Chairman's Blog


This year I regret to start on a sad note but we have lost two regular attendees of our meetings. One was John Beaumont, a parishioner, who died in May and was always keen to have his say during public participation.

We also lost a great friend and champion of our parish. He never tired in listening to us and was immensely helpful in helping with projects and funding. Always polite and well-mannered, he was a gentleman of distinction, prepared to go the extra mile to assists. I refer of course to Alderman Ken Thornber. I was always amazed at his energy and dedication attending a PC meeting in Beaulieu, driving directly to Beaulieu from Winchester having had a long day in chamber leading the County Council.

The ongoing battle to roll out broad band in Beaulieu continues. In June I was invited by Cllr Michael Harris to attend a meeting at NFDC to meet with BT Openreach to discuss roll out in the Forest. I did manage to engage them and to commit to the green cabinet, Beaulieu 1 going live in September and this they did. The scoping exercise for the Village was supposed to be concluded the end of March but we still await news.

The CCTV went live in May with 5 cameras two of which are for number plate recognition and 3 for street scene images. We have got a code of practice, a data controller and a widespread number of warning notices.

I am pleased that newer councillors took on some rolls outside our regular meetings. Cllr Sami Blastock joining the New Forest Consultative Panel and Cllr Mark Grindrod covering for me at NPA Quadrant Meetings.

At our July meeting the proposed details of the Coastal Path became known. Although the Parish Council is not a land owner it was felt that we should comment on the vast spreading room and that no consideration had been given to the impact of increased car parking in our community.

Car Parking in the village continues to be an unresolved problem. In May we agreed to allocate a sum of £1500 to enable a joint funding with NFDC to undertake a study of traffic flow and parking to enable some traffic control orders to be put in place. Without the provision of an alternative parking arrangement for existing vehicles the NFDC are unable to proceed at the moment due to fears of creating displacement parking.

In July we deployed a SID in Palace Lane following concerns of traffic speeds. In July I attended a Green Halo meeting in the Chamber at NFDC.

Planning. We decide not to meet in August last year in common with many other Parish Councils. This probably was a mistake for two reasons. 1 We suddenly got a bundle of applications that did require some attention but we managed to resolve these by email.2 One of the most controversial and complex applications finally got passed, in August, and that was for Thorns Beach. I felt we spent a disproportionate amount of time on this one but it was challenging.

In November I had the honour of representing the Parish at the wreath laying on Remembrance Sunday and reading out the names of the Parish fallen. We had a guest speaker at our meeting Holger Schiller, Partnership & Community Officer National Park. Developments on the Coastal Path front were discussed as  a ferry link between Buckler’s hard and Gilbury were discussed, quite an imaginative idea to negate some of the spreading room and pressure on the village of Beaulieu.

In December I attended as exofficio trustee of the Common Good Trust a disbursement meeting of grants. I have during the year maintained links with the Twinning Association by attending their meetings. December also brought a plague of rats into the village and problems of drainage 7 waste water at the village hall. At the request of the Chairman of the Village hall I attended a meeting with Beaulieu Estate who were going to undertake tests.At the December meeting our local police mentioned how useful the cctv was as it gave them another line of enquiry.Lack of progress on the parking in the village was voiced. In December I found myself in the Chamber at the NFDC for an awards ceremony.

The January meeting was enlivened by a visit of residents from Palace Lane regarding traffic issues in the lane. Following that meeting we raised the matter with the Executive Member for Environmental and Transport at HCC.At the residents Association meeting I pursued this matter with the guest speaker Dr Julian Lewis. MP.

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.

We are a country Parish Council waving the pitchfork for democracy.