Full House for Public Meeting
The Whitehill, Bordon and Lindford branch of East Hampshire Conservative Association would like to thank all of our many fellow residents for attending and taking part in our public meeting last Friday 27th July. It was standing room only with 130 people, at the new Future Skills Centre in Bordon.
We were joined by our MP Damian Hinds and East Hampshire district councillors fielded questions.
‘It was a lively, constructive and very engaged discussion on local matters especially The Chase Hospital and healthcare provision, and plans for the new town centre, the new Mill Chase Academy, transport and housing,’ Damian said afterwards.
A survey of people who attended the meeting showed that access to health services was number one priority followed by town facilities, public transport, social care, policing and concerns about anti-social behaviour.
Damian Hinds, the Secretary of State for Education, spoke for 20 minutes on current national topics before opening the meeting to a Question & Answer session supported by Councillor Ferris Cowper, who is the District Council Portfolio Holder for Whitehill and Bordon Regeneration.
With the future of the Chase Hospital and other health care provision dominating the agenda, Ferris explained that the Hampshire Hospital Trust has made the decision to lessen services at ‘the Chase’ but that he was urging it not to take services away as are the members of ‘the Chase’ steering group – Eileen Grinter, Conservative Councillors Yvonne Parker-Smith, Mark Davison and Adam Carew.
Councillor Cowper said he was working hard for the provision of a new Health Hub which will provide new, improved local health care facilities. In response to a question from James Brand, Whitehill & Bordon Community Party, he said that ‘the Chase’ is Plan A and the new Health Hub, Plan B. If the NHS decided to continue to fund ‘the Chase’ then residents can look forward to having both healthcare facilities. Residents were assured that there would be no gap in availability and continuity of healthcare services.
Neville Taylor from Lindford asked if EHDC could invest in building the new Health Hub which Cllr Cowper said was “a good question” and that he has proposed investment from local individuals e.g.: GPs who provide necessary private services that are not funded by NHS.
In response, a resident and former nurse at ‘the Chase’ asked, “what can we do as a community?” (to get all the services we want), Cllr Cowper invited people to email him and keep the dialogue open. Cllr Adam Carew, a district councillor and county councillor for Whitehill, Bordon & Lindford. stated “It’s important, as we are all so passionate about ‘the Chase, we all work together….”
In response to a question about new housing dominating the town while new commercial and business properties were still not evident, Damian Hinds said: ‘We are in the middle of a very interesting time. It is happening but perhaps not immediately evident to all.” He went on to say “There is huge investment coming into the Town – Schools; Leisure Centre and Commercial…”
James Child, Project Director Whitehill & Bordon Regeneration Company, responded to calls to know more about the shops and activities that were coming to the town. He said that the planning application for the commercial centre is to be voted on in December. He can then start work on new facilities which will include a supermarket, multiscreen cinema, 20 retail outlets, an indoor Makers Market, performance area and Small Business Hub. Construction on the EHDC funded leisure centre and 6 lane swimming pool starts soon.
Ferris Cowper told those gathered that IBM had made a commitment to locate in Bordon and the regeneration project is on target in terms of new houses and new jobs.
On the subject of public transport, he outlined a bus service that will run down the ‘spine of the town’ (current A325) when the relief road is open and Hampshire County Council is looking at a shuttle service using smaller passenger vehicles to the new town centre.