Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting – 18th May 2021

Chairman:      Cllr D Bottomley (Chair).

Present:           Cllr K Wheeler-Mallows, Cllr P Evans, Cllr T Martin, Cllr H Waight, Cllr A Earle

Apologies:       PC S Duggan

In Attendance: Mr P Gill (Clerk) and Wilts Cllr C Williams (Wiltshire County Councillor) and one member of the public (by Zoom)

  1. Chairman’s Report. 

The Coronavirus situation has dominated the headlines throughout the year.  Last Spring, we adopted a COVID-19 Support Plan, dividing the village into 6 areas each with a co-ordinator and volunteers to support our villagers as a team effort.  Co-ordinators liaised with residents and were ready to provide appropriate support, particularly for those who may be most vulnerable perhaps due to age and/or medical conditions. Additionally, volunteer supporters stepped forward to help, with shopping, collecting prescriptions or general welfare. There has been plenty of advice and updates on the COVID-19 threat in the media and key information has been posted on the Everleigh village web site at www.everleigh.org.

Our village emergency plan, issued in early 2020, also remains fit for purpose as a source for contact details for Parish Councillors and emergency services. 

Everleigh residents have coped well with the situation. There has been an atmosphere of cheerful resolution and community spirit, with neighbours looking out for each other.  Plans have evolved and have been kept deliberately simple, with the intent of offering support to villagers in an unobtrusive way and to provide flexibility for inevitable changes.

As a result of the Covid-19 threat, all village events over the past year have been cancelled apart from two litter picks. An Autumn gathering took place on Saturday 24th October, with 13 volunteers collecting 15 bags of rubbish, and we conducted a Spring litter pick on Saturday 24th April; 19 volunteers collected 17 bags of rubbish. Everleigh certainly looked a lot cleaner as a result.

Everleigh linked up with Collingbourne Ducis for a Remembrance Service on Sunday 8th November outside St Andrew’s Church by the War Memorial. It was an abbreviated affair and outside with plenty of social distancing.  All went well and we had a good turnout of 25 people.  Parish Councillors have cleared vegetation on the public footpath from The Street, opposite the entrance to Richard Hannon’s Stables, for 50 metres to Stile No1. Consequently, the Right of Way path to the Goa Balti is now accessible via Stile No 2 and the track to the A342.   Wilts Council have agreed speed limit changes on Marlborough Road (MR) in Everleigh as follows:

•           MR South:  From the A342 up to and including Coombe Cottages – Reduce to 40 mph.

•           MR North:  From Coombe Cottages northwards – remains 50mph, and extend this zone

             to the KK tank crossing.

We are pleased to report that implementation of changes was completed on Tuesday 23rd March.

Right of Way (RoW) 6 is a route running south west from the village playground on to Salisbury Plain.  It is a restricted byway and as such it may be used as a footpath and a bridleway and is also open to non motorised vehicles including horse drawn vehicles and push bikes. In the winter the track becomes very muddy and consequently we are hoping to lay a 300m stone track 1m wide on the western side of the RoW, subject to Wilts Council funding.  We have linked up with the Avon Valley Walking Group who are producing walks for local communities.  Our contribution is the Everleigh Parish Boundary Walk which we have conducted several times as a village event in recent years. Leaflets for this walk are available on the The Street noticeboard, at the Goa Balti and at other public places in neighbouring villages.

Our village playground was reopened on Tuesday 30th March in time for the Easter weekend, with appropriate Covid-19 control measures in place. The onus will be on users to implement social distancing, clean equipment before and after use, and maintain personal hygiene. Instructions are posted at playground gates.

There is good news to report on drainage in Lower Everleigh. On 1st March, this year the Tidworth Area Board authorised £4K to be allocated to address the Lower Everleigh drainage issue.  Work on this project was completed in early May and we are hopeful that this matter is now resolved. We are most grateful to Wilts Cllrs Blair-Billing and Williams for their assistance in helping to secure funding for this issue. 

There have been several personnel changes within the Parish Council over the past year.   Jenny Jones and Eliza Hudson have resigned after many years excellent service and we welcome two new councillors to the team:  Henry Waight our local farmer, and Dr Terry Martin who arrived in the village last December. Our manning is now healthy, with six councillors, leaving just one vacancy.

The Parish is fortunate to receive excellent support from other directions. Our Wiltshire Councillor, Ian Blair-Pilling, has provided close support for the Parish Council over the past year. Due to a local government reorganisation, Ian has now taken on responsibility for the Avon Valley Division and we welcome Chris Williams as our Wiltshire Councillor for the newly created Ludgershall North and Rural Division.  On the policing front, Wilts Police Community Policing Team continue to provide security for the village within limited resources.

For the future, the Parish Council’s immediate priority is to continue to provide support to villagers during the present Coronavirus situation.  Thereafter, we have 3 further objectives:

  • Maintain the village’s infrastructure, particularly the playground.
  • Develop Everleigh Enhancement projects in accordance with a two year plan;
  • Conduct several events per year to enhance village community spirit when possible.

Finally, I would like to thank my fellow parish councillors and the Parish Clerk, Mr Phil Gill, for all their support, enthusiasm and hard work during the past 12 months; Team Everleigh continues to thrive!

No questions were asked of the Chairman.

  • Finance Report.  The Clerk reported that finances remain in a healthy condition with the cash balance in all accounts being £ 2867.50 at year end which is £473.25 less than FY 19/20 and reflects the funds earmarked for future projects and includes the Council’s reserves policy of £2100 minimum.  As a result, the Council raised the Precept for FY 21/22 by 1.83% to £3688.71 which equates to a £ 0.73 increase for a Band D property.  The Clerk reminded Cllrs of the need to be careful about spending on items that had not been budgeted for.  The accounts have been prepared by the Clerk, audited by the Internal Auditor and on the recommendation of the Internal Auditor the Council intends to exempt itself from a Limited Assurance Review which negates the need to send the accounts to the External Auditor.  Income for 2020/21 was approximately £3907, namely £3647 Precept, £462 grant income and £260 VAT refund.  Outgoings were approximately £4381, namely Speed Limit Review £1250, Insurance £294 grass cutting £545, Village Central Project £206 and the balance of the spend was on the Clerk’s salary, general maintenance, and other such routine costs needed to run the Parish Council. 

No questions were asked of the Clerk.

  • Wiltshire County Council Report.  Wilts Cllr C Williams reported the following: Cllr Richard Clure was elected as the Leader of Wilts Council and Cllr Williams was re-elected as the Chairman of the Tidworth Area Board.

Grants.  In 2019/20, Tidworth Area Board awarded @£67k of local grants to support around 34 local community projects levering in an additional £120k.  In 2020/21 Tidworth Area Board has awarded @£61k to support around 15 local community projects levering in an additional £100k.

Health and wellbeing.  The health and wellbeing group is a sub-group of the Area Board and focusses primarily on older and vulnerable people. In 2019, Tidworth Dementia Action Alliance was reviewed, and the meetings became part of the health and wellbeing group. During the current pandemic and associated restrictions, the health and wellbeing group has taken on a wider role. It has attracted new partners including the Chamber of Commerce, local councils and Surgeons and operated as a forum for discussing and addressing other local issues including young people, economy and resilient communities. It has met bi-monthly and compliments the Area Board meetings offering an informal forum to share information, discuss issues and propose solutions. Attendance has been good, and the meeting well received. However, the future structure of this group and the health and wellbeing group will be reviewed again once restrictions are lifted.  Some of the projects that the area board organised or supported include:  A successful over 75’s event held in Ludgershall Memorial Hall.  Area Awards event in the Memorial Hall to celebrate and thank some of our volunteers.  A separate working group was set up to explore how we can support and promote social prescribing. Plans including help with cooking, community allotments, and arts for those living with dementia were beginning to be put in place when the pandemic hit. However, funding has been put aside to support the surgery and other partners in delivering this during 2021.

COVID.  Since the first restrictions were put in place in March 2020, the Area Board and community engagement team was immediately called in to lead on the community side of the pandemic and to assist Wiltshire Council in carrying out all of its support activities. This has taken much of our time including setting up the support systems and the network of community groups.  We have been gathering information and intelligence regarding any issues within the area and where support is required. This has been used to inform both local action and that provided by Wiltshire Council and our partners.   The area board has also been active in sharing information with the public and local partners as well as helping ensure people understand and stick to the restrictions that are in place. The Area Board has put together a status report which is a snapshot of what the main issues are in the community area. It is based upon both data acquired by a Joint Strategic Needs Analysis carried out every three years by Public Health and what local groups and organisations are telling us. The next step will be to agree priorities for the area board soon after the May elections.

Young people.  The Area Board has worked with several groups and organisations, providing funding so that they can expand their offer of positive activities to young people. These include funding for Collingbourne Youth cricket club, Tidworth Gymnastics club, Netheravon Football Club and Wellington AcademyAdvice and support have been offered to those areas looking to develop or extend a youth offering. Enford and Avon Youth group were supported to stay at Oxenwood, and we worked with residents and groups from Ludgershall to see if a new offer could be established with the previous youth groups having stopped. Funding has been provided by the area board to Ludgershall boys and youth centre and we want to continue to work with the trustees to help it be a place to provide activities for local young people.  In partnership with Salisbury Museum, we established a film and photographic project that has been working with young people identified by the Youth Offending Team to help give them skills and confidence.Working closely with the Army Welfare Service, a successful family learning festival was run during Autumn 2019 as well as a follow up history day.  A good relationship between Tedworth Equestrian and the Area Board was developed, and funding provided to allow young people who are at risk or who do not have access to this form of positive activity to experience it. The healthy schools project is supported and partly funded by the area board. 7 primary and secondary schools are currently taking part which is the highest number in Wiltshire.  Funding has now been agreed with the Army Welfare Service for them to run a series of pop-up events throughout the community area for young people and families. This will start during summer 2021The Area Board is one of 6 Southern area boards who are working collaboratively to address the challenge of providing positive activities to young people in rural areas.

Community Area Transport Group (CATG).  This is a sub-group of the area board and focusses upon more minor highways issues. The following projects were completed during the past two years:

2019/20

  1. Netheravon Village Gates & Signs
  2. Collingbourne Ducis Gateways Phase 1
  3. Collingbourne Kingston Gateways
  4. Everleigh Speed Limit Assessment
  5. Collingbourne Kingston Deer Warning Sign

2020/21

  1. Collingbourne Kingston Mini Roundabout Kerbing Alterations Preliminary Design
  2. Ludgershall A342 Castle bend / Butt Street Sign Review
  3. Collingbourne Ducis Marlborough Road Village Gates Phase 2
  4. Everleigh Speed Limit implementation
  5. Enford 20mph Speed Limit Assessment – Funding has been agreed by the area board to implement the assessment

Area Boards.  The Area Board stopped meetings for a short time when restrictions first occurred in March 2020. However, since September 2020 the area board has continued to meet using Microsoft teams.  In May 2019, the Area Board ran a workshop called “Paths For All” to focus upon encouraging walking and improving our network of rights of way. This was well attended, and many people wished to get involved. As a result, a Paths for All steering group was established, and funding put aside to support any group wishing to partake. 3 walks have been produced that are available as leaflets or on line at Walking in the Vale of Pewsey – Visit Pewsey Vale A template exists for others to also publish their own walks. The group has also agreed funding for a number of footpath improvements including bridleway and pedestrian gates at Collingbourne Kingston as well as upgrading the surface of a path in Everleigh.  Work continued with the MOD on the military rebasing and the Military Civilian Integration including partaking in the visit from representatives from Estonia.  The Area Board is an active member of other local partnerships including the Multi Agency Forum and the Community Safety Partnership.  The Area Board is a conduit for communications, messages, information and local issues and continues to communicate through its weekly “our community matters” newsletter.  The community area boundaries are changing from May 2021 with the Avon Valley area joining Amesbury community area board. Elections will take place on May 6th. The Tidworth area will continue to have 3 wards namely:  Ludgershall North and rural, Tidworth East and Ludgershall South & Tidworth North and West

Wilts Cllr C Williams then answered questions from those present and The Chairman then thanked Wilts Cllr C Williams for his report.

4.         Wiltshire Constabulary Report.  In the absence of PC Duggan, no report was offered.   The Chairman was disappointed and asked Wilts Cllr Williams to raise the matter of the lack of police reports at Inspector level.

5.  Questions.  There being no written questions or other business the Chairman thanked all who attend and closed the Annual Parish Meeting at 7.30pm

Signed:                                                                                                 Date: