Winchester’s PSC v The Neighbours
Posted by News Editor
Posted in News
EDITORIAL OPINION – Since the launch of Winchester Today back in July 2012, this newspaper has been more than pleased to highlight the success of the students at Peter Symonds College in Winchester. The newspaper knows just how big a part the College has played in the upbringing of students in their life, work and exams. Three of our staff live in the immediate area, and for a number of years we have wondered how a College which pays so much attention to people within the building can pay such scant reference to the close neighbours and community. It has been very difficult to bite the tongue while writing articles while also trying to overlook the obvious displeasure being felt by a number of the neighbours. However, since the issue has spilled over yet again, we thought we should bring you details of what has been happening year on year.
Two years ago in October 2013, the College had an Open Day. From the point of view of traffic management it was a disaster. All roads surrounding the college were jammed solid – more importantly so was the Andover Road back down to the traffic lights – and where we witnessed an ambulance also had got stuck, with nowhere to move. The residents were promised this would never happen again. Some asked why there were no people at the bottom of Cranworth Avenue or by the Jolly Farmer properly directing the traffic to designated areas, with properly created signs.
Last night, despite the promises, it happened again. Traffic was jammed through the back roads, leading to frustrated motorists sounding their horns, and irate residents. The entire debacle prompted this letter to Winchester Today:
Hello. We love being next to PSC. Your grounds are a delight for parents and children at weekends and holidays, for dog owners, tennis players even fruit pickers and conker enthusiasts. Some of us even see material benefits from the proximity and I understand you also have the nearest defibrillators.
For those benefits we can happily cope with the butt ends and pizza boxes, the young lovers and the crowded morning and afternoon pavements. We can manage with the stream of buses, the driving instructors, the crisp packet lorries and the twice-daily cavalcade to drop or pick up your students.
But last night’s repeat of the annual chaos is more difficult to accept… at the same time extreme and unneccessary. I have suggested, like many others I’m sure, that a couple of days warning would be an easy, useful and neighbourly gesture so that we could move our cars or re-arrange diaries. Yet again, non such was forthcoming this week. (A list of e-mail addresses would make it a five-minute task)
To really tackle the problem, some sort of traffic plan would not be difficult to organise…. a one-way system in Brassey and Owens Roads, or making Andover/Boscobel the way in and Hatherley/Cranworth the way out, perhaps a ban on parking to make local roads two-way, instead of just one car wide.
One day perhaps an emergency will prompt some action, when the jams have obstructed police, ambulance or fire trucks. That would be pity and a scandal and so easily avoided.
Meanwhile, apart from anything else, I am sure the ridiculous delays will have spoilt many intending and attending parents’ view of the college and its place in, and view of, the community.
55 Brassey Rd
Peter Symonds Winchester v The Neighbours – Litter, Smoking
In a separate issue the College has to be told repeatedly about litter, students’ attitude towards the community in smoking, their use of local streets and lack of communication with the neighbours over big events. Today, Winchester Today received this from the College:
We’re very sorry for the inconvenience caused to you and fellow neighbours by traffic congestion as a result of our open evening last night. We did write to local residents on 28th August to provide advance notice of our open evenings this term. I attach a copy of our letter for your reference. I’d like to assure you that we do take our relationship with local residents very seriously and that we have put in place arrangements to try to alleviate the traffic problems you experienced last night. For our Summer open evenings we arranged additional park and ride services and this seemed to have a positive impact on the traffic situation. The same facility is available for visitors for these Autumn open evenings and we have also secured additional parking away from the streets surrounding the college. We have encouraged visitors to use the park and ride service rather than drive to the College in messages on our website, and through local media.
We are sorry that this has not had the impact that we would have hoped for on this occasion and we will look to see what other measures we can put in place to address the issue for future events. If you have any ideas on this we would be very happy to hear them.
We’d like to stress that we do take the concerns of our neighbours seriously and that we are keen to foster positive relationships. We provide open access to our grounds and tennis courts for local residents, and always seek to address concerns reported to us. In the last year we have arranged for the council to place an additional bin at the location you recommended, and more recently we responded to your request for more permanent signage in that area. In response to the concerns expressed by residents on Boscobel Road about students smoking outside their houses and sitting on steps/walls at the front of their houses, we agreed that this was totally unacceptable and erected ‘no smoking’ signage, stepped up staff patrols in the area and offered to purchase planters/troughs and plants for residents to deter students from sitting on their frontages. It’s therefore disappointing to hear that some residents feel we are dismissive of their concerns. We will continue to work to foster positive relationships and to address the concerns of our neighbours.
Once again, we would like to apologise for the inconvenience and disruption you and fellow residents experienced. We would be very happy to meet with you and any other residents to hear your concerns and any suggestions you may have as to how we might improve things. If you would like to do this please feel free to provide us with any dates and times which would be convenient to you.
Peter Symonds College.
As you can see, once again the residents are being asked for their own solutions on something which is absolutely not their fault. As you can see, suggestions made by us – not the College – have alleviated some of the problems. We have not forwarded our conversations with certain other residents on to the College, nor will we print them here – the language given on what they think is not suitable for what we have otherwise portrayed as a family newspaper. However, as a newspaper that has tried at all stages to portray the College in a positive light, we suggest again to the College that it’s not rocket science.