ALDERBURY PARISH COUNCIL
Caring for Alderbury and Whaddon
Phew, July was an absolute scorcher and, so far, August is keeping the mercury rocketing. For oldies like me it brings back memories of the sizzling summer of 1976, when standpipes sprouted on street corners, tankers shuttled water supplies to parched villages, reservoirs dried to barren moonscapes, bricks were dropped into cisterns, bath water was sloshed on hanging baskets and tomato plants and you could be arrested for brandishing a hosepipe with intent to supply your thirsty veggies. That was a blistering summer, but… it never reached 40 degrees! The Recreation Ground is baked to a crisp and just up the road wildfires have been blazing in Winterbourne Stoke and Laverstock, so go easy out there and avoid BBQs if you can.
While my fan blows the papers around the office desk here at sweltering Milton Towers, the work of the Council goes on, even during the August recess. And there is just enough happening to scrape together my monthly article for the wonderful Fountain magazine.
There has been huge interest in the Nunton Farm milk vending machine and quite rightly too. The milk is in a different league from supermarket brands: fresh, local, served in recyclable glass bottles, creamy and delicious, it really is a treat. I helped put the machine into Wilton some years ago and business is now booming with new machines popping up at the Rugby Club in Salisbury and The Bull in Downton. And, at long last, it seems that Alderbury is going to have its very own supply at The Three Crowns. The Council supported a planning application to provide the facility, subject to a little bit of jiggling to resolve objections from Wiltshire Council’s Conservation Officer – the pub is listed which brings a much higher level of scrutiny from the planners. I’m sure John and the crew at Nunton Farm can agree the details with Wiltshire Council and villagers can be enjoying fresh local milk in September. Our thanks go to the owners of the Crowns for accommodating the machine.
I’ve had several reports of wasps in the Recreation Ground, so I cycled out in the morning sunshine in July to take a look. I found one nest in the cavity wall at the old pavilion but despite rummaging in the hedgerows and trees I couldn’t find any others. I called in Charles from CH Pest Services, and he took a good look as well. The nest and the wasps were removed from the pavilion so our budding basketball stars can resume their matches on the court alongside. If you come across any more nests in the park let me know, we certainly do not want children getting stung.
PC Pete Jung from Wiltshire Police has been rushed off his aching flat feet this month with break-ins and thefts all around the village. A mountain bike was stolen from a garage in Southampton Road – thankfully Pete and the team managed to get that one back to the grateful owners. There was an attempted break-in at Lights Lane, but it seems that the thieves were disturbed and took flight. Tools were stolen from out-buildings in Firs Road and at Rectory Farm. Shed locks were jemmied at Clarendon Grange but nothing was stolen. The same thing happened at Alderbury Halt but this time the burglars made off with power tools. Pete has asked the Council to promote the importance of home security and property marking in the village. Wiltshire Police provide a range of useful advice on home safety measures, and it is working with SelectaDNA to provide an invisible DNA liquid for property marking. As part of Operation Siege this is being marketed to the public at a discounted rate. SelectaDNA has proved effective at deterring theft by as much as 80%. I will post details on the Council website homepage (alderbury.gov.uk) for everyone – please check it out and make sure you protect yourself from these shameful felons. PC Jung has also paid a visit to the owner of a very noisy motorbike that has been vexing villagers – appropriate advice was provided.
Southampton Road Allotments
I know many of you are very keenly following news about the land off Southampton Road between Clarendon Road and Junction Road that extends away down to the Bypass. Well, last Friday the Parish Council and allotment holders met the new owners of the land and walked the site before retiring to the Green Dragon to continue our discussions and enjoy the pub’s wonderful hospitality. The owners have offered to relocate the allotments to another part of the site, and they presented plans showing a larger plot of land with access and car park. It was immediately obvious to everyone that the site proposed was completely unusable for any sort of cultivation – despite weeks of baking drought the ground was completely waterlogged. So, it’s back to the drawing Board for the developers. The Council and the allotment tenants are totally united in pushing for the existing site to be retained. It just makes plain and simple common sense; it would provide a buffer between houses along Southampton Road and Junction Road and any new housing, and it means that the backbreaking slog the tenants have put in to improve their plots will be protected. I think the new owners might well come around to that view in time, but in the meantime, we will keep battling on. There was some good news. The owners signed a new licence with the Parish Council that extends any notice period for early surrender of the allotment land from six months to a full year.
Strangely, mid-summer is always a busy time for planning applications. This year is no exception and we had six applications before us in The Fountain Room at the Village Hall on 9th August. I have already mentioned the application for the milk vending machine that we were delighted to support, but we also had three applications for removal or works to trees. We supported our own application to raise the overhanging branches of a tree in the cemetery – the boughs are now so low it’s almost impossible for families to tend the graves underneath. We were happy for a fir tree to be removed at Alderbury House and we agreed that a Douglas Fir at One Oak in Light’s Lane should be felled provided a native replacement is planted and the existing trees are allowed to grow up to fill the gap. Aside from the trees, we took a good look at a proposed extension at 2 The Banks, in Grimstead Road and raised no objection provided there is no overshadowing, overlooking, or loss of privacy for the neighbours. Finally, we had a long hard look at a single storey kitchen extension at Parkside in Rectory Road. This one was not so simple, and we all agreed it fell well short of the quality of design we should expect in Rectory Road. We have asked Wiltshire Council to refuse the application – it has a very poor design and appearance that is out of keeping with the area, it results in overshadowing, overlooking and loss of privacy for the neighbour behind. We did feel a better design set a little further back from the boundary might overcome the objections, but that is a matter for the applicants and their architects.
The PC is getting quotes to repair the broken white railings along Old Road near the junction with Clarendon Road – the posts have rotted away, and the rail has collapsed and buckled. This little green is lap bang in the middle of the conservation area, so we need a high-quality job. Maybe Basil at the Forge can help with that before he hangs up his bellows at Christmas. There is also a fence in the Rec that needs urgent attention – I’m on it. We will be sprucing up the play equipment and the village notice boards over the coming months while the weather is with us. So, plenty to keep me busy.
Date of Next Meeting
We meet again at 7.30pm on 6th September in the Fountain Room at the Village Hall – why not drop in and say ‘hello.’