Local communications took a major leap forward in Whitchurch today when the brand new official Town website was rolled out at the Gill Nethercott Centre to much critical acclaim.

Whitchurch.org.uk was launched by the newly crowned Carnival Queen, Joanna Ashton (14), a student at Testbourne School. She came straight from her May Day crowning on the Millennium Meadow to cut the ribbon and give the Town its own official community-owned site.

The new Carnival Queen tests out www.whitchurch.org.uk

With a focus on local businesses, tourism, events and news, the website has the backing of the Town Council, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, Hampshire County Council and the Whitchurch Association, the latter having set up a volunteer team to oversee its future management.

Designed by local company Blooming Digital, it has taken two years to put together, and provides a resource where anyone can input their own information. Exciting features also include a local exchange trading system and a visual panorama of the town with clickable hotspots.

Funded by SEEDA (South East England Development Agency), the structure and early management was by local resident Phil Cooper, whose hard work in obtaining the necessary funding is to be commended. A local Steering Group under the chairmanship of Town Councillor and ex-mayor Barry Jackman oversaw the project’s implementation.

To ensure entries for businesses, community groups and other services are included, a number of local workshops and drop in sessions are being arranged, while the new web team can be contacted through contact@whitchurch.org.uk

The community site is owned by the town and is fully accountable to ensure it meets the needs of local people, businesses and visitors to Whitchurch.