February Report on Parish Council Activity
Because of inclement weather conditions, the Parish Council meeting scheduled for Tuesday 3 February 2009 was cancelled. However in order to ensure that the essential business of the parish was not delayed, the chairman, Councillor Campbell-White, decided that the Council should make use of internet technology, to enable councillors to make decisions on a number of issues including:
- The need to co-opt a new councillor to fill the position vacated by the resignation of Susen Harding;
- The provision of new equipment for the Compton Play Area;
- A continuing problem with rabbits at the Memorial Playing Fields.
Table of Contents
I am pleased to say that Jacqui Evans has been co-opted to the Parish Council with effect from 3 February 2009. Over the past six months Jacqui, who has two small children, has been actively engaged in the Council's project to improve the facilities at the Compton Play Area. As an employee of Winchester City Council and a board member to a local housing association, I am sure that she will be able to make a positive and effective contribution to council debates.
With regard to the Compton Play area, following consultation with local residents, the Parish Council invited three companies to tender for the supply and installation of new playground equipment, including a covered area where teenagers can 'chill out'. The bids have been received and Councillor Millar is in discussions with the administrators of the Winchester City Council Open Spaces Fund to ensure that they are content with the Council's preferred bidder. By the time of the next parish magazine, I hope to be able to inform you that a contract has been let and a date set for installation.
There continues to be a problem with rabbits at the Memorial Playing Fields. The Sports Club has sought the permission of the Council to try to reduce the number of rabbits by a process known as 'lamping'. The rabbits, which are caught in the beam of a powerful lamp, are shot by a person, known as a 'lamper’, shooting inwards, from the edges of the playing field, with an air rifle. After one shot the lamper moves to a different position while the rabbits settle down again. During the winter months, this normally occurs between 9:00 p.m. and midnight. The Sports Club believe there is no danger to the public because the pellets lose most of their power in roughly 25 metres, well within the range of the lamp. After very careful consideration, permission has been given for the Sports Club to proceed but on the strict condition that only air guns are used and that the Council is provided with, at least, three working days notice of the dates and times that 'lamping’ will occur. (These dates can not be altered, without the prior permission of the Council’s chairman, Nick Campbell-White.) Once the dates are obtained, the Council will ensure that all householders surrounding the Memorial Playing Fields are informed.
Police Constable Mark Smith has reported that five crimes were reported during the month of January. These include two household burglaries, which occurred in the same street. One took place overnight, when the occupants were away and cash and jewellery was stolen. There were also two thefts: a locked bicycle at the railway station and parcel from a door step. PC Smith has advised that, in addition to those in the parish, there have been two burglaries in Otterbourne. He would be grateful if parishioners could consider taking 'appropriate measures' to prevent burglaries and thefts, such as hiding car keys and ensuring doors are securely locked. Should anyone see any suspicious activity, then Hampshire Constabulary should be contacted immediately, either via 999 or 0845 45 45 45.
Annual Parish Meeting Guest Speaker
Finally, I am delighted to be able to confirm that Ali Morse, Itchen Navigation Project Manager, Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, has agreed to be our guest speaker at the Annual Parish Meeting on 23 April 2009 at the Shawford Village Hall. Ali will be talking about plans to improve public access to the Itchen canal and river system and how the Trust is providing opportunities for wildlife to prosper. She is a lively and enthusiastic speaker and I hope that many of you will be able to attend.
The next meeting of the Parish Council is scheduled for 7.15 pm on Tuesday 3 March 2009 in the Compton Room, Shawford Parish Hall.
DAVID DRAKE, CLERK