AMPORT PARISH COUNCIL
Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting held on Monday 19th April 2010 at 7pm in Amport School.
Present: Mr Ian Morrison (Chairman), Lt Col Stephens (Vice Chairman) Mr Bill Gore, Mrs Sarah Hammer, Mr Nicholas Hoare, Mr Ian Long, Mrs Diana Preston, Mr Ashley Smith and Suzanne Hoare (clerk)
Apologies - Mr Southern, Mrs Tanya Garman, Mrs Jean Arnell,
Mrs Pat West), Mrs Unwin (Village Correspondent).
1. Apologies and Welcome
2. Neighbourhood Watch and Police Report
Brian Nolan spoke on behalf of the Neighbourhood Watch
detailing the information alerts and commenting on the crimes reported in Amport
during the past year.
3. Chairman’s Report
This year has been satisfactorily conservative but we have managed to make modest improvements to the life we are privileged to have in the Parish.
In 2009 the dominant bug-bear was the threat of the Megashed and as you all know, thanks largely to the tremendous input of the STOP committee, we have managed to obtain the maximum mitigation in the damage to our environment. At the moment 100 acre roundabout looks like a WW1 battlefield and there will certainly be more disruption for the foreseeable future, but it could have been so much worse had the original application succeeded.
One problem we have not managed to resolve has been the totally unreasonable disruption caused by the sewage system in East Cholderton. Tim Southern has been trying extremely hard to force Southern Water to find the resources to end this nightmare for local residents and I think he now feels that at last he can see the light (and not water) at the end of the tunnel. I certainly hope that this will be the last year that the problem exists.
On a more positive note for E Cholderton residents, HCC have now dug an excellent new ditch at Waterloo Bridge to alleviate the road flooding that occurred there.
During the year there was a suggestion that those who lived near Quarley might prefer to join that parish but after a lengthy consultation process with the Quarley residents, a majority decided that they were happier to remain within our parish.
We have revised our practice on planning applications so that now the councillor who lives nearest to the application site makes personal enquiries before reporting to our Council so we can be surer of hearing the views of those who might be most affected by any change.
We also spent a lot of time contributing to Test Valley’s Strategic Plan. We, together with all the rural parishes in the NW Hants, have been told that unless we find additional building plots within the main part of the village, that the Government might impose their own solution without our consent. This was a complicated and invidious task but we do feel that the modest expansion plans we eventually proposed to the Borough will satisfy DEFRA and not lead to any devaluation of our standards.Once TVBC have collated all the plans for the parishes, they will issue their own guidelines for public consultation – probably in a year’s time.
On the Green, we decided first of all not to accept BT’s seemingly generous offer of buying the phone box for £1 as this would have led to further completely unnecessary expense. The box will stay (possibly without a phone) but BT will continue to maintain it.
A future problem will undoubtedly be the track on the side of the Green leading to the 3 houses and we are now discussing the best solution with TVBC.
We have managed to increase everyone’s enjoyment of the Green by opening up the Fen as a nature reserve.
Charles and Ashley plus a small group of keen volunteers have hacked away at the undergrowth, created an attractive path leading to a picnic area, had some dying and dangerous trees removed, and installed owl nesting boxes. Our hope is that the school will find this a valuable area to teach the children about local flora and fauna and that it will become a quiet sanctuary for all villagers. All this has been paid for through TVBC section 106 grants and not out of our precept.
As to our precept, we are pleased to say that not only was there no increase this year but we are managing to run on one which has been reduced by 6% and somewhat piously hope that our senior brothers in the Borough, the County and even Westminster will emulate our example and resist the temptation to spend during this economic climate
2 other improvements: we have all noticed a sad increase in litter by the road side and to counter this we have bought 3 sturdy litter pickers which can be used by anyone in the Parish who may be concerned about the mess where they live. The litter is almost certainly not thrown by local residents but we feel that self help is the best remedy. We are also applying for 2 new salt bins in the Parish.
Now the "thanks" paragraph
In no special order, and, almost certainly not comprehensively, to Colin Wareham for the beautiful butterfly board on the Fen; to Andy Hinton for his muscle in helping clear the Fen; to Peggy Harcourt on the IOW for generously sending us some very old parish title deeds; to Ashley and Tracey for having the Christmas Meeting at the Conservancy; to David Preston for once again looking after the Amport website; to Brain Nolan for being an assiduous Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator; and to our village correspondent Caroline Unwin who cannot be here this evening as she is chasing whales in the Azores.
Our thanks as ever to Tim Southern, our Borough Councillor, particularly for his efforts with Southern Water and to Pat West, our County Councillor, who despite broken bones insists on attending so many of our meetings and gives valuable help on almost any matter. My own thanks to all the councillors who give their time and effort to help look after the parish and of course special thanks to Suzanne for her quiet, patient expertise without which we would all flounder.
One more and sadly final ‘thank you ‘to Diana Preston who has decided to leave the Council. Diana first joined the Parish Council over 20 years ago and, except for a few occasions when she has not been able to get back from New Zealand, she has hardly missed a meeting. She has always been extremely conscientious as a councillor, has particularly looked after the interests of those who live in the panhandle of the Parish, has regularly attended and reported on the meetings of what was the HAPTC, and has assiduously read and corrected our minutes. Diana, our thanks again – we will all miss you at our meetings and hope you will accept this orchid as a small token of our appreciation.
5. Public Participation
Q. Rose Wareham asked PC Williams what the legal restraints
were on having a bonfire?
Q. Do any landowners cut their footpaths?
The Chairman thanked everyone for attending and the meeting closed at 7.40pm.
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