Hedge End’s bid is on track…

1012 04 28 Land Train Bournemouth Seafront web

A Land Train on Bournemouth Seafront

Hedge End’s Finance & Administration Committee have agreed to proceed with the Town’s bid to become a Portas Pilot.

The Portas Pilot competition was launched in February by the Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP, the Minister for Housing and Local Government and Mary Portas.  The competition aims to choose 12 towns to become Portas Pilots, with the successful bidders sharing £1 million to help turn around their struggling High Streets.

At the February meeting of the Finance & Administration Committee, the Town Clerk was asked to work-up a proposal that could be considered by the Committee in their March meeting.  All bids have to be submitted by 30th March, so time is very short.

The proposal that was put to the Finance & Administration Committee this evening was to issue all Hedge End residents with a plastic card bearing a barcode. The card will serve two purposes.

The card would entitle residents to free travel on a Land Train that will run around the residential areas of the Town and take its passengers to and from Hedge End Village Centre.

The Land Train could also run past the local shops in Tanhouse Lane and Shamblehurst Lane, it would certainly stop at the recreation ground and paddling pool, but would deliberately not call at the Hedge End Retail Park, the large out of town shopping centre.  Although important to the Town, the Retail Park has had a negative impact on trade in the traditional Village Centre and one of the key points of the Portas scheme is to help revive the traditional shopping areas.

Once in the Village Centre, the idea is that residents would also be able to use the same plastic card to obtain a discount on their shopping, or on exclusive special offers, at the local traders who are participating in the scheme. The intention is that if the barcode has been swiped on boarding the Land Train, it will attract a higher rate of discount in the local shops than if the residents had travelled to the Village Centre under their own steam

The Land Train service would fill  a gap in public transport provision that bus companies are not currently satisfying and the extra discount for using the Land Train would encourage less car use.

This evenings decision by the Finance & Administration Committee was merely to approve the ideas that underpin the proposal. More work has to be done before the bid can be formally submitted and the fine details, such as the exact route of the Land Train, still have to be worked out.

But now that they have been given the signal to proceed, the Town Council staff will be out and about in Hedge End over the next few days talking to local traders and getting them on-board. There are also plans to create a video to accompany the bid, which will be uploaded onto YouTube.

Whether Hedge End will one-day see a Land Train trundling around its streets is entirely dependent on Hedge End’s bid being one of the successful ones. The Town Council could not afford to do this without the funding from the Portas Pilot competition.

Public interest and support for the scheme can only help the Town Council’s bid. Your thoughts on the scheme can be posted in the form of a comment on this article, or sent directly to townclerk@hedgeend-tc.gov.uk

Ray Turner

Formerly a Civil-Servant and IT Specialist at ONS, Ray is now semi-retired and spare-time self-employed. He contributes to Eastleigh News on a voluntary basis and is also an administrator for the site. 

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  7 comments for “Hedge End’s bid is on track…

  1. March 9, 2012 at 9:46 am

    Sounds brilliant that the Town Council will getting local independent businesses on board with this scheme, it’s exactly what we need. The more support we can give to these local traders, the better.

    Fantastic idea of a land train (although I’m not sure a land train is perhaps the best option – a local community bus scheme is perhaps better) and this will work nicely aiming to get people to use their cars less.

    Great on the Town Council for progressing with the Portas Pilot competition – Eastleigh Transition Network would be very happy to support this.

    • May 7, 2012 at 2:51 pm

      If anybody would like to see the video which supports the Town Council’s bid, it is here on YouTube.

  2. Stephen Slominski
    March 9, 2012 at 9:56 am

    Yeah I must admit I like this idea, it’s worth a shot, hope it comes about.

  3. Aw
    March 9, 2012 at 10:04 am

    Who would honestly be seen dead on a ‘land train’?!

    • Stephen Slominski
      March 9, 2012 at 12:11 pm

      My kids love ’em!

      • March 9, 2012 at 6:04 pm

        Having seen how my nephews & neices love the Land Train at Marwell, I think that young children in Hedge End will encourage Mum & Dad to take them to the shops by Land Train, rather than in the car. It is a fabulous idea.

  4. D I S Smith
    March 9, 2012 at 10:47 am

    Yep fairy lights, illuminations adn land trains should really work in Hedge End. But will this leave room for Cllr House’s private helicopter and helipad?

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