Chairman’s 2021 Annual Report
Thank you for attending what we all hope will be the first and last Zoom Annual Parish Assembly.
You may not have noticed that our community has expanded by around eighty households since eighty new homes in Badbury Park lie within parish boundaries. So, on behalf of our community I would like to extend a warm welcome to our new parishioners. The PC has written to each household pointing out the facilities in the village notably the pub, Village Hall activities, the playing field, extensive public footpaths, the phoenix like allotments and our ancient church.
I would like to welcome to the Parish Council Pippa Workman and Lauren Hyatt who with their varied skills and interests, and as representatives of a younger generation, have already made an invigorating contribution to our Council.
Covid and multiple lockdowns have changed the way the Parish Council met in Zoom space. But we only missed one meeting when the public meetings were banned before that genie Zoom’s quantum appearance. Our first task was setting up the Liddington Support Group which was then handed over to the indefatigable Tessa Lanstein. Thank you, Tessa, and for your great contribution to Liddington life over the years. We wish Kevin and Tessa all the best in pastures new.
One of the noticeable effects of Covid is the increased use of the playing field. While this is to be welcomed, there have been issues over the amounts of dog fouling and litter. The dog fouling is a particular concern as this is in an area where children, especially small children, must be able to play safely. I removed two dozen glass bottles from around the play area recently. Please take picnic waste home. There have too, been complaints of dog fouling in Church grounds. The gate between the Playing field and the Church yard is available for use only with the agreement of the Church – misbehaving dogs do not help the cause of open access.
A speed monitor has been installed. This has been rotated around five locations but is placed predominately at the western approach to the village. Gordon Wilson has kindly downloaded the collected data showing around 75 percent of traffic well in excess of the 30MPH limit, which was apparently a great surprise to SBC, while the police (to whom we also regularly pass on the data) expressed dismay that one car was clocked at over 100mph and have consequently advised us they plan to up the frequency of speed checks.
SBC has acknowledged that due to tree cover the Speed Sign just up the hill from the Church Road turning only works intermittently. We have proposed to SBC that it be repositioned by Hillside Cottages to encourage braking down the hill, and that a new Speed Monitor that records the speed and volume of traffic take its old place. SBC has agreed that it is desirable to have data from west as well as east bound traffic, to enhance its understanding of the speeding issues Liddington experiences.
A second defibrillator has been ordered to be placed in the Telephone Box by the old Post Office. A number of Councillors worked on this and thanks go to Clive Bunney for tidying up the ends. On behalf of the village, I thank the Pierces for generously agreeing to this placement. It is hoped that the new function for the kiosk will prove less contentious than the library of racy literature put in another former phone box . We are looking for volunteers to help repaint ours. The Village Hall Committee confirmed its original agreement with the Parish Council concerning the location of the defibrillator on the front of the Village Hall.
The management of the Allotments has ossified in recent years. Liddington community spaces where people meet in public have diminished. Gone is the village shop and post office. The church that has stood open and welcome through centuries to both believer and non-believer alike, is locked at all times save for actual services, apparently out of fear of vandalism. This Parish Council is keen that the Allotments should be rescued from neglect by gaining community control by obtaining a fifteen-year lease from the Diocese. Negotiations began in July. That such a relatively simple agreement remains to be completed is frustrating with the growing season upon us. However, anticipating its completion, Sarah Hill and Lauren Hyatt have led work starting a clear-up notably by pegging out the boundaries of a minimum of ten allotments, cutting back two huge bramble patches, and beginning the restoration of fruit trees near the greenhouses. We need more helpers and invite you to take up allotment spaces.
May I thank my colleagues for the time they have given during the past year. I would like to thank in particular Adrian Moore who is stepping down after thirty years as a bastion of the PC (between May 1984 and now). While on sabbatical, he still chaired the Parish Plan from 2009 to 2011. As Vice Chairman, he has generously lent me the benefit of his wide experience. Of the many services he has rendered our community, I would like to draw your attention to, as it were, unseen contributions which safeguard community facilities, notably securing the green open space at Spinney Close, drawing up the contract and constitution for our Hall, and negotiating with the Diocese a lease for community control of the allotments. These are surely lasting legacies. Thank you so much, Adrian: you are now free to attend Wednesday day-nighters at Lords and Taunton.
I am also sad to report that Val has decided to retire after over five years as our Clerk. She has always been quick to respond to residents’ concerns by placing them before the PC, and where appropriate bringing them to the attention of SBC. She has always given this council back-up and advice over options so that our decision making is informed and considered. She has been courteous but persistent in promoting Liddington’s concerns at borough council level. She has been quite remarkably patient with me, and, at all times, cheerful to work with. Thank you verymuch, Val. We all wish you a wonderful retirement.
Apart from the excellent order Val leaves the Clerk’s Office in, she has been good enough to recommend to us that Laura Evans, who clerks at Covingham and Ashbury, might step into her shoes. I am delighted to report that, following interviews, Laura has accepted our offer, and begins taking over from Val on the 26th of this month. Next month she will clerk our first meeting in the hall for over a year. We very much look forward to working with her.
The Parish Council would like to remind all residents that if your property has shrubs or hedges alongside pavements or public footpaths please take time to ensure that they are kept trimmed well back so that users have clear paths to walk on and don’t have to come face to face with branches or have the need to step out into the road. This advice also applies to overgrown hedges/shrubs or trees from within your property boundary that may result in cars, buses and delivery vans having to drive in the middle of the road. It is your responsibility not to cause a nuisance. Thank you.
PLAYING FIELD AND DOGS
The Parish Council has received several complaints regarding the amount of dog poo being left on the field and around the children’s play area. Please clean up after your dog. It is both irresponsible and an offence that could lead to a maximum fine of £1,000.
PARISH COUNCIL MEETINGS
Unfortunately due to the continuing fight against the pandemic and based on advice from the National Association of Local Councils and the Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government, it was not possible to hold the face to face meeting that was planned for October. It seems likely that the need to hold meetings virtually will carry on for some time to come. If you would like to join a meeting to watch and listen to the proceedings, the Zoom joining details will be included on the agenda. Alternatively any comments or questions can be sent to the Clerk, firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 07989 647438. Any points raised in this way will be answered inwriting and in the minutes.
The next meeting of the Parish Council will be held on Wednesday 4th November 2020 at 7pm.
Val Curtis, Clerk to Liddington Parish Council
Sunday’s Fruit and Veg swap was a great success, it was so nice to see friends and neighbours emerging from covidation and sharing stories and produce.
There was a general consensus to do it again next year!
June 5 deadline for comments on the revised application
These revised documents can be viewed using SBC’s Public Access system via http://pa1.swindon.gov.uk/publicaccess. By entering the application number S/OUT/18/1943 into the search box, the documents can be viewed
If you wish to make any comments then please email email@example.com
Due to the lockdown, this is being made public on the Liddington.org website and in the Lyden Magazine.
The green at Spinney Close has been leased by the Parish Council to ensure that its future as a green space for the village is secure and to prevent the possibility of it being built upon.
A Defibrillator has been placed by the front entrance to the Village Hall. Around thirty people attended a presentation about its use which indicates there is support for the installation. It is intended to place a second one in the disused telephone box subject to the cost of electricity connection not being prohibitive.
The Parish Council approached Swindon Borough Council with suggested measures for traffic calming on the main road. Firstly, we requested moving the pedestrian crossing point fifty yards down the hill to improve visibility for both pedestrians and motorists. After several silent months, this was rejected. Secondly, we asked for a pedestrian designated area along the edge of the main road beginning where the pavement to Hillside Cottages ends continuing on to the pavement’s re-emergence. This would have been facilitated by removing the cross hatching in the middle of the road, thus allowing houses on the south side of the road a little more protection and encouraging motorists to keep to the speed limit. This too Swindon Borough Council rejected.
Thirdly, after many months Swindon Borough Council granted us permission to use our own funds to install a flashing speed sign which now operates at the western approach to the village. It will be rotated around three other positions along the main road and one on Medbourne Lane, as it is noted that familiarity breeds contempt amongst motorists. Data can be collected so that the selfless work of the Community Speedwatch team can be augmented.
The Parish Council is spending almost £1,000 a year cleaning the pavement along the south side of the main road from Hillside Cottages eastwards to Spinney Close access gate. This is because Swindon Borough Council is failing in its duty to cut back overgrown vegetation. The Parish Council incurs this annual expense, which it is not legally obliged to under the Transfer of Services Deed of 28th June 2017, because there would otherwise be grave risk to pedestrians. It is a highly unsatisfactory arrangement about which the Parish Council must continue to challenge Swindon Borough Council.
During the year the Vicar, The Rev Bill O’Connell, addressed the Parish Council about the relationship between Church and Village. The suggestion was made that the building might appear more welcoming and feel more a part of the village life if it was open to the public during daylight hours. This was rejected on the grounds of the risk of vandalism. Is there not a danger that fear now dictates opening hours in a way not witnessed before during the centuries of worship in our village church? “Use it or lose it” the saying goes. But it helps if it is not locked,
At the second attempt an oak was planted on the south side of the playing field to commemorate The Centenary of Armistice Day which is marked by a brass plaque. It seems especially important with Covid-19 cancelling the 75th Anniversary celebrations that the 75th Anniversary is marked in some other way to remind ourselves how invoking the spirit of coming together as in WW2 is helping us now. Any ideas?
In response to the outbreak of Covid-19, the Parish Council instigated the setting up of the Liddington Support Group. I would like to thank Tessa Lanstein for improving it with the creation of a WhatsApp group and chat forum. The Parish Council has also opened a page on Facebook which I encourage you to use.
I would like to thank Adams & Watt for all their hard work in grass cutting and maintenance. The attractive feel and look of the village owes much to their efforts. I urge residents to keep their boundary vegetation from overhanging public pavements and footpaths as it creates obstruction and moss growth.
Finally I would like to thank my Parish Council colleagues for giving so much of their time on behalf of the Community with especial thanks to our very diligent clerk, Val Curtis, who has afforded this rookie patient wise and candid support.
Keep Safe in the coming weeks
Chairman, Liddington Parish Council
The 100 Club will be suspended until further notice due to the Coronavirus. We still have the March drawer to do, and next years memberships to collect when it is safe to do so.
Regards, Keep Safe
During this pandemic it is really important that we look out for one another.
If you find you need to self isolate during the coming weeks ,a member of the Liddington Support Group can help you by collecting essential food and/or medicine. Please contact one of the names below and the Support Group will be able to assist you.
People who are self isolating are advised to do what they can to avoid visitors to their home, so deliveries of groceries, medicines or other shopping are to be left at the door.
Karen Allen 07879896991 Jane Howes 07951563367
Clive Bunney 07824536559 Matthew Bowman 01793791401
Guy Allen 07775712874 Tessa Lanstein 07795057420
Joanne Ayres 07803292080 David Lomax 07931895044
Andrew Caird 07779010645 Nicky Heape 07503157859
Penny Caird 01793791955 Phil Cripps 07595248143
If you would be prepared to help a householder in this way, please phone Tessa Lanstein who is setting up a WhatsApp group on the phone for the Support Group.
This information can also be found on our facebook page