Article for October Messenger

By the time you read this, Carnival season will be behind us, autumn will be in full swing, and, dare I say it, the countdown to Christmas will have begun. But more of that later; firstly I would like to say a few words about Carnival, and the other community events that have taken place recently.

Whilst it was disappointing not to be able to enjoy the mass spectator events of Carnival such as the Four-legged Race, the Wheelbarrow Race and the Illuminated Parade, due to the ongoing Covid precautions, many other traditional events, and the more recently added Scarecrow Trail, were possible. Thank you to Carol Parsons, the Carnival Committee, the Lighting gang, and all the dedicated Carnival volunteers for decorating the river, organising the various competitions, games, races, sales and shows, and giving us all an opportunity to get together in a safe and enjoyable way.

Another enjoyable event was the Fun Day organised by the Rugby Club at the beginning of September. Although my rugby-playing days are long over, it was a pleasure to attend and see so many youngsters enjoying the opportunity to play, as well as trying a range of other activities. Birds of prey, a Bucking Bronco, bouncy slides, face painting, a visit from the Red Arrows, a popular bar, hog roast, music, and an ice cream van kept everyone entertained and it was lovely to see so many families enjoying the day.

At the time of going to press, the “Pewsey is Open” day on 25th September has yet to take place, but I hope it will be well supported as I know how much work has gone in to the organisation of it. Like so many community events, and activities, success is down to the willingness of numerous volunteers to get involved, and we are so lucky to have them.

Last month I made a plea for everyone to report any issue of criminality including anti-social behaviour to the Police, as well as to the Parish Council. I am pleased to report that those responsible for the recent vandalisation of the Pewsey Vale Football Club pitch were identified using CCTV.  Police have now spoken to all those involved, with the exception of the bike rider, and warned them of the serious consequences of any repeat of their behaviour, including the seizing and crushing of any vehicles involved in illegality. The people spoken to all apologised and undertook not to hang around the club in future, so we hope that no further action is required but in the meantime the Police have also said that further patrols will be done in order to deter further issues.

This is a very good result and emphasises the importance of all us reporting issues to the police by phoning 101 when they happen.

Recently the Gazette and Herald ran an article in which Jeffrey Hobby, Chief Executive of Dunmoore (a Property Developer) criticised both Pewsey Parish Council and Wiltshire Council who had rejected his bid to build 50 Affordable homes in Pewsey. In response, Pewsey Parish Council sent the following:

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“Pewsey Parish Council wish to respond to the article in last week’s paper entitled “Affordable housing crisis in Wiltshire claim developers”. The planning application referred to (20/06557/OUT} was refused by Wiltshire Council for some of the reasons correctly outlined by Cllr Botterill in the article. However, the whole case against this application is set out by the Case Officer Report & Pewsey Parish Council comments and can be read on the Wiltshire Council Planning register. 

This is the 4th of varying proposals for this site in as many years, submitted by Dunmoore Properties Ltd and has now been followed by another; this time for a 30-house mixed development. Dunmoore Properties Ltd are well aware the site is outside the Pewsey Settlement Boundary, with the only access from a narrow country lane, is Grade 1 agricultural land in North Wessex Downs AONB and as such, there can be no justification for developing here at this time.

Over the past 2 years, some 20 houses have been built or are nearing completion in Pewsey and contrary to the developer’s assertion; there are at least two allocated sites available, amounting to a possible 61 houses. The developer is also quoted in saying that “no likely delivery until the plan’s reviewed in 2026”. As fact, the review of the Neighbourhood Plan began earlier this year. This review will include plans for future building within the village boundary, will encourage integrated developments of mixed housing size and type and will be on sustainable sites with good access to village facilities; not isolated from the village hub.

Other claims made are emotive & completely unsubstantiated so are not repeated here.

We do not disagree that we are dealing with “people’s lives” and “they need homes”. However, this should be done by a carefully planned development strategy, in line with the Wiltshire Core Strategy and emerging Local Plan, according to need, on the most suitable & sustainable site and in accordance with the wishes & support of the Pewsey community. .

Curly Haskell – Chairman of Pewsey Parish Council”

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At the start of this article I made a brief mention of Christmas. I know it is still some way off, but please put November 20th in your diaries and support the Christmas Fair at the Bouverie Hall.

Finally, I would like to say a very big “Thank you” to the anonymous couple who recently donated £1500 to our local Defibrillator Fund. Such a generous sum and we are extremely grateful.

I wish you all a safe and healthy October.

Curly Haskell