I took over as Chair of Herriard Parish Council last year after the death of our previous Chair Cllr Mike Branigan. We all owe Mike a huge debt of gratitude for the work he did with the Parish Council which has benefitted all of us the village in many ways. He is sadly missed.
The Parish Council has spent an immense amount of time and effort over the last year progressing the Herriard Affordable Housing scheme. There have been lengthy negotiations with B&DBC to ensure that the scheme delivers the homes for local people that residents called for. This process is now complete and we are hopeful that we will receive formal planning consent by the end of June. I would like to thank Andrew Simpson the new CEO of our Rural Housing partner Winchester Housing Trust and his predecessor Leanne Smith for their tireless work on the project. Thanks are also due to John Jervoise and the Herriard Estates – without their support and work this project would not exist.
Along with many other Rural parishes we have been campaigning to maintain the effectiveness of our rural Policing in the wake of continuing budget cuts. It is frustrating that we have not yet been successful in finding ways to do this that have been supported by Hampshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner – but we will continue to press for a solution.
I think every Parish Council meeting over the last several years has included discussion on traffic and road issues. We have been successful in lobbying for a number of speed restrictions and other measures though these do not yet cover all the areas that common-sense says should be controlled. Rod Bolt has been invaluable in helping the Parish Council pursue these initiatives and we will continue to be tenacious in looking for ways to improve road safety.
Along with Parishes in the Meon Valley, a great deal of effort has been expended in trying to find ways to stop abuse of our roads by a minority of motorbike riders. We are grateful for the support of PC Andy Reid and Hampshire Traffic division for their efforts to deal with this. This is a countrywide problem and there is no quick fix. There are technologies that can help and laws that can be used to prosecute but both require resources that are not abundantly available. We will continue to work with Hampshire Constabulary to look for new ways to deal with this problem.
The Parish Council continues to manage Herriard Green and as the site draws towards its 10th anniversary the amount of maintenance work is growing. We are grateful to Andy Casey for his stirling work as groundsman. Andy also monitors the weekly safety reports produced for the Play Area by B&DBC. As the scale of maintenance works to the Play Area escalate we want to start planning to assemble a team that can guide the future of this facility. If anyone would like to join that team – please talk to any of the Parish Councillors or David Freer our Clerk.
The paths at Herriard Green are also at a point where refurbishment is needed and Cllr Ives is working on a scheme that, funds allowing, will include additional drainage and new surfacing.
Much but not all of Herriard now has access to improved FTTC (fibre to the cabinet) broadband service. A new fibre cabinet has recently been commissioned on the edge of Ellisfiled which opens up some possibility of providing better service to Herriard Grange and the new cabinet which will serve The Avenue is installed but has not yet gone live. We’re continuing to work with B&DBC and HCC to try find ways of reaching the other residents who do not have FTTC service. We also plan to investigate options for promoting FTTP (fibre to the premises) services although currently the costs of this might only be viable for businesses with high speed data requirements.
Parish Councils along with all other organisations that hold personal data have to ensure compliance with the new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) that come into force at the end of May. Parishes are also required to comply with the requirements of the Transparency Code for Local Government. Rather than see these new requirements as a burden we are using them to motivate a raft of changes that we intend will improve visibility of Parish Council activity and provide clarity on each Councillors areas of interest and responsibility. Central to this programme, David Freer, our Clerk, is managing the development of a new Parish website which will go live in the Summer.
Along with dealing with the many adhoc issues that will arise during the year, we are going to have a lot to do. We are very grateful to the band of volunteers that has gradually expanded to support Parish Councillors in their work and I would like to thank all of of them. I would also encourage anyone who is willing to help the Parish Council and the Village to please talk to any of your Councillors or David Freer our Clerk – you can help us make a difference.
Chair – Herriard Parish Council