Every Remembrance Sunday in recent years Parish Councillors and residents have looked at the War Memorial after the Service and agreed that we “must do something” to restore it. Although the core Memorial is in good shape, following some work on the lettering a few years ago, the base is in poor condition and much of the brickwork is failing. Funding for restoration has been a key issue but beyond that we do not have the technical expertise in-house to handle the necessary design work. Hampshire County Council have assisted under their Village Initiative Programme in terms of both funding and design so making this a joint project. Brickwork will be re-pointed and the ugly concrete at the foot covered by stonework that is much more sympathetic to the Memorial. Wheelchair access from the footpath will be provided. Work on site is expected to take place during June.
Those who drive regularly on the M3 will have noticed the signs and possible congestion for bridgework just on the London side of Junction 5. The “Curly Bridge” across the motorway is a public right of way and a bridleway and dates back to the opening of the motorway. Apart from the age of the structure the bridge does not meet modern safety standards and could well collapse if hit by a heavy lorry. The work to install a replacement bridge to the same design is expected to take until August with overnight closure of the Motorway on the nights of 14th July and 11th August.
Design work and planning for the installation of the footpath in Newnham Road is moving ahead although it may be four months before the work is carried out because of the need to move a number of street lights.
Attendance numbers at the Annual Village Meeting were once again slightly higher than the previous year. The Exhibition proved popular and gave residents a chance to chat informally with a wide range of organisations. Following the spell of icy weather in the winter we were asked about the possibility of salt bins being placed at the side of certain hilly residential roads. The Parish Council would buy the bins and Highways would provide the salt. The responsibility for spreading salt, when required, would rest with residents of the roads concerned. We are making a list of possible sites for discussion with Highways and would welcome input from residents to.
Back in February we mentioned our plans to re-turf the popular Varndell Road kick-about area next to the Bowling Club. The turf was laid in March and surrounded by building site type fencing to allow it to become established with the help of six weeks of regular watering. Sadly, football enthusiasts, including a number of fathers, chose to ignore the many explanatory notices by climbing under and over the fencing on a daily basis so damaging both the new turf before it became properly rooted and the rented fence. The result is that despite both watering and our regular patrols the turf has not had a fair chance to thrive.
The first meeting of the new Parish Council took place on Wednesday 16th May when four members who were elected for the first time joined the eight members who were re-elected. The Council elected Antony Hunter as Chairman, Nigel Carpenter as Vice-Chairman, Jane Bonnin as Chairman of the Planning Committee and Martin Whittaker as Chairman of the Amenity Committee for the first year of our four year term of office.
Antony Hunter – Parish Councillor