FIVE councillors and the clerk attended the October meeting of St Mary Bourne Parish Council. Basingstoke and Deane Borough Cllr Graham Falconer was present for some of the meeting.

The following matters were discussed:

Borough Councillor’s Report: Graham Falconer reported on the borough council’s current review of bin collections; a review of potential sites in the borough as part of Strategic Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment after 2024. No sites were currently identified in St Mary Bourne; £1 million funding allocated in the Local Infrastructure Fund which could provide capital funding for community groups and an internal council investigation about access to S106 / BEST monies provided by developers to improve community facilities.

The parish council discussed the difficulties of accessing S106 funds and various parish projects which could be undertaken. They also questioned the cost of providing a tree report as part of a “change of use” application for a drop off / pick up area at Batsford for the village school. Graham would take this up with the Head of Planning and Infrastructure at the borough council.

Bell’s Meadow: The clerk would write again to Hyde Housing concerning the reinstatement of the roadside hedge and the chairman, Cllr David Peart, would write to the Countryside Access Officer.

Food and Emergency Group – update: The chairman was still waiting for a flood risk permit before work re-grading The Bourne could begin. He had written to Simon Cramp at Hampshire County Council for advice about de-silting under the bridges.

The chairman and Sarah Cooney had attended a webinar on how to access funds from the National Flood Management grant fund. Funds could only be paid directly to a charity or other philanthropic organisation. It was suggested at the meeting that the parish council could possibly approach the Bourne Bright Waters charity about this.

September river flow and well measurement statistics for Stoke and St Mary Bourne were provided by Sarah Cooney and Clem Jones, plus six-monthly and three-yearly comparative data.

Electronic speed reminder signs — update: The chairman and Adrian Morgan (AM) from the borough council had driven around the parish identifying possible sites for speed reminder signs, either supplied and managed by the borough council or using / managing parish council owned devices. AM would provide a proposal. The clerk had obtained a quote for servicing the parish council’s own speed indicator device. It was agreed that she should go ahead with it.

Broadband — update: Clem Jones had identified funding options for individual home owners in remote areas which were not on superfast broadband connectivity under current plans. The clerk would write to such householders in the parish and suggest possibilities.

Test Way — update on gates and fingerposts: The county council had agreed to provide paint for the Test Way gates. It was also noted that at certain times of the year the first gate from Bourne Hill towards the school is difficult to use because of nettles and brambles. The clerk will ask Premier Grounds to cut these back when notified. The countryside access officer is going to review the status of the fingerposts and report back.

Highways: The Highways Group had met to begin a proposal to Hampshire Highways for the use of BEST money for highway improvements and measures to reduce speeding in the parish.

Ruth Widén