Alton residents urged to have their say on health services

NHS North Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is responsible for planning, developing and paying for health services in the area. In partnership with the organisations which provide care locally, the CCG is currently reviewing how and where care is provided for the people of Alton and surrounding villages.

With the population of Alton and the surrounding area increasing substantially over the coming years the CCG is considering what changes might be needed to ensure that health and care services are fit for the future. This includes GP and community services, hospital care, mental health services and health-related social care.

With more people living longer and increasing rates of long term conditions such as diabetes, as well as the continuing financial challenges for the NHS and social care, the CCG is focussing on developing patient-centred services, with all the organisations which provide care working together as efficiently as possible.

As part of the review process, and to make sure that local people are kept informed and are engaged as much as possible, the CCG is holding a public event in the town next month.

People who live or work in the area are being encouraged to go along to the Maltings Centre on the 12th January 2016 any time between 3.00pm and 8.30pm where they will be able find out more about the review of services, ask questions and give their views.

Graham Wallis, the CCG’s Accountable Officer, says: “We are keen to hear the opinions and experiences of the people who use health and care services in the Alton area so that we can take their views into account when we are planning for the future. The CCG is leading a very comprehensive review of health and health-related care services in Alton and a key element of that review is to hear the views of the people who use those services. We need people to tell us what works well and what could be improved for the future.”

 

Council leads work to deliver state-of-the-art health campus

Plans for a state-of-the-art health campus in Whitehill & Bordon’s new town centre are shaping up with a potential developer on board – less than a year after East Hampshire District Council pledged to take a proactive role in making it happen.

Speaking at a packed community forum in January last year, the Leader of the council, Cllr Ferris Cowper, said that he was determined to ensure the early provision of healthcare facilities  –  and these are now part of the proposals for a new ‘health campus’ at the heart of the new town centre.

Cllr Cowper has been working hard behind the scenes and has secured the interest of a developer who is keen to work with the council and other partners to deliver the facilities by 2019. The developer has considerable experience of the care homes sector and one of our other lead partners is a highly regarded clinical practitioner.

East Hampshire District Council has taken the lead in pursuing top health facilities for the town, even though it is out of its remit, because councillors feel that it is a vital part of the town’s regeneration.

The council has worked with partners involved in health care provision, local doctors, as well as design teams to develop proposals.

The health campus, which could be built in the new town centre, could have purpose-built facilities including:

•    an extended primary care centre (with GPs, specialist nurses, therapists, hospital consultants and pharmacists working together to meet the health needs of residents) with access to advice seven days a week

•    facilities and expertise to deal with minor injuries and provide diagnostic care to avoid travel to hospitals in Guildford, Basingstoke or Portsmouth

•    a dentist – a local convenient service on site

•    leisure centre – to support healthy living and rehabilitation e.g. for patients recovering from a heart attack

•    ‘care ready homes’ – flats designed specifically to allow vulnerable people who may normally need hospital or residential care to continue to lead independent lives. These homes will be designed to take into account the care needs of future occupiers, so that accidents such as falls or trips are less likely than those living in standard accommodation

•    ‘nursing home plus’ – a new nursing home which will care for people with more complex needs

•    the campus site will have open spaces with a play area, park and sculptures – all designed to improve health and wellbeing

•    a healthy living centre – this will support and inspire people to prioritise their own and their families’ health

•    an education hub – this will enable the training and development of care professionals so that they are armed with the knowledge and skills to deliver outstanding care

•    a café – will provide opportunities for social interaction and community involvement

Currently, residents have to travel to other locations (in a 30 mile radius) to access some of these vital services.

Chase Hospital will remain an important facility for local people while the new campus is developed. The new campus would encompass all the facilities currently provided by the Chase – as well as the significant state-of-the-art new facilities.

Cllr Cowper said: “East Hampshire District Council has led the work to develop these proposals for a health campus in the new town centre – since I called for it to be provided in January last year.

“Health care is outside East Hampshire District Council’s specific remit but we have been really proactive and led the development of these plans because they are so important to creating a thriving, healthy town where residents have a fantastic quality of life.

 “This is a vital facility for Whitehill & Bordon and will be a great example of how a town centre can be planned with health and wellbeing at its very heart.

“As well as plans for a health campus – we are working hard to design a town which promotes health and wellbeing at every turn.

“This will ensure that Whitehill & Bordon is not only a green town but a healthy green town.”

EHDC’s top ten tips to avoid a merry muddle over Christmas

Get your refuse and recycling right this Christmas by following these ten top tips from East Hampshire District Council.

During the busy Christmas period households are often too pre-occupied with the festivities to make sure their refuse is removed and the right items are recycled.

So to prevent these seasonal slip-ups EHDC has issued these ten simple steps:

•    Make sure you check your collection calendar for changes to the collection days

•    Remember Garden Waste collections are suspended over Christmas so crews can help with the extra volumes of recycling and refuse at this time of the year

•    Remember to TREECycle by putting your Christmas tree out for collection as indicated on your collection calendar.

•    Remind yourself which items can and can’t be recycled so you don’t contaminate a whole bin with a few items

•    Wrapping paper cannot be recycled – try to reduce the amount you use

•    Make sure your empty bottles go to a recycling bank or are put out for kerbside collection

•    Plan meals carefully so you only use what you need

•    Use your leftovers as soon as possible or freeze them for later use.

•    Compost as much food waste as possible

•    Only use your green refuse bin as a last resort.

Commenting on the tips Cllr Adam Carew, Portfolio Holder for Environment, said: “Everyone can play their part to help the environment, not only over the Christmas period but throughout the year, by following this simple advice and making sure everyone at home knows which items go into which bin.

“We wish everyone a Happy Christmas and now is the perfect time for that New Year’s resolution to reduce refuse and recycle more during 2016.”

Have your say on the future of the Molson Coors site

Residents have the chance to contribute their ideas for the future use of the former brewery site in Alton.

East Hampshire District Council, Alton Town Council and Molson Coors are working together to prepare a development brief to guide the future development of the site.

Their first act is to hold a public exhibition on 16 December to explain what the brief will achieve and to talk with local people and interested groups.

The event, to be held at Alton Assembly Rooms, between 5-8pm, will provide an opportunity for the public to contribute ideas for the future use of the site and give their views on priorities, opportunities and potential challenges.

This input will contribute to the early stages of work on the development brief.  There will be further public consultation next year as the brief is developed, and before it is formally adopted by the district council.

When finalised, the development brief will be used to consider any future planning application for redevelopment of the site.

Cllr Angela Glass, EHDC Portfolio Holder for Planning, said: “The exhibition on 16 December will give everyone a chance to get on board with this process at the earliest possible opportunity.

“This is a key site in the heart of Alton and it is very important we think carefully about how it will be used. That is why we need residents to come to the event and let us know their long-term aspirations.”

Leah Coney, clerk to Alton Town Council, said: “We would like to see as many residents as possible come along to this first public engagement session. We are greatly encouraged that Molson Coors and East Hampshire District Council are keen to understand how the community would like to see the site developed, so it is really important that Altonians have their say and make their views known.”

Free parking a gift to kick-off Christmas shopping

Shoppers in Petersfield and Alton can start their Christmas spree by parking for free on Saturday 5 December.

East Hampshire District Council car parks will be completely free on Saturday 5 December, one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

Fees will be waived in car parks in the two towns – EHDC car parks elsewhere are free all year round – as part of the council’s drive to promote Small Business Saturday.

The national campaign seeks to encourage shoppers to focus on local, independent businesses.

Research shows that for every £100 spent in a local business £68 is likely to stay in the community, compared to just £43 of that spent in a national chain.

Cllr Nick Drew, EHDC’s Portfolio Holder for Economic Development, said: “At East Hampshire District Council we know that small and medium sized businesses are the lifeblood of the local economy.

“As a result we work hard to support the vital independent businesses wherever we can, whether it is through £500 grants for start-ups, business advice or supporting apprentices.

“We want to be one of the most business-friendly councils in the country and our commitment to providing free parking on Small Business Saturday shows that we recognise the importance of our independent shops and the benefit they bring to the local economy.”

Cllr Richard Millard, EHDC Deputy Leader, said: “Saturday 5 December is one of the biggest shopping days of the year as the Christmas period gets underway in earnest.

“We recognise the value of small businesses and we know that if you have plenty of healthy and successful independent businesses you have a healthy and successful economy in East Hampshire.

“Shopping locally not only means you get a fantastic personal service but it also ensures that more of your money will stay in the area and that benefits everyone.

“Free car parking is a great way to kick-off the Christmas shopping period. I hope everyone takes full advantage of the day and remembers to pay our small businesses a visit.”

Find out more about Small Business Saturday at www.smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com.

The car parks to be free on the Saturday 5 December are:

Alton:

Lady Place
Lady Place Public Gardens
Vicarage Hill
Manor House
Mount Pleasant
Turk Street
Church Street
Victoria Road
The Bank
Rogers Court

 

Planning appeal dismissed

I am pleased to report that the Government inspector has dismissed the appeal against EHDC’s refusal to grant planning permission for 97 dwellings on land south west of Old Odiham Road.

Click to read: appeal decision

 

 

Councillor appointed to influential European post

coeEast Hampshire district councillor Robert Saunders has today (20/10/15) been appointed as an alternate member of the UK delegation to Congress of the Council of Europe.

The Council of Europe was established in Strasbourg in 1949 largely at the instigation of Winston Churchill, with the objective of promoting democracy, human rights and the rule of law throughout Europe after the Second World War.  It has grown over the years and now covers 47 countries including Russia and the European parts of the former Soviet Union.  The Congress, founded in 1994, is the local government section of the Council of Europe.

Cllr Saunders said “I am honoured to have been selected to serve on  an international organisation that Britain did so much to found 65 years ago. The Congress has helped to strengthen local democracy in countries which for historical reasons have suffered dictatorship and lack of independence in recent centuries and I am eager to play my part in this ongoing work.”.

The Full Congress meets twice a year in Strasbourg.

Councillor Saunders sits on the Congress as an East Hampshire  District Council councillor, but at no expense to the district council or the council tax payer.

 

Make history at Alton Community Festival

More than eight centuries of British history will be celebrated at a Magna Carta-themed Alton Community Festival.

Held on Saturday 17 October, at Alton College, Old Odiham Road, the historic event promises lots of exciting things to do for all ages, while local sports, arts and community clubs will be offering taster sessions, information and advice.

Activities begin at noon with local school children performing alongside the Phoenix Theatre Company in the College’s Wessex Arts Theatre. The production is based on democracy and will celebrate the 800th anniversary of King John sealing the Magna Carta – the document which is central to British democracy and law as we know it today.

At 1.30pm the entertainments will fast forward two hundred years as the Four Marks Archery Club provide an Agincourt-themed demonstration to mark the 600th anniversary of the battle which has entered English folklore as one of our most famous victories. Following the demonstration the club will offer visitors the chance to loose off a few arrows too.

Local sports clubs will be running taster sessions in the Sports Hall from 1pm giving families the chance to join in and have a go. Live music, stalls and refreshments will be in the refectory during the afternoon.

There’s also the chance for children to have their say and win ToyShed vouchers – please ask on the day for an entry form.

For more information www.altoncollege.ac.uk/communityfestival or https://www.facebook.com/events/746489035480370

 

Door-to-door canvassers to encourage voters to register

A team of canvassers is going door-to-door across the district to encourage people to get on the electoral register.

East Hampshire District Council has recruited more than 60 workers to visit people who have not returned important information required from every home in the district.

During August and September every home in East Hampshire was sent a Household Enquiry Form, which by law must be completed. These forms enable residents to remain on the electoral register and also highlight potential new electors.

The canvassers, who will be out in the district from 6 October to 16 November, will emphasise the value of signing up to the electoral register and help residents complete the forms if required.

EHDC Chief Executive Sandy Hopkins said: “It is so important everyone signs up to the electoral register. If you don’t you will miss out on the chance to vote in national and local elections and you may not be able to get credit.

“Our canvassers are very friendly and helpful and will be happy to talk you through the process of completing the forms, including registration if you are a new elector.”

Every household has been sent a registration form or they can register over the phone or online.

If you are not on the electoral roll you will not be able to vote in local and national elections and you may not be able to get credit.

The Government’s new registration system, called Individual Electoral Registration (IER), requires each member of the household to register themselves. Previously one person could register the rest of the household.

The Government has introduced Individual Electoral Registration to make the voting system more secure, and reduce the chance of electoral fraud.

If there have been no recent changes to your household you can give your information over the phone on 01730 234350. To change your details or if you would rather complete the form via the internet go to www.registerbyinternet.com quoting the security codes on the form you have been sent.

Alternatively complete the form and post back to East Hampshire District Council’s Elections Team, Penns Place, Petersfield, GU31 4EX.

 

EHDC Leader gives cautious welcome to ‘devolution revolution’

East Hampshire District Council has given a cautious welcome to Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne’s announcement of a ‘devolution revolution’ for local government.

The announcement, made at the Conservative Party Conference on Monday, promised to let councils retain millions of pounds in business rates instead of handing them over to central government.

With this opportunity in mind, last month East Hampshire District Council Leader, Cllr Ferris Cowper, announced that the council had decided to support the Hampshire and Isle of Wight devolution bid, which could prove to be a key part of the Chancellor’s “revolutionary” vision.

He said that, while EHDC remains supportive of the bid, the exact benefits to residents and businesses within the district are unclear. By remaining within the bidding process the council hopes to influence the outcome to the benefit of everyone in East Hampshire.

He commented in detail about the possible cash bonanza from the headline benefit of 100 per cent retention of Business Rates by local councils.

“The headline proposal that local councils can retain 100 per cent of Business Rates, has to be set in the context of a 100 per cent sacrifice of all central government grants,” he said. “If true, in the case of EHDC there could be a small surplus but the gains match the losses almost pound for pound.

“However, the national press reported on Tuesday that the ‘tariff’, which is a further payment to the Government on top of the 50 per cent widely reported, will stay in place. If correct, then EHDC and all district and borough councils in Hampshire, will be out of pocket by a very large sum and of course we would reject that proposal.”

The Chancellor also announced that Business Rates could not be increased by local councils unless they chose to have an elected mayor.

Cllr Cowper was cautious about this idea. He said: “Local businesses will be pleased to note that the Full Council of EHDC was completely opposed to having an elected mayor for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. However, as the value of retained Business Rates closely matches the loss of grants and may even leave councils worse off, the Chancellor’s observation that local councils would be able to cut rates where appropriate would have a very limited effect at best.”

To be part of this ‘Devolution Revolution’, local councils are required to agree to an acceleration of the planned housing delivery programme and, in the case of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, an additional housing programme of 500 dwellings per year spread across the whole of the area. At this stage, EHDC visualises no material change in our existing programme.

The promised benefits include more infrastructure, a boost for business and employment and more localised management and integration of aspects of healthcare.

EHDC already has all of these programmes under way in the flagship regeneration town of Whitehill & Bordon and our hope is that the promised “revolution” will enable us to extend those benefits to the rest of the East Hampshire community.

Cllr Cowper concluded: “The ‘Devolution Revolution’ is definitely not a cash bonanza for the council but there are suggestions that there could be benefits when the details are fleshed out. Until then we remain in the bidding process with cautious optimism.”

 

 

Cllr Robert Saunders


3 Borovere Lane
Alton
Hampshire
GU34 1PB

01420 82669

info@robertsaunders.info

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The views expressed on this website are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Conservative Councillors' Association or the Conservative Party.