CHAWTON PARISH COUNCIL
ANNUAL PARISH MEETING MINUTES
Meeting on Tuesday 17th May 2022
7pm The Learning Centre J A House
|1.1 Present: Jason Simper (Chair), Mandi Sowik (Clerk), Malcolm Williamson, Jayne Whittock, Jenny Perring, Ilena Allsopp and Laura Dadswell.
|Gill and Jarvis Ranson, Ian Robertson, Giacomo Gatti and Paul Schofield|
|3.||Minutes of last Meeting|
|Previously approved and signed as a true and correct record by the Chair|
|Cllr Diana Tennyson – June 2022 Report
‘Willowfield’, Medstead: It is important to mention the planning application to fell woodland in order to build four dwellings on land to the rear of 2 – 4 Willowfield, Medstead. This planning application was refused at Committee at East Hants on 28 April. The site lies outside the Settlement Policy Boundary (SPB) which identifies it as development in the countryside (CP19) which is not permitted. The countryside is protected for its own sake. This site provides an important green lung between two developments which helps support climate change due to density of undergrowth and mature trees, all important habitats for nesting birds and insects.
Information provided to members on the planning committee relating to development in the countryside appeared to be confusing to say the least. Simply because a site is surrounded by development does not mean that it fails to ‘serve any countryside functions. This is in my view an appalling statement. It does in effect mean that any SINCs (sites of importance for nature conservation) or SSSIs (sites of special scientific interest) serve no countryside function if surrounded by development.
Wildlife Corridor: At the time of writing, I am still striving to ensure that the wildlife corridor and wildflower planting is carried out on the Azalea estate. Access to the above site in Medstead lies across the wildlife corridor. I have been corresponding with Compliance at EHDC on the matter for sixteen months! Bird and bat nesting boxes were finally installed in December 2021, after complaints received from residents.
Eleven trees are protected on site, but most of this small area of woodland could be destroyed if the development is approved at some future date. Felling trees and removing shrubs and undergrowth is contrary to the Climate Change and Sustainable Construction Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) which received support from all members at full council on 14 April.
However, in my mind, this document does not go far enough and ‘preserving local ecology/trees in the design of developments’, is far too vague. It states that ‘new developments should preferably retain existing trees and plants, and schemes should where possible be built around existing trees (in particular mature trees).’
Another point, ‘adaption to climate change – habitats, planting and landscapes’, also lacks adequate force, and I quote, ‘Flora and fauna may also be susceptible to changes in climate, and there is evidence that this is starting to happen, for example the rapid drying-out of wetlands, heathlands, and aquatic areas. By 2050 Climate change could significantly impact a range of species and habitats. Already some native species and pollinators are under threat. Effective design of green infrastructure will need to take account of changing wildlife habitats as a result of climate change’. The SPD is in the public domain, and anyone can access a copy of the 199 page document for further reading.
Very often information I provide for the local wildlife group links directly to the Climate and Environment Liaison Panel at EHDC and the work we do to help protect and support important habitats – woodland, farmland, pond and nature reserves, etc. A statement from the CEO at Buglife in early May should alert us all to insect decline – a 34 per cent decline in the last decade is ‘scary’.
Natural England: Tony Juniper, Chairman of Natural England, made a statement on 3 May relating to ‘nature recovery’ to building, and advice and guidance for local planning authorities. He stated that this clashes at present, but that it will be resolved.
Four Marks South: We are advised by planners that an evening ‘workshop’ is being arranged in June for Four Marks South to be included in the emerging Local Plan as a large development site. We understand that this is purely a ‘evidence gathering’ event and will focus on urban design. Planning officers are expected to present an overview and site promoters will provide information. The workshop is intended to gather the views of local parish councillors. District Councillors are also permitted to attend, but at this point in time we are uncertain whether we will be able to speak or ask any questions, etc.
Children’s Art Competition: This year’s art competition for school and preschool children has just been launched. The theme is ‘pond life’, so plenty of scope for some exiting and imaginative artwork from anyone aged from two and a half years. Swelling Hill Pond, owned and maintained by Four Marks Parish Council, has plenty of seating and space to observe pond life. It is advisable to ensure that children aged below sixteen years of age are accompanied by an adult. Another local pond where new pond planting has just taken place can be found at Newton Valence, a short distance along the A32.
War in Ukraine: No words can express my horror at events continuing to unfold in the Ukraine. I am aware that many people in East Hants have offered accommodation and a safe refuge to fleeing families with children. There have been several fund-raising events for the Disaster Emergency Appeal nationwide. We are advised that the best way of helping is to donate online. I am therefore repeating information for charities providing aid as follows: – UNICEF, The International Rescue Committee (to assist people whose lives have been affected by conflict and disaster), Vostok SOS, Medecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders (MSF), Sunflower of Peace and Save the Children UK.
Three District Councillors represent Four Marks, Medstead and Chawton and readers are welcome to contact us. Our Email addresses are as follows:- Jonathan.May@easthants.gov.uk, Ingrid.Thomas@easthants,gov.uk and firstname.lastname@example.org .
|5.||Planning and Development*|
|Response to the proposed Alton Infrastructure Delivery Plan – The Clerk will check that a response is required from Chawton as the village lies mainly in the SDNP and therefore the plan may not apply.
Bramble Dene The Shrave Two storey extension to side – 28581/002 –
The Council objects to this proposal Cllr Williamson will respond.
Solar Farm – 55506/002 – Land East of the Old Dairy, Selbourne – The Council support this application however request that a commitment to a safety layby to enable a safe walk on Footpath No. 8 be considered when the landscaping and hedging is installed.
Proposed Care Home and Gateway to Alton 59484 – Council object strongly to this application which is situated adjacent to the land known as the ‘Chawton Gap’ -Cllr Williamson will draft a response.
*-The Parish Council can make observations regarding the Parish as a whole and comment on applications made but there is no guarantee that these comments will impact the ultimate decision.
|6.1 Jubilee Picnic – Plans are well underway for the celebrations on the 3rd June at 12-4pm with games, shows, prizes and cake-off.
6.2 Lectern Update – The last proof has been signed off and the production is underway.
6.3 Playground – After a recent inspection the playground needs some repair and refurbishment, quotes will be sought and further discussion will take place at the June meeting.
6.4 Jubilee Circular Seat & Tree – now installed and ready to use. A big thank you to Robert Smith (Blacksmith) for all his hard work, the seat is a welcome addition to the park. The tree it encircles is a Hornbeam which has been purchased by way of a grant from Cllr Jonathan May.
6.5 The Council would like to thank outgoing Councillors for their contributions and support over the last few years – Thank you to – Donal O’Connell, Keith Murray and Paul Schofield.
|Salary and overtime for the Clerk, Magazine delivery J Fryer, Mowing – G Kitching, School playground Grant, payment for Jubilee circular seat.|
|Cllr Whittock stated that groups of youths are congregating by the barrier in the evening which is becoming intimidating for residents wishing to walk their dogs. It is believed that these groups are dealing/taking drugs. The Council would encourage any resident witnessing such activities in any part of the village to immediately report this to 101.|
Meeting closed at 20.27 Next meeting 7pm Tuesday 14th June 2022 TBC
For further information contact the Clerk on 01420 83440 or 07739 394743