September 2005 PC Meeting Report

Report on the Meeting held
Tuesday 6th September 2005, Compton Room, Shawford Parish Hall

Shawford Down

The Chairman, Cllr. Adrian Walmsley, welcomed members to the First Parish Council meeting after the Summer recess. In addition, he welcomed Mr Charles Cuthbert and Mr David Ball, both of the Countryside Service, Hampshire County Council, plus twelve members of the Public.

The first main item on the Agenda was the presentation given by Mr. Charles Cuthbert and Mr. David Ball on the Management of Shawford Down. The Down is the responsibility of the Countryside Service, and significant concern had been expressed by Parishioners over the neglect of the Down. The grass has not been cut for some five years, and plans to graze Highland cattle there had not come to fruition. Scrub is seriously encroaching over the grassland areas and urgent action is needed to prevent the loss of this natural down land resource.

Charles Cuthbert and David Ball both emphasised the importance of Shawford Down as a habitat for rare species of flora and fauna together with the need for urgent action. However, the Countryside Service has a limited budget with which to manage some fifteen similar sites within Hampshire. They are actively pursuing funding from DEFRA, but this is a slow process. Despite this, the meeting was advised that half the grassland areas will be mown within the next couple of weeks, and the contractors will remove the cut grass. It was clearly pointed out that total mowing would be disastrous to the insect life currently on the Down. Following on from this, a gradual clearance of the encroaching scrub will be undertaken over the Winter months. It was pointed out that these plans are only short-term solutions to the overall problem of Managing Shawford Down, the long-term solution being the grazing of Highland cattle, which will be implemented when funds become available.

The question of a lack of funding for what is seen as a responsibility of Hampshire County Council is of significant concern to the Parish Council. Accordingly, County Councillor Charlotte Bailey was requested to escalate the matter within Hampshire County Council and report back to the Parish council. At the same time, the Parish Council will endeavour to obtain from the Countryside Service their definitive five-year plan for Shawford Down.

Traffic: emergency Access

It was reported that problems were recently experienced by the Ambulance Service in accessing a residence off of Attwoods Drove. Some dwellings there are only accessed by footpaths from Attwoods Drove; such entrances to these footpaths being obstructed by closely parked cars. This is obviously a danger to residents and accordingly the Parish Council will raise the matter with the appropriate Highways Authority.

Jubilee Pavilion

Cllr. N.Campbell-White reported that all outstanding issues with the Building Contractor concerning the Jubilee Pavilion have now been finalised. The Building Contractor has now been paid the outstanding Retention monies. The Car Park extension has been completed and only some residual Landscaping remains outstanding.

New Tennis Court

The new third Tennis Court has been completed and is due to be opened on Sunday 11th September 2005. Landscaping of the areas around the third Tennis Court has been specified and quotations for this work are awaited. It is anticipated that all this work will be completed by the Spring of 2006.


Cllr. Jeremy Dolphin reported upon numerous planning issues that had arisen over the Summer Recess, most notable being the refusal of the application for higher density development at Highdown, further objections to the high density development on land behind Ballakitch and the Merries and representations to be made at the License Hearing concerning the Bridge Hotel, Shawford.

Cllr. George Beckett, in his capacity as District Councillor, reported upon presentations at Winchester City Council on the Draft Winchester District Local Plan, which appears to have little change in impact upon Compton and Shawford, and the Planning Improvement Plan. In respect of the latter, it appears that there will be less consultation on Planning matters, with less being put to the WCC Planning Committee.

Playing Fields

Cllr. Mary Shaw reported that the new Cricket Nets on Memorial Playing Field had been installed and had already proven to be a great success. The cost of this facility has been met out of the Open Space Fund.

Victoria Jubilee Memorial Fountain

Cllr. Patricia Caffyn reported that it has proven to be impossible to obtain a third quotation, in conformance with financial regulations, for the refurbishment of the Victorian Memorial in Shawford Village. The Finance and Administration Committee will review the situation with a view to suspending the financial regulations on this one occasion in order that this important work may proceed.

Civic Service

Invitations to the Civic Service to be held on Sunday 16th October 2005 had been sent out. The Reception after the Service will be held in Compton Primary School.