Fleet
Fleet Clocktower, Fleet
Fleet is located in Hampshire
Fleet
Fleet
Location within Hampshire
Population42,835 (built-up area)
23,167 (civil parish) (2016)[1]
OS grid referenceSU8054
• London38.2 miles (61.5 km)
Civil parish
  • Fleet
District
Shire county
Region
CountryEngland
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townFLEET
Postcode districtGU51, GU52
Dialling code01252
PoliceHampshire and Isle of Wight
FireHampshire and Isle of Wight
AmbulanceSouth Central
UK Parliament
List of places
UK
England
Hampshire
51°17′00″N 0°50′44″W / 51.2834°N 0.8456°W / 51.2834; -0.8456
Map
Current map of Fleet

Fleet is a town and civil parish in the Hart District of Hampshire, England, centred 38 miles (61 km) south-west of London and 13 miles (21 km) east of Basingstoke.

It is the largest town of the Hart District, and has many large technology business areas, fast rail links to London, and is well connected to the M3. The Fleet built-up area has a total population of 42,835,[2] and includes the contiguous parishes of Church Crookham, Crookham Village, Dogmersfield, and Elvetham Heath. The town has a prominent golf club, an annual half marathon, an athletics club, and four football clubs. The nearby service station on the motorway is named after the town.

Local landmarks include Fleet Pond, the largest freshwater lake in Hampshire, and a High Street with many Victorian and Edwardian buildings. Fleet holds a weekly Saturday market in Gurkha Square.

Geography

This north-east corner of Hampshire had shallow and sandy, slightly acidic soil, much of it boggy or covered in gorse and bracken (see Bagshot Formation). It held little use for agriculture compared to the long-grazed chalk lands and belts of alluvial areas of the rest of the county. The Fleet area has yielded few archaeological finds.[3] Isaac Taylor's Map of Hampshire (1759) shows three small habitations in the area that was later to become Fleet.[4]

Areas and suburbs of Fleet town are Pondtail, Ancells Park and Elvetham Heath. The villages of Crookham Village and Church Crookham are contiguous with the town. Immediately surrounding towns and villages include Winchfield, Dogmersfield, Crondall, Ewshot, and Hartley Wintney.

The Fleet Pond nature reserve is a beauty spot on the northern edge of the town. Fleet Pond is the largest freshwater lake in Hampshire. Being very shallow, Fleet Pond is actively managed and needs regular dredging to avoid it silting up.[5] In times past, the lake has frozen over, permitting skating.

Climate

Being located in South East England, Fleet has a temperate climate which is generally drier and warmer than the rest of the country. The annual mean temperature is approximately 9 °C (48.2 °F) and shows a seasonal and a diurnal variation. January is the coldest month with mean minimum temperatures between 0.5 and 2 °C (32.9 and 35.6 °F). July is the warmest month in the area with average daily maxima around 21 °C (69.8 °F).[6] Rainfall averages at 600 millimetres (23.6 in).

History

View of Fleet Pond. The railway line is about 100 metres to the left of the picture.

The site of Fleet was originally heathland in the northern part of the Crondall Hundred. The name Fleet was probably derived from the Norman French word La Flete meaning a stream or shallow water - a reference to the Fleet Pond from which fish had been taken for the monks in Winchester in Medieval times.[4]

In 1792, the Basingstoke Canal opened. The canal passed through the town site, but apart from a few inns to serve the passing trade, it had little effect on the locality. Apart from the Farnham to Reading road, the site remained largely undeveloped until the construction of the London and South Western Railway, which opened in 1840. In that year, a church - Christ Church, which was to become the heart of the new ecclesiastical parish of Ewshot and Crookham, was built midway between the villages of Crookham and Ewshot. This parish included the area that was to become the town of Fleet. The railway company promoted Fleet Pond for a destination for day excursions, and many people came down from London to skate on the Pond during the Winter. This attracted a number of gentry, particularly retired army officers, who moved to the area bounded by Fleet Road, Elvetham Road and Reading Road North,[7] and laid the foundations of what was to become known locally as "The Blue Triangle".[8]

All Saints Church

By 1860, Charles Lefroy, a local squire, commissioned All Saints' Church – in the Blue Triangle area, in memory of his wife who had died in 1857. The architect was William Burges. The ecclesiastical parish of Ewshot and Crookam was split into two in 1862, with the northern section based on All Saints' church becoming the new parish of Fleet. On 22 June 2015, the roof of All Saints' church was destroyed by fire following an arson attack.[9] The church was returned to a condition where it could hold services by 30 April 2023 when it was reconsecrated.[10]

The development of Fleet accelerated when the land to the south east of the Blue Triangle was sold for development in 1882. Development on this land was laid out in a grid pattern.[citation needed]

As part of the Urban District Council (1904 - 1974)

Under the Local Government Act 1894, many of the duties that had previously been shouldered by the ecclesiastical parishes were transferred to new civil parishes, and Crookham, Fleet and Crondall each gained an elected parish council. In 1904, Fleet became an urban district, just ten years after becoming an independent parish. In 1925, and again in 1932, it expanded by taking parts of Elvetham,[11] as a result of the Local Government Act 1929, which saw smaller urban districts merge with their surrounding rural districts, with the result that new districts emerged covering rural as well as urban parishes. As a consequence, the Fleet Urban District in 1932 expanded south of the canal and took 45% of the Crookham acreage and 61% of the population, with the rump of the parish of Crookham being returned to Crondall parish.[12] In addition, a small area of Minley with Hawley, that consequently became the modern development of Ancells Farm, was also transferred to the expanded Fleet Urban District.[13]

As part of the Hart District Council (1974 onwards)

Fleet expanded over the decades, with new residential areas being built at Ancells Farm, Zebon Copse (Church Crookham, Crookham Village and Dogmersfield are included in the built-up area, as per the Government Statistical Service[14]) and Elvetham Heath. Completed in 2008,[15] Elvetham Heath was one of the UK's largest new housing developments at the time, and added some 3,500 inhabitants to Fleet's population, bringing its total population up to around 35,000. This represented a 20% population increase in less than a decade.

Earlier in the 1990s, two developments in Fleet involved a double opening on 10 May 1991; the Hart Shopping Centre, which was opened officially by the Duchess Of York, and the old Hart Leisure Centre on Hitches Lane. The old Hart Leisure Centre was replaced by a new one on the other side of the road in 2019.[16]

Fleet had been a dormitory town for commuters to London. It now has several business parks, mainly occupied by Information Technology companies.

Politics and administration

Fleet is administered by Hart District Council and Hampshire County Council.[17] The parliamentary constituency is North East Hampshire. In April 2010, some of the responsibilities of Hart District Council were devolved to three[18] new parish councils: Fleet Town Council,[19] Elvetham Heath Parish Council[20] and Church Crookham Parish Council.[21]

Wards

Fleet and Church Crookham are divided into the following wards:

Map
Map of the electoral wards forming Fleet and Church Crookham.

Demography

Men in the Fleet North ward had the second highest life expectancy at birth, 89.7 years, of any ward in England and Wales in 2016.[23]

Education

The town has a number of schools including:

Transport

Railway

The town is served by Fleet railway station, which is a stop on the South West Main Line between London Waterloo and Southampton Central. Services are operated by South Western Railway. The standard journey time to Waterloo is about 50 minutes, with express trains achieving around 40 minutes.[29]

Buses

Routes are operated by Stagecoach South, providing local routes and facilitating access to surrounding towns such as Farnborough and Aldershot.[30]

Road

Fleet is served by junction 4A of the M3 motorway. Fleet services lies at the edge of the town and is owned by Welcome Break; it was the only service station on the M3 until Winchester services was built in 2001.

Fleet's main road, Fleet Road, runs through the town centre from south-west to north-east.

Air

Nearby airports are Blackbushe and Farnborough.

Canal

The Basingstoke Canal, built at the end of the eighteenth century, connected Fleet to Basingstoke and, in the other direction, London via the Wey navigation. By the early twentieth century, the canal had fallen into disrepair; the section between the Wey Navigation and the Greywell Tunnel has since been restored by volunteers and is maintained as a leisure facility.[31]

Sport and leisure

Fleet is the home of the North Hants Golf Club. For over one hundred years, it has been a top-ranked course in Hampshire and nationally. Justin Rose was a junior member of the club, and there is now a meeting room named after him.[32]

Fleet has four Non-League football teams: Fleet Town F.C., who play at Calthorpe Park, Fleet Spurs F.C., who play at Kennels Lane, Fleet Albion, who play at Dippenhall St., Crondall, and FC Fleet, who play at Zebon Copse.

Fleet has a half marathon, commonly used in preparation for the London Marathon, and an athletics club, Fleet & Crookham AC.[33]

Media

The local press are the Fleet News & Mail, a broadsheet available in local shops, and the Surrey-Hants Star Courier, a free tabloid delivered to the door. Local news and television programmes are provided by BBC South and ITV Meridian. Television signals are received from the Hannington TV transmitter,[34] some areas of the town can also pick up a signal from the Crystal Palace TV transmitter that broadcast BBC London and ITV London. [35] Fleet is covered by BBC Radio Surrey and Greatest Hits Radio Surrey and North East Hampshire which both radio stations covers North-East Hampshire additionally.

Culture

The town has numerous events organised by the local carnival committee, the largest of those being Fleet Carnival in the summer, and the switching on of the Christmas lights as December approaches (known as Fleet Festivities), usually held the last Wednesday in November and taking place along the main street (Fleet Road), which is pedestrianised for the evening's events. The committee also arrange food festivals, attracting stands run by local restaurants and talks and demonstrations held in large marquees.

Other yearly events in Fleet include a Half Marathon, Fleet 10K, a beer festival organised by the local Lions Club, a Fireworks night, and the Elvetham Heath Car Show.

Gurkha Square, named after the Gurkhas who were based in Fleet for many years,[36] houses the Fleet war memorial. A market takes place every Saturday in Gurkha Square. Major buildings on Gurkha Square are Fleet Library, and the Harlington Centre.

Notable people

Freedom of the Town

The following people or military units have received the Freedom of the Town of Fleet.

This list is incomplete; you can help by adding missing items. (July 2023)

Individuals

See also

References

  1. ^ "Projected population for parishes and towns provided by Hampshire County Environment Department's 2014 based Small Area Population Forecasts for 2016". Retrieved 6 August 2021.
  2. ^ UK Census (2011). "Local Area Report – Fleet built-up area (E34003525)". Nomis. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 14 June 2021.
  3. ^ Wright, Tony (March 2012). "17 February 2012 - Archaeology in North Hampshire - David Allen, keeper of Archaeology, Hampshire". Fleet and Crookham Local History Group Newsletter (77). Meeting reports.
  4. ^ a b Roe, Ted (1975). Mainly about Old Fleet and Crookham.
  5. ^ "The transformation of Fleet Pond from murky waters to majestic scenes". Great British Life. 24 February 2015. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  6. ^ "About south-east England". Met Office. Archived from the original on 5 June 2011. Retrieved 22 March 2010.
  7. ^ Hart District Council & Atkins Ltd - Fleet Town Centre Urban Design Framework - Fleet Town Centre Analysis Report November 2006[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ Kingston, Rob (27 January 2019). "Why Fleet tops the quality of life charts". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 22 February 2021. Where most towns have a "golden triangle", Fleet has the Blue Triangle
  9. ^ "Fleet All Saints Church fire: Daniel Finnerty sentenced". BBC News. BBC. 27 November 2015. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  10. ^ "Fleet: Church gutted in arson attack reopens after rebuild". BBC News. 30 April 2023. Retrieved 30 April 2023.
  11. ^ "Fleet CP through time: University of Portsmouth, A Vision of Britain through Time". Retrieved 6 August 2021.
  12. ^ "Crookham CP: University of Portsmouth, A Vision of Britain through Time". Retrieved 6 August 2021.
  13. ^ "Hawley With Minley CP: University of Portsmouth, A Vision of Britain through Time". Retrieved 6 August 2021.
  14. ^ "Custom report - Nomis - Official Labour Market Statistics".
  15. ^ UK (18 December 2012). "New Homes for Sale | Persimmon Homes". Elvethamheath.co.uk. Retrieved 29 May 2013.
  16. ^ "Inside Hart's £23million new leisure centre". Mackenzie Smith. 14 June 2019. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  17. ^ "Hampshire County Council - Fleet". Archived from the original on 25 January 2007. Retrieved 20 September 2008.
  18. ^ New Parish Councils Archived 30 August 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ "Fleet Parish Council website". Archived from the original on 13 January 2010. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  20. ^ "Elvetham Heath Parish Council website". Archived from the original on 30 January 2010. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  21. ^ "Church Crookham Parish Council website". Archived from the original on 30 January 2010. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  22. ^ Local Government For England Boundary Commission Report No. 129: District of Hart (PDF). Retrieved 6 August 2021.
  23. ^ Bennett, James; et al. (22 November 2018). "Contributions of diseases and injuries to widening life expectancy inequalities in England from 2001 to 2016: a population-based analysis of vital registration data". Lancet public health. Retrieved 23 November 2018.
  24. ^ Ofsted report Archived 4 December 2007 at the Wayback Machine for Heatherside
  25. ^ Ofsted report Archived 15 March 2008 at the Wayback Machine for All Saints
  26. ^ Ofsted report Archived 10 January 2011 at the Wayback Machine for Tavistock Infant School
  27. ^ Ofsted report Archived 16 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine for Velmead
  28. ^ Ofsted report Archived 13 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine for Calthorpe Park School
  29. ^ "Timetables". South Western Railway. May 2023. Retrieved 4 October 2023.
  30. ^ "Stops in Fleet". Bus Times. 2023. Retrieved 4 October 2023.
  31. ^ "Where is the Basingstoke Canal?". Surrey & Hampshire Canal Society — Guardians of the Basingstoke Canal. 2004. Retrieved 24 July 2012.
  32. ^ "Justin Rose Room".
  33. ^ "Fleet and Crookham Athletic Club". Retrieved 6 August 2021.
  34. ^ https://ukfree.tv/transmitters/tv/Hannington
  35. ^ https://ukfree.tv/transmitters/tv/Crystal_Palace
  36. ^ "Fleethants-THE BRIGADE OF GURKHAS".
  37. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "7 famous people from Fleet in Hampshire". Great British Life. Retrieved 30 April 2023.
  38. ^ Galbreath, Ross. "Buller, Walter Lawry – Biography". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 23 October 2012.
  39. ^ "An unedited interview for "Your Dover" (10th October 2007), a newspaper local to Alan's place of birth". Alan Clayson. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 12 June 2013.
  40. ^ "Jac Constable to make BTCC debut with PMR at Croft". BTCC. Retrieved 30 April 2023.
  41. ^ "Man charged with 1981 murder". BBC News. 7 September 2001. Retrieved 30 April 2023.
  42. ^ "Gemma McArthur - Team Scotland". Team Scotland. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  43. ^ "Fleet's Diving Ace". Fleet Hants News. Fleet Hants News. 21 February 2013. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  44. ^ "Duchess of Cambridge joins SportsAid at workshop for Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls". SportsAid. Sports Aid. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  45. ^ Heath, Elliott (3 September 2019). "What Is Justin Rose's Home Club?". Golf Monthly. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  46. ^ Lambirth, Andrew (23 July 1992). "Obituary: John Bratby". The Independent. Obituary. Retrieved 12 June 2013.
  47. ^ "Honorary Freedom of the Town Award". Fleet Town Council. 6 July 2023. Retrieved 6 July 2023.