District councillors’ October 2012 report

Dear Ward Electorate,
Council is ‘back-to-work’ with a swing now – August being the month when all are encouraged to take their breaks, September was full of meetings. A large amount of councillors’ time is spent examining issues arising from the work of the council. This is especially true when we want to make sure that good working practices are adopted across the board, or to see how new government or EU legislation is going to affect the council’s work. Such examination is carried out by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee who delegate an area identified by members for special consideration by a small focussed group of councillors in an ‘ISG’ (Informal Scrutiny Group). Currently the areas under focus by ISGs are “Provision of Public Transport in Town and Rural Areas”, “Access to Services in the Market Towns and Rural Areal”, “Impact of the Localism Act and our Communities”, “The Impact of Houses of Multiple Occupation”, and the “Review of the Statutory Basis of Council Services”. The titles belie how interesting some of these really are, for instance the first one mentioned will be examining the effect of public transport in places such as our parish, and what can be done to facilitate more buses etc here. This cannot be by direct funding from the District Council, as it is not its responsibility, whereas Hampshire County Council is, although it is under severe budgetary constraints. The ISG will look to see if there are any funds, say from the EU or from other grant sources that could be brought into play.
Hedges. It is that time of year again when we make a plea to all householders to examine their roadside/pavement side boundaries and cut back their hedges where they are overgrown. Some roads in the parish have become so overgrown that they are a danger to walkers, cyclists, horse riders as well as drivers.
Parish Plan and Village Design Statement Questionnaire. Yet another plea to those who have not yet responded to the questionnaire sent out by the Shedfield Parish Plans Committee. This is YOUR chance to have your say on the content of the Parish Plan and the Village Design Statement being put together. The plans will affect the development as well as the look and feel of the 3 villages in the Parish for the next 20 years. Please DO get involved. You can go on-line to www.shedfieldparish plans.org click ‘news’ and then the link to the on-line version of the questionnaire. Elsewhere in the magazine is the full web page address for those who have misplaced their original paper one. If you have not got access to the Internet then the Parish Council Clerk at the Pavilion has a supply of blank copies. The deadline for completion is 31st October whence there will be a draw for 3 attractive prizes which are detailed in the questionnaire.
Apprenticeship Grant Scheme. In February 2012, the council’s cabinet allocated £10,000 for a new apprenticeship grant scheme and the specifics of this scheme were approved in August through Portfolio Holder Decision Notice 390. Winchester District Council has now launched this brand new small grant scheme, involving allocating grants of up to £1,000, to support employees by covering some of the basic costs, which might otherwise be difficult to finance. These range from a simple set of work clothes for someone who has been out of employment for a while to the cost of travel to the workplace or training venue each week. Applicants must live within the Winchester District and the grant can potentially be used for any cost to the apprentice of taking up their apprenticeship which is not reasonably met by their wages, benefits, training provider, employer or other grants. If you know of someone
who might qualify please contact Alison Woods (01962 848 347 or email awoods@winchester.gov.uk). You can also visit http://www.winchester.gov.uk/community/grants/apprenticeship-grants/
If anyone wishes to engage us on any of the above or on any matter they believe the district council can help with, please do write or contact us: Roger Huxstep is on 01329 833884 or e-mail: rhuxstep@winchester.gov.uk. Linda Gemmell is on 01489 895023 and lgemmell@winchester.gov.uk or, attend the next surgery on 22nd October 2012 in the hour before the Planning Committee meeting in the Pavilion, Shedfield at7.30 pm
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