Back in January the parish precept for Hatch Beauchamp was increased by approximately £4 per annum for the average household. For various reasons the budget was not finalised at that time. Although our reserves are healthy and a lot of planned spending has yet to occur, once we do pay out those sums and additional proposed items our balance will fall to the recommended level.At the meeting in March the budget was set and included support for the Village Hall playground and fields maintenance. The Village Hall is mostly funded from paying users, but the whole village has access to the playground and use of the field at no charge, so it is right that it should benefit from a proportion of public money. The council has also set aside additional money for projects including assistance with the A358 fight and potentially funding a bus service trial. More on that as details are worked out.
The Parish Council continues to increase its activity in the community. A group has been set up totake forward measures to address the Climate Emergency in line with the local authority Carbon-Neutrality and Climate Resilience Action Plan. We are looking to organise activities for ‘The Big Help Out’ (thebighelpout.org) which aims to recruit new volunteers for community improvement starting 8th May
There are rumours following local radio reports that the A358 expressway has been put on indefinite hold. However we think it is nothing more than the Development Consent Order delay that National Highways announced in December. It is not known how long this delay is apart from they expect the DCO stage to begin in 2023. All attempts to find out more about the ‘appropriate environmental mitigations’ have been stonewalled, including successive Freedom of Information requests to National Highways and the Department for Transport. The latest excuse is that any explanation might interfere with the development of government policy and they need a ‘safe space’ to develop this policy! The other update is that following a council scrutiny meeting, the chair of that committee came to visit us and was taken round all the points of concern along the road that the various Parishes had cited. Although he and other County Councillors have expressed sympathy for our concerns, it is clear that the County is either unable or unwilling to challenge National Highways plans in any meaningful respect.
The Annual Parish meeting has been set for 12th May and will focus on a community consultation event for the latest stage of the Neighbourhood Plan. This will give the village the chance to comment on the Aims and Objectives that the steering committee has come up with, as well as presenting more general information on the plan and the process around it. The consultation will be available the following day and perhaps longer than that. Kevin Comer
Chair, Hatch Beauchamp Parish Council