This month we paused again to remember those who lost their lives so that we can enjoy the freedoms and liberties we take for granted today. 75 years have passed since the end of World War II and yet the poignancy of Remembrance Day was imbued with a heightened sense of sombre reflection as the cruelty of war returns to Europe. The golden leaves fell softly, the ‘Last Post’ rang out across The Green as Alderbury remembered and sent its love out to the people of Ukraine.
Say Hello to Frances!
Following the resignation of Postie Ken Bath from the Council, the Returning Officer for Wiltshire was notified, and the vacancy advertised. No election was requested and, therefore, we needed to fill the vacancy by co-option. The vacancy was advertised and only one written expression of interest was received from Frances West. At the last full election, Frances had submitted nomination papers but after attending a parish council meeting and being impressed with the way the Council was running, she very kindly withdrew to avoid the need for an election. Frances explained her desire to become a local councillor and told us about her background and her motivation to work on behalf of the local community. She currently serves on the Village Hall Committee as a volunteer. So, let’s all say a big ‘hello’ to our new councillor, Frances.
Salisbury Live – Coronation Event
Exciting news! The Council has agreed to make a grant of £1,250 to Salisbury Live to support a big knees-up to celebrate the coronation of King Charles on 6th May next year. It’s going to be a great event, celebrating another historic moment for the UK. Put a note on the fridge!
Solar Panels – Alderbury Village Hall
At our meeting this month, Cllr Fuller reported that the technical survey of the Hall had taken place on 17th October. The roof had been inspected and it had been agreed that two separate electricity feeds from the solar array should be provided – one to the Village Hall and one into the Social Club. This will maximise the local benefit of the investment. The panels will be mounted on the new flat roof section at the rear of the building where they will be almost invisible. It was recommended that 20 panels are installed, subject to any necessary planning consents. So, the Council’s drive to make Alderbury a little bit less dependent on carbon goes on.
Wildlife Friendly Alderbury – Projects 2022
Councillor Lawrence provided an update on the outcome of consultation with properties adjoining Oakwood Grove Open Space about the planned hedge and tree planting scheme due to get underway at the start of the month. Two responses had been received – one in favour and one raising detailed comments which had been addressed by altering the scheme slightly. Mel has managed to get hold of free hedging plants from The Woodland Trust and volunteers have been busy getting them settled into their new home. Mel also told us about the second phase of the community orchard and wildflower meadow project at Waleran Close. The meadow has been scarified (thanks to Cllr Ridd for the loan of his scarifier) and more seed has been scattered and it is hoped this will create a more impressive result in 2023. The fruit trees in the community orchard have survived the baking-hot summer, thanks to the wildlife volunteers who helped with watering. She explained that work at Spiders Island on the planned ‘mini-forest’ will be put off until 2023. Alex Wilkinson was present and updated members on the project to re-wild a small area of highway land opposite the tennis courts at Silverwood. I’m sure our local hedgehogs are reading this with smiles on their bristly little faces. Huge thanks go out to Mel and the crew.
Southampton Road Allotments~
Our chair Elaine Hartford, and I, together with representatives of the Southampton Road Allotment Association met with the Directors of Formula Land (Alderbury) Ltd on 21st October to talk about the future of the allotments at Southampton Road. At the meeting, the Directors confirmed their commitment to retain the existing allotments and to provide a new compacted gravel access, car park and delivery area, hammerhead turning space and private entrance onto Southampton Road – subject to any necessary planning consents. The company representatives explained their preference for the allotments to be provided to the Council on a long-term secure lease. Elaine and I explained why the Council would prefer a freehold transfer of the land but we welcomed the proposed lease, subject to agreement of terms. The Council’s only significant concerns about a lease related to the potential on-sale of the land to the eventual developers, the uncertainty this may cause and the possibility that a lease may preclude the designation of the site as ‘statutory’ allotments – although the latter point was not viewed as a particular difficulty given that the Council will have full control of the site for the duration of the lease. We reported this back to the Council and I was asked to write to Formula Land (Alderbury) Ltd thanking them for their commitment to the retention of the allotments on their present site with the associated works they have proposed and setting out the following:
• The Council would strongly prefer the transfer of the freehold title of the land in order that it may be afforded statutory protection in perpetuity
• The Council feels that the freehold transfer would be in the interests of the developers and free them of any ongoing liabilities relating to the site. Demand for allotments continues to grow and the prospect of it becoming vacant in the future is very improbable.
• The Council is concerned that the future sale of the site to any third party developer would cause further uncertainty which should be addressed either by:
(a) The transfer of the freehold to the Council;
(b) A formal agreement with the Council that the allotment site will be excluded from any future sale; and/or
(c) The separate land registration of the site with a covenant precluding development included in the title deeds.
Fingers crossed that the Company agree so that we can get on and instruct solicitors to conclude matters as soon as possible.
PC Pete Jung reported that a non-domestic burglary had been attended in Old Road, investigations are ongoing on that. There was also an attempted forced entry at the Social Club . A car involved in the incident has been recovered and the Police are on the tail of the offenders. All in all, October was a very busy month for the team, so watch out and keep your sheds and garages well locked.
Village Hall Hire Rates
Our representative on the Village Hall Management Committee Cllr Mike Huntley, gave us an update on future hire rates. The Trustees have agreed to review the rates in October 2023 when the Committee will have the results of the first full operating year in the refurbished hall, post pandemic. This will help in assessing how the restructured and rationalised rates introduced this year have kept pace with increased maintenance and utilities costs, capital expenditure on necessary improvements and the need to secure a sensible level of reserves and funds to cover future liabilities, notably major repairs to the roof. Once the new rates have been approved, they will be announced in November 2023 and commence with effect 1st January 2024.
Around the Village
Our Chair Elaine reported that repairs to the vandalised bus shelter have been commissioned. The Recreation Ground fencing works have now been completed and repairs to the fence at Old Road have been booked. Dog poo continues to be a nuisance. A local resident reported that bags full of the horrible stuff had been placed in his hedge in Avon Drive. I also noticed bags hanging from hedges and fences while out walking the Circular Path last month. What is this about? We all love dogs, but there really is no excuse for leaving bags of poop around the village. It’s weird that a few people feel this is acceptable, it really, really isn’t. The Parish Council now has responsibility for dealing with overgrown bushes and hedges that obstruct the pavements, streets, and junctions. Thanks for that Wiltshire Council! So, now I have the lovely job of sending letters to villagers, asking them to trim their bushes when they get a bit shaggy. It’s not something I enjoy, and I know it can be annoying, so check your bush and give it a quick clip if you think its overgrowing.
So, on that note, I will replace my quill in its inkwell until next time.
My very best to everyone!