March 2008 Meeting Report

Report on the Meeting held
Tuesday 4th March 2008, Shawford Parish Hall

Shawford Down

Mr. David Ball, Countryside Services, Hampshire County Council, gave a presentation to the Parish Council on the work being undertaken in Managing Shawford Down. Scrub clearance continues and the footpath across the Down leading to the Railway Station has been resurfaced. Currently there are three Highland cattle grazing the Down, and these will be increased in number to eight by the end of the year.

Car Parking at the bottom of the Down by people using Shawford Railway Station continues to be a problem. Cars are being parked on the grass and are causing significant damage to the ground surface. Accordingly, “Dragons Teeth” have been installed to prevent such Car Parking. However, it is appreciated that this will only serve to exasperate the growing Car Parking problem in Shawford Village.

Public Session

During the session open to the Public, there was considerable discussion on the issue of Car Parking in Shawford village. With the improvement of Rail services into and out of Shawford Railway Station, together with the free car parking availability in Shawford, people are being encouraged to drive to Shawford to catch trains, rather than travel to Winchester and incur expensive Car Parking charges. It was considered now to be appropriate for the Parish Council to pursue the possibility of acquiring some of the Land between the road to the Malms and the Railway Station. The purpose of acquiring this land being to construct a Car Park and reduce if not eliminate the Car Parking problem in Shawford Village. It is understood that if such Car Parking has acceptable capacity, then there may be some financial assistance forthcoming from South West Trains. However, it was also noted that if such Car Parking continues to be free of charge, the problem will only re-emerge as more people take advantage of the free Car Parking. The question of managing and charging for this proposed Car Park will have to be addressed in detail before any commitment is made.

Sparrowgrove Copse

The subject of the Parish Council pledging money to the project to purchase Sparrowgrove Copse and Oakwood Copse from Southern Water, was discussed at length. It had been determined that under current regulations, use of the Open Space Fund was precluded. This may change when the New Local Development Plan has been adopted, but this is unlikely to be relevant for two to three years. Accordingly, any pledge made by the Parish Council will have to be made out of reserves. However, the Parish Council are cognisant of the issues arising in respect of on going maintenance of the Woodlands and therefore agreed to making a pledge of £5000, providing that the Trust established for the purchase can satisfy the Parish Council in respect of 1) Completion of the Purchase, 2) Being satisfied as to the legal status of the Trust, 3) That there shall be Public access indefinitely, 4) Being satisfied with the maintenance plan and the funding thereof, 5) and the right to nominate a Parish Council Representative to the Management Board.

Highways and Byways

During the session concerning Highways and Byways, the issue of resurfacing Shepherds Lane was raised. Whilst at the Parish Council meeting held on the 8th January 2008, it was agreed that the Parish Council would not contribute to such resurfacing work as it would create a precedent, the subject was considered again from a different perspective. The decision made on the 8th January was made from the point of view that the Parish Council is not a Highways Authority and is therefore not responsible for roads within the Parish. However, the Parish Council is a property owner, owning property that up until recently fronted that part of Shepherds Lane that is being considered for resurfacing. On this basis, it was considered that the Parish Council could consider contributing £300 towards the resurfacing of Shepherds Lane, in the same manner that other property owners fronting Shepherds Lane are being requested to contribute. On the basis of this distinction, the Parish Council agreed on this occasion to make a contribution of £300 on the clear understanding that such a contribution would not be used as a precedent in future on similar issues.

Playing Field

Councillor Mary Shaw put forward proposals for some work to be undertaken at the Memorial Playing Field. These included the creation of a “hard standing” by the post box, “dragons teeth” to protect the grass verge opposite Bramley House and ground repairs within the Children’s Play area. Funds to do this work exist within the Playing Field Management Budget and therefore authority to proceed was given by the Parish Council.

Parish Council Elections

The meeting was reminded that the Parish Council is due for re-election in May 2008. It was emphasised that there is a need to encourage new Candidates to put their names forward to be Parish Councillors. To this end, Councillor Adrian Walmsley had published an article in the March Parish Magazine which, it is hoped, will attract such potential Candidates. Nomination papers will be available from the Clerk after 20th March 2008 and such Nomination papers must be submitted to Winchester City Council by appointment between 27th March and 4th April 2008.