March News

Niton and Whitwell Parish Council met on Monday 21st March the Edward Edwards Library, Niton. The Chair was taken by the Vice-Chairman, Councillor Jon Boileau Goad who opened by welcoming several members of the public to the meeting and inviting them to voice their concerns.

A number of parents with children about to transfer to secondary school asked for the Parish Council’s help to challenge the Isle of Wight Council’s latest home-school transport policy: this is a work in progress. Free transport to Medina College has been withdrawn, leaving students facing the daunting prospect of a 2-hour wait in Newport bus station at the end of every school day. This obviously poses an enormous risk to their health and safety.

Work continues on many fronts to present a compelling case for the reinstatement of Undercliff Drive based on the drainage scheme proposed by local expert Dr Bruce Denness. With the potential to save 7,000 houses, many individuals are giving of their time and talents to the project.

The very exciting news for me is that I have finally been able to order a new Parish Council notice board for Niton Village. The old wooden notice board, most of which is attached to the side of the Village Hall (the rest is in my car!), suffers the worst of all weathers in its very exposed position, although it is in a very handy place for the notices to be noticed! Its green aluminium successor may be sited elsewhere, possibly on the wall of the old library building.

The row over the resurfacing of Whitwell High Street rumbles on, while the state of the carriageway continues to deteriorate. Island Roads says it will not resurface the road before Southern Water replaces the frail water main beneath it but exactly when Southern Water plans to do this has yet to be determined. The Parish Council is working with Councillor Dave Stewart towards the road being resurfaced before winter comes again.

Again, a huge THANK YOU to everyone who voted for the Ashknowle Lane Footpath project at Tesco Island stores during the first week in March. The Parish Council has been awarded a “Tesco Bags of Help” grant of £8,000 to provide a 1.5 m wide all-weather surface of stabilised gravel across the field at the Niton end of the bridleway/footpath between the villages. I am awaiting receipt of the grant so planning for the project can begin. It is hoped to carry out the work in the early summer when the ground is dry and damage to the crop in the field will be minimised.

I hope every home has received the personalised service information booklet about the new waste collection arrangements. You should also have received your additional wheelie bin or gull-proof sacks. If you have any concerns, you can find full details on the Isle of Wight Council website or telephone 823777. If you are not able to present your bags/bin at the presentation point, you can apply to have an assisted collection. Enquiries should be made via the website or by telephone as above.

The six month trial of the “NitWhit” bus has now ended and our thanks go to all who used the service. We have received warm feedback not only from our passengers but also from the minibus drivers, who very much enjoyed providing the service, I’m told. The Parish Council has already begun considering options for next winter.

Life as Clerk to the Parish Council is never dull but May is my very busiest month with internal and external audits to complete, the annual report to write and both the Annual Parish Meeting and the Annual Parish Council Meetings to service in addition to all the other ongoing work and projects. The Annual Parish Meeting will be held on Monday 9th May at 7:30 pm at the Edward Edwards Library and offers a chance to meet the members of the Parish Council informally. Observations and suggestions for any improvements to the villages or their surrounding areas are warmly welcomed. We also have tea and chocolate biscuits so do please come along and have your say. The agenda for the meeting will be available from Monday 25th April.