Chairman's Blog

Some thoughts and words of wisdom from your Chairman.

 

Beaulieu Parish Council Annual Assembly April 20th 2017.

Chairman’s Report.

This year there has only been one change of personnel on the Parish Council.

We welcomed Sami Blastock to the Council at the end of 2016 by means of co-option enabling her to fill the casual vacancy and thus enabling us to field a full council.

In re-reading last years report to council I notice I started my report 2 years ago with optimistic remarks about the imminent roll out of high speed broadband only to add last year that the project continues to be beset with problems due to the unique and sensitive nature of the New Forest National Park. In October I therefore made a presentment at the Verderer’s Court regarding the installation of Beaulieu 1 Cabinet. The Verderer’s did not object and permission for Beaulieu1 was granted. Beaulieu 1 is now somewhere on the BT work stack, yet to be delivered. I am still trying to get clarification regarding the High Street in Beaulieu. During the year the Buckler’s Hard high speed broadband cabinet opened for business.

April saw the presentation by Councillor Steele of her updated report on parking in the village. At that Parish Council meeting Colin Read and Edward Heron were in attendance. Following that event it was decided to form a working party of councillors and representatives of Beaulieu estate, Beaulieu traders and residents. This working group met on the 4th July followed by a second in August and a third on the 15th September. Progress has been slow but so far Beaulieu estate mounted some temporary signage in the high Street regarding restricted waiting. This has proved successful. They further permitted land west of Patrick’s Patch to be gravelled for use as an off the street parking for Fairweather’s staff. We have been able to arrange for a change in our village car park. NFDC have agreed to change eleven unrestricted bays to 3 hour parking only. A further commitment has been made by Beaulieu estate for 20 spaces for residents and traders parking in Haywards field. To enable this to work the council will be looking for further short term kerbside parking in the High street. Keeping Beaulieu Village viable is very important to the Parish Council and maintaining a high turnover of parking in the High

Street, keeping it fluid rather than it going solid, will hopefully help to achieve this objective.

Not only do we want a vibrant community we want to keep Beaulieu safe. Neighbourhood watch never attracted much support from the community. Following discussion on council it was decided to consider CCTV.

In 2014 we contacted local residents about our proposals for cameras, after some objections, unfortunate events in the community gained us support. Two cameras were mounted on the North face of the Montagu Arms for a trial period. This proved unpopular with the conservation officer at the NPA and we were advised to take them down and repair the damage we had occasioned to a listed building. However due to determined efforts by Councillor Fairweather an application to grant planning permission due exceptional circumstances was submitted in December with good local support. Planning permission was granted and installation will take place on the 11th May 2017.

Other matters, speed of traffic in Palace Lane amongst other places is becoming a problem again. During January we paid for a deployment of a ‘SID’ in Palace Lane within the 30mph limit. It established of 4000 vehicles leaving the village on the B3054 only 500 were keeping to the speed limit.

We managed with partners to get the High Street cleaned for the Victorian Christmas Fair. I am grateful to those councillors who oversee and help with the three gardens and raise and lower our civic flags.

In November I had the Honour of laying the Parish Council Wreath on Remembrance Sunday. During the year I attended the NPA Quadrant meetings and some of us attended the NPA planning workshops. Several site visits were undertaken during the year by the councillors.

The general housekeeping of the Parish Council continues in an unmarked fashion. Many of the things we do you would not notice until we stop doing them.

Beaulieu Parish Council Assembly

Thursday April 21st 2016.

Chairman’s Report.

This year we experienced some changes of personnel on and around our monthly council meetings.

We said good-bye to Cllr Nick Weis and District Councillor Paul Vickers both of whom have faithfully attended our meetings. We welcomed on to the Council Mark Grindrod as a Parish Councillor. Following success in the elections we welcomed Michael Harris as the New Forest District Council representative. The Police representation to the Parish Council changed with PC Yates being replaced by PC Jason Underwood.

Last year I started out with optimistic remarks regarding the imminent delivery of high speed broadband. This project continues to be beset with problems due to the unique and sensitive nature of a national park and has yet to be rolled out. I admire the tenacity of the Hampshire county councillor and his officers in their attempts to overcome these problems.

In May I attended the 30 years celebration of the twinning with Hautvilliers in France. I delivered a speech in their town hall. This was followed by a cake cutting ceremony and champagne toasts. At this occasion Lord Montagu was made a freeman of the town.

In June I found myself in the NFDC Council Chamber before the licensing sub-committee in an unsuccessful attempt to stop the granting of a full club licence to the Cricket Club. Also in June ideas were being floated about a life buoy on the village green .Patience was beginning to run out with our resident vagrant who had been with us 3 months. PC Underwood was becoming very proactive with this matter and together with NFDC was beginning to get this matter resolved.

July brought proposed County Council proposed boundary changes and a visit from Brian Bryne from NFDC who guided us through procedures when dealing with rough sleepers and vagrants. Also at the same meeting we were addressed by Geraldine Spencer from New Forest Advice an outreach service which is a cross referral tool between 5 organisations offering a tell it once service.

At our August meeting we had invited Sharon Ellis of GIS partnership to attend. They offer an overlay mapping service which is available to Parish Councils.

Early September took me and the Vice Chair to a meeting regarding CCTV for the village with the NPA conservation officer. The officer was opposed to us mounting cameras on the Montagu Arms a listed building. A suggestion was made to mount the cameras on poles. During September 3 of us attended a NPA planning workshop. There was no regular council meeting in September.

Art the October meeting, following complaints, the problem of parking in the Village were discussed. Cllr Steele volunteered to undertake a survey and compile a report regarding this problem.

November problems in the playground were resolved and on Remembrance Sunday I had the honour of laying a wreath on behalf of the Parish Council in recognition of those from the Parish who gave their lives during the two world wars. At the November meeting important changes regarding our local fire brigade were discussed and our views expressed to the senior management of that organisation.

In December after a leaflet campaign we managed to clear the High Street of parked vehicles for operation “ Road Sweep “ and I am grateful to Nigel Collins and his team at NFDC for undertaking this project. Discussion at this meeting took place regarding the proposed English Coastal Path.

In January we managed to hit the streets again with a clean sweep and Hampshire County Council undertook drain clearance in the High Street.

In February I attended the NPA Quadrant Meeting which I do routinely throughout the year. At our February meeting we ran an information meeting regarding the ECP which was well attended by residents and a team of 3 officers was fielded by English Nature. After a presentation questions were invited. There appeared to be concern about people roaming from the proposed national trail and the lack of car parking that would be required to meet the demand these proposed coastal paths may attract .Further concern was expressed about trail maintenance. After this item on the agenda was concluded discussion turned to provision of a bench in the courtyard of the village hall.

In March I attended the NFDC/NPA healthy Walking talk day at Lyndhurst. The following day a meeting with our County Councillor, two of us from the Parish Council and Lord Montagu met to discuss parking issues in the Village. I am grateful to Cllr Knight who attended the FC enclosures meeting on that same day.

The general housekeeping of the Parish continues in an unmarked fashion. Many things we do you would not notice until we stop doing it !  

 

Parking in Beaulieu Village

A worsening problem in our community is the difficulty of parking in the village. Finding space in the High Street or the Village car Park, the only public areas for parking, is not easy.

A simple survey conducted by the Parish Council brought some interesting results. It would appear that most of the parking spaces in the High Street are taken by residents or those with businesses in the village. As most of the High Street is unrestricted the parking tends to be of a long term nature and also involves others from outside the village that see the benefit of free long term parking in a forest village.

The lack of public parking then causes a problem for some of the businesses with their own customer parking. At peak times these areas get used by non-customers. It was also noted that some businesses dissuaded their staff from using their own parking facilities and instead staff park in the free public areas.

The number or parking slots in the High Street is 52. On an average week day there are 44 traders and residents parking in the High Street. On week-ends this figure rises marginally to 46. This leaves approximately 8 free car parking slots for visitors to the High Street during the week and 6 at week-ends.

It is also apparent that the village car park is also quite often full, especially when used by organized walking groups.

In recent times several businesses have expanded with higher staffing levels but little regard has been paid to increasing parking facilities and coupled with a general increase of the day visitor number we arrive at a parking problem.

Beaulieu High Street has a number of small retail businesses that need good foot fall to survive. Many parishioners wish to shop locally but are frustrated in being unable to do so because of the impossible parking situation. Public transport is not a solution to this problem and is virtually non-existent.

To keep the village vibrant more car parking is very desirable.

New Forest District Council are going to run a series of workshops during the summer to address the issues in the New Forest towns and villages regarding car parking better public transport and charity shops. Beaulieu Parish council will be attending.

Broadband

On the 29th August I attended a meeting at East Boldre Village Hall called by Councillor Ken Thornber, County Councillor Brockenhurst Division to discuss the delayed roll out of the fibre optic cable and cabinets for the South East area of the New Forest.
In addition to the South East area Parish Council Chairman two representatives from HCC were present, Neil Jones the assistant director CCBS-Business Services and Glenn Peacey, Hampshire Broadband project manager. A representative from BT was also present.
An impressive power point talk was given by Glenn Peacey using up-to-date maps of the roll out in Hampshire. This information is available to all by visiting the website hampshiresuperfastbroadband.com
Without going into all the tedious detail about the delay in delivery of broadband in our area it is because we are unique. There are so many statutory bodies, quangos and government agencies that have to be consulted, many of whom have raised objections, which has contributed to the delay. In the case of our parish most have now been overcome.
The good news is most of our Parish will be getting broadband but there are some areas that at the moment are outside the scheme. However, for those who are there is some further good news. We are the only parish getting fibre optic to premise. This should make for some very fast broadband speeds for our village. Hopefully by January.
The speaker in concluding did say if you want superfast broadband buy a house in Beaulieu!

Green Cabinets

Living in a beautiful area like the New Forest does not come without problems, with various layers of government, quangos, and stake holders all wanting to play their part. HCC who are rolling out broad band in Hampshire have to consult and obtain agreement from several interested parties these principally being for us, The Verderers, The Forestry Commission, Natural England, the District Council and also the Parish Council.

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