Chairman’s report – June 2016

Councillor Anne Prior, Chairman of the Parish Council, writes:

Medical centre

The Parish Council would like to thank all of you who wrote to SWCCG or signed the petition in support of the funding for the new medical centre. The fact that the funding is now available is due, in large part, to your efforts. Building should begin in the autumn.


A number of residents found a notice under their windscreen wipers stating that WWPC was discussing the removal of parking on verges in the village. This message did not come from us and does not reflect our views at all. Please disregard it. The Council knows that residents on Newbold Road have an arrangement between themselves, WCC and the police to park on the verge and we have no intention of removing parking on Kineton Road. This message was mischievous and the police have been informed.


It was very much appreciated that the union flag was flown in Walton to celebrate the Queen’s Birthday, St George’s Day and Shakespeare’s birthday.

Tree pruning

There have been some incidents recently of residents pruning trees that do not belong to them. Please be aware of the following:

The law states that any branches cut off belong to the person on whose land the tree originally grew, so you should ask your neighbour if they want them back, or if they are happy for you to dispose of them.

Do not just throw trimmings back over the boundary – this could constitute ‘fly tipping’. Ask your neighbour whether they would like any trimmings back.

Equally any fruit on trees, even if they are growing on branches which overhang your property, still belongs to your neighbour. You are therefore stealing if you pick these for yourself without your neighbours’ permission. If you are pruning a tree not on your land, be careful that you do not damage the tree further back than your boundary.

If you damage the tree on their side, they may claim against you for the replacement cost of the tree.

Be careful to check if any trees are subject to a preservation order – your local authority will be able to tell you this. If you cut down a tree with a preservation order, you will be guilty of an offence under section 210 or 211 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

Julia Lipman, Administrative Assistant, Amenities and Highways Committee, writes:

Ettington Road layby

The Parish Council, together with the local Safer Neighbourhood Team, have been lobbying Warwickshire County Council for some time to carry out maintenance work on the land adjacent to the Ettington Road layby.

The area provides a green buffer between Ettington Road and the Mountford Sportsfield but it has not been thinned for some considerable time, as the County Council no longer maintain land that is not directly used by the public.   This means that it is now very overgrown with suckers and brambles and rubbish discarded in the vicinity accumulates in the undergrowth and is unsightly.

The area is also plagued with vandalism and anti-social behaviour. There have been many instances of damage including the Lych Gate, benches, waste bins and more recently the security fencing around the Community Centre building.   In addition, the Council has had complaints from residents who feel unsafe walking in the area. The police are supporting the Council request as the anti-social behaviour in the area is hidden by the dense vegetation and have requested that the coppice be pruned to give clear unobstructed visibility from the road.

If this work is approved by the County Council, it would begin in the autumn as there is currently an embargo on hedge trimming due to nesting birds.

Councillor David Close writes: 

Lengthsman scheme

A Lengthsman was, originally in the 19thC, someone employed by the parish to maintain the ‘length’ of road between neighbouring parishes. It then became a term for railway line maintenance workers and more recently those who maintain canals. The Lengthsman concept for roads and footways has been restarted in several rural counties and now Warwickshire is interested in promoting the scheme.

The Warwickshire model covers a broad range of highway and footway maintenance including highway drainage, clearing verges and blocked drains and keeping an eye on the condition of ditches generally. Work also includes general vegetation clearance around signs, junctions and footways. Some other duties range from cleaning dirty signs, removal of illegal fly posting to minor repairs including repairs to potholes.

Following a successful pilot with seven separate parishes in the Rugby area where the main advantage observed by residents was that jobs were carried out very quickly and it improved the appearance of their communities, the scheme has now been offered to the rest of the county’s parish councils.

Here in Wellesbourne we have been working with neighbouring Newbold Pacey and Ashorne, Morton Morrell and Loxley Parish Councils to set up a group scheme administered by Wellesbourne and Walton PC. This has been accepted by the County and they have awarded us a grant of £10,000 to operate the scheme for the next eighteen months. The scheme includes funding the salary of the Lengthsman (who is to be Ross Podbury who is currently Wellesbourne’s Handyman), training, equipment, materials and insurance. All requests have to be agreed by a nominated parish councillor for each of the four parishes – Ross won’t carry out a task because a resident has noticed something and has seen Ross at work!!

With depleting county finances, we are very lucky to be given this grant. However, it is in the County’s interest as our group scheme is unique to Warwickshire and if successful might set the pattern for elsewhere in the County. It is doubtful though that the grant will be repeated – but the four parish councils feel that if our communities will benefit both in terms of better maintenance and appearance, even for the short term, it is worth doing.

June Meetings

Parish Council Meeting 7 June 7.30pm, Methodist Church Hall

Amenities and Highways Committee 14 June Parish Council Offices

Office and Staffing 27 June Parish Council Offices.

Further meetings may be arranged, please look at notice boards and the website.