PRESHUTE PARISH COUNCIL

Minutes of the ANNUAL PARISH MEETING held on Monday 23rd May 2022 at Kennet Valley Hall, Lockeridge at 7.30pm

Present: Cllr P Morgan (Chair), Cllr J Penn, Cllr I Wroth, Cllr H Wroth & Cllr S Mills.

In attendance:  Miss S Roberts (Clerk)

Apologies for absence: Cllr J Clark & Unitary Cllr Jane Davies

1.    Chairman’s review of the year
This has been a very positive year for Preshute PC as the community returns to normal life after the Pandemic. However, the war in Ukraine, other national factors, and a relentless increase in costs of living has hit domestic budgets very hard. The economic situation is therefore guiding Preshute PCs activities significantly, while at the same time allowing us to consider the long-term future of the Parish.

Firstly, I would like to thank Councillors on behalf of all Preshute residents for your time and commitment. We may be a small parish, but your efforts over the past year have continued to consolidate Preshute's reputation among its peers and within Wiltshire Council. back on the map and have shown that we have an important job to do. We still need another Councillor and if anybody knows of a willing volunteer, please point them in my direction.

Of course, at the centre of every good team there is always a dedicated coach and I am sure you will all join me in thanking our Parish Clerk, Sophie, for her patience, diligence and keeping us on the straight and narrow.

Preshute PC embarked on its own Neighbourhood Plan in October 2020. Since then, progress has been remarkable - to the extent that in early May the NP Working Group will be seeking approval from the full Council to submit a full package of proposals to Wiltshire Council under the terms of the Regulation 15 section of the NP Planning legislation. The NP has enabled us to communicate formally twice with our community and have a long strategic think about how we want land use to evolve over the coming fifteen or so years.

The amount of effort involved by the Working Group has been far higher than anticipated. When approved (after another consultation by Wiltshire, an Inspection stage by an independent assessor and a final referendum), we will have a document that will sit alongside National and Wiltshire Planning policy when considering planning applications. We can be very proud of this and the visibility it brings to Preshute.

This has been a year when thanks to Sophie's efforts, we have put in place a full suite of standard operating procedures to guide the Council's affairs. These are all available to see on the Council website. Progress on converting to a new website format has been slowed for a number of reasons, not least the significant workload that has emerged on the NP.

In the key departments, there has been significant activity with notable applications at Manton Drove, conversion of the Old Chapel at Manton House and the proposals for the new cookery school at Clatford Manor (all converting otherwise derelict or disused buildings) and impressive enlargement of the equestrian facilities at Rockley.

Highways activity has focused on further protecting the Ridgeway (a joint venture with Kennet Valley and Avebury PCs). Preshute also presented a status report on traffic on the A4 Bath Rd to Danny Kruger MP, as a further effort to get Highways attention on traffic calming between Beckhampton and Marlborough.

The process of mapping in detail all our Rights of Way as a baseline to enhancing safety and responsible accessibility continues and we have received an input from the North Wiltshire Ramblers on PRoWs within Preshute as part of the Neighbourhood Plan Consultation process.

Use of the PRoWs has continued to be very high and Preshute has become a major community and tourist area for leisure in the countryside. and this has continued the issues of anti-social car parking, litter, and damage to crops, etc. We must continue the effort to promote and educate responsible use of the countryside and supporting the interests of those who earn their livelihoods from the area.

Preshute PC, like our neighbours Kennet Valley PC, were unimpressed there was no prior consultation on the cancellation by Natural England of the National Nature Reserve Status for Fyfield Down. This has caused significant concern within the community and this concern has not been assisted by the erection of fences around previously accessible areas by a new landowner.

Working through CATG, the improvements to safety features at the Clatford end of Preshute12 bridleway have been completed. Unfortunately, we were not able to improve the road signage, but there is now signage on the bridleway itself.

This has not been an idle year for dealing with community issues either. A dog bin has been installed at the north east corner of footpath between Clatford and Manton. The mains water leak was finally fixed after much lobbying at Clatford cross-roads (although the natural rain outflow from Clatford Bottom still gives a problem). Grants have been given to MAPAG and Riding for the Disabled, while it is planned to plant a tree for the Queen's Platinum Anniversary this year, in the vicinity of the tree previously planted in 1977 for the Silver Jubilee.


2.    Report from Unitary Councillor Jane Davies
None.

3.    Public participation
None.