ALDERBURY PARISH COUNCIL
Caring for Alderbury and Whaddon
It’s been a quiet month here at the Council as councillors squeeze in some well-earned holidays. But I did manage to pop in to the polling station at the Village Hall yesterday where the election for the Police and Crime Commissioner was taking place. The station was quite busy when I arrived in the afternoon, but on the whole, turnouts were pitifully low across the County. This, you will remember, this was a re-run of the election held in May, when the winning Conservative candidate, Jonathon Seed, pulled out after polling day due to a previous criminal conviction. The votes are being counted as I speak.
Officially, here at the Council it is the summer recess, but in reality, things continue to tick along pretty much as normal.
7th August saw the official reopening of the newly refurbished and extended Village Hall with the ribbon being cut by our Wiltshire Councillor, Richard Britton. Richard was one of the driving forces behind the project and we were delighted that he was there to wield the scissors with consummate precision. Our chair, Elaine Hartford, thanked Richard for his support and presented him with a token of the Council’s appreciation. She also thanked everyone who had played a part in the project and singled out a few people for special praise. She presented gifts to the Chair of the Village Hall Committee Andy Larkham and fellow Trustee Paula Dean and thanked them for their commitment and hard work over the last two years. Our very own Councillor Fuller also received a special mention and a bottle of wine for taking on the lead role for the Council. She rounded off with praise for local architects Barclay Phillips, who oversaw the design and management of the contract and Greendale Construction our local builder from Poole who did such a fine job with the construction. Elaine presented gifts to Nick Philips from Barclay Phillips and Peter Marks from Greendale before everyone popped inside for tea and cake.
As a little aside, the Village Hall was first mooted in 1933 but due to the war it was not actually completed until 1959. The social club came 20 years later in ‘79. The original part, the bit with the round roof, was built by a company called REEMA – who specialise in pre-cast concrete buildings. Believe it or not, the recent works have cost 100 times more than the original building. The hall cost £3,500 to build and over £350,000 to refurbish. But I have to say, it is now a real credit to the village and a vibrant hub for so many community activities.
Things are rolling on with this new village project. The Council has arranged a meeting with Nick and Chelsie from Wiltshire Wildlife’s Wild Landscapes Team to talk through the next steps and we have now published our draft action plan, which you can view on our website. One thing we know for sure: everything needs to be done in consultation with villagers. So, you are likely to see some consultation work going on over the coming month as we gear up for action in the Autumn (can’t believe I am talking about Autumn already). The Council has ideas for Waleran Close, Spider’s Island and Oakwood Grove open space as well as the Old Canal. But we want to know how you all feel about that before spades hit the turf. 24 villagers are now signed up for the project, so we have plenty of support to take projects forward.
The Council does not schedule formal council meetings in August, nevertheless we did meet to discuss a number of urgent planning applications.
The Council has opposed to a two-storey extension and single storey side extension at Mitchett in Southampton Road at the Whaddon end of the village. We felt designs were just a bit too big and bulky for the site. There would also be loss of light and overlooking issues for the immediate neighbours. We are sure the builder can come back with something less imposing and more in keeping with the rural character of our lovely old village.
Next, we looked at the revised application for the five new houses behind Wagtails in Southampton Road. This saga has rumbled on for several years and you may remember that the Council objected very strongly to the original application. This new application aimed to set right a number of planning issues, but again the Council objected on grounds of overlooking for the houses in Junction Road. We await Wiltshire Council’s decision on this one with very great interest.
Next up, we took a good look at fresh plans for the development of 50 new houses on the old football pitches at Junction Road. As I have reported in the Fountain before, the Council objected to the last application but, to be fair to the developers, they have come back with a new scheme that tries to address our concerns. We know there will be houses here, the principle is already approved, but we are battling hard to secure the very best development possible. The Council welcomed the improvements, but still feels the developers can do a lot better with the design and layout of the houses – councillors feel it is still way too urban for the village. The Council also has concerns about drainage and wants to be sure neighbouring properties and the new football pitches will be properly protected. But perhaps our biggest worry is about highway safety; 50 new houses will generate a lot of additional traffic during peak hours, just when children are going to school along Firs Road (the only entrance to the site). The Council has made it crystal clear – the safety of pedestrians and school children must be paramount.
So, three objections; I hear you saying, ‘is that all the Council does, moan about planning applications?” Well, no, not at all actually. The Council welcomes sensitive applications that respect neighbouring properties, fit in with the village, protect our special rural character and don’t cause highway or flooding risks. And as proof, the Council did also approve five applications – so it was refusals 3: approvals 5.
The Council raised no objections to:
- Extensions and alterations at 6 Twineham Gardens
- A rear single storey extension at Nursery Cottage in Folly Lane
- A single storey side extension and garage conversion at Hamilton in Southampton Road
- A two-storey extension at Bentley Cottage in Junction Road, Alderbury (although we asked for changes to the garage doors)
- Electricity Overhead Lines at Hole Farm in Brick Kiln Lane
Very best and stay safe everyone