The festive feasting has taken a very heavy toll. Sadly, for your corpulent correspondent ‘dry’ January and intermittent fasting are the order of the day. And, while the tills at the local gyms, yoga studios and sports halls are ringing out with the sound of new year’s resolutions, in our lovely old village no such expense is necessary – we have beautiful footpaths, lovely walks and the fabulous outdoor gym – all for free! So, lets kick off a healthy new year with some good news.
Southampton Road Footway
On the subject of walking, you will have noticed that works are well underway to cut back the grass banks along the Southampton Road footways. Hurdcott Landscapes Ltd are doing a smashing job and we expect everything to be finished by the end of the month. The paths were in a very sorry state, and, while really this is Wiltshire Council’s role, the parish council could not sit by any longer and do nothing. We have agreed to include the footways in our own contract from April, so the paths will stay in good condition.
Your clerk is not the only one pulling his belt in this month; the Council is pegging back its spending too. Household incomes are under such a tight squeeze at the moment that everyone on the Council agreed that another big tax-hike is just not on. So, the parish tax increase is less than 50 pence for the whole year! The money the parish council receives is only a tiny fraction of your annual Council Tax bill – the vast majority goes to Wiltshire Council, the Police and the Fire Service. For the money you pay us:
- We provide and maintain the recreation ground and other parks and open spaces.
- We provide allotments, bus shelters and grit bins.
- We provide the cemetery and take care of the war memorial and the Fountain
- We look after play equipment, outdoor gym, skatepark, noticeboards and signs.
- We collect litter and empty litter bins.
- We look after footpaths, fences and hedgerows.
- We support local projects – such as the local wildlife group and the gardening club.
- We help with emergencies
Did you know the war memorial is 100 years old this year? Nobody seems to know exactly when it was unveiled but it was sometime in 1922. The Council has been pondering how to mark the centenary and now there is a plan. The Alderbury branch of the Royal British Legion and the Scouts are looking to organise a service of re-dedication, with a parade from the Church to the War Memorial, where for the first time, a flag will be flown. The Council has given permission for a flag pole socket to be installed by the Royal British Legion and a temporary flag pole will be erected to commemorate future civic occasions.
At the last meeting we took a good look at the application for 14 permanent mobile homes with landscaping to replace the temporary caravan site behind Whaddon Business Park. The Council was concerned that the site is outside the village settlement boundary where development is normally banned. However, we all recognise that this land has long been used as a touring caravan site with associated development and hardstanding – it’s all looking a bit tired and shabby. With careful development and provided its use is limited to accommodation for older people, the Council feels the proposal could enhance this part of the village. So, after a long discussion we decided to raise no objections subject to a number of conditions.
The Council raised no objection to a new dwelling alongside Marldon in Clarendon Road.
Our representative, Cllr Mike Huntley, provides us with monthly updates on the work of the Village Hall Trust. We were sad to hear Andy Larkham has stepped down after many years of dedicated service – our thanks go to him. Andy is a hard act to follow but we were pleased to hear the committee continues to work effectively and is doing a great job looking after this fabulous building. A new dishwasher had been approved for the smart new kitchen and negotiations are ongoing with the Social Club about the provision of improved Wi-Fi. The next improvement in the pipeline is the provision of an accessible toilet in the Social Club. Local architect, Nick Phillips, has visited and thinks the store room next to the ladies’ loo will be the ideal place. The committee will be considering Nick’s proposal before green-lighting any scheme.
Around the Village
Our lovely Chair, Cllr Hartford, updated the Council on a number of village maintenance issues. The drains at The Croft opposite Avon Drive will need to be cleared using the Wiltshire Council mechanised vactor service. The broken slab at the pavilion in the Recreation Ground has still not been fixed by the football club. Branches overhanging the burial ground need lifting and a dirty great pot hole at the bottom of Lights Lane needs filling. The hard-working Parish Clerk has been asked to get these things sorted PDQ.
Our next meeting is at the Social Club at 7.30pm on 3rd February – for more details and agenda please check in to our website. We would love to see you there.
Over Christmas, I received a fascinating call from a gentleman who lives near the Oakwood Grove open space. This local chap has taken a keen interest in the huge oak tree on the field and one day he, with the help of his wife, measured its circumference. Making a note of the tree’s size, he used a programme on the internet to calculate its age. Turns out that it dates from the reign of Elizabeth I and was around when young Will Shakespeare was putting on his pantos in the Village Hall. And with that, I bid thee adieu!