Report for Edington Annual Parish Meeting April 2015 – Wiltshire Councillor Jerry Wickham

Edington Annual Parish Meeting 20 April 2015.

Report by Wiltshire Councillor Jerry Wickham

I would like to firstly apologise for not being able to present my report in person to this meeting. Both my wife and myself are presently away enjoying a break.

When I had the opportunity in attending the Annual Meeting last year, it was only a matter of weeks since being elected as your Wiltshire Councillor for Ethandune, which includes not only Edington but also Bratton, Coulston, Heywood, Hawkeridge and Dilton Marsh. At that time, I could not report on a great deal due to the very short time of having been in post. In view that a year has now passed, I can bring you up to date on what has been taking place. 

As a Wiltshire Councillor, I am joined by three fellow councillors from Westbury and ultimately sanction the work of the Westbury Area Board. The board meets regularly throughout the year and interested parties and representatives from across the area; attend to hear inputs and updates from statutory partners and bodies as well as topics of local interest. The board is allocated funds, which it is able to use, following applications from bodies, for wider community projects. Indeed the board met at Bratton on 9th April and received presentations relative to making our communities friendlier to persons living with Dementia, as well considering additional grants to worthy causes and organisations.

I am pleased to be able to report that in the last year Edington benefitted from a number of grants from Westbury Area board, which I have been able to fully support and includes:

• £800 towards a bell ringing simulator at Edington Priory Church
• £2262 to Edington Parish Council towards a new swing on the playing field
• £1000 for a new handrail on the path to the Parish Hall

It is clear that the village has benefited greatly and this remains a firm objective of mine to ensure the rural communities, in Ethandune, receive an equitable allocation of the board’s funds.

Moving on to another area which I know is of concern that being the state of the B3098. I have repeatedly cajoled the Highways team in Wiltshire Council to repair various sections and finally, I am advised that sections, suffering from de-lamination of the surface, will begin being repaired in the early summer of this year. This is something I will continue to monitor and ensure happens!

With the adoption of the Core Strategy for Wiltshire (which is the blueprint for housing development, employment, transportation of economic wellbeing until 2026) Edington as a community is now identified as a small village. As a country and therefore county, additional homes need to be found. Ordinarily, under the Strategy, these will generally be centred on the towns but there is also a need to provide more homes in villages, particularly to ensure that the younger generation are able to afford to live in these areas. Generally, villages such as Edington should only have applications for the odd property as part of infill and I am fully aware of the concerns in one part of the community, relative to proposals for homes being built. This is an issue that we will have to consider once a formal application is submitted.

We have all seen the dreadful state of our verges due to the presence of litter. I find it incredible that persons would even think of throwing litter from their cars but I suppose there are people around who do not respect our countryside. On 21 March this year, I was able to join a dedicated band of litter pickers from the village,and we jointly collected many large sackfulls of litter and rubbish. I am also pleased to see that some of our faster roads are also now being cleared but sadly I fear it may not be too long before the litter is back again! We have to somehow change the culture of people, who think it acceptable to dispose items from their car window and this will take some time and effort to achieve.

Finally, I have endeavoured to get to as many meetings of the Parish Council as possible, as well as other public functions in the village. I genuinely enjoy representing the community’s interests as your councillor. As always, I am available to deal with any queries or issues and can be contacted either through my email address or my home telephone of 01380 870476 or mobile 07980 701617.