An application for the development by Fry's was delivered to the Council immediately prior to the January meeting.
This is a revised presentation and consists of a great deal of reading.
Thus the Chairman suggested that any discussion on this be withheld until the February meeting when the package would have been seen by all Councillors.
In the meantime the Council advise all those who have a concern about the development to write to the District Council with their concerns.
The other planning matters that were before the Council - that for the replacement Hyde House and for the Doctors to have a portable office in their car park - went through without any objections.
The Council has been offered a grant of £500 towards the eastern extension of the Board Walk which will include a ramp to enable less able persons to get onto and enjoy the walk.
The Local Planning Inquiry, scheduled for May, is likely to be postponed until September/October as the sustainable traffic plan for the area is not yet ready.
The District Planners are experiencing great difficulty with the problem of the A351 and until that is resolved the final location of the 1400 houses at Holton Heath or elsewhere in the District can not be established.
The County Councillor spoke of the reorganisation that has gone.
The Government has given Dorset an improved settlement this year so it is planned to maintain the Education budget and reduce other budgets by 1.25%. Thus the County element of the Council Tax should be an increase of 6%
The Parish Budget for next year was the main subject for debate at this meeting and the budget reflects the forward planning for a new Village Hall by providing for the likely expenses to be met.
This is an ongoing activity so it is anticipated that future budgets will include similar charges so that a reasonable figure can be achieved. Otherwise the budget has included the usual items that we are required to cover.
The Chairman has received a number of cards and letters from the recipients of the Millennium Mugs.
They were all expressing their gratitude to the Council for their gifts and the Chairman was very happy to receive them.
The distribution of the gifts was completed in the first few days of the new millennium.
There are now a number to sell which are available at the Post Office or from me at 15 North Street - cost £3.00 each.
The Christmas Trees brightened up the Village at the festive season and the Council is grateful for the donations made towards them.
As reported in the last month's magazine it is regretted that the present team of illuminators has decided to discontinue the task. Could any persons who feel that they would like to continue the task come forward in time for next year.
The trouble has been the lack of numbers and so it has been an onerous task for two or three people.
If we could get more help it would not be such a long task.
It would be a shame to lose something which has become established in recent years.
Perhaps interested persons could let any Councillor know.
The February meeting could have been expected to attract a crowded public gallery as the Fry Planning Application was to be discussed.
The Council decided to oppose the application on the same grounds as before - density and premature application considering the Local Plan Inquiry date.
It is understood that the PDC planners have put off discussing the scheme until further reports from the Developer have been received.
Additionally the Council objected to the proposed positioning of the Village Hall at the top end of North Street. Parishioners are advised to write to the PDC if they have any comments on the proposed scheme.
The subject of Public Toilets was discussed particularly with respect to the still existing direction signs.
It was decided to advise the PDC, that having closed the toilets, that it was essential to remove the signs.
A number of potential users of the toilets had been misled by the signs and were `caught short'.
The one Parishioner in attendance spoke eloquently on the problem of dog fouling in the village, particularly on the Sports Ground. Owners of dogs will be prosecuted if their dog is caught fouling paths etc.
The Council remind all concerned of the health hazards, particularly to small children, of this effluent.
Fly tipping, though not so hazardous is also a problem within the Parish.
If there is a need to dispose of something then it should be taken to the Household Waste site. If that is a problem then contact the PDC.
A very successful meeting with the Youth was held early in February.
The Parish Council values this link to enable it to understand the needs of the young people and to hope that by so talking that vandalism can be eliminated.
Certainly the ideas which were forthcoming presented the Council with some deep thoughts and help in future planning.
The subject of Christmas Lights was brought up and discussed.
The Parish is reminded that the trees are provided by the Parish Council to the places that have agreed to have them.
The lights themselves are provided by the occupant.
On the given day the team prepare the trees and place the lights, the occupant connects the lights to the supply.
Then on a given day the reverse happens.
The present team has decided that they no longer wish to be responsible and so the Council is seeking another team of volunteers.
Anybody who would like to see this festive feature in the village continue and is prepared to assist is asked to contact any Parish Councillor.
The Millennium Mugs are still available for sale at £3.00 each from either the Post Office or myself at 15 North Street.
They will also go very well with an Easter Egg next month!
The Blood Bank held in January was the most successful that we have hosted with 122 donors coming forward and over 100 units of blood being sent off.
Thank you to all who supported this splendid effort and apologies for the long waits experienced by all to give their precious gift.
The Committee was extremely pleased that the Pantomime was so successful.
The BRATS had certainly worked very hard to achieve what all thought to be a brilliant production.
The AGM of the Hall Committee is to be held in the Hall on Tuesday l lth April at 7.OOpm.
All Parishioners are welcome to attend.
The March meeting was the Annual Parish Meeting at which the past year was reviewed by the Chairman, Mr Lionel Street.
In his report he mentioned the efforts to reduce the traffic speed through the village from Southbrook to Rye Hill with particular reference to the length by the School.
This will be brought up again.
The Council had commissioned an improvement in the form of a ramp to the Board Walk that will enable the elderly and the disabled to make use of this facility.
The condition of the Cemetery was much improved since Mr Mooney had taken on the maintenance contract which reflects the interest of a local person with interest in the work.
The County Council was well advanced with the road improvements at Woodbury Cross which the Council had requested some years ago.
The Parish Council had recorded its objection to the Local Plan.
The Chairman regretted the decision by the District Council to close the public toilets but acknowledged the problems that had caused this decision.
He reported that the Parish had suggested that the toilets be demolished and the site used to re-site the re-cycling bank. He mentioned the progress that has been made towards the provision of a new Village Hall by the Committee that represented all groups in the village.
They had recorded a 100% objection against the District Council's proposal to site the Hall at the Recreation Ground and this had been passed on to the District Council.
The Chairman stated that a dialogue with the Youth had been initiated and it was to be hoped that this would continue in strength.
It was considered necessary to make some provisions in the future for their needs in an endeavour to cut down on the vandalism that has occurred of late.
The finances of the Parish would reflect on the changes occurring and next years Precept would be up to £11,500.
Though the Annual Meeting is the open to the Public, when they are able to make suggestions to the Council and air any criticism, it is regretted that so few Parishioners attend and take this opportunity.
One Parishioner requested that the Council provide some financial support for the Twinning Exhibition and another reported a defective street light.
After the Annual Meeting, the monthly meeting took place during which it was reported that some trees had been felled, it was suggested, to improve a view.
These days permission must be obtained before any tree is felled, unless it is in an obviously dangerous state and even then the fact must be reported to the District Council.
The Parish Council's Tree Officer is Mr Dunning who will answer any queries concerning the trees.
The Parish Council made a major decision at the meeting.
Probably it was the biggest decision for a very long time.
It was decided that the Council would purchase the field known as Souls Moor, on the north side of Egdon Close, and currently owned by the Debenham Estates.
The land had been put up for sale with other areas and this field had been looked at by the New Hall Committee with a view to the siting of the new Village Hall and Surgery.
This purchase will necessitate the Council obtaining a loan quite apart from the monies required to build the Hall.
However first things first and the purchasing procedure is now in place.
Once obtained the Village will own a sizeable open area in the middle of the Village.
The scheme envisages both the Surgery and Hall using a common car parking space, there will be a bridge over the river by the end of the board walk and a pathway leading across to Southbrook via the two buildings.
The area to the west and along the river is an SNCI and will need to be maintained as such.
This was a very big decision by the Council but in years to come they are sure that it will be seen as the right decision as there will be this green area in the middle of the Village - perhaps it may be a Village Green.
At the April meeting it was reported that an invitation has been extended to the Chairman, Mr Lionel Street and his wife to attend a Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace later in the year.
This is a great honour for the Village and they will be there to represent us all.
Parking in the Village was discussed in response to a Parishioner.
The particular concerns are the area around the Cross outside the Royal Oak in West Street and at the Surgery.
The Council takes the view that though `yellow lines' may solve the problem, their arrival in an otherwise `yellow lines free' zone will only encourage their extension to other parts of the Village.
Therefore the Council asks all would be parkers to do so with consideration to other users.
The Local Planning Inquiry was reported to be taking place in October this year. Watch out for the dates.
The District Council has still to decide on the Fry application, they can either decide to refuse it on the grounds that it is premature - eg - before the Inquiry, or they can postpone in order to investigate the detail further.
The acquisition of the field known as Souls Moor is or was proceeding along the slow legal lines.
Sadly we have been advised by the District Valuer that our offer for the field is some 30% above their valuation.
This does not affect us immediately but the District Auditor will be down on us with a ton of bricks next year.
The DV looks at it as a field suitable only for the grazing of cattle and horses.
We of course value it as an asset for the Community.
The struggle continues and we will not give up.
Again sadly - I do introduce that word rather a lot - another `organisation' has appeared and made an offer.
Whether it will come to anything or not we have to learn but the Council will do its utmost to secure the land.
The second Youth Meeting was held under the auspices of the Parish Council.
It was not very successful with an average age of around fifty!
However the Council takes the view that we have to do something - even talk which is all that we can do at present.
The Council does, however, include a Youth aspect in all of its plans for the future.
Of course we can not really expect the Youth to take a great deal of interest until something is seen to be done so the Council does not lose heart in the apparent lack of interest.
We know what is required and we are trying desperately to overcome the problems.
It is not just money - a different and more positive approach from the District Council would go a long way to making it all easier.
The Council has donated some money to the Twinning Art Exhibition that will be held in.
This should be a very interesting exhibition with artists from both villages showing their works.
Watch out for the date and go to see the exhibits.
Also on the receiving end of donations were the Crime Prevention Panel and the CAB.
Both were seen to be worthy of support by the Council.
The Village entered the Best Kept Village competition this year.
Unlike that large conurbation of Briantspuddle and Affpuddle who sent four representatives, our team
was but one! A forty five minute presentation was requested and ours stopped on minute forty four!
Bere Regis was presented as the best place to live in the middle of Dorset.
We await the results and if we do not do well at least we are aware of the requirements next time!