It’s been brought to our attention that one of the posts on the pond barrier has been badly damaged. We’ve been in contact with our lengthsman who will be coming out to assess the damage for repair ASAP. Many thanks
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CHAIR’S ANNUAL REPORT, MAY 2021I started last year’s report by thanking everyone who was doing ‘their bit’ to help take care of the isolated, shielding and vulnerable members of our community during lockdown. None of us dreamt, then, that lockdown would be extended and repeated, or that Covid-19 would have such a long-lasting impact and require so much adjustment to our lives. This year, once again, I extend the parish council’s sincere thanks to everyone who has taken time to care and support others and whose efforts have kept our parish such a safe, friendly and attractive place to live.On behalf of the parish council I would especially like to thank Cllr Stuart McGuigan, who has retired after many years of service. Our thanks and sincere good wishes also to the family of the late Cllr Andy Greenhalgh, whose untimely death was such a sad loss to our whole community.Bishopstone Parish Council’s meetings this year have been held online, with residents able to attend remotely and submit questions and raise concerns as usual. Elections planned for last year were postponed till 6th May this year. Rural parish councils often struggle to find people willing to serve as councillors, and the few who do raise their hands are often elected unopposed. In Bishopstone this year, for the first time in 40 years, more candidates stood for election than there were seats available. 52% of villagers turned out to vote, and all nine incumbent councillors were re-elected. The election cost to parish funds will be around £1,100.Newly elected councillors include Helen L’Abbate, an expert in risk management who was co-opted in June 2020 and Andy Clark, who joined the parish council in October. Andy has already made a difference by ensuring parish council Facebook posts automatically upload to the village website as we take our first steps into the use of social media.We are fortunate to have two long-serving councillors with professional expertise in planning and infrastructure management, who contribute invaluable knowledge and considerable amounts of time to drafting the council’s carefully considered responses to planning issues. The parish council does not make planning decisions. That is done by Members of the Borough Council (SBC) under guidance of the local planning authority within SBC. However, the parish council is a statutory consultee to all planning applications, and considers all applications on their merits, fairly and without bias.It’s also thanks to councillors’ expertise that the parish council has been able to approach the highway authority in SBC with considered proposals for introducing a 20mph speed limit within the centre of Bishopstone (including a footway provision adjacent to the pond and restrictions on parking) and also for extending the 30mph speed limit on Bodyhorse Hill. It is not in the parish council’s power to instigate these proposals, that falls with SBC, but it is by lobbying and considered approaches such as these that we get things done for the benefit of residents.The parish council has maintained all publicly owned areas to a good standard this year, including the pond, island, village verges and footpaths. We have provided and emptied dog bins and litter bins, made grants to both village halls and the newsletter and maintained the defibrillator in Bishopstone. We also adopted the heritage phone box in Hinton Parva, funding its conversion to a vibrant book and seed exchange for the community.Councillors and the clerk have liaised with SBC’s tree officer, the highways department and housing association to try to resolve issues noticed by councillors or reported by residents, such as parking problems near the Wyncies, dangerous trees and flooded gulleys. Residents in The City won’t need wellies to leave home next winter since we engaged with SBC to solve their muddy problems. SBC has now installed sleeper steps, a new French drain and gabion walling. The parish council contributed to the substantial costs, helped with preparatory work and will be taking on future maintenance.Willows by the pond have been pollarded and island maintenance carried out, encouraging new wildlife to take up residence – have you seen the egret yet? Councillors also ensured that traditional wooden fingerposts were used when SBC replaced direction signs, upholding the traditional look of the conservation areas.Although this year’s parish clean-up was called off, councillors are grateful that volunteers have kept litter in check and reported fly-tipping. We all hope that the dumping problem will abate when normality resumes, as well as some traffic and parking challenges. Our additional dog poo bins have helped relieve one unpleasant problem though, sadly, some walkers continue to leave their dogs’ deposits in the coombes and, bizarrely, hanging from trees.Broadband speed has been a big issue in the parish in recent years, eased for a while by the 4G mast in Bishopstone. This year, lockdown home school, working from home and the proliferation of household devices quickly highlighted the disparity between urban and rural broadband provision.The parish council is still working with Ward Councillor Gary Sumner to try to bring an entirely new fibre network to the whole parish, through the government’s Gigabit fibre ‘voucher’ scheme. Initial costings received in October were not viable, as nearly 100% of residents would have had to subscribe. A more tightly drawn scheme was being costed when, in December and January, a small cluster of homes to the east of Bishopstone unexpectedly achieved fibre connection, we believe via BT’s Universal Service Obligation. This significantly reduced the pool of potential subscribers for the voucher scheme. Back to square one, new figures are being calculated by OpenReach. The parish council will keep residents informed and continue to lobby and investigate every option and opportunity to bring better broadband to our villages.This year, councillors debated at length whether to continue offering financial support to the Parochial Church Council to help them maintain churchyards in the parish. The parish council is not responsible for this work, but has historically given the PCC money towards it. Councillors decided to continue giving money to support maintenance of these important heritage assets whilst ensuring full compliance with local council regulations.For an unprecedented 8th year running the parish council unanimously agreed not to increase the parish element of our council tax. It remains at £39.08 for a band D property. Bishopstone Parish now enjoys one of the lowest council tax rates in Swindon. This has been made possible by renegotiation of contracts and clear prioritisation of spending. The members of Bishopstone Parish Council, unlike many others in Swindon, voted to perform their duties on a voluntary basis and do not take an allowance. All of our funding goes to providing services to the Parish.I would like to extend councillors’ thanks to Jaine Blackman, our new clerk, who has spent her entire first year trying to keep everything orderly without ever meeting the full parish council face to face. Great job, Jaine – we look forward to seeing you on the 17th! Thanks also to Paul Bailey, for continuing to audit the parish council’s accounts even in his retirement. We are very grateful.The Annual Parish Meeting will take place at 7pm on 17th May at Bishopstone Village Hall, followed at 7.30pm by the first meeting of the newly elected council, unless cancelled by Covid rules. Watch for news on the village website, noticeboards, and Facebook. Because of Covid regulations, there is limited capacity in the hall, so please contact the clerk if you would like to attend or raise questions.I wish to thank all residents who have supported the parish council’s efforts this year, and particularly my fellow councillors for their unstinting efforts and hard work. Congratulations on your election success and I look forward to continuing to work with you for the benefit of our community.Val BrodinChair, Bishopstone Parish Council8th May 2021
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Bishopstone and Hinton Parva Parish Council election results
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Ridgeway ward election results
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Elections 2021 – For your informationWe know some of you are keen to know the results of yesterday’s election. Swindon Borough Council are carrying out the count of votes for the Borough Councillor elections today. The count for Ridgeway Ward is due to commence at 3pm so if all goes to schedule SBC will announce the results around 4.30pm.The Parish Councillor votes are not being counted until Saturday 8th and Bishopstone (inc Hinton Parva and Russley Park) is due to commence at 9am with expected results at around 10.30am – 11am.The Police Crime Commissioner are due to be counted in Wiltshire on Monday so we should know the results at some point on the 10th. Thank you
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DON’T FORGET TO VOTE!The polling station for Bishopstone and Hinton Parva residents will be open from 7am to 10pm on Thursday May 6 at Bishopstone Village Hall. Covid precautions will be in place and voters are advised to take their own pen/pencil to make their mark. There are 10 candidates for the nine seats on the Parish Council and you can vote for up to nine of those standing.
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Good Morning, Yesterday saw some rather horrid bank holiday weather and the early birds amongst you may have seen the tree debris that has come down overnight, blocking the Dingle footpath – see picture 1. Thanks to the footpath reps, by 08.12 this morning, the path had been cleared. Many thanks to the early birds Doug Stevens and Ian Thomas that cleared the path this morningThanks guys!
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Gigabit Fibre UpdateOpenreach has had to go ‘back to the drawing board’ and review the proposed scheme for Bishopstone and Hinton Parva. This is because around 30 homes in Bishopstone have unexpectedly been connected to fibre by BT, which means those addresses have to be taken out of the 260 home parish-wide Gigabit voucher project. BT and Openreach are separate legal entities and Openreach only has visibility of what’s connected, not what is in progress. The parish council continues to work with our ward councillor and Openreach and will provide updates as they become available.
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Tree maintenance on public land in the parish is mainly the responsibility of Swindon Borough Council. The parish council only has responsibility for low level tree maintenance that can be undertaken from the ground using hand tools. Contact the clerk@bishopstoneandhintonparva.org to report.On private land, trees are the responsibility of the landowner.To report problem trees on public land requiring high levels of work, residents should contact Swindon Borough Council using their online reporting facility: www.swindon.gov.uk/forms/form/366/en/trees_maintenance
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Bishopstone Parish Council (including Hinton Parva) will have a contested election on 6th May as ten people have been nominated.
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It’s census day – don’t forget!
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Have you registered to vote yet?If you don’t, you won’t be eligible to vote in the local elections on Thursday 6th May.It’s easy to register online. Just go to www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
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Census 2021 is comingHouseholds across Swindon will soon be asked to take part in Census 2021. The official census date is 21 March.The census is a survey that gives us the most accurate estimate of all the people and households in England and Wales. It will include questions about your sex, age, work, health, education, household size and ethnicity. Rest assured that while overall results will be available within 12 months, all personal records will be locked away for 100 years, kept safe for future generations. This will be the first one run predominantly online, with all households receiving a letter in early March with a unique access code, allowing them to complete the questionnaire on their computers, phones or tablets. It will, however, still be possible to complete a paper questionnaire if you prefer. There will be more information available over the next month through both national and local media campaigns. In the meantime, if you are interested in finding out more, visit census.gov.uk.
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Good news for walkers! The Parish Council has arranged for chippings to be laid on the the footpath leading off from the bottom of Nell Hill out towards the old cress beds and valley. We noticed it was getting pretty impassable. Look what a smashing job our Lengthman and his team did!
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It’s up to all of us to play our part in limiting the spread of coronavirus in our community and prevent overwhelming our NHS. Latest government advice can be found here www.gov.uk/guidance/national-lockdown-stay-at-home
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Nottingham Knockers – more rogue traders to avoidBishopstone and Hinton Parva are often targeted by Nottingham Knockers – doorstep callers who offer a selection of household products for sale. They are often ex-convicts who claim to be part of a rehabilitation scheme which doesn’t exist.They will initially appear polite, show you some form of ID and will always carry a very large holdall full of household items, such as dusters, polish and other cleaning items, which they will try to sell to you at an inflated price. However, their story is not correct and the ID they show you is fake. If declined, they may become abusive or threatening. Nottingham knockers operating in the villages this week have also been maskless and gloveless, and apparently unaware of COVID-19 lockdown.They are committing the offence of "Peddling without a license" and it is recommended that you don’t buy anything from them, politely close the door and call 101 to report them to the police, ideally with a direction of travel and registration plate of any vehicles involved.The name originates from Nottingham as this is where the early gangs originated from. However, recent knockers in Wiltshire have come from the Cleveland area. They visit southern counties in groups, staying in nearby accommodation for the week.They are known to sell the addresses of vulnerable residents to rogue traders. If you have any elderly or vulnerable neighbours, please make them aware of this type of crime and remind them not to answer the door to unexpected visitors.
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There are some very very nasty scammers out there. If you get the message below, delete it.
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The minutes of December’s Parish Council meeting are now online at bishopstoneandhintonparva.org/meetings/
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Planning Application S/20/1497 Land at Whatleys Orchard. At the Parish Council meeting on 4th January, councillors agreed unanimously to object to this development. A letter setting out in detail the Parish Council’s reasons for objecting has been uploaded to SBC’s planning portal.
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www.facebook.com/SwindonBoroughCouncil/photos/a.1683569718589758/2824013627878689/?type=3Following a review of the latest evidence, the Government has announced today (30 Dec) that Swindon will be moved into the Tier 4 ‘Stay Home’ Alert level from 00:01am tomorrow.The Tier 4 guidance means you should minimise time spent outside your home and must not meet socially indoors with family or friends unless they are part of your household or support bubble. Outdoors, you can only meet one person from another household in a public place. To reduce social contact, the regulations will also require some businesses to close. Read the full Tier 4 guidance here: www.gov.uk/guidance/tier-4-stay-at-homeApproximately one in three people who have coronavirus have no symptoms and could be spreading it without realising it. It’s fundamentally important that we all follow the guidance to look after ourselves and each other while also reducing the strain on our NHS.
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Timeline PhotosDue to the current conditions, the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol has been triggered. This means that accommodation will be found for anybody who is known to be sleeping rough in Swindon.All rough sleepers known to us have already had an offer of accommodation and this help remains available.If you see anybody who is sleeping rough and needs our help, please get in touch.
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BT have been busy installing overhead fibre in Bishopstone again today. Some High Street and Wyncies area addresses look to have been wired up. These are the postcodes that may now be able to access BT superfast fibre broadband:SN6 8PRSN6 8PWSN6 8PPSN6 8PLSN6 8PNSN6 8PHSN6 8PJSN6 8PESN6 8PZ
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BT BroadbandBT have recently installed additional fibre cables in Bishopstone, meaning that some lucky villagers may be able to contract with BT for a much faster broadband service. This localised fibre upgrade is wholly unconnected to the wider Gigabit voucher scheme (which Cllr Gary Sumner and the Parish Council are still working on) and is part of BT’s own service obligation to ensure a minimum broadband level can be provided to every property.To check whether you are lucky enough to get a faster connection with BT, you will need to go to bt.com and click on broadband deals and find your address by entering your postcode. We know BT’s database has not been fully updated to reflect the recent fibre installations and they may show your property having slow download speeds (1 to 3 Mb). If this is the case you will need to contact BT (either by the live chat or on the phone number provided) and request that their database is updated for your property to reflect their recent fibre installations.Currently, it appears the new BT fibre can only provide higher speeds to a small number of homes in Bishopstone. BT may not be able to offer you higher speeds, however you don’t know if you don’t ask!
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The attached NHS summary provides a very useful list explaining what we can and can’t do in Tier 2 from 2nd Dec
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Gigabit fibre update: Openreach is now working on a detailed costing to assess the viability of bringing gigabit fibre to Bishopstone and Hinton Parva using the government’s rural broadband voucher scheme. The costing stage will take around two months. If it looks viable, the next step would be an online ‘pledging’ programme like the one started for Wanborough and Liddington yesterday. Congratulations to Gary Sumner, Rob Buckland and our neighbouring parish councils for getting one scheme off the ground in Ridgeway Ward, and here’s hoping we will be next! #ruralbroadband
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Have a safe and spooky Halloween
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Welcome to the Bishopstone and Hinton Parva Parish Council page. We will keep this page up to date with key parish council information, such as meetings dates, agendas and key topics for the council.Please follow our page to stay up to date on PC matters.
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