Rotherfield Peppard Parish Council Report

I have provisional dates for the Village Clean-up – these are Saturday 30th March and the RPPC Annual Parish Meeting Saturday 6th April. Everyone is welcome to attend both events where, in true village style, refreshments will be served to keep us going!!! Further details will be in the Spring issue of Peppard News.

Parishioners are beginning to worry about whether our village needs to have a Neighbourhood Plan (I hope not!!!) therefore, for the Annual Parish Meeting, I have invited the Chief Officer at SODC, Ricardo Rios, who deals with such matters to come along and speak at the meeting and let parishioners decide for themselves.

Our County and District Councillors will be invited to attend but as the District and County elections are due to be held in May, they will not be able to speak as they will be in ‘Purdah’ by then. We will, though, have a Commons Conservator speaking and a Footpaths’ ‘Conservator’ as well as the Headmaster of Peppard Primary School – Mr Nick Steele.

The management of Elegant Homes, a development company, asked to speak to Councillors privately  but as we, as your council, wish to be open and transparent in all matters, we informed them that a private meeting was not possible BUT they were invited to speak at a public meeting(the Planning meeting on Monday  19th November) as we felt it only fair to hear what they were planning and/or offering. It was basically a ‘fishing’ mission from both sides and was regarding the land next to the proposed site of the new primary school to be built once funds are raised.

There is a covenant on the land which the developer would need to purchase from the OCC if they bought the land with the intention of building properties: they suggested that we, RPPC, may request some of that money from OCC to go towards the building of the school – they suggested a sum of around £500,000.  The management of Elegant Homes stated that they would build affordable housing as per pro-SODC conditions but not necessarily on that site (this is not an unusual practise).  There is a long, long way to go on this matter, but it was good to air Elegant Homes plans in public – from both sides.

If you have been in the vicinity of the Sports Pavilion, you will have seen that the building is now closed as work has begun on the land with some trees taken down; the statutory survey for bats was completed a while ago. We have been advised which trees should be planted in and around the area on completion of the refurbishment (due hopefully in April 2019) – the area should look really green and very rural! Unfortunately, not all the charities to whom we applied were able to help but everything has gone well with our grant applications as luckily SODC are right behind the project – as are some sports funding charities.  We hope the people who came to the original Open Day, liked what they saw and expressed an interest, will contribute to the venture. As I like to put my money where my mouth is, I have pledged an amount, but it will be paid annually over three years as I cannot afford to contribute what I would like to give all at once.

We intend to have a plaque inside the re-furbished Pavilion carrying the names of local businesses who have generously supported the project. Also, people can ‘buy a brick’ for the Pavilion as many of the cricket club members, players and supporters have done already – very generously.

As the RPPC have lost our home temporarily and the War Memorial Hall could not accommodate us on Monday evenings, we have moved our council and committee meetings to the Springwater Chapel on Blounts Court Road where we have been made very welcome and comfortable. There is plenty of room for the public to attend our meetings – all parishioners are welcome to attend and to speak in the Public Forum part of the Meeting.

Our next Full Council meeting is on Monday 3rd December when, on the agenda, will be the matter of the fencing across public footpaths between Blounts Court Rd and Church Lane.

As a Council, may we thank the Revels Committee for organising such a wonderful Remembrance weekend in which every parishioner was invited to take part – it brought everyone together in a common theme and was fun and respectful at the same time.

Wishing you all the Best for the coming Christmas Season.

Jeni Wood – Chair, RPPC
1st December 2018