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Parish Council Report

This week's monthly Bramshott and Liphook Parish Council meeting (Monday March 31) was packed with reports and information affecting all Parish residents. This was also the Annual Parish meeting, so there were additional reports from both District and County councillors

REPORT by Freddie Dawkins

Among the annual Committee reports were:

  • Finance and Policy Committee
  • Recreation Committee
  • Highways, Byways and Transport Committee
  • Planning Committee
  • Liphook Millennium Centre Management Committee
  • Parish Council
  • East Hampshire District Council
  • Hampshire County Council

    Official minutes from Monday night's meeting will be made available from the Parish Office, this report is a quick, non-official summary, to highlight some of the major talking points.

    Traffic concerns continue - some progress

    Councillor John Tough, chairman of the Highways, Byways and Transport Committee reported that there was to be a Zebra crossing in London Road. This has been planned for some time and is finally nearing installation. Cllr Tough did not specify exactly where the crossing would be, but it's likely to be outside the old Trundles estate agents office, where there is already a set of traffic lights.

    There are to be no-waiting, double yellow line restrictions in the new section of Midhurst Road and right round Winnipeg Close.

    Bramshott residents have been requesting action for some time with regard to the sunken lanes in their area and the problem of speeding cars. Cllr Anna James explained about the Quiet Lanes Initiative, which has been successfully implemented in other areas. Cllr James is keen to find out more and hopefully the Parish Council will progress the initiative for Bramshott. Apparently, the existing initiatives give priority to pedestrians and motor traffic is required by law to give way.

    Youth Centre - almost ready to open

    Conversion of the old Tennis Club building in the Recreation Ground off London Road is almost complete and should be open shortly after Easter. There is a proposal that the centre should be called The Beacon. It will open on a limited basis to start and the PC is hoping to receive further financial support for equipment. There has been consultation with potential users and local Church groups, who will be helping with the facility for teenagers.

    South Downs National Park

    Sam James and Richard Hope (both East Hampshire District Councillors for Bramshott & Liphook ward) gave a lively report to the meeting, which was attended by about 8 members of the public. They touched on the South Downs National Park proposals, with Sam James saying that, in his view, the whole process to date has been an illogical muddle. Cllr James has formally requested an opportunity to speak at the SDNP public hearing, where he will press for more strategic thinking and lobby on behalf of the Parish Council.

    Finance: Parish precept - rising Council Tax bills

    All of us in the Parish will have received our bills by now from EHDC. The shock of being the second-highest rated Parish in East Hampshire is sinking in, as people work out the increases they will have to pay each month. The Parish Council made plain that it's actual precept increase is only 0.9 per cent this year and that it's total revenue from the Council Tax will be 161,000. This has to pay for all staff (12), buildings and services provided to Parishioners. The massive increases we are experiencing mostly result from a swingeing increase by Hampshire Police Authority and the overall budget withdrawal by central government, which is shifting money from Southern to Northern areas of England.

    Cllr Michael Croucher reported that in the past year 11,000+ has been awarded in grants from the PC, including sums to Conford and Liphook Village Halls, for building improvements. 10,000 has been granted so far to The Beacon youth centre and overall there has been a slight under-spend of Parish funds this past 12 months.

    Recreation - Shortage of Allotments and upkeep problems

    Trying to find and rent an allotment in the Parish is almost impossible, with a reported 2-year waiting list. The only allotments are in Bramshott and they have two problems - rabbit infestation and flooding. Cllr Les Butcher, standing in for Cllr Alan Jordan, gave the Recreation Committee reports and discussed the allotment problems with Frank Jones, a former member of the PC and an allotment holder. The PC will be looking at ways to improve the situation, but Cllr Anna James stated that with so much pressure on land in Liphook, it was unlikely that further allotments would become available.

    The point was also made, and linked to the pressure on school places, that with an ever-expanding population, the Parish will need more playing pitches.

    Planning - always a controversial area

    Cllr Anna James has chaired the Planning Committee for two years, having a total of four years experience in the area. She reported that there had been 170 applications in the past year, leading to 23 appeals to the Planning Inspectorate.

    For the future, there are several large-scale building developments planned for the Parish, and it has been suggested that all future planning decisions should include allowances for developer contributions towards extra classrooms for Liphook's three schools. Cllr Michael Cartwright, during his Hampshire County Council report, revealed that two of the proposed developments are being asked to contribute 17,000 and 22,000 as payments towards improving school capacities.

    Liphook Millennium Centre Management Committee

    Still very controversial, one member of the public intervened during the meeting and challenged Councillors to answer specific allegations about claims and counter-claims as to the previous administration of the Centre. Apparently, there have been rumours of allegations of inappropriate management and financial controls and the Charity Commissioners have been involved.

    Cllr Barry Hope, Chairman of the LMCMC reported that it has been a very difficult project, which has dragged on for some time now. However, the PC took over control of the Centre from today (April 1) and intends to continue operating the Centre to a high standard and the intention is that it will be self-funding.

    Sainsbury's sells remaining OSU land

    Sainsbury's has sold the remaining acreage of land, between Sainsbury's store and the Beaver Industrial site. No details were released during the meeting, but the original hope was that the land would be developed to provide employment opportunities. For more than a year, no commercial developers were interested in such development and it remains to be seen what will now happen to the land.

    Article posted on: 01 April 2003

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