Cllr. Chris Mitchell presented his report at the Annual Parish Assembly which was held on the 23rd March 2023.
It just under a year since I was elected by the Council to the role of Chairman, taking over the reins from Waine Lawton who served the role for more than a decade. I’m very pleased to say that he remains a Parish Councillor and is Chair of the planning committee. He has been a mentor of mine off and on for some 45 years, since he tried his hardest to teach me maths at Twyford Prep School. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Waine for all your past and continued hard work for our village.
It is sometimes forgotten, or taken for granted, that the Parish Councillors are volunteers, supported by our paid officers, and our role is as administrators for the village and lobbyists for the interests of the village, but we are also residents. I can assure you that we all, without exception, want the best for the village. It is sometimes a struggle to balance all key stake holders’ interests, but we will listen, to all opinions, and do what we think collectively is best.
Some of key highlights of the work that the Parish Council we have made this year:
- With grateful help from many volunteers we enabled the refurbishment of the telephone kiosk at the Post Office – to allow the library to thrive.
- We have Installed a defibrillator in the telephone kiosk at Northfields which joins the others in the village, at the Phoenix, Hunter park and outside of the Gilbert Room at the Parish Hall.
- We also arranged a well attended training session in how to use the defibs, which we will repeat next year.
- A full refurbishment of the Northfields telephone kiosk is planned for later this year.
- We continue a Programme of SLR (Speed Limit Reminders) deployments around the village. This has a marked effect on the speed of vehicles and also gathers useful data about traffic movements and speed. I would like to thank all members of the Traffic Group working closely with HCC to assess traffic calming solutions. In some areas they are really making progress.
- White Lane footpath claim opposite Hockley Cottages. We have had an application for a claim of a continued right of way ongoing for some time. HM Planning Inspectorate have recently agreed with the Parish Council’s request and determined that HCC must assess the application by June 2023.
- The latest phase of the Hunter Park works (http://twyfordhants.org.uk/hunter-park/) are nearing completion, most of the agreed enhancements have already been delivered. For example the footpaths surfaces have been recently re-laid to improve accessibility in certain areas. The aim is to achieve many of the remaining in time for the 60th birthday of the park in April 2024. Of those remaining, there are still some smaller items of equipment to be installed in the play area shortly.
- New cricket nets – currently this is being assessed by the committee, no decisions have been made about the final proposals. There are four key steps that are required in order for the committee to be fully informed and make a final decision in respect of the cricket net project. These are:
- Confirmation of funding for the project.
- An assessment of whether planning permission is required or whether the works fall under permitted development for Local Authorities.
- Views of the users of the park, including clubs, on the detailed proposals.
- An assessment of the duties of the Parish Council in respect of the design, installation and operation of such facilities.
- The allotment site is thriving, and all plots are rented out and we have waiting list of around 10 people with an average wait time of 2 years.
- Use of the pavilion has been expanded and now includes a school holiday club making extensive day time use of the facilities.
- We will be once again providing a temporary outside toilet in the hunter park carpark from the end of March to be in place until October.
- We continue to review and object to Southampton Airport airspace changes
- We have Objected to several applications which want to change large areas of fields into tourism accommodation.
- We have objected to Multiturn’s noise pollution from their exiting operation and also a proposed substantial size increase in the size of their building.
- Provided comments on around 40 planning applications.
- We are currently Liaising with Humphreys / Hazeley Developments and the Golf Club on pre applications for their forthcoming significant planning applications.
Berry Meadow, Meads and the Lock area
This area continues, as ever, to be an extremely busy part of our village,
It is ably managed by the Farm Committee who work hard maintaining it, including applying for and receiving DEFRA funding to provide income towards its management costs.
We will continue to work with the Police, HCC and WCC to manage the lock area and work to reduce antisocial behaviour and protect this unique habitat for us all to enjoy.
On Sunday 2nd April at 2:30pm we hope to have a ‘Drowning’
The rather dramatic name for diverting water from the navigation to demonstrate the ancient art of flooding the meadows.
Berry Bridge update
I have recently been in contact with and received an update from the landowner and her consultants.
They are hoping that a planning application for a new single bridge to replace the sleeper and right of way bridge will be submitted by the end of March/beginning of April.
Hampshire County Council has indicated that it is commissioning its own structural survey for the right of way, pedestrian bridge, but no date is yet set for the survey.
The land owner has instructed her consultants to progress the matter quickly, not least because the Parish Council has made the landowner aware of the village residents upset of the unsightly sleeper bridge and it would be good for all to get the matter resolved. So their intention is to progress with the application ASAP along side dealing with HCC
Unfortunately, the Parish Council has no formal role or power in this matter, built we will be consulted on the planning application. I see our role is working with all the interested parties to facilitate a solution ASAP and that is what we have been doing. We are not happy with the wooden boards and have made it clear that the maintenance of the boards and seeking alternative options should have been a critical part of the consultants advice
Whilst it great that the land owner and her consultants are focused on the end goal we encourage them to take more account of the current situation.
Angela Forder-Stent is in charge of our Flood / ground water defence team.
We started getting close in February, to a point that we have reached before, when we are only a few days of rain away from ground water rising and affecting Hazeley Road. We were prepared with a new stock of sand bags.
We have been closely monitoring the levels, at one stage getting a reading twice a day. I’m grateful to David Sullivan for this data,
I would like to thank all of the Councillors, the Clerk and Assistant Clerk for your support and hard work during the last year.
It would not be right to finish this year’s review without a specific thank you to Chris Corcoran who was elected to the parish Council in July 1984, he will therefore be entering his 40th year as a Councillor when the new Council year starts in May. Congratulations Chris and thank you for all your contributions and hard work during the last 4 decades.
Cllr. Chris Mitchell
Chairman, Twyford Parish Council.