Niton and Whitwell Parish Council met on Monday 27th June at Whitwell Village Hall. A resolution was passed to give financial support for a Southern Vectis winter Sunday number 6 bus service, cost to be apportioned between Chale, Chillerton and Gatcombe and Niton and Whitwell Parish Councils. Following a further meeting with Southern Vectis, I am pleased to report that the winter Sunday service has now been secured for 2016/17.
I was asked to convey the Parish Council’s thanks to the members of the Niton WI for their work on the flower beds outside the old library and a £50 grant was awarded towards the cost of the plants.
It was agreed that “Reinstatement of Undercliff Drive” should be stated as the Parish Council’s number 1 aim on its website to reflect its commitment to this end.
The Parish Council met again on Monday 25th July at the Edward Edwards Library, Niton. The Chairman welcomed Lisa Toyne of Community Action Isle of Wight, who outlined her role with “Age Friendly Island”. Lisa invited the Parish Council to nominate an “Age Friendly” champion and offered to produce a report to assist the Parish Council to consider the areas in which it is, or is not, age friendly.
Public access to land adjacent to Castlehaven Village Green was discussed. The Parish Council acknowledged the right of the owner to reclaim the land formerly occupied by the concession hut. So that this can happen, the Niton Harbour Club has been asked to make arrangements for the boat keel to be moved.
The Ashknowle Lane all-weather footpath surface is now in use and has already received a large number of “rave reviews”, including the appreciation of the Isle of Wight Council Rights of Way team who, after inspecting the footpath, pronounced it to be “a superb job”. Well done, Reynolds and Read, and a huge thank you to everyone who has assisted in any way with the project. The Parish Council is now working towards the maintenance of Allotment Road up to the blue signs beyond the turning circle and improvements to the surface of Lower Fields.
Following the request made at the Annual Parish Council meeting in May, the Parish Council has nominated the White Lion Pub in Niton as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) in an attempt to secure its future use for the benefit of the local area. (The owner of an asset of community value is not able to “dispose”, including a sale or a lease of 25 or more years, of it until an opportunity has been provided for interested community groups to register an interest in purchasing, and, if so, a further opportunity for submitting an offer on the open market for the asset alongside other offers that the owner may receive for it.) The Isle of Wight Council will decide if the pub should be classed as an ACV by 26th September.
The Chairman addressed the Isle of Wight Council Planning Committee at its meeting on 9th August regarding the planning application for the temporary access and turning points on Undercliff Drive. The Parish Council supported the application on the understanding that it is not a permanent solution but a stop gap while research is undertaken to find the means to re-open Undercliff Drive. The Chairman reminded the members of the Isle of Wight Council Planning Committee that the future of the Parish is in their hands, reiterating the Parish Council’s entreaty not to allow the access road to become a permanent solution but instead to work to safeguard a little but vital part of our Island and get the Undercliff opened as a matter of social and economic urgency.
Finally, I am very happy to report that the Parish Council has again received an unqualified audit opinion from the external auditor, BDO LLP. This means that the auditor has no concerns regarding financial or internal control systems, which is really good news for us all. The Conclusion of Audit notice and the Annual Return are on the Parish notice boards and website. To my great joy, the new Niton notice board is now in use, mounted on the wall of the old library to the left of the window. While you’re visiting, don’t forget to also enjoy the beautiful flower beds nearby!
Vickie Ford, Parish Clerk