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

Last month’s Parish Council meeting was held on 9th October; the draft minutes of that meeting are on the Parish Council website www.potterne.info (see https://tinyurl.com/ppcmins1019) 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.

Keeping Potterne’s Roads Safe

I have written before about the Parish Council’s various plans to improve Road Safety in Potterne. Traffic on the A360 seems to become heavier, faster and more aggressive by the day, narrow Whistley Road is used as a rat-run by drivers to whom speed matters more than safety, and drivers simply drive too fast up and down Court Hill and through Potterne Wick.

The Community Area Transport Group (CATG) for Devizes has been in semi-recess over the Summer and hasn’t met since June (no, I don’t know why, either), but at its next meeting on 6th November Potterne Parish Council’s three main submissions will be discussed:

(a)           Potterne – Traffic Calming.

(b)          Potterne – A360 Blounts Court Crossing.

(c)           Potterne – Traffic Safety Measures for Potterne Wick.

Our suggestions for traffic calming include extensions of the 30mph limited zones on the A360, North and South, and on Court Hill, and a 20mph limit on Whistley Road. “Village Gates” would be installed on all four of these entrances to Potterne, together with vehicle-actuated speed signs on the A360.

The Blounts Court crossing – from the Blounts Court side of the A360 to the footpath in front of the George & Dragon – is a major problem. We can’t do without the crossing – it is the main pedestrian thoroughfare joining Blounts Court and Potterne Wick to the High Street and the rest of Potterne. However, Wiltshire Council quite rightly won’t upgrade it, even to an “informal” crossing standard, until it is made safer by improving the sightline for those waiting on the George & Dragon side of the road. However, improving the sightline by moving the sloping side of the cutting involves some massive and rather unquantifiable civil engineering. The Parish Council have therefore suggested an easier and probably cheaper way of making the crossing safe: diverting the A360 south of the crossing so that it approaches the crossing at an angle, this allowing drivers and pedestrians to see each other. If one is to avoid a simple chicane, the necessary diversion could be made by introducing a mini-roundabout at the Blounts Court junction with the A360, which would have the further effects of slowing traffic and making exit from Blounts Court that much easier.

It is unfortunate that plans for Potterne Wick were omitted from the general “traffic calming” measures, but that was not the fault of the Parish Council. General ideas for reducing speeds through Potterne Wick and improving safety at the Potterne Wick/A360 junction will be discussed and a formal submission will be made in the near future.

Please, Please Report Problems…

We were most pleased to have a resident attend our last Parish Council meeting – as she said herself, not to say anything, but just to see what goes on. However, as we were talking about highways, she suddenly remembered that she had noticed that the white markings on the Zebra Crossing on the A360 by Silver Street had all but disappeared. On the day after the meeting, I looked for myself and, yes, I could hardly distinguish the crossing from the vest of the road. I was just about to write an email to the Parish Clerk to ask Wiltshire Council to re-paint the markings when I suddenly remembered My Wiltshire – that app which I had downloaded to my phone for just this purpose. It took me only a few minutes to make a report under “Road Markings” in My Wiltshire, and within a few days it had been loaded onto Wiltshire Council’s system and the work had been allocated. I’ve done the same with two more road problems and, again, they have been replied to within a very short time.

My Wiltshire is not just for Parish Councillors – it’s for everyone to use – and if you haven’t already done so, I strongly suggest you install it on your phone (just search in the App Store or whatever your phone has) or go to Wiltshire Council’s website and use it there. It gives you your own, personal account through which you can report all kinds of problems – such as Abandoned Vehicles, Fly Tipping, Noise, Public Rights of Way, Street Lighting – to list just a few – and, of course, Highway problems. 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!

Potterne’s Young People

The Potterne Youth Centre on Silver Street is one of Potterne’s great assets – not many villages have a place which young people can call their own. Our excellent Youth Worker, Steve Dewar, is employed by Wiltshire Youth for Christ but contracted by the Youth Centre Committee to run the Potterne Youth Club. People have asked me how they can donate towards the work of the Youth Centre, and the best way is to contact John Chandler or Nesta Pudney who have forms for just that purpose. It’s worth going to the Potterne Youth Club website www.potterneyouthclub.co.uk, where you can find out what the Club does – and, interestingly, that you can hire the Youth Centre for your own, personal, use for only £7.50 per hour, including all its facilities including table football!

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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