Latest News Roundup
Published: 18 June 2021
Phew, what a full-on month; the Council has packed in three meetings since I last put quill to vellum. And, a lot has happened. So, as much as I would like to mention the lovely sunny weather, I better crack on with the news.
At the Annual Council meeting on 18th May, Elaine received the unanimous backing of the Council and will be our Chair again this year. Alderbury is very lucky to have Elaine, she does so much for the village. I caught up with her before our last meeting and there she was hunting the Rec for litter, black bag in hand. So, welcome back Elaine and thank you for all you do. John Fuller was re-elected as Vice-Chair and I hope he has an easier year now that the village hall project is done and dusted and he has been able to hand over the finances to the new Clerk. John does deserve a lighter load – he has put in one heck of a shift for the village over the last twelve months. Thanks John!
Annual Parish Council Meeting
The Annual Parish Council meeting is quite a formal affair, the Council does a lot of important administrative business, most of which would be of absolutely no interest to anyone other than us council nerds and our auditors. However, one thing was very, very different. After twelve months of online (‘you’re on mute’) Zoom meetings, we finally got together in person in the new village hall. We were of course spaced miles apart and observed strict sanitizing procedures. All a bit strange, but at least it’s another step on the road to recovery.
Picnic in the Park on 7th August
Councillor Barry Sloan filled us all in about plans for the ‘Picnic in the Park’ at the Rec on 7th August. This will be a wonderful event for Alderbury and Whaddon residents of all ages to come together and celebrate the easing of coronavirus restrictions. Children from the school will be invited to design posters for the event which will be used for publicity in the village. Of course, everything is subject to the COVID-19 regulations but, fingers crossed, the easing of restrictions currently planned for 21 June will go ahead – even if this is slightly delayed. So, all being well, here is what we have to look forward to on the day:
- 3 pm – 6 pm
Everyone is invited to bring their own picnic to eat on the recreation ground at the Village Hall. The Social Club will be open for drinks, and it is hoped that there will be tea and coffee available from the Village Hall (this has still to be confirmed). There will be an ice cream van and various children’s games. Children from the village school will have the chance to enter a cake ‘bake-off’ competition, which will be judged during the afternoon. At 6 pm there will be a minute’s clapping as a way of saying thank you to all the people, both locally and elsewhere, who helped others in any way during the most difficult periods. It is hoped that this will be preceded by a bagpiper playing and followed by live guitar music. This will draw a close to the first part of the event in readiness for the evening shenanigans
- 6 pm until late
It is hoped that the Social Club will run a hog roast and of course there will be refreshments from the bar. Live music is possible.
On the Verge of Reason
After a lot of discussion, the Council has decided to bite the bullet and do some desperately needed pavement clearance along Southampton Road. The banks are creeping across the paths restricting access and forcing pedestrians very close to the road. While this is really the responsibility of Wiltshire Council, we know how strapped they are for cash, so, if we don’t get on with it, the verges will soon be completely overgrown. It is already pretty dangerous in places. Works will be scheduled soon.
Wildlife Friendly Alderbury
We devoted most of the Annual Parish Meeting on 20th May to the launch of the Wildlife Friendly Alderbury Project. Wiltshire Wildlife Trust’s (WWT) Wild Landscapes Team provided a really brilliant presentation with loads of fantastic ideas to re-wild areas of the village. If you missed the event, you can catch up with a video of the presentation. Nick and Chelsie from WWT will be reporting back to the Council with their recommendations very soon. In the meantime, a new Facebook site is being prepared to spread the word far and wide.
One important postscript to this item. The Council has committed to engaging the community before the roll-out of projects in order to secure awareness and support. Leaving areas of grass unmown might not go down a storm in some places and so it is really important that the views of residents are at the heart of everything.
It was great to be back inside the village hall after a year of online meetings. The facilities and finish are exceptional and a credit to everyone involved. Andy Larkham and the Trustees are holding their AGM on 30th June and plan to have the hall open to the public as part of that. The Parish Council is hoping to arrange a more formal event sometime after the AGM to mark the opening and to say a proper ‘thank you’ to everyone who did so much.
The Council also agreed to work with the Trustees on the management of the car park. There has been a lot of interest from traders, including requests for a fruit and veg stall, hot food takeaway and, of course, the Nunton Farm milk machine. This is a matter for the Trustees really, but the Council would like to be consulted before any more traders are permitted to use parking spaces.
Two big planning applications dominated the agenda this month. Plans for the new pre-school at Firs Road and the re-use of the Old Lime Yard in Grimstead Road. The council supported the new pre-school development which will provide much needed extra capacity and state of the art facilities. Conditions were suggested to deal with potential traffic issues in Firs Road. The Lime Yard proposal for storage, processing and distribution of horticultural products received a big fat ‘no’ from all members. It was felt that the impact on neighbours and the local environment would be unreasonable and the extra HGV movements on rural lanes is simply not acceptable. So, it was a big thumbs-down on that one.
Other applications we looked at related to trees. The Council really hates to see any trees lost, but we have agreed to the removal of 32 diseased and dangerous trees alongside Southampton Road at Silverwood. Expert advice suggests there really is very little option, but we did ask for new trees to be planted to replace those removed. Minor tree works at Cherry Tree Cottage on Old Road were also given the green light.
There has been a nasty little spate of anti-social behaviour and vandalism around the village. This is annoying for everyone and particularly galling for the parish council as we have had to stump up nearly £1,000 for repairs. A panel was broken in the bus shelter at Whaddon – that was fixed and then the light was trashed. A fence at the Rec was kicked down and several road signs have been damaged. But, rest assured, the council is on the case. We have reported the incidents to the Police and passed over information that we hope will lead them to the culprits. By the way, did you know there is a new way to report ASB and vandalism in the village, simply use this link: https://www.wiltshire.police.uk/ro/report/. This will create a log that will help the Police target offenders more effectively.
Around the parish
The new speed indicator device has been tested and is working well. The Council has agreed to buy two new solar panels to power up the batteries so we don’t have to keep charging them. On a final and more sombre note, new cemetery charges have been agreed. This is the first time the fees have been increased for over ten years so there has been a bit of a jump. Even after the increases, we still charge a lot less than Salisbury and a number of local councils in the area. It’s a beautiful and tranquil spot alongside the Church over-looking a peaceful meadow.
Stay safe everyone and enjoy the sunshine.
Parish Clerk, Alderbury Parish Council
PO BOX 2366, Salisbury, SP2 2NY