Spring has most definitely arrived! Daffs are nodding in the sun; pastel pink blossom encrusts the Blackthorn and primroses speckle the hedgerow banks from Shute End all the way up to Pepperbox. So why not Dubbin-up those crusty old walking boots and explore all that Alderbury and Whaddon has to offer.
The village is looking beautiful, and, don’t just take my word for it either. The village made a big impression on TV presenter Matt Allwright from the BBC One Show when he popped down on March 9th with a film crew to talk to local volunteers about the Best Kept Village Competition. Matt and the Crew were bowled over by the village and all that is going on in preparation for this year’s battle with oh-so-tidy neighbours Whiteparish. The crew enjoyed lunch at the Green Dragon (which they loved by the way) and then filmed a few of us huffing and puffing with shovels and brooms. They asked us about the difficulties faced by the Parish Council due to restrictions imposed on litter picking by the UK Health Security Agency following the Novichok poisonings in 2018. In truth, it’s a bit of a pain that the restriction is still in place. It may be only advice, but it means that the Council cannot officially organise litter picking by volunteers – it’s all to do with insurance. You have to love a bit of red tape, don’t you? Anyway, this year we will give Whiteparish a good run for their money!
Looking after the Village
Our Chair, Elaine Hartford, is always out and about in the village keeping an eye on things. She can usually be found in the Boundary Café on Friday morning dealing with issues raised by locals as they polish off the fruit cake. She might report back to me for action or talk to the Wiltshire Council Parish Steward if it is a County responsibility. It works too – this month the Parish Steward cleared weeds along the gutters in Avon Drive and arranged a visit from the gully sweeper. I have asked our Grounds Crew to relocate a rubbish bin to the area of grass in Avon Drive where the path goes through the woods by the old canal. Elaine was out with Cllr Barry Sloan clearing broken glass from the Recreation Ground, then she beetled up to The Green to check reports that the buses are damaging the verges – turns out things are not too bad up there after all. Other councillors report things they pick up while out and about too. Cllr Mernagh passed on a concern that a garden hedge is engulfing the bus stop in Clarendon Road. I have been asked to send a letter requesting that the offending hedge gets a nifty short back and sides pronto. Sadly, Cllr Sloan has received reports of trees lost during the February storms – this included one of the pear trees at the Community Orchard on Waleran Green. The good news is that a replacement fruit tree has been planted by the Dominey family – who are part of the wildlife volunteer group. Thanks guys!
The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee: Picnic in the Park and Salisbury Live Event
The Council has given the green light for the ‘Picnic in the Park’ that will celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee. The event will take place on the afternoon and evening of Saturday 11th June. It promises to be quite a spectacle with bunting, bouncy castle, food vendors and stalls arranged around the picnic area and main stage where acts will perform all afternoon and into the evening. Make a date in your diary, it’s going to be a great fun day out for the whole family.
PC Pete Jung from Wiltshire Constabulary attends our meetings and lets us know about any policing issues around the village. Thankfully, Alderbury is a very safe village but that does not mean that crime is completely absent. This month we had a break-in at the sports pavilion in the Rec – the lock was kicked off or jemmied and some minor damage was caused. The Football Club – who rent the pavilion – quickly secured the lock but not before some junior trophies were smashed. If you have any information about this crime, please phone or message the 101 service and we might be able to nab the culprit. Pete also filled us in about an online fraud incident in the village – an unfortunate local resident lost over £1,000 to a scammer posing as an employee of the charity Homestart. PC Rachel Davey will be coming along to our Annual Parish Meeting in April to explain what we can all do to combat this all-too-common form of serious crime. In the meantime, be vigilant and don’t give any personal or bank details to anyone calling or emailing out of the blue – always better to be safe than sorry.
It’s been a quiet month for planning applications. The Council maintained its objection to the development along the old railway embankment at Kiln Close in Whaddon. The site is very tight and wholly unsuitable. The site was granted permission in 2019 so we can only try to reiterate our objections. The Council also had a good look at a proposed extension at Crossfields right at the bottom of Rectory Road. After a good deal of debate, we decided to object, feeling that an extension constructed of traditional materials with a more sympathetic design would be more in keeping with the existing dwelling and less visually intrusive in this sensitive landscape setting.
Village Hall Management Committee
Do you use the Village Hall or Social Club? Would you be interested in serving on the Management Committee? If so, new members are needed. Its an interesting role and the Committee only meets about once every six weeks – so no heavy commitment. Fancy it? If so, ping me a message.
Last month I reported that the Council was out to tender for its ground maintenance work. I am pleased to report that after carefully considering the prices submitted, the contract has been awarded to Hurdcott Landscapes Ltd for a period of four years from 1st April 2022, the Company having provided the lowest price over the term of the contract. This is great news for the Council as we have used Hurdcott for the last 5 years and they have always done a wonderful job in the village – they did a lovely job clearing the verges along Southampton Road. But, it is always good to know that we are getting the best available price too.
Dates of future meetings
The Council next meets on 5th April. For details of the venue, agenda and future meetings please check out our website.