Jackie’s County Corner for December – Merry Christmas!

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Despite the approach of Christmas, this month I have concentrated on transport issues as so many changes are ‘in train’ (pun intended!). Many of us commute regularly or use the trains occasionally. South Western Railway is consulting on proposals to change the train services from 2019, with a deadline of 22nd December 2017.

It seems as if there will be an increased number of trains from Winchester, but an unacceptable reduction in the frequency of trains from rural stations, including Micheldever. You can go online to https://www.southwesternrailway.com/contact-and-help/timetable-consultation to respond.

There’s a new website to help those of you who travel around on wheels, either through disability or pushed by your Mum or Dad in a buggy. Entitled ‘A better world for wheels’, it enables users to upload information to help others. Launched in September, Google says: ‘We’re calling on Local Guides, a community of people who contribute their expertise about places on Google Maps, to add more wheelchair accessibility’. Search online for ‘A better world for wheels’ or go to https://www.blog.google/products/maps/better-world-wheels-google-maps/

The main topic at HCC at present is Tt2019, which is the headline for the Budget reductions at HCC. This is a result of the Government’s squeeze on our local services, which was supported by MPs. You will be kept abreast of cuts to services that will affect the public as each item goes to ‘consultation’, but it all sounds dire. One of the victims is subsidised public bus transport, and there are cuts proposed in the school bus offer too.

Dial a Ride and other subsidised bus services
The proposal is for no bus service to be subsidised by HCC. This will impact on Dial a Ride, Community Bus support, smaller services (e.g. Mervyn) and weekend/evening semi commercial services. Parishes may well be asked to support services through CIL or precept. Another alternative is to charge 50p per trip, and/or pay for an annual pass, though this isn’t currently lawful. The effect on several other services (e.g., library, recycling centres) is serious too; we are told there will be consultation on each service which directly affects the public. Campaign caps on for 2018!

Changes at the Cart and Horses, the crossings at Sutton Scotney and Alresford, closure of Andover Road: many schemes are rolling along, but more slowly as funding is cut. Highways England has announced that the M3 Junction 9 improvements heralded in 2015 will be delayed for several years. I have asked for Walk and Cycle routes through, to and from Kings Barton to be on the Barton Farm Forum agenda in the New Year. Please contact me if you are interested in this topic.…and let me know which council service you value the most!

Councillor Jackie Porter
Tel: 01962 791054, email Jackie@jackieporter.co.uk,
text 07973 696 085, Twitter: @JackieLibDem

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