Clerk’s Corner – June 2020
Back again for the June Clerk’s Corner and as I write we are still in lockdown although everything seems to be easing now and hopefully we can all look forward to gradually coming out of the present situation in the coming months.
The main thing is that we all keep safe and well. I, together with our Finance Officer Carole Gibbs, continue to work from home and have adapted our working day well.
There have been a lot of reports about the New Forest filling up with visitors over the last few weeks and unfortunately this will happen when we live in such a beautiful area.
I don’t think most of us object to sharing with visitors and tourism does bring a lot of welcome business into the area but I have heard so many reports of parking on verges, patting and feeding livestock and indiscriminate barbecues and this is a worrying time for our residents.
I personally feel the open forest is taking the brunt of this activity because tourist attractions in the area such as Paultons Park, Beaulieu, etc are not open again yet.
Our Recreation Ground is now open in part with the grass areas available, together with the MUGA and skateboard ramp.
However, at the time of writing Government restrictions, quite rightly, do not allow the children’s play equipment and adult fitness equipment to open.
Providing the situation continues to improve these should open again in the not too distant future.
When using the Recreation Ground we would ask that people respect the main pitch used by the Junior Football Club.
This is not being mown until at least the end of June because of the condition it was left in following the wet weather last winter.
Despite receiving chilling questions at the onset of the pandemic about how many burials could we hold in a day, the Cemetery at Bolton’s Bench has been quiet with only the normal amount of usage.
It is a truly beautiful place, especially in the Spring months and during the last couple of weeks I have received several emails congratulating the Parish Council on the maintenance programme we have in place.
Government guidelines concerning graveside funerals are being observed at all times.
The Allotment Gardens have sprung back to life since lockdown began with “growing your own” really coming to the fore.
Existing allotment holders seem to have worked really hard and have been joined by a new band of enthusiastic green fingered residents, all of whom have turned overgrown plots into really tidy havens.
We have 107 plots up at Pikes Hill and it had been a real oasis for everyone who has been able to escape up there for the last few months as the Government has allowed allotments to stay open throughout.
Working an allotment is amazingly healthy and gratifying, especially when the end product is some wonderful fruit and vegetables.
However, there has been a downside in that we have experienced burglaries from sheds, something that hasn’t really happened before with a wide range of gardening machinery and other equipment being stolen.
It seems to have been a well planned operation and we are now considering what measures we can put in place to assist our tenants to keep their property safe.
We have reported the matter to the Police and I have asked all allotment tenants who had items stolen to make separate reports to the Police as well.
I do have to say though that the system of reporting through 101 was impossible by telephone and I ended up having to fill in a report on line.
This would have been fairly simple in other circumstances but I was acting as a third party with some of the questions being irrelevant.
We are still unable to hold full Parish Council meetings so no decisions can be taken on matters that we would like to take forward but we are working in the background so that all new ideas can be brought forward at the first available opportunity.
We can still operate our Planning Committee by means of email communication to the Planning Committee Chairman who collates the responses into a recommendation which I then send to the relevant Planning Officers at the New Forest National Park Authority who are the planning authority in this area.
The Parish Council act as the local connection to give their recommendations on applications but does not make the final decision.
I am still waiting for more news from our solicitor regarding the lease of the football field in Wellands Road, which includes two other small strips of land in the same area.
I do know that this project is moving forward but the present situation with COVID 19 has slowed the process somewhat and the matter is out of our hands.
Our Cemetery Portfolio Holder Adrian Wiltshire has an ambition to provide a toilet up at the Cemetery.
This is likely to cost in the region of £8,000 and there is a possibility that a tasteful building could be provided to the left of the main porch which would blend in well with the existing building.
Adrian has already received some offers of monetary support but if you would like to get involved in this project by making a donation or have ideas of how money could be raised please get in touch with me and I will forward your ideas on to the Parish Council.
We did intend to have another “Open Day” up at the Cemetery this Spring but due to the current situation this has not been possible.
I am pleased to be able to report that the Hampshire County Council Lengthsman Scheme is to continue for a further year.
HCC give each Parish and Town Council participating in the scheme £1,000 each year to carry out small tasks around the parish such as clearing public rights of way, cleaning signage and small works on highway land.
The Parish Council match fund this amount and it is really surprising how much work we can cover with the money.
We are also able to act quickly when the need arises.
Please note though that we cannot cut hedges or trees on private property that overhang the pavements.
It is an offence to obstruct a road or pavement in this way so if you do know of anywhere this is happening please let me know and I will notify HCC who are authorised to take action.
If the property owner does not comply HCC are empowered to do the work and make a charge on the owner concerned as appropriate.
Margaret Weston, Clerk to Lyndhurst Parish Council,
Telephone: 023 8081 3218
Please note that this is my home telephone number
and may sometimes be in use by other members of the family.
Margaret Weston - Parish Clerk
Why not come along to our Council and Planning meetings. There is an opportunity for members of the public to air their views at the commencement of the meeting.