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Gossip around the village pump.

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Chairman’s Report

Chairman’s Report to Annual Parish Assembly to be held on Monday 30th May 2022

Since the last Parish Assembly in 2021 there has been the AGM and 9 full Parish Council meetings, most of which were attended by the County and District Councillors. The PC aims to meet every six weeks, primarily in the Committee Room at the Village Hall unless dictated by COVID regulations.

At the AGM on the 26th May 2021 the following appointments were confirmed:-

Footpath Wardens –              Mr Snellock and Mr Packer

Tree Warden –                          Mr Kirkham

Playground Equipment Warden – Mr Cheetham

Rep to Village Hall Committee –  Mrs Shaw

Snow Warden –                        Mr Davies

Snow Plough Operator –             Mr Longstreth 

The following were also appointed as representatives of the Parish Council to other organisations:-

Stinchcombe Hill Trust                                            Ms K Hudson

Stinchcombe United Charities                               Mrs J. Thomas

Dursley United Charities                                         Mr R Holloway

Village Hall Committee                                            Mrs M Shaw

Berkeley Stakeholder Group                                  Mr C Davies

Parish Councillors

The Council is operating at full complement, Simon Packer took over as Chair last year with Kath Hudson acting as Vice Chair.

I would like to thank Marian Shaw for her hard work as departing Chair and helping me as I settle into the role.

Since the AGM, Chris Snellock has stood down as footpath warden and John Thomas has taken it on. Laurie Bradley has also replaced Russ Holloway as Dursley United Charities representative. Many thanks to Chris and Russ for their work.

Kath Hudson has worked very hard on Speed Watch and getting the Vehicle Activated Sign (VAS) ready to install – more later.

We will all miss Richard Cheetham and are grateful for all his efforts over the years. 

Financial Matters

As a result of a survey last year, the precept for 2021/22 was increased from £3,550 to £5,500 to facilitate the provision of traffic calming measures in the village and exploratory Playground works. This will be maintained for 2022/2023.

Planning

There have been 28 planning applications within the Parish and Parish Councillors have seen, consulted and commented on them all.

Notification was received from Planning of a screening request for proposed 60 dwellings, public open space and ancillary works at land north of Taits Hill Road, which caused considerable concern among residents. A Residents’ Association was formed across Stinchcombe Village, Taits Hill Road, Clingre Down and Orchard Leaze, including parts of Cam parish as well as Stinchcombe, which sought advice from a planning consultant.

Facilities

A new bin and replacement flagpole were installed by the church – Many thanks to Craig Lawful for fitting them.  A further bin is ready for installation by the bus shelter outside the Village Hall.  This will replace the bin that DRC had at their entrance there.

A new notice board has been obtained and is ready to be installed to replace the one knocked over at Old Hill Lane.

The Playground group have presented their proposals at a combined Hall, Church and Parish Council meeting.  The designs look good but there are still a number of unanswered questions about insurance, maintenance and public consultations that need sorting.

Highways

Standle Lane has been completely resurfaced with thanks to all those who helped push this one through.

The Speed Watch group now have a preferred make and model of VAS and the evidence to support the recommendation.  The final steps are getting the nearby residents’ agreement to the installation, buying it, and installing it.  If anyone knows a “street works” accredited contractor, please let Kath know.

Design for the village gateways is complete with a series of options ready to go to residents for consultation. Work on the planters has gone ahead – thanks to all those involved

After the parking issues with the rugby club earlier in the season, we had a very constructive meeting with a series of actions that I am pleased to report seem to have solved this problem.

Footpaths and Rights of Way

There was a litter pick held in March this year had a poor turnout but nevertheless produced more than 20 bags of litter.

There have been ongoing discussions between the owners of Piers Court, PROW officers and Parish Council representatives regarding the use of public footpaths on Piers Court land.

General

It’s nice to see a lot more collaboration between the various village bodies in the last year, I hope that that continues – Don’t forget the Jubilee celebrations on the 2nd and 4th of June!

Thanks go to Kath Hudson and Nola Bradley for continuing production of the village Newsletter and to the team who distribute it.  Richard Bartlam continues to update and maintain Stinchcombe E-News for which we thank him.  Richard would welcome Stinchcombe news and photographs to include in E-News.

Summary

Thank you to my fellow Parish Councillors and Clerk for their help and support over the past year.  Thank you also to the Tree, Footpaths and all the appointed Wardens for their time and efforts in keeping our Parish running smoothly and such a pleasant place to live and to our County and District Councillors for their time and support which are very much appreciated.

Feel free to join us for the AGM and assembly on 30th May in the Village Hall.

Simon Packer

News from the Village Hall

New additions by the Village Hall

Firstly, The New Bench erected this morning behind the Village Hall in the amenity area in memory of the late Tony Wannell who did so much for our Hall. (His wife Margaret in the photo)

Also, The new Litter Bin erected this morning next to the Bus shelter in The Street

No Mow May

No Mow May

A Plantlife Initiative

No Mow May is exactly what it sounds – not mowing your lawn during the month of May.  It is an initiative started by the charity Plantlife back in 2019.  In the UK it is supported by organisations as diverse as the National Trust ,  Yeo Valley Organic  and more locally Wotton Area CAN .  Already it has spread to the USA and Canada.

Why join in?

As Gardens Illustrated reported, there is strong evidence for rethinking our mowing habits:

  • 97% of British wildflower meadows have disappeared since the 1930s
  •  many pollinating insects are in decline in the UK
  • on average each square kilometre lost 11 species of bee and hoverfly between 1980 and 2013

but…

Plantlife’s citizen science experiments show that mowing less can lead to a tenfold increase in the nectar available to pollinators and a much more interesting lawn.

Leave it longer for longer

There isn’t really anything special about May – ideally Plantlife would like us to mow only monthly all summer to give short grass plants like daisies and white clover chance to flower.  We should even let the odd patch go unmown to encourage plants such as oxeye daisy, field scabious and knapweed. 

In 2020, I enjoyed a purple carpet of self heal so I’m trying again this year.  Though I will cheat a bit by keeping a narrow strip round the edge short so the general effect is intentional not neglected.

Now for the science bit …

You can register for Plantlife’s Every Flower Counts survey  https://www.plantlife.org.uk/everyflowercounts/  which runs from 22nd to 31st May.  By doing so you help them calculate our National Nectar Score and monitor trends.  It’s fun for children and educational for anyone who, like me, is no botanist.

We can make a difference

There are 15 million gardens in the UK so a high take-up could make a substantial difference to pollinators

… and give us more time to do something we really enjoy!

Kath

truth

The Truth is out there….somewhere

I was SO happy!

In the last eNews, I wrote that I was interested to hear how people get their news. How do you know it’s impartial and that the facts are correct. Having asked this question, I was SO happy when I had a reply.

“That’s a really good question and one that’s very relevant in todays mad world. I’d be interested in the results too. Our primary source of news remains the BBC, although we tend to consume it via the web-site these days, rather than the 10 o’clock news, to allow us time to process the seriously upsetting stuff before trying to go to sleep. You’d like to think that the BBC is a fair and impartial source but on the odd occasion when they’ve run a story where I have some knowledge of the subject, we’ve found their impartiality and accuracy to be lacking a little.

On that basis, we now have a digital subscription to the Daly Telegraph as well, and we try try and use that to get a balanced picture of whats going on in the world.

Neither of us do Facebook, and we would not believe any news received via that medium because of the interest filtering and lack of editing on their part, and we’re also not on Instagram, Twitter or similar social media.

I’m still a member of LinkedIn, which I always saw as the professional end of the social media spectrum, but I’m seeing changes there that are moving it away from the professional and more towards the political/trivial interest end of the spectrum, so I would not trust any news stories on that site any more unless I personally knew the author or had worked with the company in question.

All of which is sorry state of affairs really.”

My Problem

The letter above more or less highlights my own problem with the news and also the greater problem we seem to face in believing what we are told.

For instance TEN times (the last time was this week) the Prime Minister has stood up in Parliament and claimed that there are more people in work now than there were before the pandemic began. However the Official ONS figures show that are 600,000 fewer. A fall of 1.1%

This is just one instance (x10) from just one person shows how little truth means today. Are we now so happy that we all accept mis-facts from our leaders?

Free Speech is a precious thing and something we should never take for granted. However, I think that the Freedom to speak should be backed up with the necessity to prove your facts.

For example, a Sunday Newspaper said that a MP was distracting others by crossing and uncrossing her legs and mentions “un-named sources”. However, when asked to meet the Speaker of the House regarding these “sources” the Editor refused to meet him in order to protect them. So once again we have a totally unsubstantiated story. Can this right? To publish with no fear of having to prove whether it is true.

Elsewhere in the world, we now have a Mr Trump owing a platform called “Truth” and a Mr Musk owning “Twitter”. Two people who are prone to…slightly exaggerate

My Answer

In short, I wish I had one. I struggle to find News that is Truthful and unbiased. We have just been through a Pandemic where untold people died because they believed the “Truth” forwarded to them by a friend on WhatsApp or “Facebook”.

However I have, along with 18,000 others, signed the petition to send a message to MP’s that they are here to lead us, not mislead us.

In the end, I think that the answer lies with us. Me and You. Every time we receive a WhatsApp, a Facebook post or Instagram Post we have to question whether it is true or untrue. Don’t take it for granted. We MUST reply to those spreading untruths. The same for those in power. Question their “facts” and don’t let them repeat untruths again and again.

“If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes truth”— unknown

For those interested in my own sources.

Richard. 29 April 2022

Your comments are always welcome.

Froglife Logo

Paws against ponds

#pawsagainstponds Campaign

During April, Froglife is running the #pawsagainstponds campaign! Britain is a nation of dog lovers, there are over 12 million in the UK and here in Stinchcombe we love our furry friends, many residents dog owners. However, dogs swimming in ponds can have negative impacts on wildlife. Froglife wants to focus on reducing this and raising awareness of the issue.

Keeping dogs out of Ponds

Keeping dogs out of ponds used by amphibians for breeding is important for three reasons:

  • Dogs swimming and paddling in ponds can stir up sediment, blocking out valuable sunlight for aquatic plants and spawn/tadpole development.
  • Trampling spawn, tadpoles and froglets/toadlets
  • Spot-on flea treatments can have a devastating impact on aquatic ecosystems. If dogs go into ponds shortly after treatment, the powerful pesticides can kill the insect life within the pond. You can find further information on the British Veterinary Association’s webpage here. 

There can also be negative impacts on dogs including:

  • Illness and risk of death from blue-green algae. Please read the British Veterinary Association’s article on the subject (with advice on what you can do to prevent your dog from becoming ill) here
  • Injuries from hidden hazards below the water
  • Infections from existing cuts and injuries or ones sustained whilst in the water  

If you see a pond that is well planted and appears to be a designated wildlife habitat, try to keep your dogs away or even better, on a lead, particularly in spring when amphibians will be breeding and in the summer when young amphibians will be leaving their ponds for terrestrial habitats.

Ashlea Mawby at Froglife

DRC Logo

Dursley Rugby Club News – April 22

VOLUNTEERS DIG DEEP FOR DURSLEY RUGBY CLUB

Maroon shirts, green fingers and golden sunshine graced Dursley Rugby Club for their tree planting day

Sunday 20th March saw volunteers from across Dursley Rugby Club turn out to help plant 2,620 trees around the perimeter of the club’s new training pitch. Over 300 meters of hedgerow was planted on the day with expert help from the Wotton Climate Action Group and the hard work of players past and present, parents, grandparents, siblings, friends and even a few dogs from the Rugby, Cricket and Running clubs. Some volunteers were on site for over 6 hours, and areas of rocky ground, along with the need for careful planting and protection of each sapling, meant it was difficult work. Angus McCubbin, the event organiser, said “I am so proud of the dedication shown by all of our volunteers and it has been lovely to see so many different sections from the club represented in this effort. We have made fantastic progress today and this hedgerow will make a huge difference to both the club, our neighbours and the local wildlife”.

The remaining 100 metres of hedgerow was completed by other groups of club volunteers over the past few days. And now, during the warm weather, all the new plants will be diligently watered to keep them healthy. Dursley Rugby Club visitors can now look forward to seeing the trees grow and the hedge develop around the new training pitch.

The new trees were donated by Woodland Trust and Gloucestershire Council, with oak, elder, cherry, birch, rowan, hawthorn and hazel included in the mix to give variety to suit the local environment. The new hedge will provide an important source of food and refuge for birds, insects and small mammals and strengthen the club’s existing conservation efforts. The new trees on site will also contribute to the fight against climate change. Estimates suggest that these 2,620 trees alone could remove as much as 26,200 kilograms of carbon from the air each year.

While the planting is now completed, Dursley Rugby Club are continuing to offer its friends and supporters the chance to sponsor each of the new trees with a personal message or dedication. These messages will be attached to the trees and become part of the hedge, forming a living monument to the sponsors and the loved ones they have dedicated their messages to. The money raised from these sponsorships will be placed into the club’s development fund and reinvested in future projects, including the installation of solar panels. Any interested parties should contact the club for details at DRFChedge@outlook.com

HUSH

Support for Ukrainian Refugees in the UK

OPORA

OPORA  aim to provide emergency and long-term support to Ukrainians and their families looking to rebuild their lives in safety, having fled the war.  They fund accommodation and travel, help refugees navigate the immigration system and are identifying structural ways to create employment and self-employment opportunities.  

They have an online platform to allow sponsors registered under the UK Government scheme to connect directly with Ukrainians looking for help:

HUSH

Help for Ukraine Support Hub (HUSH) is a local (Berkeley, Wotton, Dursley) hub for sharing information, publicising fundraising or other efforts and most importantly creating a support network.   They have organised a public meeting on 28th March (see poster).  There is also a private Facebook group  https://www.facebook.com/groups/hushbv/

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