September 2008 Meeting Report

Report of the meeting held on Tuesday 2 September 2008
in the Reeves Scout Hall, Martins Fields, Compton.

Compton Street Play Area

The 2nd September meeting was lively and productive, helped considerably by the contributions from members of the public, particularly with regard to the use of the Compton Play Area.

The chairman, Councillor Campbell-White, explained that the Council had received a number of enquiries from members of the public requesting clarification of the age of the children entitled to use the play area. He sought the views of the community and invited suggestions for new equipment for both young and teenage children. It soon became clear that the Play Area is valued by both groups and there was a general consensus that an ‘age level limit’ on the children using it, would, not only be inappropriate, but unpopular. Nevertheless, concern was expressed about the use of ‘foul’ language by some of the teenagers. Opinion was divided. While some members of the community felt such language was now ‘common place’ in society others, including the chairman, felt that it was unacceptable and hoped that it could be reduced, if not eliminated.

Several suggestions were received regarding new equipment. These included a roundabout, slide and climbing frames for the younger children and a basketball net and a seating area for the teenagers. Mrs Evans agreed to provide the Clerk with detailed recommendations for the younger children and Gemma Alexander agreed to assist the Playing Fields Convenor, Councillor Millar, in the purchase of appropriate equipment for the teenagers.

District Councillor’s Report

Councillor Beckett reported that the Old Post Office in Attwoods Drove was still being marketed as a shop for sale or rent. Apparently this process is necessary in order that the Planning Department can be assured the property has become unviable as a commercial unit. Once the process has been completed, at the end of September, an application will be submitted for change of use. If successful it is likely, but not necessarily certain, that the building will be converted into flats. He also said that he had been advised by the Planning Open Spaces Officer, Mr Stuart Dunbar-Dempsey, that support would be forthcoming for the provision of a ‘locally equipped play area’ at the foot of Shawford Down, subject to agreement on the site, fencing, surfacing and equipment. However because the area has been designated as part of a site of importance for nature conservation, Councillor Beckett advised that a provision for additional car parking on the area would need to be well justified.

Police Report

PC Richard Mathews stated that there had been eight incidents reported to the police during the months of July and August. These included the theft of a vehicle excise license from a vehicle in Otterbourne Road; criminal damage to a bench on Shawford Down; rowdy and inconsiderate behaviour by ten young men at the Bridge Hotel, Shawford; a quantity of tools stolen from a house undergoing renovation in Cliff Way; dangerous driving and aggressive behaviour in Martins Fields; vehicle damage to the Memorial Playing Fields; glazed panels broken in a bus shelter Main Road Compton and the unauthorised removal of a section of the metal barrier restricting access to the footpath in Carmans Way. Councillor Walmsley commented that he had seen the bench on Shawford Down and was far from convinced that the damage was ‘criminal’ it could easily be the result of ‘wear an tear’. In response to a question from the chairman, PC Mathews said that the driver of the vehicle causing problems in Martins Fields had been visited by two constables and warned about his future conduct.

District Councillors’ Reports

District Councillor E Bell reported that she had been liaising closely with the Winchester Airport Group (WAG) and had been assisting residents in Park View, Shawford, who had concerns about the stability of retaining walls and overgrown vegetation on the rail embankment nearby. She is hoping to arrange a site visit for Network Rail representatives to meet the residents, with the aim of addressing their concerns.

Councillor Beckett reported that WCC had objected to the Communities Minister’s view that Winchester could add an extra 500 houses to existing development plans. He also presented a background paper, which updated the Parish Council on progress towards the provision of the South Winchester Park & Ride project. Advance works (ecology, site clearance and archaeology) will start in September and the main contract works, currently out to tender, in April 2009.

County Councillor’s Report

County Councillor Charlotte Bailey advised the Council the cost of purchasing a temporary flashing speed light for the Southern Parishes pilot scheme appears to be in the region of £2500 + VAT. Additional costs, including the purchase of brackets (£60 each),any extra posts (£220 each), the relocation of the sign and replacing batteries (about £120 each time) will need to be met by the Parish Councils, which should budget for around £800 per annum. She also reported that the cattle have left Shawford Down for the winter and will return in the spring.

Finance and Admin

Councillor Walmsley confirmed that the Finance and Administration Committee had approved the Tennis Club’s request to install a Junior Facilities Room at the Memorial Playing Fields.


Councillor M Bell reported that he had noted inconsistencies in the way some planning decisions had been taken with regard to developments in Compton Street. In one the Conservation Officer’s comments had been a vital component but, in another, a decision had been taken before receipt of the Tree Officer’s views.

Other matters

Concern was also expressed about the low level of water in the canal at Shawford and that WRVS volunteers were no longer receiving a mileage subsidy for transporting parishioners on health related trips. These matters will be followed up by the council in the coming month and it is hoped that a representative of the Environment Agency will speak at the next meeting on Tuesday 7 October 2008, at the Shawford Village Hall at 7.15pm.