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News from Stinchcombe Parish Council

Stinchcombe Parish Council - A community with Spirit

End of year update

Dear all

We had our last Parish Council meeting of the year on Monday night which was well attended and productive.  Thanks to Marian and Nola for providing the refreshments in the break.  I thought I would give you an update of the key points as I saw them. I hope this is useful

Speedwatch Update

We committed last year to the Speedwatch group and they have been diligently progressing a number of initiatives.  Progress on the automated sign (VAS) has been delayed because of a key absence at the council but his replacement is now dealing with the matter and there should be a decision after Christmas. We hope to be able to deploy the VAS next year.

There is a county wide campaign to introduce 20 mph limits in all residential areas and it was agreed to support this, along with over 10% of parish councils.  There is a long way to go before it becomes Gloucestershire County Council policy and there will no doubt be opportunities for residents to give their views.

The village gateway locations on Taits Hill, Echo Lane and Wick Lane have now been agreed with the council  and we are looking to finalise the design, colour, wording, and size in discussion with potential suppliers and Highways. Kath has circulated some mock ups for comments – anyone who would like to be involved, please contact Kath or myself. There will be a chance for the village to comment before a final decision is made.

Facilities Update

We also agreed to fund the feasibility study into an expanded playground and we were hoping for a Playground Group Update which didn’t happen last night.  Hopefully we can get that soon and let everyone know the latest thinking.

You may have seen the new bin and flagpole outside the church, with thanks to Craig Lawfull for installing it. Please let us know if you have the village flags – we don’t know who has them at the moment!!!  We are also looking into the possibility of a further bin at the end of the footpath across rugby club, by the bus shelter.  Hopefully we will also have a new notice board for Old Hill Lane shortly as well.

Footpaths update.

Firstly, I’d like to give the Parish Council’s thanks to Chris Snellock who has served as footpath warden for the last 6 years and has recently decided stand down.  Under his stewardship we have seen conscientious care, documenting, and reporting of our 60 odd footpaths – a heartfelt thanks for your efforts Chris!

John Thomas, from Wick Lane has agreed to take over the role, more details to follow.

There has been no real progress regarding the footpaths at Piers Court. I have recently met with a Police representative who stressed the need to record and report any incidents of harassment. A meeting is being arranged for early January with the PRoW office.

In the meant time, if you have any issues with the state of footpaths, (overgrown,  access issues, damaged stiles etc) please report them to me (or any parish council member) and the PRoW https://www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/prow/report-a-problem/

If you have any issues with people challenging, harassing or intimidating your legal use of a path, again please report them to me (or any parish council member) and the Police https://www.gloucestershire.police.uk/ro/report/ocr/af/how-to-report-a-crime/report-threats-verbal-abuse-assault/

We had another incident reported last week where a walker went through a farmers closed gate and left it wide open allowing cattle to get into a field that he did not want them in. Fortunately the farmer noticed before they started damaging hedging that he was renovating. He has no issue with people walking through his fields but quite reasonably does expect that they leave gates as they find them. Please remember that while walking through fields, especially when not on public rights of way, gates MUST be left as they were found.

Other key points 

You may also see that the Millennium Oak tree has been trimmed and new protective fences put around it – many thanks to Ian and Sandy and Chris for doing the work.

The Council has registered to be part of the chain of beacons on 2nd June for the Queens Jubilee and we have been allocated two oak trees as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy.  Keep the date for next year, I am sure we will be celebrating with more than a beacon.

I took an action a while back to look at how we best use the Parish Council website, eNews and WhatsApp; I will do this over the Christmas period, and if anyone has any thoughts about how we can communicate better or what to communicate, please give me a shout.

On the finances side, we have had payments in of £7413 for this year and expect  £5936 for next year. General expenses for this year were £1928 and forecast for next year is £2284. One off costs this year were £622 with a further £1900 planned but not yet spent. We also holdover a allowance of £6000 for the VAS and village gateways and £500 for the playground for next year.

The next meetings will be:-

  1. Wed 26th Jan, 7.30pm
  2. Wed 9th March, 7.30pm
  3. Wed 4th May, 7.30. Parish Assembly
  4. Wed 18th May, 7.30. AGM

All at the village hall committee room unless covid re-intervenes  – just a reminder that all residents are welcome. If there are any topics you think we should be addressing, feel free to drop me an email simon.packer@stinchcombepc.co.uk or give me a call on 0797 363 8792

Wishing you all a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

Simon

Stinchcombe Parish Council - A community with Spirit

From the Parish Council

From the Parish Council

Our County Councillor, Linda Cohen, has asked us to publicise two initiatives in the county over Christmas:-

Winter Holiday Activities and Food Programme

Registration for the winter HAF programme is now open for children eligible for benefits -related free school meals. The winter programme will run from 20 – 23 December 2021. Children who signed for the summer programme will be automatically registered.

Families can register at: www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/HAF

Strategy to tackle domestic abuse in Gloucestershire

This has been published by the Domestic Abuse Local Partnership Board to mark the beginning of 16 days of action against violence. Full details together with a list of support services can be found here:

www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/health-and-social-care/public-health/domestic-abuse-strategy/local-support-domestic-abuse/

Bins Snow

Christmas and New Year bin collections

Christmas and New Year bin collections – all you need to know

There are no changes to waste collection dates over Christmas and New Year, which means residents should present containers by 6am on their normal scheduled collection day.

  • This year for the first time, wrapping paper can be recycled as long as it doesn’t spring back to a flat shape after being scrunched up, and doesn’t contain foil, glitter or synthetic material. 
  • Wrapping paper must be contained within the green recycling box.  Recycling collection teams are unable to take recyclable wrapping paper presented in black bags or carrier bags. To check if wrapping paper is recyclable visit www.stroud.gov.uk
  • Polystyrene foam can’t currently be recycled, so that should be placed in general waste and not in recycling.
  • This is a time when many households will take deliveries wrapped in cardboard – please remember to flatten cardboard and put it in your recycling box. Extra cardboard should be reduced to approximately the size of a green box and placed neatly underneath or next to the recycling box on collection day.

Defra figures show that Stroud District Council is one of the top performing recycling councils in England. So once again please remember to minimise the amount of waste created and recycle as much Christmas waste as possible – glass, cans, plastic bottles and containers and cardboard packaging can all be recycled.

Food Waste

It is also important to reduce our food waste over the festive period, and if everyone can do their bit it will make a huge difference. For tips on reducing food waste this Christmas visit www.lovefoodhatewaste.com

Bad Weather

If bad weather strikes and snow or ice holds up collections, residents should leave their waste and recycling out for two days including Saturdays but not Sundays. If crews are unable to collect it within this period, it should be taken back in until the next scheduled collection. The safety of crews and the public is paramount in ice and snow conditions.

Collection Calendars 2022

Residents can download 2021/22 collection calendars via the My House section on the SDC website – www.stroud.gov.uk/my-house

Residents who do not have online access or who cannot download the calendar can call the council on 01453 766321 for a copy.

Christmas Trees

Registration for tree collection is open now until 3 January 2022. Real Christmas trees can be recycled at Household Recycling Centres – all visits must be pre-booked. To book a slot visit www.gloucestershirerecycles.com

You can also register your tree for collection to help Longfield Community Hospice

Cat Converter

Catalytic Converter Theft

Local Thefts of Catalytic Converters

We have had local thefts in Stinchcombe and area of Catalytic Converters. It seems that the Honda Jazz is the favoured target.

A combination of factors including surging global demand for vehicles, and the slump in mining during the pandemic, has meant that the price of the precious metals contained within catalytic converters has risen exponentially. An ounce of rhodium costs more than a brand-new Honda Jazz. This hasn’t escaped the attention of criminals. With a single scrap catalytic converter currently worth around £400, organised gangs are targeting dozens of cars each day. Older Toyota and Honda models are particularly at risk of Converter theft.

If yours is stolen

Call the police 101

The cost of a Catalytic Converter Theft

Catalytic converter theft is estimated to cost car insurance customers an average of £1,500. That’s before you consider rising premium costs. Worryingly, the crime could also make your car a write off.

What to do

To reduce the risk of having your catalytic converter stolen, you should:

  • Park your car in a locked garage where possible. Or park it in a well-lit and well-populated are.
  • Park close to fences, walls or a kerb with the exhaust being closest to the fence, wall or kerb. This makes the theft more difficult
  • Avoid parking your vehicle half on the pavement and half on the road. This may make it easier for thieves to access the catalytic converter
  • If parking in a public car park, consider parking alongside other cars and facing you bonnet towards the wall if possible. With the catalytic converter positioned at the front of your vehicle, this will make it harder for thieves to get close enough to steal it.
  • For thefts occurring on driveways, consider the use of a Secured by Design (SBD) approved driveway alarm and sensor. This may assist in alerting you of a potential intruder entering your driveway or garden
  • If your catalytic converter is bolted on, you can ask for your local garage to weld the bolts to make it more difficult to remove.
  • Alternatively, you can mark your catalytic converter. Please ensure any property marking is Secured by Design (SBD) approved
  • You can purchase a ‘cage clamp’. This is a cage device that locks in around the converter to make it more difficult to remove. Toyota are offering a ‘Catloc’ for the Prius (3rd generation, 2009-2011 models) and Auris (2nd generation, 2012-2018 models). Please contact your Toyota dealership for more information
  • Speak to your dealership about the possibility of installing a Thatcham approved alarm. A tilt sensor will activate the alarm should any thief try to jack the vehicle up to steal the converter  
  • If you see someone acting suspiciously under a vehicle, report it to the Police. Obtain as much information as possible, including any vehicle registrations.

Further reading

Ash Dieback

If you have a tree with Ash Dieback

So you think you have a Diseased Tree – what to do.

Identify

Among the first symptoms that an ash tree might be infected is blackening and wilting of leaves and shoots in mid- to late summer (July to September). These months are the best time of year to survey ash trees for symptoms in the foliage. This is because once autumn begins in late September or October, the normal seasonal change in the colour of the leaves can be mistaken for symptoms of the disease.

Most infected leaves are shed prematurely by the tree, but in some cases the infection progresses from the leaves and into the twigs, branches and eventually the trunk, causing dark lesions, or cankers, to form in the bark. These often have a characteristic elongated-diamond shape.

Report a sighting

If you think you have spotted the disease IN A NEW AREA, please REPORT but check the distribution map and symptoms before reporting it.

Management and Control

You are not legally required to take any particular action if you own infected ash trees, unless your country forestry or plant health authority serves you with a Statutory Plant Health Notice (SPHN) requiring action. This is unlikely.

With the exceptions of felling for public safety or timber production, Forest Research advises a general presumption against felling living ash trees, whether infected or not. This is because there is good evidence that a small proportion will be able to tolerate H. fraxineus infection. There is also the possibility that a proportion of ash trees can become diseased, but then recover to good health. These, too, would be valuable for research, although it is still too early to know whether there are such trees in the British ash population.

However, by keeping as many ash trees standing as possible, Forest Research can identify individuals which appear to survive exposure to the fungus and which can be used for breeding tolerant ash trees for the future.

That said, public safety must be the priority, so keep an eye on the trees’ safety as the disease progresses, and prune or fell them if they or their branches threaten to cause injury or damage. In particular, watch for basal lesions (lesions, or cankers, forming near the bottom of the trunk), which can weaken the trunk and make the tree more prone to falling.

There is no known cure, although some fungicides might be effective in suppressing the disease, enabling individual ash trees of particular value to be saved. These might include trees of high amenity, heritage or cultural value. However, such treatments often have to be re-applied periodically, perhaps every year, and can therefore be expensive.

More Information

Wildflower Verge

On the Verge

Roadside verges – something to cherish

Because 97% of our wildflower meadows have disappeared since the 1930s, roadside verges provide an important food source for insects, birds and bats.  Buglife have reviewed the evidence on the importance of verges for pollinating insects and found that as well as a food source they provide shelter, nesting and hibernation sites.

Roadside Orchid
Roadside Orchid

Here in Stinchcombe

Have you noticed how rich in wildflowers Stinchcombe’s outlying roadside verges are?  In mid-July we found about seventy species on Echo Lane, including orchids (see photo above).  Seventy sounds a lot but, according to Plantlife over 700 species grow on British verges.  

We’re also lucky to have a few miles of different types of verge; lowland grassy, wooded, urban and probably a bit of damp verge too. 

Trouble in Paradise?

Verges are vulnerable to poor management, progressively losing their wildflower diversity and their value to wildlife.  The main problem is cutting them too early before the summer-flowering plants have set seed.  Failing to remove the clippings makes things worse because they release nutrients that are bad for most wildflowers.  Early flowering plants e.g. garlic mustard (see below) and ones that tolerate fertile soil and don’t rely on setting seed to spread e.g. cow parsley do well but at the expense of other species.

Garlic Mustard
Garlic Mustard

It was Jess who first suggested that we should do more to look after our verges and the invertebrates that rely on them.  Trudy and Kath have been doing some surveys to find out what wildflower species we currently have.

How to increase wildflower diversity

Sowing a generic seed mix for a quick explosion of colour that has mostly disappeared by the following year is definitely not a good idea!  The Good Verge Guide strongly recommends establishing an appropriate mix of perennial native flowers. Although this approach is slower and more effortful, once in place it helps a wide range of wildlife for years to come.  It is also cheaper in the long run because the new plants should be self-sustaining.

What has been done so far

We have collected small amounts of seed locally, including yellow rattle, foxgloves, ox-eye daisies, field scabious, musk mallow, red campion and white campion.  Trudy, the green-fingered one, is already nurturing lots of little plants.  Photo of Trudy’s ox-eye daisy seedlings

Yellow Rattle
Yellow Rattle

Proposed next steps

We would like to do some limited planting in three areas.  The aim is a gentle build on each years’ successes (or failures) culminating in self-seeding, self-sustaining verges.

Wick Lane in front of the churchyard wall – the objective this autumn is to sow patches of yellow rattle, with red poppies for additional colour. Yellow rattle is known as nature’s own lawnmower because it can reduce grass growth by up to 60%, making it easier for other wildflowers to grow.

Less grass and less frequent mowing is also good news for Russell Legg and his team.  And don’t worry, we’ll work around the snowdrops and daffodils that already give such a lovely display each year. As the yellow rattle does its work we will introduce other wildflowers to increase the diversity and interest. 

The Avenue – the introduction of foxgloves and ox-eye daisies (see below) between the trees this autumn, followed by a couple of other shade-tolerant plants next year. 

Trudys ox-eye seedlings
Trudys ox-eye seedlings

Clingre end of Oldhill Lane – we plan to introduce white campion initially in this sunny area.

Let us know what you think

We have already discussed these ideas with the Parish Council, and with Rev Fiona in the case of the Wick Lane plot.  It would be helpful to know what residents think via the comments facility or by contacting Kath or Trudy directly.  Admittedly, there are valid concerns about wildflower areas looking untidy at times, overhanging pavements or obstructing drivers’ or pedestrians’ view of the road.  We believe that these can be addressed to a large degree and are happy to discuss how this might be achieved. 

Would you like to get involved?

There is plenty of scope to get involved e.g.

  • joining in with next year’s wildflower survey
  • donating small native wildflower plants grown using your own seed (no garden hybrids or foreign imports please, however pretty they look in the garden)
  • giving us the benefit of your expertise if you have a successful wildflower area
  • helping to collect and dispose of clippings after mowing
  • committing to mowing later and less frequently if you maintain a stretch of verge

ETIAS COUNTRIES

ETIAS is coming in 2023

British citizens will require an ETIAS to visit EU member countries in 2023

The EU now consider the UK as a ‘third-country’. At present we can travel to the EU without a travel authorization until the ETIAS is launched in 2023. The ETIAS requirement for British travellers was confirmed by the EU in 2019.

What is ETIAS?

ETIAS stands for the EU Travel Information and Authorisation System. It was announced by the European Commission in 2016

How will I apply?

You can only apply online for ETIAS, as you would any other electronic travel authorization. Mail or postal applications are not accepted.

Do I need to apply for a separate ETIAS for each country I visit?

No, only one approved ETIAS is required per traveller to visit all ETIAS member countries. You do not need to apply for an ETIAS for each member country you visit. An approved ETIAS will cover all visits to ETIAS member countries, regardless the travellers point of E.U. entry or exit

How long is the ETIAS valid for?

The ETIAS will be valid for three years, or the date of passport expiry (whichever comes first), and can be used for stays of up to 90 days in a 180 day period.

Want to know more?

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