can make grants of up to £1,000 with very little bureaucracy and up to £2,000 with a more complex set of forms and other requirements.  The idea is to make it as easy as possible. Most grants I make are in the region of £400 to £1,000.

The grant money is available to me from 1st June each year until 28th February the following year. To help eke it out as far as it will go, each year I choose a theme. This year the theme is “small community groups”. It’s not a rigid definition, but it’s meant to give you the idea that it’s more to do with play groups or lunch clubs for the elderly than it is for Oxfam.

Applying is easy. Write to me first and explain the general idea and I will then send you the web link so that you can apply online.

Rural Broadband

I’m sorry to say that the new Leader of Hampshire County Council has not renewed my role as Lead Councillor for Broadband and the job has been subsumed into a Cabinet post. I can update you on public information but sadly I can no longer brief you on the inside track.

However, the roll out is about to start and some communities are getting much faster speeds already because the commercial part of the roll out has begun, (as opposed to the subsidised part of the roll out).

More good news is that the Leader of HCC has announced that he proposes to set aside a very substantial sum of money to enable the most remote 10% of the county to participate in superfast broadband. I’m not privy to the technical solution but I’m sure that can’t be satellite or 4G ‘phone, so it must be digging trenches, laying cables and erecting little green boxes. If this comes off, then 100% of the county will get superfast broadband, (up to24mbps)

My Main News from the other Two Parishes

Bramshott and Liphook

Highway Issues

There is a major road works project starting today, (29th July) in the very centre of Liphook. It will last 8 weeks and whilst most of the works will single lane traffic movements under traffic light control, The Square will be closed for about a week during this project, dates to be posted.

Liphook in Bloom

I was really pleased to be asked to be a judge of “The Best of The Best” of this wonderful event. Results in October!!!

Bohunt Manor Frontage Land

This is a complex project, ostensibly no more than a very large planning application, but the County Council gets involved as there are also proposals for additional primary school education. Further, the package involves a wide range of other community facilities such as a quality football pitch, allotments and a doctors’ surgery. It is a very big debating point amongst the local community and I was asked to chair a public meeting held by Bramshott and Liphook Parish Council which was televised by BBC South.


Highway Issues

There is concern about rat running through Eddey’s Lane, often at high speed to try and “overtake” traffic using the main road. An engineer has now been assigned to assess possible solutions and put them to public consultation.  Consultation is likely towards the end of this year.

And finally……..

I hope you are enjoying the warmer weather!

Thanks to all of you who came and watched my rock band “Good Times Roll” play at the Deer’s Hut. We have a very importantcharity gig on 9th November at Headley Park Hotel. It’s in aid of the Sue Ryder charity 60th anniversary and tickets are £35. Absolutely everyone you know will be there and you can get tickets from the charity shop in Grayshott or info@suerydercare.org

In Grayshott, please go to www.grayshott.com and look under “News” and then “Newsgroups” to read my two-monthly public newsletters.

In Headley please go to www.headley-village.com/parish Look under “Council Meetings” and then “County Council” for my monthly reports to the Full Council and at the top of the home page for my two-monthly public newsletters.

In Bramshott and Liphook please go to http://bramshottandliphook-pc.gov.uk/newsletters for my two-monthly public newsletters.

If you want to take up any County Council issues with me, please contact me on ferris.cowper@hants.gov.uk or on 01428-609858.

Cllr. Ferris Cowper,

Hampshire County Councillor for Grayshott, Headley and Bramshott and Liphook.

29th July 2013