What we can and cannot do within Petersfield’s Tier 2 restrictions

This is the official Government and National Health Service guide to Tier 2 restrictions which apply from Wednesday 2 December in our area.

The authorities say that our continued presence within the Tier 2 zone will be reviewed on 16 December.

Official Government / NHS guidance

Relevant listening

We covered the introduction of these tiers in Friday’s Morning Report.

There are no restrictions placed upon listening to the radio so do enjoy the programme here…

Keeping up with Annie Jones

P pod presenters Claire Vennis and Joff Lacey visited Annie Jones, in Lavant Street, last week, ahead of the restaurant’s reopening.

They spoke with Caroline Pring and Paul Setford to find out how they had coped during lockdown and what changes customers could expect to see now the restaurant is open once more.

This is the full interview from which an abridged version was taken for that week’s P pod. 

TSB to close Petersfield branch

The Petersfield branch of TSB, at 29 High Street, will close on 8 April, 2021.

The closure of TSB is another blow for the town’s High Street

This follows an announcement by the bank this morning which confirmed it was to close 164 of its branches and cut 960 jobs, blaming “a significant shift in customer behaviour” as more customers bank online.

The news will come as a further disappointment to the town’s residents who are already reeling at a swathe of store and office closures in the town centre.

Update: In an official statement, issued to the media, TSB says: “We’ve looked carefully at our Petersfield branch at 29 High Street, Petersfield, Hampshire, GU32 3JR and how it is used, and we’ve taken the decision to close it. The way customers bank with us is rapidly evolving with the vast majority of everyday transactions now being done digitally.

“Over 2.1 million of our customers now choose to bank online, and over 1.3 million use our Mobile Banking App. Even prior to COVID-19 customers were choosing other ways to bank with us, with 50% using services at our cash machines, and 20% using a Post Office®. Over 190,000 customers have been supported through our new online chat service, helping them with queries and other services.

“67% of all our customers are now using mobile, online or telephone banking, and at this branch 74% of our personal and 93% of our business customers, now choose to use another branch or channel instead. We need to make sure our branches meet the current and future needs of our customers, and TSB remains committed to face to face services in branch through a network that covers the whole country.

“In Hampshire we will still have 4 branches serving 89,266 customers. This Branch Review explains how we can support you through the changes and the alternative services you can use.”

The bank suggests Petersfield customers now use the branches at Alton or Chichester. To find the branch most convenient for you, go to tsb.co.uk/branch-locator.

Please tell us how you feel about yet another closure in our town by leaving a comment below.

Petersfield’s historic signal box is at risk

Network Rail wants to demolish the Grade II listed signal box at Petersfield railway station.

In a pre-planning application to South Downs National Park Authority the company says it wants to introduce new CCTV equipment and lighting as part of an automated signalling system which is being introduced across the area.

They also want to reduce the distance between the level crossing barriers which, they say, will reduce the amount of time people spend crossing the tracks.

To achieve this, the company proposes moving the barrier base closer to the tracks and claims the 135 year old signal box is in the way.

The company says it is:

requesting pre-application advice from East Hampshire Council regarding whether the proposed demolition works would be acceptable under a Listed Building Consent Application and a demolition application.

Source: Network Rail Pre-Application Statement, July 2020.
Scenes like this could be consigned to history. Picture: Justin Foulger. Used under Creative Commons licence.

History

The signal box is a London & South Western Railway Type 3a construction built around 1885.

Historic England says it is classed as Grade II Listed because of its rarity and the survival of original signalling equipment within the box.

The signal box is constructed to a unique transitional design marking the functional and architectural development between the London & South Western Railway Type 2 and Type 3 signal boxes.

The structure contains a ten-lever Stevens (Railway Signalling Co.) frame and locking rack (c1880), together with a circuit diagram, block shelf and block instruments.

It also forms part of a group of well preserved un-designated station buildings, according to the heritage organisation.

What do you think of the proposal?

Once the automated equipment is installed there is no practical reason to retain the signal box, but a piece of Petersfield history would be lost forever.

We’d like to hear your comments about the possible loss of this building. We’ll include a selection of comments in our Morning Report programme.

New opportunities at Shine Radio

After two thrilling weeks Petersfield’s Shine Radio is sounding great and gaining listeners. More than 1,000 people listened in our launch week, and our diverse family of presenters is sounding more and more confident on the air.

Please keep spreading the word – anyone can listen at https://petersfieldradio.uk.

New opportunities

Right now there are some new volunteering opportunities with the project that may appeal to you or someone you know:

Features Organiser

If you’re well-organised and confident with computers you could help us file, catalogue and schedule audio features into our programmes. It would take about two to three hours of volunteering time each week, once we’ve settled into a good routine. You can do this from home on your own computer or laptop.

Scheduler

This is another satisfying opportunity for you if you have good computer skills and would like to help schedule the music and speech programmes into our output. We’ll train you on the software we use. Again, you can do this from home, connecting remotely to our systems.

Just send an email to us at team@petersfieldradio.uk, expressing your interest or to connect us with someone who you know would enjoy one of these opportunities.

News training

At 9am next Saturday, 5 September, TV’s Richard Gaisford will lead an online workshop on news gathering, bulletin writing and reading. He’ll demonstrate how simple, quick and fun it can be to produce valuable local news.

To be part of the online session and join the team that makes our daily bulletins, again, email team@petersfieldradio.uk and we can organise the link for you.

Sewing Bee brings bit of a buzz

For the last six years, Jo Watts, and her team at Sew Creative, on Lavant Street, have hosted the Petersfield Sewing Bee competition with various challenges for adult and junior sewers.

This year’s creations have been displayed in the shop’s window to view over the last few weeks – and they looked absolutely amazing.

Our youngest reporter, Nina Vennis, went along to the final on Saturday. She caught up with the winner of the Junior Sewing Bee, 11-year-old Liddy Sobey, and then chatted with Jo Watts and sewing expert and judge of the sewing bee Wendy Gardiner.

Congratulations also to Penny Hearn, who won the adult competition and to our own Nina, who, modestly, forgot to mention her success in the challenge one Junior section for her wellness bag.

Appeal for witnesses following fatal collision

Hampshire Police have appealed for witnesses after a 90-year-old woman died following a serious collision at 2.32pm yesterday, at the junction of Durford Road and Heath Road East.

The collision was between a black Vauxhall Corsa and a silver Vauxhall Astra, causing the Astra, of which the 90-year-old woman was a passenger, to overturn.

Despite the best efforts of the ambulance crew, she was sadly pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver of the Astra, an 88-year-old man from Petersfield, has been taken to hospital with serious but not life-threatening injuries.

Police are investigating the exact circumstances of the collision and are keen to speak to anyone with information.

Did you see the collision? Perhaps you have dash-cam footage showing the moments leading up to the collision?

Anyone with information is asked to phone 101, quoting the reference 44200275376.

Hundreds respond to a Petersfield traders’ parking survey

Jo Watts of Sew Creative set-up the online survey because shop and business owners wanted to understand how people come into the town and what their preferences are for parking.

Now, around three hundred responses have been received.

It comes after some traders were disappointed by the implementation of parking restrictions in the town and what they see as a lack of clarity about them from Hampshire County Council.

According to the survey, some people agree with the new measures but most respondents do not.

Parking restrictions

A minority of respondents agreed with the restrictions with the least agreement over the measures implemented on Lavant Street where only one in five respondents agreed.

Parking preferences

The survey respondents say they mostly use on-street parking and the central car park by Waitrose.

Mode of travel

More than three quarters of respondents said they drive into town. Walking was the second most popular way to come in.

Length of stay

Three quarters of respondents say they stay in town for under two hours with around half of those staying less than 60 minutes.

Who responded?

Most responses are from people with GU31 and GU32 postcodes but the survey also attracted responses from the Portsmouth and Waterlooville areas.

Respondents are self-selecting, the results are unweighted demographically and there is no suggestion the survey reflects the opinions of the whole town.

What do you think?

The survey is still open and you can contribute here

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1nK8mEuO6e6w9vGkySiqn3lHDapftM710GShvf3j0AJg/viewform

Draft plans for Petersfield traffic restrictions shared

Hampshire County Council planners have shared draft plans for possible road layouts that would allow for social distancing in Petersfield town centre.

As we reported in the Morning Report earlier this week, the plans show barriers in several roads between pedestrians and traffic, a loss of free parking on the High Street, in the Square and on Lavant Street.

The draft proposals include making the 48-space Castle Yard car park, opposite the telephone exchange on Swan Street, free of charge for one hour at a time.

We have yet to receive confirmation from Hampshire County Council that these plans are approved and will be implemented, however, signs have already appeared on the High Street warning of parking restrictions for the installation of barriers.

Councillor Rob Mocatta has promised us an interview which we will share in our daily Morning Report and we hope to also share the views of Petersfield shopkeepers who have privately expressed fears the town could look “like a war zone” with all the barriers.

See the draft plans

Here’s what the draft plans show. Click to go large.

Restrictions around the Lloyds, HSBC and Nationwide banking corner
Parking suspended in the Square and on the High Street
Barriers all along Lavant Street on one side and parking banned
Signed diversions encourage you to use alternative parking

We respect the copyright in the plans and mapping which is reproduced here in the public interest.

Signs of our times

Under the proposals, yellow signs like this will help you find your way to the alternative free parking.

The arrows take you to Castle Yard, on Swan Street, where free spaces will be made available

Pedestrians and drivers will be alerted to the new arrangements and social distancing rules with red signs like these.

Critical green land between Sheet and Petersfield for sale

A run-down farm and nearly 15 acres of open land between Sheet and Petersfield is on the market.

Lords Farm is being sold in up to four lots by agents Savills.

The property includes around three acres of land opposite Sheet Primary School and a seven-acre field off Kingsfernsden Lane, adjacent to the railway line.

The agent says the property and its land has significant potential for residential and commercial development, but any plans to build on the land are likely to be met with stiff local opposition.

The plots are on the edge of the Petersfield settlement boundary, as set out in the town’s Neighbourhood Development Plan.

There’s an open day on 25 June.

What does the South Downs National Park Authority say?

In response to concerns raised by Petersfield Community Radio listeners, the planning authority has issued us with this statement:

The South Downs National Park has a Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment which can be seen here: https://www.southdowns.gov.uk/planning-policy/south-downs-local-plan/local-plan-evidence-base/strategic-housing-land-availability-assessment-shlaa/

Lords Farm has not been assessed in our SHLAA to date, nor are we aware of it being submitted for a future SHLAA update.

According to the South Downs Local Plan, the location is outside the settlement boundaries for Petersfield and Sheet. As it is classed as open countryside, the presumption would be against development, although no planning application has been received by the Authority.

SHLAA site EA116 Land North of Reservoir Lane, between Petersfield and Sheet, was assessed and rejected due to the landscape assessment, which concluded that large-scale development at this location would have a significant detrimental impact on the landscape.

South Downs National Park Authority, 4 June 2020
Lords Farm cottage. Picture: Savills
The field off School Lane could be yours for £60,000. Picture: Savills
Several unloved farm buildings are on the land. Picture: Savills

What do you think?

Do you live on Waterworks Road, School Lane or the area near Kingsfernsden Lane? What do you think about the sale, and would you want to see housing built on the green spaces between Petersfield and Sheet?

Email your views to news@petersfieldradio.uk or phone and leave a message on 01730 555 500.

Two Petersfield men charged with attempted murder

Two men have been charged with attempted murder following an incident in Petersfield in the early hours of 20 May, Hampshire Constabulary has confirmed.

Shaun Hanson, 49, of Fern Close, Petersfield, and Anthony Seymour, 22, of Rival Moor Road, Petersfield, will both appear before Basingstoke Magistrates Court today.

The victim, a man in his 30s, also from Petersfield, sustained a number of wounds during the incident, which occurred at a property in Durford Road, but he remains stable in hospital.

If you have any information about this incident, please call 101 and quote Operation Sash.

Man arrested on suspicion of attempted murder

A 49-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder following an incident at an address in Durford Road, Petersfield, overnight.

A man in his 30s was taken to hospital after sustaining a number of wounds in the incident which occurred in the early hours of Wednesday, 20 May. His condition is described as stable.

Hampshire Constabulary officers are in the area carrying out house-to-house enquiries. Please don’t hesitate to speak to them if you have any concerns.

If you have any information about this incident, please call 101 and quote reference 44200178220.

TPS needs your old laptops, Chromebooks and iPads

Petersfield’s largest school, The Petersfield School wants local people to donate unused portable computers to help children get online and study during the Coronavirus outbreak.

Ready for your digital donations in Tesco

If you have an unused iPad, Chromebook or laptop computer you can drop it off at Tesco on the Causeway.

A similar scheme is operated in Liphook for Bohunt School which shares management with TPS.

During the pandemic, children at home are able to continue learning remotely, but only if they can connect. The school has partnered with external organisations to ensure student get strong support with their digital learning.

The school says 12% of UK households do not have a computer but that many people have unused devices lying around the house.

Head teacher Mark Marande told Petersfield Community Radio:

I want to reassure parents that a laptop is not a prerequisite for accessing our remote learning package.  It can be done via a tablet or even a smart phone.  However, we do recognise that access to digital technology might be a challenge for some families, especially if parents are also working from home and if schools have to remain shut for an extended period of time. Therefore today across the Bohunt Education Trust we are launching a ‘donation of unused devices to support education’ drive. 

Mark Marande, Head Teacher, The Petersfield School

All donated devices will be provided to local families with children at school so that they can get online and connect to their teachers.

Devices in demand

  • iPad 3s or higher
  • Chromebooks
  • Laptops capable of running Windows 7 or higher

It is important that any donated devices are:

  • Cleaned/disinfected, using ethyl or isopropyl alcohol on a soft cloth (follow manufacturers’ recommendations)
  • In full working order, with working leads and power adapters for laptops and Chromebooks (not essential for iPads), and completely reset.

Wipe it before you donate

Sheet Support Network for Coronavirus

People in Sheet have started a community support network for people who need help during the Coronavirus outbreak.

If you’re in the area and need help over the coming months because of illness or self-isolation, the village has a group of volunteers to assist with daily tasks.

The group says it is willing to do shopping, medicine collection and dog walking as well as other tasks asked of it by local residents.

To take advantage of this group, or to volunteer yourself, you can contact the Parish Clerk Jenny Hollington on Petersfield (01730) 264 336 or by mobile 07900 028 619.

Pylon fire at Heath Farm

Several Petersfield businesses sent their staff home for the day after this dramatic electrical fire cut off their power supply.

Electricity pylon on fire in Petersfield
Electricity pole on fire in Petersfield

Flames and smoke poured from the wooden pole which was left charred by the fire at Heath Farm. It is one of a string of poles that carry live cables across the site to homes and businesses that operate on the site.

Two fire appliances and electrical safety specialists attended. SSE staff were scrambled from their local base on Bedford Road.

Emergency services deal with the blazing pole

The businesses affected all operate at the farm and include the global headquarters of online recommendations service Feefo and the PR and marketing agency Azalea.

Around one hundred Feefo staff have been sent to work from home while some company operations have transferred to their smaller London office. Other businesses on the site have also closed for the day and have invoked their contingency plans.

A total of six businesses and homes have been affected, according to SSE Networks which operates the power infrastructure in Petersfield.

The first reports of the fire came from Hampshire Fire Service and local workers at 9.15am. SSE staff were on site within fifteen minutes to isolate the pole.

SSE says it is not uncommon for fires to occur on electricity poles. Sometimes they can be caused by birds hitting the wires or by lightning.

Engineers from SSE Networks inspect the charred structure

Petersfield Town and EHDC councillor Jamie Matthews, a technical infrastructure specialist, suggested on social media that ice causing a short circuit could be to blame.

SSE says they won’t know until their detailed inspection which must wait until engineers can take the pole down but there there is no evidence of any lightning in the Petersfield area at the time.

SSE apologies for any inconvenience to customers and says its teams are working to restore the power as quickly as possible. They managed to restore power before their target time of 4pm.

Big dig

Today’s fire comes just weeks before a major electricity infrastructure upgrade starts in the Petersfield area.

The project will place new high voltage cables under several streets in the town and remove overhead cables on a route from Petersfield to Fernhurst.

SSE Networks is running two public consultation events where local people can look at the plans and raise concerns.

Event in Milland on 19 February

Event in Liss on 24 February

Parts of Rake also off

A second power cut was reported at 9.07am this morning affecting premises in Rake. SSE confirms the two incidents are not connected.

How to report a power cut

There’s a dedicated shortcode you can dial if you suffer a power cut or witness damage to any electrical distribution infrastructure like this fire.

The number is 1 0 5 and it works from mobiles and landlines alike.

Passengers report burning and smoke on a train at Petersfield

Emergency services on platform 1

Emergency crews from the fire service and police attended Petersfield railway station today after passengers reported a fire on board a Northbound train.

South Western Railway staff stopped and evacuated the ten-carriage train at Petersfield after passengers noticed smoke and a smell of burning in the fifth carriage.

Fire crew members told us that nobody was hurt.

We spoke to these eyewitnesses and passengers affected by the incident.

The train on which the fire was reported is one of the recently-refurbished “Class 442” units which are 30-years old. They entered service on the London Waterloo to Portsmouth line this month.

The affected service was the 10.15 from Portsmouth Harbour to London Waterloo.

It arrived into Petersfield just one minute behind schedule at 10.48 but didn’t leave the station until 12.51 when it was driven to Haslemere. The onward service to London was then cancelled.

Portsmouth News journalist Tom Cottterill was in Petersfield when the train was evacuated

Control point in the car park

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service deployed four vehicles including three fire engines and established a control point for the incident in the car park off Frenchmans Road. We counted 18 fire service staff at the railway station.

South Western Railway organised replacement buses to take passengers to their destinations. Some trains started to run after one o’clock but delays and cancellations continued to show on the station boards into the afternoon.

Eyewitness tells of smoke and smell

Sarah was one of scores of passengers on the train who were caught up in the drama. The disruption meant Sarah had to reschedule a hospital appointment. She told Petersfield Community Radio what happened to her.

I was on the carriage in front of where it happened and apparently it filled with smoke and there was a smell. Most people left the train because of an electric fire smell. Then we were all told to get off, and all told to steer clear of the train and then we were all told to evacuate the platform.

What could have caused it?

We know Fire and Rescue Service personnel used heat-detecting equipment to identify an overheating brake. The brake would have caused a lot of firey smoke and heat but nobody has reported seeing flames.

Railway experts who have spoken to Petersfield Community Radio suggest that the brakes in the fifth carriage could have been locked because of a fault or even human error. We understand this train was in for overnight maintenance last night.

While modern trains will alert the driver to a locked or “dragging” brake, our experts say the only indication a driver would have of such a fault on these older ‘442’ units would be if they could feel the train not pulling properly, or if somebody raised the alarm.

Another bad day for train users

In addition to the fire scare in Petersfield, a piece of railway track was damaged between Rowlands Castle and Petersfield today. This meant that trains had to travel through that area Northbound as slow as 5 miles per hour at one time.

There is no suggestion of any connection between the damaged rail and the overheating brakes that caused today’s evacuation.

Three fire engines were in the station car park
Railway workers closed the line in both directions

Family and friends raise urgent funds for Wendy

The Wilson family joined the Petersfield Post‘s Jon Walker, left, to discuss their fundraising

Petersfield mother of two Wendy Wilson, 54, was told just before Christmas that she needed urgent, expensive treatment on a tumour.

Her family and friends needed to raise £60,000 in just three weeks. 

Wendy, husband Grant, and daughter Mollie joined the Petersfield Post‘s Jon Walker, at a recording of the P pod, to discuss their fundraising efforts.

To donate to the appeal visit the GoFundMe page.