From the Parish Council – December 2019 (published in the December issue of the Potterne Parish Magazine)

Last month’s Parish Council meeting was held on 6th November; the draft minutes of that meeting are on the Parish Council website www.potterne.info (see https://tinyurl.com/ppcmins1119) and on all the Parish Council notice boards. The Parish Council meets in the Village Hall on the first Wednesday of each month; we welcome residents to our meetings, and always set out plenty of chairs for public use – and, if you have any ideas or suggestions, you can voice them yourself during a special section of the meeting set aside for that purpose. Alternatively, write to the Clerk or any Parish Councillor, and your comment or suggestion will be discussed by the Parish Council.

Winter is on the Way!

Although, so far, Potterne has been spared the extreme weather which has caused such pain and disruption in other parts of the country, Winter hasn’t really started yet and, if you haven’t done so already, it would be a good idea to prepare yourself now. Here are just a few suggestions that might pay dividends when we have that first really cold snap or fall of snow:

  • Make sure your house is prepared. Check the heating system and make sure you have plenty of fuel. Check your gutters and surface-water drains. Protect outside taps from freezing. Lay in a bag or two of rock salt (“grit”), and make sure you have a wide snow-clearance/salt-spreading shovel. (If you purchase online, expect to pay about £10 including delivery for a 25kg bag of rock salt, which I think is pretty reasonable – and you won’t have to lug heavy bags in your car! Remember, the Parish Council have only very limited supplies of rock salt which cannot be used to supply residents.
  • Make sure your car is prepared. Never drive without at least a shovel and some warm, waterproof clothing, and keep your fuel tank topped-up – there are few things worse than sitting in a traffic jam in the snow with the fuel gauge moving inexorably towards empty! If the forecast is for snow or freezing temperatures, only travel if you really have to – but check Wiltshire Council’s gritting map at https://tinyurl.com/ppcgrit and keep to gritted roads; even then, drive very carefully because gritting can lose its effectiveness fairly quickly.
  • Help your Neighbours. Especially if your neighbours are elderly, they may well need your help in preparing for Winter – and, when the snow or ice hits, it would be a fantastic act of neighbourliness to clear their front path as well as your own. Keep an eye out for your neighbours – occasionally drop in for a chat and watch for signs that things are not as they should be.
  • Also, see “My Wiltshire” below, for Weather and Emergency reporting.

Wiltshire On-Line

As you probably know, Wiltshire Council has a broad and useful website (http://www.wiltshire.gov.uk) through which you can both find information and report matters of concern. In particular, I highly recommend the following areas:

  • “Our Community Matters – Devizes”. At https://tinyurl.com/ppcmatters, Wiltshire Council maintains a website purely for Devizes and the surrounding area. As its introduction says, “Our Community Matters is an interactive notice board for news, events and volunteering opportunities for communities across Wiltshire, providing people with local interactive notice boards which everyone can use to highlight and discuss local news events and ideas.” Actually, there’s much more than that – sub-headings include News, Events, Volunteering, Projects, Youth Activities and Grants – and you can sign-up for a weekly newsletter which will keep you fully up-to-date.
  • My Wiltshire online at https://tinyurl.com/ppcmyw and also available as an “app” for iPhone and Android devices, has recently been updated and expanded. It gives you your own, personal account through which you can report an ever-increasing number of types of problems – such as Abandoned Vehicles; Car Parks; Fly Tipping; Fraud; Grass, Hedges and Trees; Noise; Public Rights of Way; Playgrounds; Rubbish & Recycling; Street Lighting – to list just a few – and, of course, Highway problems. There is also a “Weather & Emergencies” section for Fallen Trees, Flooding, Materials on the Road, Salt Bins, and Winter Weather. Your reports are listed under your own account, and you receive feedback and even see photos that you or the council upload. There’s also a useful interactive map of current roadworks, with full details so you know what’s being done. I recommend My Wiltshire to everyone!

HAPPY CHRISTMAS!

It is, perhaps slightly early – although my first Christmas card arrived last week! – but as this is my last article before Christmas I wish you a Happy and Peaceful Christmas on behalf of the Chairman, all Parish Councillors and our Clerk.

That’s all for now, but keep up-to-date throughout the month by visiting our website, www.potterne.info, or on the Potterne Parish Council Facebook page.

Until next month,

Councillor John Mann MBE

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