Thank you to all the speakers and residents who came to the Annual Parish Assembly on 15th March in the Village Hall. Presentations were made by a number of village groups, our county and district councillors and members of the parish council.
The meeting was opened by Gordon Rogers, chairman of the parish council, who welcomed the speakers and residents, and talked about the main issues currently facing the council.
Catherine Harrison, chair of the Preschool, said that despite staff changes over the past year, the school was very successful with thirty seven children attending regularly. It had recently been awarded Millie’s Mark, an award for exceptional achievement for a nursery.
Catherine had also led the team that had the playgound at Bodkin’s Field upgraded in October with new equipment, funded by grants from SODC and the parish council and various fund raising events in the village.
The W.I. was represented by Janet Haylett who gave a run down of their events throughout the last year along the theme of “Visible Women”. The Long Wittenham W.I. will mark it’s 70th anniversary next November.
Rob Knight, project Manager at the Earth Trust, talked about car park improvements at Neptune Wood, the Good Dog Walkers Scheme and building projects at the Earth Trust Centre which will include some archeological investigations in which it is hoped residents may be able to be involved.
Gabriel Hemery, chief executive of the Sylva Centre concentrated on the activities planned for the upcoming year, including the renovation of two buildings at the centre and a plan to reconstruct the Saxon house that was discovered in the heart of the new woodland during an archaeological dig last Summer. He stressed the value of community involvement in their projects.
Bill Symonds of the Athletic Club said that the football teams are having good seasons and the first team is in the semi-final of the North Berks Cup. The external refurbishment of the club house has been completed and more improvements are planned. He made a plea for new members and more involvement from residents.
The Good Neighbours Group was represented by Steve Brown. He said that the they have about thirty members with fifteen to twenty attending most monthly meetings. Some of the highlights of the past year were visits to the Wheatley Falconry Centre and Waterperry Gardens. The next meeting is on 5th April with a speaker from the RNLI.
Our County Councillor Lynda Atkins is celebrating ten years as a councillor. As well as supporting her parish councils, much of her work involves helping individuals with issues such as Blue Badges and social care problems.
Our District Councillor Sue Lawson talked about the grants that SODC have available for various projects covering community groups, and small businesses. The new “SO Charitable Lottery” which will aid local charities will start soon. She also gave an update on the SODC Local Plan which is nearing completion and adoption.
Finally, Councillor Steve Brown outlined the progress on the revision of the Neighbourhood Development Plan which is it hoped will go to referendum in the Summer. Plans for the Community Hub are well in hand and it is hoped to stage a public meeting for the village in April to get more feedback on the design.