Annual Meeting (Virtual) of Northington Parish Council held at 7.00 pm on 26 May 2020
The second part of the Parish’s year was marred by the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic. There will be references to the event throughout this report.
At the start of 2020 NPC changed Clerks. This is an important moment for any parish council. Alex Risebury left us having guided us for four years through calm and choppy waters. Remarkably, Alex ran NPC’s affairs despite English not being her native tongue. We are all sorry to see her leave the council but Alex is still living here.
The baton has been picked up byWendy Simson, who already looks after three other councils’ business. NPC is in experienced hands. You are very welcome Wendy.
Adam Dyne moved to Romsey and we were very sorry to see him go. He brought business expertise and heaps of common sense to our doings. Lengthsman and the village pick-up day were his briefs and he carried out both tasks with enthusiasm and in the case of the Lengthsman, was not shy about rejecting sub-standard work.
Filling his shoes with great aplomb is Bill Wykeham, who has already organised a great village clean-up. He is very welcome.
The arrival of Covid-19 caused NPC to take stock and consider what it should be doing to help residents through this crisis. A special meeting of NPC invited Elaine Capp (Neighbourhood Watch) and Lou Walker to join them.
At this meeting it was decided to:
- ! Set up a care system for everyone in the parish
- ! Separate residents into small groups to allow councillors and volunteers
to keep an eye open for distress.
- ! Organise food deliveries to Northington
- ! Identify all residents and improve communications
Vulnerable residents were assured that people were there to help. The groups were formed and recorded. Using What’s App groups, fresh food came into the village and still does. Residents shared their regular food delivery facilities. The village e-mail network was improved. NPC achieved what it set out to do and the parish’s thanks go to everyone involved in this effective and swift response to Covid-19.
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Apart from the usual run of local planning applications, NPC has had to deal with three developments of unusual importance to the village.
SHEELA site NO01: This was a proposal to sell land within the Grange Park for speculative house building. Many residents thought this to be unacceptable and at a meeting in the Village Hall on 24 March 2019, they said as much. The meeting ended with no clear outcome.
A number of residents decided to tackle the matter through representations to Winchester City Council (WCC). In June 2019 a review of SHEELA sites rated as possible sites for development, concluded that Site NO01 should be removed from the list.
CHEFSTOCK: In the late autumn 2019, the Grange Estate (GE)let it be known that it wished to promote a food festival in the park in mid summer 2020. The first year number of visitors would be 10,000 rising to 20,000 in 2021. NPC wrote to the planners objecting to the scale of the concept and the likely traffic problems and local disruption. On 20 January, NPC attended a hearing of WCC’s Licensing Sub-committee and spoke against the scale of the proposed scheme. The license was granted. The advent of Covid-19 has put the plan on hold but the end of July 2021 is already set aside for a festival.
In the meantime the parish has been instrumental in setting up a Stakeholders Group to handle exchanges with the Grange Estate and Brand Events, the promoter. There has already been one virtual meeting with GE, when areas for discussion were identified. Lucy Williams has kindly agreed to chair the Group. Dennis Nye and John Mitchell are Group members, representing the interests of residents and NPC along with Emma Howard.
SOUTHERN WATER (SW) PIPELINE: SW has submitted an application to lay a temporary black plastic pipeline round the parish. This is a major concern for the parish. NPC has consulted the residents on a regular basis and sent a written representation, agreed by the parish, to HCC. This is only the first round of action against the application. This summer will see increased NPC sponsored opposition to the whole concept in an attempt to have HCC’s planners require SW to choose another route.
3. HIGHWAYS AND BY-WAYS
There has been a range of problems on the B3046, especially at the east side of the Grange. Some work has been done, meanwhile there are improvements promised for Northington Hill.
We have a new Lengthsman team and Bill Wykeham had a good session with them on their recent visit. Bill needs residents to tell him where work has to be done.
5. POLICING and NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH
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Elaine Capp continues to look after our interests and asked me to pass on a reminder about the need for vigilance with regard to telephone and computer scams. She also played a major role in our involvement with measures for handling Covid-19 related measures. Thank you, Elaine.
6. GRANGE FESTIVAL
The Grange Festival’s third season in June 2019 was a treat and it was good to see the Festival pursuing its ‘Open Door’ policy with vigour. Its plans for 2020 were shattered by Covid-19 restrictions but the Festival plans to return with the same programme in 2021.
7. THE COUNCIL
On behalf of the parish, my thanks go to my fellow councillors for their willingness to work on its behalf.
- Yvonne keeps an active eye on our roads and by-ways. Until Covi-19 arrived she was very actively pursuing HCC’s Highways Department over potholes and signs. Bill has gripped his role of keeping our environment working well.
There is a programme planned for the summer. Corvid-19 notwithstanding.
- Melissa is safeguarding our data and its use, she maintains our website and as our resilience officer, played and as guardian with Dennis of the group formations, still plays a major role in the parish’s wellbeing.
- Dennis has risen to the challenges of informing the village about Covid-19 matters and the parish now has a means of communicating with everyone who has joined the email list. His input was invaluable during the first days of the Corvid-19 crisis and has more than proved its worth, when it came to consolidating views of Southern Water’s pipeline proposals.
- Wendy tells us what needs to be done and how to go about it. She exudes a quiet certitude which I find re-assuring and has a great memory for past correspondence. She has adapted to operating under Covid-19 rules with great equanimity.
Northington Parish Council.
26 May 2020
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