Alan Cosh and Stephen Martin bring you today’s local news and information update for Petersfield and its villages.
Today, the High Street closures reach the banking sector, don’t go to the Remembrance Day ceremony says the council and the local school that’s taken its open morning online.
All that, plus the rest of the morning’s news, travel and weather information.
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Petersfield Town Council has urged residents not to attempt to join in the official commemoration of Remembrance Day in Petersfield next month.
The annual Remembrance Day Service and parade in the Square, and the subsequent wreath-laying commemoration at the War Memorial, in the High Street, has been cancelled.
Scheduled to be held on Sunday, 8th November, the event is normally attended by hundreds of residents, families, veterans, representatives of local organisations and services, and serving armed forces personnel.
But because social distancing can’t be guaranteed, the event has now been severely curtailed, with just a handful of people attending a short service and wreath laying at the War Memorial.
A Petersfield Town Council spokesman said: “We are certain everyone will understand the position. On the day, unplanned crowding, or lack of social distancing, may cause the service to be halted immediately, so we would implore people not to gather or converge in the High Street.”
In yet another commercial blow for Petersfield town centre, the branch of TSB, at 29 High Street, will close on 8 April, 2021.
It follows an announcement by the bank yesterday 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.
In a statement, the bank said it still has four branches serving 89,266 customers in Hampshire and 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
Civic chiefs fear the pandemic could have a “catastrophic effect” for Hampshire residents as figures revealed it could cost the county council more than £200 million.
The direct, and knock-on, effects of the outbreak are expected to have cost Hampshire County Council at least £210m by 2023 – including predicted costs, losses and pressures coming about as a result of the pandemic.
According to the authority, £102m it has spent on the pandemic is currently unfunded by government. As a result, it says it will have to save a further £80m by April 2023 to cover its pandemic outgoings.
The savings will need to be found to meet rising demand in services such as social care for vulnerable children and adults. And the council says it needs ‘at least £52m’ from the government to remain financially viable in the future.
And there’s much more on this story in this week’s Petersfield Post.
A Petersfield school holds an innovative virtual open morning this weekend.
The team at Ditcham Park School decided to move its introductory event onto the internet where prospective school parents and pupils will see a number of video presentations.
They’ll also get to question the staff and the headmaster, Graham Spawforth:
IN: “We’ll have…”
OUT: “…insight into what we’re about”
The future of Christmas events across the Petersphere hang in the balance as the county council has said it’s “too early” for decisions to be made.
Dave Bowers reports:
The signs are not good. In Southampton, city bosses have halted all events set to take place on council-owned land until the end of the year, and district authorities have already taken the decision to cancel events.
Simon Bryant, director of public health at Hampshire County Council, says he believes it is too early for final decisions about whether to proceed with Christmas markets, lights switch on and other festive events.
He points out that, given the rising COVID-19 infection rates in Hampshire, it is likely that council advice will be that these do not take place this year.
Here in Petersfield, plans for the Christmas lights are yet to be confirmed but the High Street and Square will get new lights this year – they’re blue and white.
At the Tesco junction on The Causeway there are temporary traffic lights in place and we expect them to stay there until at least Monday.
Openreach is working on New Lane in South Harting and some of their work requires the road to close.
On Rams Hill in Petersfield there are still temporary signals at the junction with Kingsfersden Lane and that’s proving to be a real headache at school dropoff and collection time with traffic backing up right down the hill. Avoid it if you can.
Network Rail is inspecting the bridge in Buriton and SSEN continues its work on the old A3 at its junction with the A272 Midhurst Road. Follow the diversions.
And in Langrish there are overnight closures to the A272 from 8pm until 6am daily for Hampshire County Council to do road works. If you’re heading West out of Petersfield, follow the signs for a scenic diversion via the Meon Valley.
And Petersfield town centre still has the Covid-19 restrictions in place until further notice.