ALDERBURY PARISH COUNCIL
Caring for Alderbury and Whaddon
It’s a very busy time for the Parish Council as we turn our thoughts to the budget for next year. The village council tax is set in January and the Parish Council submits its request for funding to cover the cost of all that we do in the village – you will see that set out on your Council Tax bill in April. At our November meeting, we will look at the draft budget before the precept request is submitted to Wiltshire Council in January who will then send out the bills. We know it’s been a difficult year for a lot of residents, so we will be looking to keep any increases to the absolute minimum. But; do let us know if there is anything you think we should be thinking about. We also received our auditor’s report and I am pleased to report that that the Council’s financial management received a clean bill of health. For those with an eye for detail, the Council publishes all of its financial information on our lovely new website – it’s worth checking out at www.alderburyparishcouncil.gov.uk or easier still, just google ‘Alderbury Parish Council.’
The budget aside, there is plenty going on at the moment that is keeping us all busy and providing ample excuses for neglecting our overgrown herbaceous borders.
We met in the beautifully refurbished Social Club last month with a very good turnout of local residents which is always encouraging. At all of our meetings, 15 minutes is set aside at the beginning to allow villagers to have a say and report anything that is giving rise to concern.
At our last meeting, we heard about flooding at the Copse. And, in response, the Council has called on the Environment Agency to come and have a look at the issue. The Parish Council does not have any powers to act on flooding but we can make sure Wiltshire Council and the Environment Agency are kept on their toes and fully briefed about local drainage worries. We will have to wait and see what they say about the Copse. We also heard from our excellent and hard-working Wiltshire Councillor, Richard Britton, about planned highway improvements. Richard confirmed that the long-anticipated Southampton Road resurfacing works are still in the local highway plan. COVID 19 has delayed things a bit and we still do not know the anticipated start date for the works, but the Council continues to press Wiltshire Council for these urgent works to be bumped up the priority list. Richard did confirm that a new top dressing had been applied to Lights Lane and Tunnel Hill, so works are now starting to roll out. The Council also approved a tender for works needed to cut back the overgrowth and encroaching hedgerow banks along the Southampton Road pavements – so this long-running grumble will be tackled.
Richard always provides a useful summary of Wiltshire Council issues affecting the village and this time he reported on the forthcoming planning meeting where the proposals for the new development at the old football pitches at Junction Road will be considered. The Parish Council has lodged its objections and our Chair, Elaine Hartford, will attend the meeting to give our views. We think the developers can do much better. Richard concluded his report with some rather gloomy news about Wiltshire Council’s finances. The Council is projecting a budget deficit of nearly £50m following the impact of the pandemic and is looking to support from the Government to help bridge the gap.
During PQT we also heard from Colin Nelson about the relaunch of the Alderbury branch of the Royal British Legion. It is great to see things up and running again, and the Council thanked Colin for taking up the reigns.
Our hard-working Chair, Elaine Hartford, always provides a monthly update on works in the village and this month she had been out and about dealing with the issues raised by villagers. The craterous pot holes in Old Road were reported to Wiltshire Council and these have now been patched. She had also been looking at the footpaths in Spiders Island after reports on the Village Facebook site that the section linking up with Eyres Drive had become overgrown. The Council asked Phil Spooner and his wonderful footpath volunteers to take a look at the issue and Elaine agreed to report this to Wiltshire Council’s Parish Steward to see what can be done. She had also been made aware of the state of the path through the Longford Estate woodland. The Council thanked Elaine for taking this matter up with the estate manager. Elaine also reported that Andrew Fudge, a local resident, had cleared an unsightly and overgrown area of land at Avon Drive and reseeded it, all at his own expense – the green is now restored to its former pastoral glory. The Council praised the work and asked the Clerk to pass on the Councils hearty appreciation to Mr Fudge. Finally, she informed the Council that, following an HM Land Registry search, it turned out that the Council was the owner of a small area of land at Priory Close. This now needed attention and will be added to the Council’s open space maintenance contract.
Alderbury Circular Footpath
The Council received a very informative presentation from Phil Spooner, coordinator of the local Footpath Volunteers. Phil had prepared a map of the circular path showing issues along the route and this was displayed at the meeting. Phil reported:
- Some sections of the path would always become boggy during the winter months.
- In consultation with the tenant farmer, the path between Rectory Road and Whaddon had been moved to drier areas.
- The tenant farmer had indicated that works would be undertaken in the vicinity of the kissing gate – repairs and surfacing. If necessary, Phil will contact the Ramblers’ Heavy Gang for help. The Council indicated it was willing to chip in towards the cost of materials.
- Copies of the footpath guide were running low and he may need to ask for some funding for a reprint.
- In answer to a question from Councillor Sloan, Phil explained the reason for the metal sheeting that has been erected near the style. This was put up for safety reasons after vehicle damage.
- In answer to a report of overhanging scrub on a section of the path, Phil confirmed that he was aware of the issue and had cut back some of the overgrowth.
The Council thanked Phil for his presentation and the excellent work undertaken by the Footpath Volunteers. We all agreed that the circular footpath is a wonderful village asset and the volunteers were applauded for their tireless efforts.
Alderbury Wildlife Project – Waleran Close Community Orchard
The Council welcomed Longford Estate’s decision to grant permission for the tree planting and wildflower meadow area proposed for Waleran Close. I was asked to write to all residents in Waleran Close explaining the proposals and seeking feedback before any works begin. I have just finished a draft plan to make it easy for residents to see what is proposed. If residents are happy with the ideas, the Council will go ahead and buy 10 fruit trees from Landford Nursery for planting in November. These will be a mix of semi-mature desert and cooking apples, pear and plum trees that will provide free Autumn bounty for villagers in future years – we might have to run a bake-off!
Southampton Road Allotments
At the meeting we took a look at the licence granted to the Parish Council by Longford Estate that allows the us to provide the allotments. The Estate has written to the Council to confirm that the land is to be sold. The new owners have indicated that they are willing to honour the terms of the licence and this will enable us to provide allotments on the existing terms for tenants until at least 2026.
The Council has supported concerns raised by local residents and objected to an application for two chalets to the rear of Snowflakes in Rectory Road. The Council shared concerns about highway safety, drainage, impact on the rural landscape and the overdevelopment of a backland plot. The Council raised no objections to three other applications: a new greenhouse at School House in School Hill; a side extension at Mitchett in Southampton Road and a rear extension at 11 The Copse.
The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee
The Council is keen to support this landmark event and agreed to consider the matter further at a future meeting. Villagers with ideas should ping them my way.
Villagers are always welcome to attend Parish Council meetings, so please make a note of the following dates in your diary – for further details, agenda and venues please check the Council website.
- Monday 8th November
- Tuesday 7th December
- Wednesday 5th January 2022
- Thursday 3rd February 2022
- Monday 7th March 202
Right, back to those overgrown herbaceous borders!