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Jackie’s County Corner for January 2024

by Jackie Porter on 10 December, 2023

 Happy New Year!

Firstly, thank you to all of you who practised for weeks and made costumes to perform at all the local Pantomimes this Christmas! 

Unfortunately, I couldn’t get to them all, but particularly enjoyed the three henchmen and their password routine at Old Alresford! Brilliant!

I have mentioned the budget problems facing the County Council in previous County Corners.

Working groups are now set up for all of the possible areas for cuts, and the first meetings took place in mid December. These include cutting School Crossing Patrols, making School Transport changes, reducing the spend on books at libraries, reducing services (or maybe cutting out )the HWRC sites.

These working groups are set up according to the number of councillors in each political group on the council, so the ruling group has the overall majority on each working party.

The last Cabinet Meeting took place on the 12th December. You can watch this online from this link.

It included an item on the overall economy of Hampshire , including taking back the Solent and M3 Local Enterprise Partnerships into the County’s work programme.  There was a second item on the budgetary pressures, and a review of the Climate Change Annual Report.

Another item of interest to many in my division was related to the Superfast Broadband Project. For thiose of you now connected to Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) this will feel very different to those still not enjoying fast internet speeds. Project Gigabit has followed on from the superfast broadband programme. It should reach yet more of the last 5% still waiting. 

There was also advanced notice publication of the consultation with the final proposals for the Hampshire Minerals and Waste plan update, covering the National Park too. Please give me your thoughts before the consultation closes in February 2024. Frustratingly, the revised plan continues to ‘save sites’  once they have been allocated for waste or recycling, and still fails to prevent oil and gas extraction, even in the National Park. I don’t have a final date for the consultation as I write this in December, but I will publish the closing date in my February article.

Do you use a SAT NAV? Are you tempted to let it ‘do the thinking for you’? We have seen a rise in the incidents of drivers using the wrong lane on dual carriageways, and it is thought to be connected to blindly following SAT NAV instructions. It is a very scary experience for anyone meeting a car coming towards them on the wrong side of the road. Reports of this happening on the A31 and the A33 have been received. The County Council has reviewed all the signage twice in the last few years and has added new signs on the A31, but if it happens to you, please let me know with the place, date and time. This information could save lives. Thank you. 

The new STOP signs on the A33 at the Cart and Horses junction were installed in the Autumn, and soon a new Speed Indicator Device should be in place on the southbound carriageway to keep vehicles to 40mph . The County Council will publish the outcome of the ‘Traffic lights or Roundabout’ consultation very soon, but we have to await the M3 junction 9 decision before any likely solution for a safer junction is drawn up. 

Finally, Cllr Chris Westwood , Cllr Martin Tod and I went to see the new ‘nutrient stripper’ being installed at the WCC Water Treatment site at Itchen Abbas. As a Winchester councillor as well as a county councillor, it’s good to see us making progress on reducing pollution in our chalk streams: this is a good start to 2024.     

Cllr Jackie Porter  07973 696085  website

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