It is the very saddest of times as we all mourn the peaceful passing of Her Majesty the Queen. The Chair of the Council posted a deeply moving message of condolence on behalf of villagers and members of the Council. The Council’s website was shrouded in black with a picture of The Queen, a book of remembrance was placed in the Church and space for floral tributes was set aside at the Fountain on the Green. But, more than anything, just like everyone else, we all sat glued to our TV screens as history unfolded – a new King proclaimed, the laying in state and finally the most moving public funeral service we will ever witness. In the words of our Chair, Councillor Hartford: “Her Majesty’s long, unique reign and her steadfast, dedicated life of service and devotion to our nation will be remembered with deep affection and gratitude.” And finally, the rain came, like tears from heaven as the summer drew to its most mournful conclusion.
Councillor Ken Bath
Its was with very great sadness that we all learned of Councillor Ken (Postie) Bath’s resignation from the Council. This came as a very great blow to us all – nobody has more knowledge of village affairs than our Ken. Members paid tribute to his hard work as a Councillor, and we wish him well in the future. The vacancy will be notified to the Returning Officer at County Hall who will arrange for the vacancy to be advertised. If you fancy joining our merry band, then look out for the posters that will go up later this month.
Solar Panels for the Village Hall
As these sad events unfold, so the work of the Council goes on. Councillor John Fuller reported that the Council has commissioned a survey to examine the installation of solar panels on the Village Hall roof as part of Wiltshire Council’s Solar Together cooperative buying scheme. Wiltshire Council tendered (by auction) for companies to provide the panels and selected the company EE Renewables as the best value for money provider. EE will conduct the survey of the Village Hall roof and recommend a suitable scheme for installation. We will be considering the final details at a future meeting. A small Council can do very little to influence the effects of climate change, but Alderbury Parish Council is committed to doing its bit.
Wildlife Friendly Alderbury – Next Steps
Councillor Mel Lawrence filled us in about the second phase of the community orchard and wildlife meadow project that will be completed with the mowing of the meadow, scarification and overseeding of the lovely wildflower area. This will increase the diversity of wildflowers in 2023 and help the meadow to continue to develop with little intervention in future years. The second project proposed this Autumn is the planting of a wildlife friendly native hedge along the Northern boundary of Oakwood Grove Open Space. The idea is to create a 30m stretch of hedgerow consisting of Hazel, Holly, Hawthorn, Blackthorn, Crab Apple, Spindle, Dog Rose, and Dogwood. It is also intended to plant four new native trees (Birch, Hawthorne, Malus, Sorbus) to link to the hedge alongside the path leading to Southampton Road. Mel told us that the volunteers are also thinking of installing a couple of hedgehog lodges and some log piles. We heard from Mel that the hedgerow will be managed for wildlife but cut outside of the nesting season to prevent it affecting nearby properties or the well-used path across the green. The Council supported the plans subject to consultation with the local neighbours.
Southampton Road Allotments
There has been some good news about the future of the allotments. The Council, together with allotment holders, met with the site owners, Formula Land (Alderbury) Ltd on Friday 5th August to discuss the future of the allotments. Formula Land had submitted an initial proposal to relocate the allotments to a new, larger site further down the pasture at a point just NE of Oakwood Grove (adjoining the woodland and extending down to the land drain across the field). A new access and improved parking had been proposed.
Following a tour of the existing allotments and the proposed site, it was immediately obvious to everyone present that the proposed alternative location was really boggy, exposed and totally unsatisfactory for cultivation. In addition, the proposal involved the removal of a large area of mature woodland. To be fair to Formula Land, they sympathised with our concerns and agreed to reconsider their plans. They came back with a new proposal to keep the existing allotments and, subject to planning, to provide a new hard-surfaced access and parking area. The Council warmly welcomed this move and agreed to seek to acquire the freehold of the site to secure the future of the allotment gardens forever. At the meeting, the Chair thanked John Turley and the allotment holders for role they had played in securing these agreements.
We know that some of the playground equipment is looking a bit tatty and needs a facelift. An inspection of the large multiplay unit at the NE end of the field has found that it is beyond economic repair due to wood rot. The inspector recommended that this unit is replaced with something of the same size. Play equipment does not come cheap and the bill could reach £20k – that drew sharp intakes of breath all around the Council chamber. We agreed that, if the unit fails the RoSPA safety inspection this month, it is closed and replaced as soon as funds permit. Members came up with the super cool idea of inviting kids from the primary school to help choose the new play equipment for the site.
Picnic in the Park 2023
Another World exclusive for readers! The organisers of the Picnic in the Park event have asked for permission to stage the event again on Saturday 3rd June 2023, starting at around 1.00pm and finishing at 10.30pm. The Council was delighted with this year’s event, we received no complaints, and the field was cleared of litter and left in immaculate condition. So, of course, we said a loud YES to the idea, and we heartily thanked the organisers for the fabulous event held this year.
Our hardworking Chair, Elaine Hartford, has been out and about in the village, talking to residents and dealing with their grumbles. This month she was down at the cemetery where she found a headstone loose, leaning and in danger of toppling over. Elaine has arranged for the stone to be laid flat to make it safe and the family will be asked to undertake repairs. She reported quotes for the replacement of rotten fencing at the Recreation ground and we agreed to award the work to the lowest tenderer and ask them to replace the rotten posts at Old Road while they are in the village. Elaine reported that the Salisbury Men’s Shed charity has agreed to replace the Council’s noticeboards for the cost of materials and a small donation. We agreed that Ken Carley (a member of the Salisbury Men’s Shed) can remove the Folly Lane board to use as a template. At the suggestion of Cllr Barry Sloan, we have agreed to seek a price for the provision of a new waste bin for the open space in Avon Drive adjoining the Canal. Elaine reported that the ongoing litter bin issues have been addressed with the contractor and she thanked Barry for lugging a dumped settee from the Recreation Ground to the Council tip in Salisbury.
Date of Next Meeting
We meet again at 7.30pm on Wednesday 5th October in the Fountain Room at the Village Hall – why not drop by?