Summary of the ‘Homes for Hermitage – What Next?’ Survey
These are the main themes of the responses sent in by email and at the Open Day:
Housing and infrastructure
Some people are opposed any development; most said the village needs homes for elderly folk who want to downsize but remain here (a retirement home is a possibility) plus affordable homes for people just getting onto the property ladder.
New homes need to be in harmony with existing ones but need not duplicate them.
Bungalows should be kept, and new ones built.
Some villagers were opposed to flats, others in favour provided no higher than 3 stories, with parking for residents and visitors, and gardens for recreation.
New homes must be eco-friendly re water and heating, with charging points for electric cars and put no strain on existing infrastructure.
Lack of parking causes danger for road- and pavement-users, emergency vehicles, new developments must not increase this. Hot spots: Post Office and the school.
An inadequate bus service makes people more dependent on cars.
New businesses to provide lockable bike storage, benches for pedestrians to rest on.
The roundabouts on main roads improvement.
The B4009 is busy and also has many heavy vehicles using it.
Roads need widening.
Some villagers were in favour of traffic calming to slow down speedsters, others said it would make a bad situation worse.
Green spaces, footpaths, cycle and bridleways
People love living here because of these features, which must be protected, possibly improved.
- The Active Travel Route should be extended to Newbury.
- A circular route from Hampstead Norreys Road through Oare and into Priors Court Road could be created for walkers, cyclists and runners.
- The footpath along the B4009 from the bus stop below Priors Court roundabout to reach the Curridge sign is dangerous at present.
- A cycle route between Hermitage and Curridge exists in principle beside the Army base but the surface needs improving.
The woods must not be cut down to make space for development.
A community orchard and allotments were suggested.
New homes must have enough space for gardens front and back.
Planning for the future
Villagers tend to react to proposed developments at the last minute; it is time consuming to trawl through websites so better communication from West Berkshire Council would be appreciated. We need to plan for 10 years’ time, the new smart M4, and people commuting from nearby towns. The village needs a mix of old and young residents so plans must suit both age groups.