Dry January is now a distant memory and those new year’s resolutions are neatly packed away until they come out again next year. But, while my enthusiasm for diets and workouts is beginning to wane, at least I did manage to get out and walk the circular village footpath. It’s a lovely walk, taking in some magnificent views above Whaddon away to the cathedral in the Avon valley and beyond. If you have not yet tackled the walk, give it a go – it’s around 5 miles of easy walking and will take under two hours. Just wear good footwear or wellingtons as the paths can be muddy in one or two spots. You can download the map for free on the parish Council’s website at www.alderburyparishcouncil.gov.uk – I have put the link on the front page. For the keen walkers in the village, I have also uploaded the route to Komoot – the free ‘turn-by-turn’ satnav for walkers. It’s a great little mobile phone app, free for local walks.
Looking after the Village
The footways along Southampton Road have now been cleared – the contractors, Hurdcott Landscapes have done a brilliant job. The Council works really hard to keep the village looking attractive while maintaining the rural feel of the place and encouraging biodiversity. It’s a tricky balance but I think we are getting it just about right. The re-wilding projects at Waleran Close, Oakwood Grove and Spiders’ Island are beginning to tip the balance back towards nature, but that can go hand-in-hand with keeping the place looking attractive. With that in mind, the Council is about to re-let its grounds maintenance contract for the next four years. I have approached seven local companies and we hope to make the decision at our next meeting in March. The contract details can be found on our website.
The Council is determined to make a good showing in the CPRE Best Kept Village Competition this year. There are so many good things to showcase – the newly refurbished village hall, the community orchard and wildflower meadow, plans for Oakwood Grove and the mini-forest project at Spider’s Island. Add to that the amazing work of the volunteer groups – the wonderful footpath, wildlife, gardening, litter, snow, speedwatch and allotment volunteers. They all give so much to village life – a HUGE thank you from the Council. The village now has a superb new football facility down at Firs Road. So, things are definitely on the up. But (there is always a ‘but’) at the moment Alderbury is covered by Public Health England guidance about litter picking following the Novichok incident in Salisbury. The advice remains in place, four years after the event – ‘if you didn’t drop it, don’t pick it up.’ This is hugely frustrating for the Council; we just can’t officially organise litter picks. We have lobbied for this to change and we are keeping our fingers crossed. We will try and get this ban lifted before the competition begins.
The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee
The Council is supporting the ‘Picnic in the Park’ that will celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee. The fun family event will take place on Saturday 11th June 2022 – pop a note on the fridge. The Council discussed the possibility of erecting a Jubilee beacon (you may have seen the beacon in Downton), but decided against the idea due to the lack of a suitably elevated site. The Clerk was asked to contact neighbouring villages and the National Trust to find out whether a beacon on Pepperbox Hill might be supported.
It has been a busy month for developers and the Council had six planning applications to look at in February. We were delighted to see plans for the restoration of Grade II listed Alderbury House in Tunnel Hill – the new owners have the Council’s full support. We also supported revised plans for Brackendale in Junction Road – we were pleased that the developer listened to our previous objections and made changes. We gave a green light for an extension at The Pippins in Old Road; new windows at School House in School Hill and a garden gazebo at Mayfields in Junction Road. We did have a problem with proposals for a wall in Eyres Drive and we are sure a more sympathetic scheme can be achieved – we lodged an objection to the size, design and materials of the proposed wall which just seems out of keeping with the street.
The Council is now hosting the Alderbury & Whaddon Local History Research Group’s resources on its website. There is a lot of information online including a list of the Group’s publications. Check out this great new resource and if you have a passion for history, why not get in touch with them.
Our next meeting is at the Social Club at 7.30pm on Monday 7th March – for more details and agenda please check in to our website. We would love to see you there.