- Fleet, Hampshire
infobox UK place
country = England
population = 31,687Hampshire County Council, [http://www3.hants.gov.uk/parish_forecasts_06-14.xls 2007 Population forecasts]
region= South East England
constituency_westminster= North East Hampshire
Fleet is a town in the county of
Hampshire, UK, located 37 miles (60 km) southwest of London. It is part of Hart District. The 2007 population forecast for Fleet was 31,687.
Fleet is unusual for a town of its size in that it is not on a major
trunk road. This is because it developed after the construction of the London and South Western Railway, which opened in 1840. Many people came down from London to skate on Fleet Pondduring the winter, and the town grew as a market town. There are thus few very old buildings in Fleet, with much of the modern town formed around Victorian buildings. As in many parts of Britain, there was a building boom in the period between the First World War and Second World War. Fleet also contains structures built in the 1960s such as the parade of shops on the left of the picture below.
Fleet has expanded in the past few decades with new residential areas being built at Ancells Farm, Zebon Copse (in neighbouring Church Crookham) and
Elvetham Heath. Due for completion in 2008, Elvetham Heath is one of the UK's largest new housing developments, and will add some 5,000 inhabitants to Fleet's population, bringing its total population up to around 36,000, a 20% increase in less than a decade.Two earlier developments in Fleet involved the opening of a new shopping centre, the Hart Shopping Centre, which was opened officially by HRH The Duchess Of York in 1991. On the same day, she attended the opening of the Hart Leisure Centre on Hitches Lane (towards Church Crookham). The shopping centre was itself developed further in 2001-2.
Although Fleet has traditionally been a dormitory town housing commuters to London, it now has several business parks, mainly occupied by
Information Technologycompanies. A plan to add a new multiplex cinema was abandoned, a gym was built on the proposed site instead.
The body of murdered teenager
Amanda Dowlerwas found in woodland near the town on 19 September 2002. She had last been seen alive near her home in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, on 21 March 2002.
Areas and suburbs of the town are Pondtail, Ancells Park and Elvetham Heath. The villages of
Crookhamand Church Crookhamhave also grown to be contiguous with the town. Immediately surrounding towns and villages include Winchfield, Dogmersfield, Crondall, Ewshot, and Hartley Wintney.
Fleet Pond nature reserveis a notable beauty spot on the northern edge of the town. The 'pond' itself is in fact the largest freshwater lake in Hampshire. In times past, the lake has frozen over permitting skating. Fleet can be reached from London and Southampton via the M3 motorway, the nearest junction being 4A. Fleet serviceson the M3 lies at the edge of the town. Its main road, Fleet Road, runs through the town centre from south-west to north-east. Fleet station is on the London Waterloo stationto Southampton main line. The train service is run by South West Trains (formerly Network South East). Journey time to Waterloo is about 50 minutes. Express trains do the journey in under 40 minutes. There are small airports nearby at Blackbushe Airportand Farnborough Airfield. The Basingstoke Canalconnects Fleet to Basingstoke and, in the other direction, Londonvia the River Weynavigation.
Politics and administration
Fleet is administered by
Hart District Counciland Hampshire County Council. [ [http://www.hants.gov.uk/localpages/north_east/fleet/attract.html Hampshire County Council - Fleet] ] The parliamentary constituencyis Hampshire North-East and the current (2006) Member of Parliamentis James Norwich Arbuthnotwho is a member of the Conservative Party.
The town has a number of schools including:
*Heatherside Juniors, [ [http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/reports/index.cfm?fuseaction=summary&id=116010 Ofsted report] for Heatherside]
*All Saints, [ [http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/reports/index.cfm?fuseaction=summary&id=116358 Ofsted report] for All Saints]
*Velmead [ [http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/reports/index.cfm?fuseaction=summary&id=116054 Ofsted report] for Velmead]
Calthorpe Park School[ [http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/reports/index.cfm?fuseaction=summary&id=116436 Ofsted report] for Calthorpe Park School]
Court Moor School
*St. Nicholas', an
independent schoolfor girls, [ [http://www.independentschools.com/england/st.-nicholas'-school_1005.html] for St. Nicholas'] .
The biggest events in the town's calendar are the summer
Carnival, the switching on of the Christmaslights as December approaches and the Fleet Half Marathon commonly used in preparation for the London marathon.
The art critic and man of letters,
John Russell, was born in Fleet in 1919 [http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/john-russell-art-critic-and-man-of-letters-913252.html] .
* [http://www.hants.gov.uk/localpages/north_east/fleet/attract.html Hampshire County Council - Fleet]
* [http://www.fleetchessclub.org.uk/ Fleet and Farnborough Chess Club]
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