Welcome to the summer 2020 newsletter. These strange times that we are currently living in have meant huge changes as well as adopting new ways of working for many of us. Your PC has had to adapt to conducting Zoom meetings and we held our first meeting since March at the end of June. Some of you will know that David recently stepped down as Chair and at the June meeting I was voted in as the new Chair together with Caroline Noble as Vice-Chair. I wanted to take this opportunity to thank David for all the work he has done for village over the past few years and I know I have big shoes to fill!
I also want to thank all of our fantastic volunteers who really stepped up in helping their community during this difficult time. We shouldn’t take it for granted that such schemes are a given as I know of other villages/PCs who have not done anything at all. We will keep the volunteer group running particularly with the possibility of a second spike. So, a big shout out to our lovely volunteers who are ready and able to do the drug runs and shopping sprees.
Two casualties of the crisis have been the temporary suspension of the Community Car Scheme and also the walking group but we will let you know when these are revived.
Although our meetings are now being held virtually, until such time as we are advised differently by Government guidelines, anyone from the village can still attend albeit through modern technology. You simply need to let Clare Winter, the Parish Clerk, know in advance so that she can give you the login details. Please contact Clare on firstname.lastname@example.org. The next PC meeting will be held on September 9th at 7pm.
As the country eases its way tentatively out of lock-down we, at the PC, have a number of projects which we are working on and that will at various stages require input from the village.
The latest news in relation to the proposed development of 12 houses in Station Road is that the developer is appealing the council decision to refuse planning permission. Again, the meeting will be held virtually and we are waiting to hear confirmation of the appeal date but it could well be this month or early September.
The Covid crisis appears to have temporarily put the brakes on any progress on the A358 expansion, although some households have been contacted for wildlife surveys. We are still waiting to hear appointment of new contractors which was originally scheduled to be announced in early 2020. The final decision by the Secretary of State on the A303 has been put back to November 2020 after the recent significant find near Stonehenge and very close to the planned works although we don’t know how, if at all, this might affect the A358 proposals. In the meantime, the A358 Working Group is continuing to keep abreast of any new announcements and/or information that would strengthen the case against the expansion from Thornfalcon to Southfields.
Continuing the road theme, we are aware that speeding vehicles during the pandemic have become an issue throughout the village despite a 30mph restriction. We are looking into getting some stats and evidence so that we can give these to the council which might be able to introduce some further measures, in particular to both ends of Village Road where there is no speed limit.
On a more positive and pro-active note the PC is going to be looking into the viability of opening a village shop possibly together with a café. We know that many people found the Farthings Farm Shop (thank you John) a huge lifeline as well as adding some of life’s little luxuries too! It is something the PC had started to consider towards the end of last year and now we have some real life experience of what a village shop could bring to the village. We are undertaking initial research and I recently visited a successful shop to get an insight and better understanding of what is involved both in terms of setting up the shop and running it successfully. In the first instance this will be a PC initiative but we hope that it will be very much a community project driven by the entire village and we will need to involve a significant number of volunteers if it is to be successful. Over the coming weeks we will be putting together a survey/questionnaire in order to gauge the local level of interest and commitment. Do please complete this so that we can get a true picture of the level of interest.
Katie Piper is keen to get an allotment up and running in the village and is currently investigating funding options although we currently do not have an available space.
Ending on a high, once we are all safely out of the woods, we are looking forward to holding a village party when we can all finally get together like in the old days!
In the meantime, if you have anything you would like to discuss my contact details are 01823 480246 and email@example.com. You can also contact Caroline on 01823 480766 and firstname.lastname@example.org.