We started the year off in May, finalising our presentation to Natural England, regarding the proposals for the route, through the Parish of the National Coastal Path, the section from Highcliffe to Calshot. Having held an information meeting, we were later able to assist some parishioners with their objectives.
The annual mention of the non-rollout of high-speed broadband, for the Parish, continues. However, further underground cabling and ducting finally commenced along the B3054 and the High Street in January and later in March.
Proposals for a road closure, to resurface the B3054 and High Street in the May Bank Holiday week, caused concerns amongst retailers and hoteliers. However, with discussions between the Parish Council and Hampshire Highways, we managed to move the works to October. Palace Lane and Lyndhurst Road took longer than anticipated due to subsidence issues with the pavement. Work in the High Street was moved to February, which was more acceptable.
I Chaired a meeting of the traders in January to discuss the January and February road and pavement closures and measures we could take to avoid a reduction in trade. Due to the good co-operation from the HCC contractors, there were no major problems.
Traffic in Palace Lane is still causing residents concern. A speed watch group has been formed , including the participation, from one of our Parish Councillors, in this group. The Parish Council CCTV has been used by law enforcement agencies during the year.
The July meeting of the Council was particularly well attended, by interested local residents, regarding camping at Hazel Copse. Following a frank and open presentation, by the new operators of the camping enterprise, most residents were satisfied with the plans. The Parish Council supported the granting of planning permission.
In September, following warnings about the dangerous Asian Hornet, invading the UK, it promptly turned up in our Parish at Thorns Beach and made for much reported Parish news.
Because 2018 marked 100 years since the end of World War 1, the Parish Council together with the Beaulieu Twinning Association, decided to combine with the Village School and place 109 handmade poppies in the Twinning Garden, 1 poppy for each pupil. Twenty Six of the poppies were marked with the names of the First World War Parishioner's. Another Poppy marked with the name of our twin village was taken to France, in December, and planted at their war memorial. A full Civic Reception in the Marie was given to our village representatives.
Meanwhile, back at home, in November, I laid the Wreath for Remembrance Sunday on behalf of the Parish Council.
We made application to the Common Good Trust in November for a grant of £500, to purchase the Clerk a computer and printer. This was granted and In January the clerk took delivery of same which has been professionally installed and connected to her home.
We funded a further deployment of an SLR in Palace Lane and managed to get an extra deployment from NFDC for Christmas and New Year, with the further promise of a "black box" in March.
During the Year I am grateful for the activities of Councillors, outside of our regular Council meetings. Undertaking such duties as attendance at New Forest consultative panel, NPA Quadrant meetings, going on site visits for planning applications, attending information meetings, such as the Living Waters Project presentation, helping to make 109 poppies, maintaining the Twinning Garden, risk assessing the playground and working with our grounds man, ensuring data protection regarding our CCTV, checking the defibrillator on a regular basis and raising and lowering our civic flags when the occasion arises.
Looking forward to next year, let us hope we can draw a successful conclusion to the proposed car park in Haywards Field which is anxiously awaited by some.
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.