The Parish Council Chairman summarised his “eventful first year” at the Annual Parish Meeting on 26th March.
“It has been an eventful first year, not quite as eventful as last year when we had the public enquiry, the allocation of land for housing by the District Council and had to address the water pressure problems. In March, we considered the war memorial completion, looked at putting in some handrails on the footpath in North Lane and addressed the fundraising for the new playground. In May I was elected chairman and Maggie Johnson agreed to continue her invaluable role as vice chairman and chair of the planning committee. I cannot stress the importance of the planning committee’s work too highly. We live in a precious village with a splendid character. The planning committee is diligent in its work, balancing the needs of the village whilst safeguarding its heritage. In July we reviewed the progress of the fundraising for the playground and addressed the war memorial project, which occupied a considerable amount of time and effort but is now, we hope, a settled subject. Thanks to the tireless efforts of Karen White and her team we have the funds for our new playground, which promises to be superb. The work has started and the hope is that it will all be finished for the Easter holiday. I know that some were concerned that the new site might interfere with the fireworks and the Tennis Club, but as far as we can ascertain, this will not be the case.
“There have been a few perpetual themes occupying us throughout the year:
- Parking outside Halls Hill car park at the top of Kiln Lane: We have been and are working with Queen Elizabeth Country Park and Hampshire County Council to resolve this issue.
- The pond car park and the Village Hall car park: we have had some works done to the Pond car park and filled in some of the holes in the Village Hall car park
- Petersfield Road: This is now no longer open to vehicular traffic apart from access, but we were still getting reports that it was being used.
- Land at the Manor: we have now resolved that issue in a satisfactory manner by way of a transfer of land in consideration of a donation to the playground
- Dark Skies initiative: We have been much concerned with this valuable asset. It is one of the things that the Planning Committee has been particularly concerned about. We have addressed lighting problems and we have nominated the Recreation ground as a Dark Skies discovery site.
- Kiln Lane road safety: we were concerned for people walking up Kiln Lane, but we have been able to agree with HCC that more warning signs should be set up. That would be one “Pedestrians in the Road” sign fixed to the existing height restriction pole immediately south of the Village Inn crossroads to deal with southbound traffic. Northbound there would be two similar signs, one on the left hand side of the road immediately north of Halls Hill car park with a second to be fixed to the 30 mph sign (on left side of road) south of the rail bridge. In addition, coming North (i.e. downhill) there would be a painted SLOW immediately downhill from the gated entrance to the old tip site and another painted SLOW road marking further down opposite the large wooden gates on the eastern side of the road [alongside a telegraph pole no.3].
- Kissing gates for the footpath at Weston: we have agreed with the landowner that one style would be replaced by a much friendlier kissing gate
- Finance: The precept (the amount of money that we get from the council tax) has remained fixed for many years. At our budget meeting in November we agreed that we should increase the precept by 3%.”
Finally, he explained that there had been a vacancy on the Parish Council, advertised for a number of months, and that the entire Council was delighted to welcome Lynne Ashcroft to fill the vacant role.