Implementation of Gigabit Fibre Broadband in Abbotts Ann, Parts of Amport and Monxton

FREE Fibre Broadband in parts of Amport and Monxton

In January 2021 after lots of technical broadband issues in Abbotts Ann discussions took place with Openreach to upgrade all properties in Abbotts Ann to be paid for using the Government’s voucher system.

The project progressed with more than 80% of the residents in Abbotts Ann signing up. Each residential property signed up would provide £1,500 and £3,000 for business properties meaning the cost of implementation infrastructure by Openreach would be fully paid using the Government’s voucher system.

All was progressing well with Hampshire County Council also putting money into the project when a few weeks ago Openreach suddenly informed us that ALL subscribers to the Abbotts Ann Telephone exchange must be part of the project. They gave us a list of 155 properties we did not know were on the Abbotts Ann exchange and they were all in Amport and Monxton.

So after further dialogue with Openreach the team agreed to widen the project to include properties in Amport and Monxton in the existing project!

Do you want Gigabit fibre to the premises broadband? Surely the answer is “Yes!”

In order to make use of the government funding (to pay for the FTTP upgrade), you must opt IN to the project. You do this by filling in your details, and submitting them here: https://www.abbottsann.com/gigabit-broadband-signup-form/ 

MAKE SURE: If you are a legitimate business, or run a business from home (the Government will check you are a registered company) – you apply as a business – as this increases the funding the government will give to the project.

Please ensure you have signed up by 17 October 2021

You can find most answers to your questions on the FAQ HERE Wherever you see “Abbotts Ann” think Amport and Monxton as well.

You should also view a video by Jeremy Mason one of the project team members who overviews the project HERE

You should also click HERE to find out if your property is eligible for the FTTP free upgrade. If you property is not on the list and you think it should be, then please email keith@abbottsann.com

Finally, please encourage everyone to sign up then click HERE to do that.

What is FTTP (Fibre To The Premises)?

Fibre to the Premises (FTTP, or FTTH – Fibre to the Home) is a broadband technology that uses optical fibre to provide broadband and very fast internet speeds.  The optical fibre broadband internet connection from the local exchange is connected to the router in your home, which is much faster, stable and more reliable than the old copper telephone line used by many other broadband services.  The result is you can enjoy very high speeds of up to 1Gbps (gigabits per second).

Why should I take this opportunity?

If you are a regular user of the internet, if you work from home or run a business in the village, you will no doubt be aware of the limitations that the current village infrastructure imposes;  

  • regular drops in internet signal
  • frequent drops in internet speed
  • buffering when watching movies  

These issues will get worse over time, as ever-increasing amounts of data are squeezed down creaking 1950’s cables.  The FTTP gigabit enabled broadband project offers us the chance to upgrade the village infrastructure wholesale, and have it entirely funded by the government. This is a time-limited offer by the Government and should be taken advantage of.  Without government funding, the upgrade costs to households in the future are likely to be in excess of £1,200 per property.

Property value increase

An independent review of the superfast broadband program, conducted by Ipsos Mori, found that the value of homes increased, if they had fibre to the premises, compared with homes without.  The point is, even if you are not a heavy Internet user, it makes sense to take this opportunity to upgrade to FTTP as you are adding value to your property at no cost to yourself.  With more people working from home, this feature will become more critical in the future.

(see: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/superfast-broadband-programme-state-aid-evaluation-report-2020)

MONXTON AND AMPORT VILLAGE HALL PROJECT

I have great pleasure in announcing that at the beginning of September the council meeting at TVBC accepted our CIL bid for a new village Hall / Community hub.  This amounts to £345,000.  We have also secured £25,000 through the Community Asset Fund and have also raised over £70,000 through various fundraising events.  This sum, even with the recent price inflation of building materials, will allow us to go to tender, and we hope to start the building phase early next year.  Our next steps will involve liaising with our Architect, Luke Rose, to take forward construction information and formal tender to get an accurate cost of the project. 

This is an extremely exciting time for our community and as before, we will be reaching out to ask for assistance with certain areas of the project where our committee expertise might be lacking. If you feel you might be able to help (such as kitchen design, ASHP and PV knowledge), then please do get in touch.

Penny Kitson

Chairman Monxton and Amport Village Hall

Vice Chairman Monxton Parish Council

Tel: 01264 771227

Amport House Planning Application- response from Monxton Parish Council

21/02304/FULLN 1 Conversion of Amport House into a Boutique Hotel with additional accommodation in the grounds (planning use class C1), kids club, energy centre, cycle storage, new swim club (planning use class E) and landscaping enhancements I Amport House Furzedown Lane Amport SP118BG

Summary

Monxton Parish Council objects to this planning application on the following grounds:

  1. Impact of additional traffic through Monxton High Street, Green Lane and Amport Road with a non-credible and non-existent traffic plan. In addition the current application understates the potential traffic and is based on wholly unsubstantiated statistics from the previous use by the MOD and some hotel in Ireland.
  2. The additional demand on the current, totally unfit for use shambolic, sewage system provided by Southern Water makes it highly likely to exacerbate the current problems with sewage as it is currently being either tankered from Monxton, Amport, East Cholderton and Abbotts Ann, or over-pumped into the local river (Pillhill Brook) which is a tributary of the Test River. This is due to the inability of Sothern Water to provide a functioning system, which is the subject of a major effort by all the aforementioned councils to resolve with the vendor.
  3. Trees: any attempt to cut down mature trees when we are all trying to save the planet should be prevented and they should move the swimming pool to an area which does not require tree felling.

Traffic

Increase in traffic is our major concern. The application does not have sufficient information on, nor solutions for, traffic volumes and management during construction and post opening of the hotel. The Transport Statement provided by the applicants, is incomplete and does not refer to the impact of construction traffic at all nor set out a traffic management plan during construction. This plan is totally unacceptable and leaves a lot unaddressed that will impact adversely upon Monxton and the residents of the High Street in particular. It does not consider the impact of additional traffic on Amport School and Monxton’s narrow main street. To suggest that the MOD used the site in the same intensity as that is proposed is not credible. In terms of post construction traffic generated by the operation of the hotel the statement contains misleading unsubstantiated assertions about traffic uses under the previous owners; does not address the fact that many of the routes to the proposed hotel involve narrow lanes through local villages and presents misleading data for former levels of traffic and unreliable projections for traffic movements based on over optimistic assumptions and TRICS data for a single inappropriate analog of a transport survey done on a hotel in Limerick, Rep of Ireland in 2013 which is place many miles from any neighbouring villages.

We have broadly calculated that based on 50 – 60 staff only on duty every 24 hr period (for a 4* hotel which could be 40% more for a 5* hotel) (and does not  take into account part time workers) is likely to be an extra 3,000 car movements per month through the village equating to approx. an extra 12% traffic coming through Monxton. On top of that are at least 15 goods deliveries per day, external members for the leisure clubs , non-resident restaurant users esp heavy on Sunday lunch and the afternoon tea market.

The traffic plans are flawed:

From the WEST

•             The approach from the WEST through QUARLEY is wrong and the authors of this report have obviously done this off a map since you cannot exit the A303 WESTBOUND at THRUXTON airfield.

•             The approach from the WEST via the A303 is via the exits at THRUXTON Village.  There are two the exits the first being safer but a bit more complicated; the second is more obvious but more challenging.

S106 funding should be requested to ensure enhanced passing places on this route.

From the EAST

•             The plan has gone for the most obvious route through Monxton and S106 requirement is needed for proper passing places on this route. The roads are narrow with many pinch points and often blocked with cars in the high street. Traffic backs up both ways when they can’t pass through the high street easily.

There is no mention of staff routing to work nor of any green travel plans for staff: bicycle, central transport lead on by hotel. 

The hotel will be open to both residents and non-residents all year. Successful hotels aim for 80-90% occupancy. Monxton is typically quieter in the evenings and at weekends so enjoys a short respite from an otherwise busy cut through of cars and large lorries. That is likely to change and traffic will now be equally heavy at weekends and also evenings as people visit the leisure/eating facilities. Acceptable proposals for mitigating the associated risks to pedestrians and other road users put forward. The roads in the area are heavily used by horse riders and cyclists alike.

The statement also says “opportunities for individuals to walk or access the site by public transport are broadly limited”. That is a total understatement, Bus services to Amport are very limited so visitors to the new hotel will need a taxi or hotel pick up from Grateley or Andover stations if they arrived by train, which would result in no traffic benefit.

The planning also states that “the guests at Another Place venues and grounds often do not leave the hotel ground during their stay”. The two hotels referred to are in wholly different locations to Amport House. One is on a beach in Cornwall and the other is in a very rural location in The Lake District. There are many tourist attractions round so guests would naturally want to visit them. All tourist attractions locally require a car or taxi including, Stone Henge, Salisbury, Winchester, Danebury Hill Fort and many others.

There also needs to be an agreement that the hotel will put right any damages to verges or to property during the construction phase when there is likely to be large lorries delivering supplies.

Sewage

Amport and Monxton has a very stressed sewage system which has resulted in Southern Water using emergency powers this year to “over-pump” sewage into the Pillhill Brook, a precious chalk stream with consequential risks to the ecology of the river system and threat to public health. This winter alone we have experienced tankers 24/7 through the village for some months. The development of a hotel of the proposed size and varied facilities would be equivalent in water usage terms to an increase in the population of Amport of about 10%. In addition to the additional water resources required for a 52 room hotel with a bar and two restaurants,

The large swimming club complex is or particular concern, and its impact has not been included in the analysis. The current sewage system has no spare capacity and so this will result in further environmental damage and threats to public health if it results in more “over-pumping” and tanker usage.

Trees

The application seeks to remove a number of healthy mature trees to allow further development of this site and its historic gardens. The loss of these trees must be prevented or at least mitigated by new plantings.

At a time where we are involved in an urgent carbon emissions crisis, right now, is it appropriate to allow these tree removals without a much more compelling rationale than the desire to build a swim club?

Amport House Planning

Further to the note on planning for the new Amport house, Monxton residents are encouraged to attend the meeting to raise any traffic or other issues. Additionally  if individuals have concerns about this application then they should raise them with Monxton Parish Council as well as raising their own individual concerns on the planning website, the closing date for this is 2 Sep 2021.

Notice of Extraordinary Meeting

There will be an extraordinary meeting of Amport Parish Council on Tuesday 24th August at 7.30pm in Monxton and Amport Village Hall.

The meeting is open to all and is the opportunity to discuss the planning application numbered 21/02304/FULLN for the conversion of Amport House into a Boutique Hotel.

Full details can be found on the Test Valley Borough Council website 21/02304/FULLN | Conversion of Amport House into a Boutique Hotel with additional accommodation in the grounds (planning use class C1), kids club, energy centre, cycle storage, new swim club (planning use class E) and landscaping enhancements | Amport House Furzedown Lane Amport SP11 8BG (testvalley.gov.uk)

For further information please contact the Clerk to Amport Parish Council Heather Bourner, telephone 01264 773976 or by email heather.bourner@googlemail.com

RSPCA – Dogs die in hot cars

As the weather heats up and after a year of lockdowns and restrictions, it’s inevitable that many of us will be wanting to explore the great outdoors and seeking the perfect staycations with our four legged friends. With the reality being that dogs are not welcomed everywhere, we are urging the public to carefully plan outings and to safeguard their dogs’ from heatstroke this summer.

Never leave your dog alone in a car on a warm day. If you see a dog in distress in a hot car, dial 999.

Many people still believe that it’s ok to leave a dog in a car on a warm day if the windows are left open or they’re parked in the shade, but the truth is, it’s still a very dangerous situation for the dog.

A car can become as hot as an oven very quickly, even when it doesn’t feel that warm. When it’s 22 degrees, in a car it can reach an unbearable 47 degrees within the hour.

What to do if you see a dog in a car on a warm day

In an emergency, we may not be able to attend quickly enough, and with no powers of entry, we’d need police assistance at such an incident.

Don’t be afraid to dial 999, the police will inform us if animal welfare assistance is required..

Help a dog in a hot car

·         Establish the animal’s health and condition. If they’re displaying any signs of heatstroke dial 999 immediately.

·         If the situation becomes critical for the dog and the police are too far away or unable to attend, many people’s instinct will be to break into the car to free the dog. If you decide to do this, please be aware that without proper justification, this could be classed as criminal damage and, potentially, you may need to defend your actions in court.

·         Make sure you tell the police what you intend to do and why. Take pictures or videos of the dog and the names and numbers of witnesses to the incident. The law states that you have a lawful excuse to commit damage if you believe that the owner of the property that you damage would consent to the damage if they knew the circumstances (section 5(2)(a) Criminal Damage Act 1971).

Once removed, if the dog is displaying signs of heatstroke, follow our emergency first aid advice. This could mean the difference between life and death for the dog

Minutes of the Monxton Parish Council meeting held on Tuesday 13th July 2021, 7.30pm at Monxton Village Hall

Present: Cllr M Cleugh – Chairman  

               Cllr C Barbone                   

               Cllr J Hooper              

               Test Valley Borough Councillor David Coole

               Test Valley Borough Councillor Mrs Maureen Flood

               Heather Bourner – Parish Clerk  

               1 Member of the Public

Apologies:

Apologies for absence had been received from Cllr P Kitson & Cllr H Corroon.

1.WELCOME.

The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting.

2.DECLARATION OF INTERESTS.

There were no declarations of interest.

3.PUBLIC PARTICIPATION.

David James attended to highlight his resignation as Neighbourhood Watch coordinator for Monxton.

He said he has carried out the voluntary role for the last eight years and has decided he will now resign. Although a replacement has been sought no one has stepped forward. He said it is possible to sign up to receive email alerts for crime and traffic issues via the web site. Thanks were expressed to David for his years of service. If anyone is interested in taking on this role, please contact the Clerk 01264 773976.

4.MINUTES OF THE PREVIOUS MEETING.

The Chairman agreed to sign the minutes of the previous meetings of 13th April 2021 and 7th May as a true record. All agreed.

5.VILLAGE HALL UPDATE

Cllr Kitson was not present but had sent a report to confirm the decision regarding CIL funding has not yet been decided, a TVBC meeting to discuss this will be held on 18th August. A stall was held at the recent Amport Fete and lots of villagers expressed support and made positive comments as well as offering help with the build project.

Volunteers are still needed to help with the Monxton & Amport Village Hall committee. Any volunteers should contact Mike Cleugh.

The Clerk summarised the village hall finance as below

Village Hall Finance Reconciliation

Current account               £18779.89

Savings account              £53832.51

Parish Council held

Village hall fund               £12040.77

Total available                  £84653.17

It was noted that the Village Hall Charity accounts to 30/04/2021 have been submitted.

6.PLANNING.

Applications since previous meeting: –

21/01418/FULLN-retrospective application for erection of stable block & ancillary buildings plus change of use from horse riding school to livery stables- no objections

21/01339/FULLN- Erection of three bay garage with rooms above- Millcroft, Chalkpit Lane – Withdrawn          21/01583/RESN & 21/01735/RESN approval reserved matters, Plot 5 Andover business park- no objections

Applications to be considered

None

Confirmation of outcome from TVBC

21/00829/TREEN- crown lift yew, thin cotoneaster, Farm Cottage, Green Lane -no objections

21/00880/TELN- application for prior approval required and granted for telecommunications mast 21/00878/FULLN- single story extension, Boundary Cottage-permission      

7.Sunnybank & footpaths

Cllr Barbone had nothing to report.

8.Traffic Monitoring

Cllr Hooper provided a full report of data recovered from the speed watch camera positioned at Sunnybank. The data shows a considerable volume of traffic using the roads but the average speed of traffic remains fairly low at 32mph, although there is a regular night time visitor travelling at speeds well above the national limit of 60mph on these roads. He also reported on several problems with large HGVs using the small village lanes. Signs will be erected at the start of Chalk Pit lane to prevent lorries using this.road and Penchards & Alpine located at Manor Farm Abbotts Ann have agreed to ask contractors delivering not to use this route. Cllr Hooper confirmed he will continue to monitor and approach contractors when vehicles are seen to be driving badly in the village and are reported to him.

9. Environment

Cllr Corroon was not present but had sent a report on the Pan Parish Council meeting he had attended with the chairman Cllr Cleugh regarding the issues with over pumping and sewage along the Pilhill Brook. The group comprising seven parish chairmen representing all parishes along the Pilhill Brook have engaged with

 Southern Water to address the following 6 commitments:

1. Capital investment for wastewater infrastructure across all parishes

2. Assurances re quality of the water in Pillhill Brook and transparency of the water testing

3. Compliance with the EA regulatory requirements via Infiltration Reduction Plan (IRP)

4. Commitment to over-pump only when necessary to prevent damage to customers

5. Consultation with affected PCs before execution of any further temporary works

6. Continued engagement and communications with customers, PCs and TVBC representatives re future plans.

All of these areas are being considered being addressed by Southern Water. A follow up meeting will take place in September.

10.FINANCE

To note balance in Lloyds bank as at 30/06/21 £32593.83

i)Resolved: that the following payments be approved and cheques signed

Payments to agree-

Clerks salary £112.47 per month and HMRC £28.12 payments by SO May to July

Payments to lengthsman April- June £1065.00

Payments to be made

Clerks expenses (May to Jul) £40.65

Clerk lengthsman admin £320.00

Additional HMRC £80.00

Lengthsman Cluster funds to distribute to Thruxton Pc, Broughton PC & Charlton PC £1000 each – total £3000.00

ii) Banking signatories and move to online

The Clerk confirmed she had passed the completed form to change bank signatures and move to online banking to Lloyds bank. Cllrs Kitson & Corroon needed to visit the bank to provide identity documents before the form can be processed

iii)The Clerk confirmed the internal auditor had carried out checks to the accounts and audit return and had no areas of concern. The audit declaration has now been submitted.

12.Borough & County Councillor Reports.

HCC Chris Donnelly was absent but had sent a report highlighting proposed road repairs, none of which were in Monxton. He referred to repairs that Southern Water had agreed to carry out in a neighbouring village and confirmed the portal for County Councillor grants was now open.

TVBC Councillor Maureen Flood reported that the COVID vaccination centre will move from the lights to the Chantry Centre in the autumn. She said she had attended a very moving ceremony at Romsey Abbey held to recognise and give thank for all the voluntary work carried out in Test Valley throughout the pandemic. Finally, she highlighted the proposed parliamentary boundary change which would see Monxton parish become part of Romsey and Southampton North Constituency and change the MP from Kit Malthouse to Caroline Noakes. There is a consultation open until 2nd August to which anyone can add a comment.

TVBC Councillor David Coole- highlighted the walk-in vaccination centre on Saturday 17th July at The Lights in Andover between 10.00am and 3.00pm This is for anyone over 18 years old to receive their first jab or anyone who needs a second jab and received the first at least 8 weeks prior to the 17th July.

He Confirmed there will be an Artisan market in Andover town Centre on the 18th of July and finally on 21st July there will be a meeting in the evening at Andover St Marys Church regarding the proposed regeneration of the town centre.

13.Any other business –

The Clerk reported on a request to instal a defibrillator in Monxton the nearest being in Amport at The Hawk. The suggestion was this should be central and while the Village Hall would be a good location as it was to be demolished and rebuilt perhaps another location could be considered. The Clerk explained a machine will only be identified by an emergency operator if it is within 400m of the incident which could save a life.

After some discussion it was agreed to reconsider this matter once the new village hall is built.

The lengthsman had reported dog fouling as an issue when cutting the Village Green. Please can all dog walkers CLEAN UP after their animals and use the several bins dotted around the village.

Cllr Hooper said he had noticed several blocked drains in the village which cause issues when there is sudden and heavy rainfall. He will report these to Hampshire County Council. He also said the unused Black Swan car park was very untidy. He will approach the owner and ask for this to be cleared.

Cllr Barbone said no planning application had been submitted in respect of Amport House but she will continue to work with Amport Parish Council on this project.

Cllr Barbone also raised concerns regarding overgrown verges, in particular areas where road signs are obstructed. The Clerk confirmed Hampshire Highways policy is to leave verges uncut except where they are causing an obstruction to road users. The solution was to ask the lengthsman to clear any difficult areas. She will give location details to the Clerk who will arrange for the lengthsman to deal with these.

14.CLOSE OF THE MEETING

The Chairman thanked everyone for coming and closed the meeting.

15.DATE OF THE NEXT MEETING

The next meeting will be on Tuesday 12th October 2021, 7.30pm

Neighbourhood Watch

On 22 January Monxton Matters posted a plea for someone to replace me as Neighbourhood Watch Coordinator. There was no response.

It is now eight years since I took on the coordinator’s job and, for a number of reasons, I feel that I can no longer give it the effort it should have.

I hope that I have been able to make some contribution to the security of the village and its residents and I would like to thank all my helpers for their support.

If anyone is interested in the job, I would be pleased to give them more information and my help. In the meantime the Police and Neighbourhood Watch alerts can be accessed by registering at:

www.hampshirealert.co.uk

If anyone has a particular problem I am always prepared to help.

Thank you.

David James