Potterne Parish Council Report (published in the August issue of the Potterne Parish Magazine)

Last month’s Parish Council meeting was held on 3rd July; the draft minutes of that meeting are on the Parish Council website www.potterne.info (see https://tinyurl.com/ppcmins0719) and on all the Parish Council notice boards. Your Parish Council meets in the Village Hall on the first Wednesday of each month; we always have plenty of chairs set up for residents to view the meeting, but the majority of these are permanently empty! We very much welcome your presence – and participation during the period set aside for that – as we run the Council on your behalf.

Assets of Community Value

The Localism Act 2011 recognises that there may be land within the area of a community that has been used in the past for community purposes but risks being lost if sold – perhaps for residential development. Therefore, the Community Right to Bid allows communities and parish councils to nominate buildings or land for listing by the local authority as an Asset of Community Value (ACV). If the ACV comes up for sale, the community can ‘pause’ the sale and take up to six months to find the funding required to buy the asset.

Potterne Parish Council has already nominated two sites as ACVs: The Five Lanes School site and the garage site at St Mary’s Close, although the listing of the garage site was subsequently disallowed by Wiltshire Council; George Day’s Field has been identified as another potential ACV. In the same vein, at July’s Parish Council meeting, the Council agreed to request an asset-transfer from Wiltshire Council of the grassed area in Blackberry Lane, behind Five Lanes School, and the area between the school and the grassed area, including the land on which Carers Nest is situated; both sites are presently owned by Wiltshire Council, but the Parish Council considers them to be ACVs and therefore important to protect for community use.

You can read more about the Community Right to Bid at https://tinyurl.com/crtbpdf.

Traffic Calming

I am sure that most residents will agree that traffic on the A360, Court Hill, and Whistley Road is having a detrimental effect on our residential environment, and one of the conclusions of the Neighbourhood Plan was that measures should be put in place to provide traffic calming. Over the past few months, the Parish Council has been in consultation with the Devizes Area Board about such measures, and at the last month’s Parish Council meeting the full tranche of proposals were ratified by the Parish Council and have now been passed to the Devizes Area Board for consideration.

The measures include white village “gates” at the four main entrances to the village, an increase in the area covered by the 30 mph speed limit, and vehicle-activated speed signs on the A360. You will find details of the proposal on the Parish Council website (https://tinyurl.com/tcpot0719). (Note that, for reasons beyond the Parish Council’s control, Potterne Wick is not covered by this proposal except for a reduction in the speed of A360 traffic at the Potterne Wick junction; however, the Council will shortly be considering measures for Potterne Wick itself.)

The Potterne Conservation Area

At their July meeting, Parish Councillors received a short presentation on the Potterne Conservation Area and its benefits; a conservation area is “an area of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance” (Section 69 of The 1990 Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act). Potterne’s Conservation Area is centred on the High Street and contains a large number of listed buildings, including the Porch House, a Grade 1 listed building of great importance. The Council proposes to review the Conservation Area when the process of updating the Neighbourhood Plan commences later this year. You can find full information on the Potterne Conservation Area, including its extents, on Wiltshire Council’s website at https://tinyurl.com/pottcons.

Pump Water Not for Drinking

It appears that the sign by the working Whistley Road pump which informed people that the water isn’t drinkable has gone missing, and a further, temporary replacement sign has recently suffered the same fate. There have been reports that people have been using water from the pump as drinking water – even that it is being bottled and sold! The Environmental Health Officer at Wiltshire Council confirms that this water must not be used for human consumption, and the Parish Council is urgently progressing a new sign in keeping with the pump’s listed status. In the meantime, please remember: DON’T DRINK THE PUMP WATER!

Interestingly, village pumps have a dedicated website: http://www.villagepumps.org.uk. The Whistley Road pump isn’t listed on the site; perhaps there’s an opportunity here for a local pump-photographer?

Have you a Business, Organisation or Group in Potterne?

Our request for information for the “Potterne Business Directory” and the “Welcome to Potterne” booklet has elicited a couple of emails, but we are sure there are far more businesses or groups who should be represented. So, if you, or anyone you know, runs a business, organization or group in Potterne, please send details to the Parish Clerk at clerk@potterne.info. It’s free!

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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