As I write this, the village Christmas Tree is glistening cheerfully on a frosty Waleran Close Green and thoughts are turning to the festive period. Warm thanks are due to everyone involved – our guiding star, Elaine Hartford, Nick Ludlow for donating the fabulous tree, Marcus Light and Andy Cole for their technical wizardry and the Mernagh family for the twinkling decorations. The scouts, cubs, beavers and brownies will be gathering on Friday 17th December for mulled wine and a good old festive sing song around the tree. My cap is duly doffed to you all.
Community Orchard and Wildflower Meadow – Waleran Close
I wrote last time about plans for a community orchard and wildflower meadow on Waleran Close Green along Southampton Road. Well, the plan was almost blown off course by Storm Arwen, but I am delighted to report that 10 fruit trees were finally planted on Sunday morning, 28th November. 25 hardy wildlife volunteers turned out with wellies and spades and the job was done before lunch time – and what a good job they did! There are now two cooking apple trees, four eating apples, two plums and two pear trees (sadly, no partridge) securely planted and well staked. The idea is that villagers can help themselves to the fruit once the trees mature and we plan to hold an apple day to mark the first harvest. So, the trees are in and the next step is to gather under the spring blossom to scatter wildflower seeds. Later we will add some bird boxes, hedgehog houses and bug hotels and, in Autumn 2022, we will return to plant perennial wildflowers before shouldering our spades off to Spiders Island for the next project. Again, thanks are due to all the volunteers and a special mention must go to Mel Lawrence, who baked cakes and arranged refreshments on the day – delicious cakes they were too.
Honouring the Fallen
Representatives of the Parish Council joined with villagers to pay their respects at the annual Remembrance Day commemorations at St Mary’s and afterwards at the War Memorial. Cllr John Ridd played a moving Last Post, a wreath was laid by our Vice Chair, John Fuller and a minute’s silence was observed as those who made the ultimate sacrifice for us all were called to mind. Chair of Alderbury British Legion, Colin Nelson, reminded the Council that the War Memorial was constructed in 1922 and will turn 100 next year. The Council agreed with Colin that this should be marked in some way. Ahead of that, I will be digging through the archives to try and find out more about the building of the Memorial. If you have any information please get in touch. Special thanks must be given to Helen Harmon who tends the memorial and keeps it in tip-top order.
At our last meeting of the year in the Social Club we had an update on community policing from PC Pete Jung from Wiltshire Constabulary. Pete is new to the patch and he explained recent changes to community policing in the area. Previously, he worked in the Wilton area and has extensive experience of rural village crime. He passed his contact details to the Clerk and encouraged the Council to contact him with any concerns. Councillors were reassured to hear that since taking up his new role, Pete was able to report that crime rates in Alderbury have been at a very low level. We now have a hotline to Pete’s team and the Council will be keeping an eye on things to make sure we all stay safe.
The Council has received a request from Wiltshire Council to suggest street names for the new development on the old football pitches at Junction Road/Firs Road. Although the Council had fought hard to prevent this development, we all felt it was right to use the opportunity to honour prominent villagers of the past. So, we agreed that the main access road into the development be named ‘Firs Road’ and the two new cul-de-sacs should be named ‘Pooley Place’ in honour of Rev Pooley who founded The Fountain magazine; and, ‘Carpenter Court’ in honour of Margaret Sarah Carpenter (1793 – 1872) a famous Victorian artist who was born in the village.
Southampton Road Footway Clearance
While on the subject of footpaths, I am delighted to report that the Council has now let a contract to cut back the grass banks along Southampton Road. The work has been placed with Hurdcott Landscapes Ltd and will get underway early in the new year.
Speeding on Avon Drive
The Council was concerned to hear about cars speeding along Avon Drive causing danger to pedestrians. We will be working with PC Jung and the community policing team to identify the culprits and bring them to book.
Salisbury Neighbourhood Plan
Together with the Chair of the Council, Elaine Hartford, I attended a meeting at Salisbury Guildhall to discuss the development of the Salisbury Neighbourhood Plan. This is an important document that will set out planning policies for the City over the next ten years. At the meeting, we stressed the importance of the City Council allocating adequate housing land within its boundary to reduce the increasing pressure for housing in the surrounding villages. Rightly, the City is seeking to preserve its green spaces, but that should not be at the expense of more development in Alderbury.
Around the Village
Cllr Hartford updated the Council on a number of village maintenance issues. The rotten posts have now been replaced around the Green and a new gate post had been installed at the Southampton Road entrance to Oakwood Grove open space. The gate into the recreation ground has rotted along the bottom rail and this will be repaired. A glass panel has been smashed in the bus shelter at the Village Hall. An order had been placed for a replacement and Cllrs Hartford and Sloan have removed broken glass to make the shelter safe.
Meetings Coming Up
Here are our meeting dates up until April. For more details, agenda and venue, please check in to our website:
- Wednesday 5th January 2022
- Thursday 3rd February 2022
- Monday 7th March 2022
So, Here It Is, Merry Christmas
So, that’s it for 2021 – my final report of the year is filed. I hope you find this round-up useful and I look forward to bringing you more news in 2022. On behalf of everyone at Alderbury Parish Council, we wish you all a safe and very merry Christmas and a happy new year!