OUR ‘Just to Phil You in’ column returns this week. In this edition, Test Valley Borough Council leader Phil North looks at our glorious open spaces, and protecting them from flytipping.

I RECENTLY saw a positive post on social media (I know hold the front page), complementing the upkeep of Charlton Lakes.

I am pleased to say that this is thanks to the hard work of our brilliant parks and countryside team in Test Valley – and our plans to enhance the area.

The team have undertaken the works as silt had started to build up from the River Anton. They drained the lake and moved the silt to create a causeway and to help rebuild the islands.

The lake is now deeper and a much more pleasant environment for recreation, so much so that Places for People Leisure are using it for boating again.

The new planting, including the establishment of a reed bed in the deposited silt, is starting to take, and we expect it to develop into an area rich with wildlife.

Alongside Anton Lakes and Rooksbury Mill we’re lucky to have such amazing nature in the middle of Andover - and as well as managing our existing facilities the borough council and Andover Vision have aspirations to enable residents to gain even greater access to the countryside.

Watch this space!

Those who blight our beautiful borough by illegally dumping waste are continuing to get their comeuppance thanks to our zero-tolerance policy on fly-tipping.

Test Valley was successful in court on two occasions last month and have secured nine prosecutions in total over the last year, with each of the offenders receiving criminal records, in most cases fines and in all cases being ordered to pay the council’s costs.

We also have arrest warrants for an additional four defendants who failed to attend court and we are working with the police to bring them to court to stand trial.

I want to reassure residents that every single report of fly-tipping gets investigated and with sufficient evidence, taken through to prosecution. Our robust approach means that those who are considering breaking the law should now think twice before they act.

Finally, it’s not too late to help shape Test Valley Borough Council’s priorities for the next four years.

We’ve had over 1,600 responses to our Corporate Plan consultation so far - and I’m keen to hear from as many people as possible.

You have until September 16 to have your say at surveymonkey.co.uk/r/TVBCCorporatePlan.