Article for September Messenger

It is with great sadness that I have to report that Councillor Alex Carder passed away peacefully in the early hours of Thursday 12th August 2021.

Alex was one of our current and longest serving Councillors, having joined on 20th March 1990, elected as Planning Committee Chairman from 8th May 1991 until 13th May 2003 and Past Chairman from 13th May 2003 until 17th May 2011. He had been successfully re-elected on 6th May 2021.

We will, of course, be doing something to mark the massive contribution he made to our community, which will act as a permanent reminder of his service. However, this must be in discussion with his family.

The Village flag at the Bouverie Hall was lowered to half mast, as a mark of respect.

Chairman’s Report

This month’s article is in several parts, the first of which is the address I gave as part of Rev Jennifer Totney`s last service on July 25th, wishing her farewell and good luck from all of us. The service was well attended, but not everyone who would have liked to, was able to attend, so for those who missed it…………  

As Chairman of Pewsey Parish Council, I have been asked to say a few words on behalf of the council and it is my pleasure to do so:

When we first heard that we were to have a female Vicar I am sure there were many in our village that thought of the fictional village of Dibley, and wondered whether we would be getting someone similar.

Ger-ald-ine Gran-ger               Jen-ni-fer Tot-ney                                         Dib-ley                 Pew-sey

Some audible similarities perhaps, but also, I would suggest some more meaningful comparisons too: Both are kind, friendly, supportive, good humoured. Whilst not actually on the Parish Council herself (as Geraldine was), Jennifer has always been very supportive of us, and very keen to engage with the entire community, of which she has become a much loved member.

Jennifer arrived in Pewsey in July 2012, and we are saying Good-bye to her in July 2021. So by the strange quirk of recent history, she arrived at the start of the London Olympics, and, courtesy of the pandemic will leave with the Tokyo Olympics. I am afraid that the Parish Council funds do not run to Gold medals, but surely she deserves one, for the tremendous effort she has put in over the past nine years:

I personally know of days Jennifer spent visiting the Primary School in the morning, Senior school in the afternoon, visiting sick parishioners at home, and comforting grieving families. She also volunteered with the PCCA. No doubt many of you will have your own particular memories, whether someone in your family was “hatched, matched, or dispatched” by Jennifer, or you met to share fellowship in other ways, but I am sure you would agree that it takes great skill and empathy to manage the many and varied demands of her role.

So, instead of the Olympics, I am taking inspiration from 9th Wedding Anniversary gifts. Of course, we are not married to Jennifer (that privilege falls to Chris), but we have been in a marriage of sorts; a long term commitment involving mutual support, respect and trust, where we learn from each other and grow together. Depending on which website you look at, 9 years can be marked by pottery, leather or copper. So, as a token of our appreciation, we would like to give you a small gift incorporating those three things, and presented in a genuine limited edition, designer, Pewsey bag. We hope they prove both beautiful and useful, and something to remember us by in the years to come.

As you begin a new chapter of your lives in Cambridge, know that you will be greatly missed, but that we wish you, Chris and Rosie a very bright and fulfilling future.

This second part is a reminder about the reporting of incidents to the Police.

IN AN EMERGENCY ALWAYS CALL 999

For non-emergencies, you can either phone 101 or report on line via www.wiltshire.police.uk

The type of non-emergency incidents that you might report include Anti-Social Behaviour, vandalism or historical reports of damage (i.e. Crimes that are not in progress) Working together with our Police we hope to reduce these low level incidents which have an impact on our community. When you report a crime to the Police you will receive a crime reference number.

Your Parish Council together with Sports Clubs and businesses have invested considerable funds into CCTV to help in the detection and prevention of crime and anti-social behaviour.

It is extremely important that you follow the above procedure for reporting, even if you don’t think it’s worth reporting, as it builds up a picture of what is happening in our area.

The reason for this is that future policing is guided by demand in a specific area, so accurate reporting is vital to ensure that we have the right resources in the right places.

PLEASE BE AWARE OF SCAM PHONE CALLS

If you receive a call from anybody asking you for your personal details, or any financial information, such as bank account or credit card number, DO NOT GIVE IT TO THEM, NO MATTER WHO THEY CLAIM TO BE. No genuine caller will ask for this. Instead, put the phone down and dial 101.

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Thirdly, our Planning committee thought it might be helpful to explain the process for reviewing planning applications, possibly correcting some public misunderstandings.

  • Wiltshire Council is responsible for publicising and notifying neighbouring property owners of any application which is local to them. It is not Pewsey Parish Council. However, as part of the redesign of PPC website, we will try and include a section to place current planning applications.
  • PPC does not receive notice of planning applications on the “valid       date” as shown on the Wiltshire Council portal; normally at least 4-5 weeks after. Recently we have only received them as little as 2 or 3 weeks ahead of the closing date, making it difficult to include public review under the current, pandemic situation.
  • Previously during the pandemic, only Full Council meetings have been held on zoom; not Planning, Environment or Finance.
  • Currently Full Council meetings are being held in the Bouverie Hall where social distance space can be maintained. A limited numbers of the public are able to attend these meetings where Wiltshire Council deadlines allow, we have dealt with planning applications then.
  • With the relaxing of restrictions, we hope to hold all committee meetings, including Planning, in the Parish Office again. Exactly how this can be safely achieved and how many will be able to attend is still to be decided.

Finally, a word about volunteering: During the Covid 19 pandemic our community came together wonderfully and many people came forward to offer their time and talents to benefit others. With the acute phase of the pandemic over, many people have returned to work, either full or part time, perhaps including some working from home.

To those people who might still like to continue with some sort of volunteering, but cannot commit to a regular day or set number of hours, may I suggest Pewsey and District LINK? Volunteers support people in a number of ways but most commonly by driving them to GP and hospital appointments (mileage is reimbursed). In a rural community such as ours it is an invaluable service, greatly appreciated by the clients, but one which relies on a network of volunteer drivers; having more would be very helpful!

If you think you or anyone you know might be interested in becoming a LINK driver, please contact one of the LINK coordinators on (01672) 564930 or e-mail mwinchurch@aol.com  for more information.

Curly Haskell

Chairman, Pewsey Parish Council