Thursday April 21st 2016.
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 !