Fleet Road, Fleet
|North East Hampshire|
Fleet is a town in north-eastern Hampshire. It is not a pretty town nor one steepped in history but a practical, residential town. Those from outside will know it best for Fleet Services on the M3 motorway; Fleet is well served for transport by road or rail, which has allowed it to grow as a commuter town.
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 Mediæval times.
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 that was to become the heart of the new ecclesiastial 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 and laid the foundations of what was to become known locally as "The Blue Triangle".
By 1860 Charles Lefroy, a local squire, commissioned All Saints Church, Fleet - in the Blue Triangle area in memory of his wife who had died in 1857. The architect William Burges. The ecclesiastical parish of Ewshot and Crookam was split into two in 1862 with the northern section based on the All Saints church, becoming the new parish of Fleet. The development of Fleet accelerated when the land to the south east of the Blue Triangle was sold for development in 1882 which, unlike the Blue Triangle, was laid out in a grid pattern. Thus it is that there are 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 between the First and Second World Wars. Fleet also contains structures built in the 1960s.
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. Completed 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 technology companies.
About the town
The villages of Crookham Village and Church Crookham have also grown to be contiguous with Fleet. Immediately surrounding towns and villages include Winchfield, Dogmersfield, Crondall, Ewshot, and Hartley Wintney.
The Fleet Pond Nature Reserve is 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.
Sport and leisure
- Fleet Town FC
- Fleet Spurs FC
Fleet has a half marathon commonly used in preparation for the London marathon.
The biggest events in the town's calendar are the summer Carnival, the switching on of the Christmas lights as December approaches.
- Fleet Town Council 
- Hampshire County Council - Fleet
- Fleet and Farnborough Chess Club
- The latest news from Fleet in Hampshire
- Hantsphere:Hampshire's Heritage In Place
- Fleet & Church Crookham Society
- Fleet & Crookham Environment Is Threatened
- http://www.fleethants.com/allhistory/fleet/main.htm Internet version of Ted Roe - Mainly about Old Fleet and Crookham - About 1975
- http://www.hart.gov.uk/io_report_061207_final.pdf Hart District Council & Atkins Ltd - Fleet Town Centre Urban Design Framework - Fleet Town Centre Analysis Report November 2006