February News

Niton and Whitwell Parish Council met on Monday 27th January at Niton Library. The Chairman welcomed Councillor Helena Hewston, Chairman of the Isle of Wight Association of Local Councils (IWALC) and 2 members of the public to the meeting.

Councillor Hewston thanked the Parish Council for its support for IWALC and asked that it continue. She stated that subscriptions to IWALC paid for training (Code of Conduct Training coming up in March); local council membership enables IWALC to keep an eye on what is happening locally; and gives access to the National Association of Local Councils (NALC). She added that NALC lobbies Central Government on town and parish council issues; offers legal advice through IWALC; organises conferences with workshops and useful resources. Currently, Niton and Whitwell Parish Council pays around £450 per annum for IWALC membership.

The budget and precept for 2020/21 was set. The precept was set at £49,915, representing a cost per Band D household per month of £4.32, a rise of 6p per month (1.3%) on last year. The Chairman observed that the budget reflected the increasing costs of taking on responsibility for extra services and assets; it also tied in with the results of the recent public consultation. Full details are available here

Councillor Jon Boileau Goad reported that he had met with representatives of the Ramblers Association and shared concerns regarding the coastal footpath following the route of the A3055 along Undercliff Drive in view of the intention to reinstate the road. Efforts are being made to establish a route seaward of the A3055. He also drew members’ attention to the “Donate a Gate” scheme, which is run by the Isle of Wight Ramblers in partnership with the Isle of Wight Council Rights of Way team. Under the scheme, a gate may be donated in memory of a loved one. The cost of £490 includes an engraved plaque. Please click here for further details or pick up a leaflet from Niton Library. Councillor Mike Hughson agreed to take responsibility for oversight of Whitwell rights of way on behalf of the Parish Council.

The problem of dog fouling was raised. Unfortunately, our Environment Officer missed most of January due to sickness. I am pleased to say he has now returned to work and resumed his patrols. His presence certainly seems to make a difference! If you are lucky enough to own a dog, please do pick up after it. The waste can be deposited in any litter bin.

The Chairman congratulated Councillor Stewart on his public meeting on 25th January, both in terms of attendance and the way matters were handled.

The calendar of meeting for 2020/21 was agreed and has been published on our website here. The Annual Parish Meeting and the Annual Meeting of the Parish Council will both be held on 18th May this year.

Grants were awarded as follows:

  • £100 for Whitwell WI for maintenance of the Whitwell War Memorial plant troughs
  • £900 for Niton PCC for Churchyard grass cutting
  • £400 for Whitwell Parish Church for grass cutting in Ashknowle Churchyard.

The Parish Council approved a programme of up to 6 excursions for the year. Arranging dates with Ken of Island Minibus Services is high up on my “to do” list so notices should be appearing shortly. If you have any ideas for places to visit, please let me know.

Finally, in view of the response to our recent public consultation, the Parish Council resolved to write to Councillor Stuart Hutchinson, Isle of Wight Council Cabinet Member for Resources, stating that it would, in principle, welcome the opportunity to acquire any, or all, of the following with full responsibility for maintenance:

  • Allotment Road car park
  • Niton public toilets
  • Niton Old Telephone Exchange; and/or
  • the Bert Sprake Memorial Garden

Following the engagement of a professional consultant, the Parish Council has now submitted a comprehensive set of comments in response to planning application 19/01419/FUL: Proposed residential development of 20 dwellings; formation of vehicular access, parking and landscaping on land rear of 1, Hillside Terrace and Trenale (known as School House Meadow), High Street, Whitwell. We will continue to monitor the application with a view to commenting further should the application proceed in an amended form (whether the application is re-advertised or not) and following publication of the report to the IWC Planning Committee prior to determination.

A big thank you to everyone who responded to the Isle of Wight Council’s housing needs survey. I am waiting to see if we reached the magic 20%.

I have been given some lovely leaflets showing the Yar River Trail, which you can pick up in the Parish pubs, shops and Niton Library. The whole trail runs between Niton and Saint Helens, a distance of 18 miles, but there are 4 distinct sections of 4 – 5 miles each for less ambitious walkers. More information about the trail and maps may be found here or you could try our own Smugglers Trail at just over 4 miles by clicking the green tab from our main menu above.

Vickie Ford, Parish Clerk