Fleet and Church Crookham are part of the District of Hart and together form an extensive residential town with little industry and very few buildings that can be regarded as fine, historic or architectural value; except in the context of a record of the architecture of the early and mid-twentieth century. The two towns have, however, an asset rarely found in an urban area of similar size; namely an environment which seems rural rather than urban. It is remarkable that this should be so in spite of the very large growth in population in recent years and the wholesale felling of trees to make way for the new houses.
As development continues those trees that have so far escaped the builders will acquire an increasing landscape value. Their survival and replacement when damaged or sick, is vital if the area is not to become a brick and concrete “jungle”. Part of our work must be to encourage the preservation and replanting of trees.
To the east of the residential area lies Fleet Pond, the largest freshwater lake in Hampshire. Together with the surrounding woodland, this is owned by Hart Council and provides a valuable public amenity as well as a refuge for wildlife.
Hampshire County Council own that section of the Basingstoke Canal which lies in the county. Restored to fully navigable status by the Surrey & Hampshire Canal Society www.basingstoke-canal.org.uk, the canal is a very valuable amenity for a wide range of leisure interests.
Fleet has a high quality Leisure Centre in Hitches Lane which includes a swimming pool, fitness suites and indoor sport facilities. There is a fine community hall, The Harlington, in Fleet town centre, serving the whole district. Local parks and the close proximity of large areas of Ministry of Defence land maintain the open, rural atmosphere of Fleet and Church Crookham.
We must not take our pleasant environment for granted, however. Major expansion plans are ever threatening the environment of N.E.Hampshire and we need to be vigilant in the protection of its unique character. This the Society tries to do through monitoring the various District Council committees and, in particular, the Planning and Leisure functions of Hart District Council.