Fair Oak, Hampshire, UK Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

Fair Oak, Hampshire, UK

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Situated in Hampshire, some six miles from Winchester and on the outskirts of Eastleigh, the parish comprises the villages of Fair Oak and Horton Heath and has grown from a rural community to a busy suburb of some 3700 dwellings. Fair Oak gets its name from the fair that was traditionally held under a large oak tree in the village square. The tree that is there now replaced the original when it died in 1843.

A hundred years ago, the oak tree was at the centre of the community, standing just outside the Old George Inn. Horton Heath was a tiny hamlet two miles away with a pub and shop but in the last 50 years the villages have expanded enormously. Children were educated at the small school which used to stand close to the church, but now they attend the Fair Oak Infant and Junior Schools, and the Wyvern Community School with a total of 1700 pupils between them.

St Thomas's Church serves both villages and the Baptist Church holds its services in the Community Hall at Horton Heath. There are active Cub, Beaver, Scout, Brownie and Girl Guide groups along with a variety of clubs and organisations for adults of all ages. Fair Oak has local shops in Summerlands Road, Sandy Lane and Winchester Road which cater to everyday needs. There is a large out-of-town shopping centre just three miles away in Hedge End with the country's largest store shared by Sainsbury's and Marks and Spencer.

The local town of Eastleigh boasts a Tesco and a Safeway supermarket along with a number of shops of a more specialist nature. The historic city of Winchester and the busy port of Southampton are both close by and provide varied shopping and entertainment facilities.

The Parish Council celebrated its 100th birthday in 1994 and continues to grow and develop with the community. The council and its committees meet at least three times every month; it has 15 members who are elected every four years with the next elections in 2003. Meetings are held in the Fair Oak Village Hall in Shorts Road and members of the public are always very welcome to attend.

The Parish Council owns and maintains New Century Park in Shorts Road which is undergoing improvements with the help of funding from the Onyx Environmental Trust. It is responsible for the cemetery, the conservation site at Knowle Hill, the allotments in Campbell Way and the Lakesmeare Youth Club in Allington Lane. In 2002, it will be taking over the play areas in Dean Road and at the Horton Heath Community Centre.

The most exciting project undertaken in recent years is the opening of new playing fields at Lapstone Farm. The site comprises three football pitches - two for adults and one for juniors - a cricket pitch and two tennis courts. The site came in to use 1998 and the council was proud to open the splendid pavilion built with the help of Lottery funding. Fair Oak Football and Cricket clubs call the site their home along with Wyvern Junior Football Club which currently manages eight teams.

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