SIX parish councillors, the retiring clerk (Derek Kane) and the new clerk (Jo Exelby) attended the August meeting of St Mary Bourne Parish Council.

Hampshire County Cllr Tom Thacker, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Cllr Graham Falconer and Clem Jones (parish representative for Bourne Rivulet and broadband) attended part of the meeting.

Borough councillor’s report: Graham Falconer reported on borough council funding for rural broadband; educational matters; boundary review; tourist, leisure and retail regeneration projects in the borough and the improvement in turnaround times and communication with planning applicants since the restructuring of the borough council.

County councillor’s report: Tom Thacker reported on matters including the appointment of Skanska for highways maintenance. Parishioners should continue to report highways issues through the county council’s highways portal or the parish clerk. Tom could be contacted about non-fulfilment of assigned work.

Tom was asked about pull-ins on Egbury Road; support for old people in the parish and funding for the Saturday voluntary library.

Broadband — update: Clem Jones had received a communication from Glenn Peacey of the county council outlining coverage / cost factors and available funding for superfast services. More info on: . A meeting could be arranged with relevant members of the community if enough interest was shown.

Clem Jones also summarised conversations with BT about timings, cabinet fibre upgrades, new equipment, duct linkages, budget matters and further options for Stoke and Binley.

Bell’s Meadow —update: The council had written to Hyde Housing on 15 July approving the standard of construction and its appropriateness to the rural setting, but expressing concerns about the allocation process which had required intervention by both the borough and parish councils following rejection of some local applicants.

Hyde Housing had responded giving details of the letting process and stating that they had been asked not to send personal data to the parish council about some local applicants.

The clerk would write to Hyde Housing about replanting the roadside hedge adjacent to the site and the state of the land which the contractors had used for site access and parking during the development.

Flood and Emergency Group — update: The chairman, Cllr David Peart, had applied for an Environmental Agency Flood Risk permit to cover the Bourne Rivulet from the SSE sub-station to the main bridge in Stoke. He had also asked for a local quote for silt removal from that stretch of the riverbed. Sarah Cooney (parish representative for Bourne Rivulet and Stoke) had applied for a grant from the SSE Resilient Communities Fund. She and Clem Jones had provided detailed groundwater and well statistics (up to 1 August) for Stoke and St Mary Bourne respectively.

Himalayan Balsam had been noticed growing in Hurstbourne Priors parish area, downstream of Vitacress. A warning about this had been posted on Face Book / Bourne Valley Signpost.

Speeding / electronic speed reminder signs — update: Stoke would like to use the speed reminder sign (SID) at their village entrances along B3048. The device was currently waiting for calibration. The clerk and Cllr Tony Grunsell would liaise. Other options were under investigation / consideration.

Ruth Widén