The party is over, the bunting is all boxed-up and the Jubilee has been, and, it has gone. A big shout-out to Keith Wallace and the gang who made sure Alderbury and Whaddon celebrated in style with the wonderful Picnic in the Park – a great day for everyone. So, along with the Jubilee, Spring too has passed, and another summer approaches its fiery zenith. Flowers are in full bloom and the village is looking resplendent as the seasons turn once more. But it’s another month and another meeting for the Parish Council and a fair bit to fill you in on.
Southampton Road Allotments
You will remember from last time, that there has been quite a kerfuffle about the Southampton Road Allotments. Very ominously, the land was sold last year by Longford Estate to a development company, and we all know what that means. Obviously, the allotment tenants are extremely worried about all this and fear they could be booted off the site at any moment. Well, that is something the Parish Council is hoping to make sure never happens. So, the Council has contacted the new owners of the site to begin discussions about the future, we all want to see the existing allotments, car park and access retained, and the Council is hopeful the new owners may agree to pass that land to the village so the allotments can be protected forever. Legal advice has been sought from The National Association of Local Councils and advice has been received from The National Allotment Society – sadly the Society confirms that the current site does not benefit from any form of statutory protection, which would have helped in our negotiations. Nevertheless, we remain hopeful of a positive outcome.
Firs Road Development and Road Safety
Another issue giving the Council a bit of bother is the new development at Firs Road and particularly the constant stream of HGVs rumbling past the school. Tight rules are in place to make sure that juggernauts are not entering the site until after the school drop-off is over. The developers are doing their best to make sure these rules are enforced but, sadly, it appears that one or two lorry drivers never got the memo, and there have been instances of HGVs rattling down Firs Road before 9.00am. Thanks to the hard work of Councillor John Fuller, these matters have been taken up with the site manager and things are getting better. John also reports that work is going well on the new access road and the improved pavement which will provide a much safer access to the school closer to the new football club car park.
Alderbury Football Club Secretary, Emma Burton came along to the meeting and told us all about the progress of works at the club. The final stages of the internal fit-out and decoration are underway and work on the car park is progressing well. The Club had secured further funding from the Football Foundation and Vistry Homes are helping with the access and car park. Alderbury will have a truly superb football facility when everything is finished, and our hats are off in admiration of all the Club has achieved. We asked Emma whether the Club might allow the car park to be used for dropping-off of school children and she agreed to take the matter back to the Football Club Committee for further discussion.
Village Hall Solar Scheme
The Council has renewed its commitment to all things green again this year. One way we can reduce reliance on fossil fuels is to install solar panels on the village hall. And; that is exactly what we hope to do. The Council has submitted an expression of interest to the Solar Together initiative promoted by Wiltshire Council. This is a great scheme where local people band together and a large installation contract can be let that saves everyone a whole chunk of money. A bid has been submitted that would see up to fifteen solar panels fitted on the roof. We must jump through a few more hoops yet before we can finally give the project the ‘green’ light; so, fingers crossed.
Did you know there is a simple and anonymous way of reporting crime? Well, who would have guessed, there is! Anonymous reports of suspected crime and antisocial behaviour can be made using the Crimestoppers service online (Google Crimestoppers) or the confidential phone line 0800 555111. The Police asked us to promote the service to all residents, so there you go.
Calling for Volunteers
The Village Hall Committee is in urgent need of new volunteer members. The Committee meets around 6-8 times a year and manages the lovely new facility and the car park. If you have a few spare hours a month, please get in touch. There are loads of other ways you can play a positive part in village life and lots of opportunities are advertised on the Parish Council website – http://www.alderburyparishcouncil.gov.uk.
We know many villagers love nipping down to the Village Hall when the fish and chip van rolls up. The Parish Council has no big problem with this, it certainly cuts down trips to Salisbury and the endless stream of Deliveroo motorbikes belting through the village. But the Council does not have the final say. Use of the car park is managed by the Village Hall Committee, and with more vans wanting to use the site, they are working hard to come up with a plan that works for everyone.
At our last meeting we finally got to see the exciting new plans for the Three Crowns. And yes, before you ask, the pub will reopen (I can hear the cheers). This is great news for the village and particularly our thirsty locals in Whaddon. The owners explained how COVID-19 had devastated trade and left them with no option but to close the doors. However, now they are looking to diversify trade, with letting rooms and a farm shop to support the pub business. The bar area will be reduced to make space for the farm shop and the layout will be rejigged a bit too, but the pub will be retained. Having looked at the plans, the Council supported the owners with their new venture and backed the planning application provided that the pub remains open. We wish the owners well with this new venture.
Development behind Wagtails in Southampton Road
The Parish Council was far less happy with yet another planning application for the site behind Wagtails. Everyone remembers how the applicant cleared the site of old woodland, trees and wild habitat before any planning application had even been submitted for the site. Both Wiltshire and Alderbury Parish Council turned down the application on the site and finally, it was booted out on appeal, but like a boomerang it just keeps on coming back. The scheme is contrary to planning policy and totally out of keeping with the houses along Junction Road, Southampton Road, and Firs Road – which are characterised by varying house styles and looser layouts more typical of a rural village. The plans seek to shoe-horn far too many houses onto this backland site, with inadequate green space, landscaping, and wildlife habitat. There are big doubts too over drainage and even the Police have chipped in with an objection – and that does not happen often. So, yet again we are in the hands of Wiltshire Council.
Dogs on the Recreation Ground
Before I sign off this month there is one perennial favourite of every parish clerk in the land, yes, you guessed it – dog mess. We all love our cuddly little pooches and there are loads of lovely footpaths around the village leading out into the beautiful open countryside, so please, please, please – don’t ‘exercise’ your doggy on the Recreation Ground. It’s a children’s play area and dogs are not allowed. New signs will be erected soon.
Date of Next Meeting
A quick reminder, Council next sits on 4th July – for details of the venue, agenda and future meetings please check out our website. Why not come along and see local democracy in action.