THE following matters were discussed at the December meeting of Amport Parish Council.

Vacancy on the council: The chairman, Cllr Ian Long, is still looking for a possible new member to replace the councillor who resigned, possibly from the Quarley area which, at present, is not represented.

The Green and Fen: The council is planning to plant a number of trees along the stream side of The Green to replace those which came down or were felled last year. These will include an alder, a swamp cypress and a dawn redwood which will be supplied by Kieron Beattie’s nursery. Work is also planned to take place in The Fen on the last weekend in January to clear dangerous trees.

Highways: The chairman mentioned his concern about six local areas of road which are in urgent need of attention. Several areas of flooding in Wiremead Lane, which sometimes spreads across the full width of the road, including most of the passing places and also at the pumping station in East Cholderton. The erosion beside The Green. The ‘Slow’ sign before the school which has worn away. A ‘Stop’ sign for traffic leaving the A303 by the White Horse (where vehicles have driven straight across the Thruxton-Amport road and demolished the fence). Finally, the subsidence caused by the drainpipe which carries water into the ditch beside The Green.

He will once again take up these problems with the Highways department. Cllr Steven Coke, the councillor from north of the A303, will also try to establish why it is that requirements for roadworks in Amport Parish are continually disregarded.

Parish precept: The precept for 2018 will be £11,500. This is the amount the council will receive from local taxation.

Lengthsman: Despite the fact that a lengthsman has been appointed to carry out tasks within the parish, the clerk has had no contact from him regarding the two outstanding jobs which were to have been completed in September.

Broadband: The MP for North West Hampshire, Kit Malthouse, has been contacted with regard to this matter in the hope that he can help to expedite its connection. Unfortunately, nothing has yet been heard from him.

Pavement from Millway House: It is hoped that Test Valley Borough Council will be able to repair this stretch of footway so that wheelchairs can negotiate it again.

Recycling plant by Fairways: The council is conducting a survey to see how many nearby households are adversely affected by this operation. So far it has been shown that it is attracting rats and that there is a problem with flies during the summer. Once a full picture has been established, the chairman will contact the owner of the business to discuss the matter.

Amport village website: Over the Christmas period, the website is to be upgraded and enhanced, partly to avoid the chance of it crashing as a result of items being added incorrectly. Notices of local events will be included more regularly, and graphics will be improved to the standard of ‘Monxton Matters’. It is hoped that a link to Facebook and Instagram will also be added. There is also the possibility of advertising by local firms to provide a source of income.

Solar panel money: Of the £25,000, it has been decided to donate £19,500 to local projects. The sub-committee who were considering the applications for grants gave their recommendations as follows:

1, Church heating — £5,000; 2, Village hall heating — £5,000; 3, Village Green play equipment — £5,000; 4, Amport Cricket Club — £1,000 and 5, Amport School — £3,500.

Items 2 and 5 are also likely to receive match-funding from Amport and Monxton Community Charity funds. However, apparently church heating was not considered to be worthy of match-funding, despite the fact that costs for this have now risen to £35,000 + vat and no other grants are available. The onus of raising this considerable sum of money now rests with a few elderly members of the village, although a warm church would benefit all.

Financial sub-committee: A sub-committee will be set up to consider how the excess money which has accrued in the council’s account should be spent. This amount of about £6,000 is more than should officially be held in the account and they will be looking for suitable projects to which money could be allocated.

Date of next meeting: On 16 January in Monxton and Amport Village Hall starting at 7.30pm.

Caroline Unwin