Article for March Messenger

After the dark, dreary months of winter it is so good to feel that spring is on the way, the daffodils, crocuses and primroses, and longer days, all helping to brighten our mood. Whilst we must all learn to live with Covid and continue to act responsibly and considerately, it is no longer dominating our lives, and there is much to look forward to in the coming months.

As you will no doubt be aware, our Queen ascended to the Throne in February 1952, but the Platinum Jubilee will be celebrated over the long weekend from Thursday 2nd – Sunday 5th June. Plans are already underway for events in the village:

On Friday June 3rd in Coopers Field there will be a Family Fun Day, arranged and supported by the Coopers Arms, the Parish Council and the Carnival Committee. It is planned that there will be rides for young children, a few sports events for all ages, a Tug-of-War competition, music from three bands, a variety of refreshments and much more. Our own (Carnival) Royal Family will also be selected on the day.                                                                       If any other groups or organisations would like to get involved in any way please contact either Carol Parsons, Carnival Chair, via Cossors shop, or Mickey High at “The Coopers Arms”.

On Sunday June 5th members of the Carnival Team and Parish Council will be hosting an afternoon tea for 100 senior members of the village, which will be held in the Bouverie Hall.  Full details will be publicised nearer the time but expect a vintage Coronation/Platinum Jubilee themed event.

In addition to these events the Parish Council intends to give a commemorative mug to all local schoolchildren. It is also hoped that a specific commemorative project to enhance our local environment will also be possible, details of which will follow once plans have been formulated…….watch this space! 

Now that the weather is improving, and the days are getting longer, many of you may be venturing out into our beautiful countryside. You may already be aware that the Pewsey Vale Tourism Partnership, steered by Susie Brew, has achieved accreditation for the area with “Walkers are Welcome” – a national scheme that recognises the quality and variety of walking in a particular area. As part of this project, Pewsey Community Area Partnership (PCAP) is looking to set up as many Parish footpath groups to help maintain and improve the walking, cycling, and riding routes across our region. Locally we are starting a Pewsey Footpaths Group, where volunteers will meet to carry out (light) maintenance of our footpaths. After an initial explanatory meeting on Feb 1st a number of volunteers are already signed up, but if anyone is interested in joining them please contact our local organiser Cllr Judy Kunkler (Judy.Kunkler@pewsey-pc.gov.uk) for more information.

Another group of (mostly) Councillor volunteers, this time under the watchful eye of Cllr Kerry Pycroft, has been tackling some of the untidy green areas in the centre of the village.  You may have noticed that the overgrown bushes in front of the Parish Office at the end of the Bouverie Hall have been cut back and the pathway from the public toilets down past the Wesleyan Hall and bus stop have been weeded and tidied. This group meets on the third Sunday morning of each month (weather permitting). They would also be delighted to welcome any members of the public able to lend a hand. Please contact Cllr Kerry Pycroft (kerry.pycroft@pewsey-pc.gov.uk)

I am grateful for the support of my fellow Councillors and for the many other volunteers who provide so many hours of unpaid work in our Community. Unfortunately, despite having numerous litter bins available and emptied regularly, we still seem to have a litter problem, particularly in the centre of the village in and around the bus stops. Our volunteer litter pickers do a wonderful job on 1st Saturday of each month, and I know many local residents pick up litter on their travels, but I believe if we are to attract visitors and tourists to the village and support our local businesses we need a more coordinated approach:  

Shortly we will be writing to all residents and businesses in the High Street, River Street and North Street asking them to keep the pavements directly in front of their premises and homes clear of litter and weeds. If anyone is unable to do so, through illness or infirmity, perhaps they could ask their next door neighbour to help. Meanwhile, if the nearest litter bin happens to be full, there may well be another one nearby with room, but if not, please take litter home with you.

This being March, we are at the end of our financial year, and as mentioned in previous newsletters, your Parish Council will not be increasing the precept for 2022-2023. Additionally, we are holding the rents for our sports clubs and for our allotment holders at 2021/2022 figures.

It is Parish Council policy to be transparent about how your money (“Precept”) is spent, and I am pleased to present the budget figures we used: 

The estimated budget expenditure for April 2022-March 2023 is made up as follows.

Administration:  Office, Insurances, Legal Fees, Parish Clerk, Etc                         £58,478

Car Park: Maintenance                                                                                              £3,000

General Village Maintenance                                                                                  £12,520                  

Cemetery, Grass Cutting, Hedges Litter Electricity and Water                              £10,850          

7 Children’s Play Areas and Outside Gym: Repairs, Grass, Litter,                                          Weekly H&S Inspections, Insurance                                                                             £15,000

I D Verde Grounds Maintenance: Grass Cutting, Hedging, Litter Etc                   £41,080

Public Toilets: Daily Cleaning, Water, Electricity, Consumables Etc                    £11,200

Trees: Removal/Maintenance                                                                                 £8,000

Donations: Messenger, Heritage Centre, Carnival + Others                                    £3,490

                                                                                           TOTAL                         £163,618

The following income is expected:

Rents from sports clubs and allotments.                                                                   £5,710

Expected Precept                                                                                                  £140,043 Est.

Funded from Reserves                                                                                           £17865

                                                                                                     TOTAL                          £163,618

Curly Haskell

Chairman Pewsey Parish Council

March 2022