Eastleach Parish Council
Annual Parish Meeting April 2019
Edited from Chairman’s Report
A request from last years meeting was to respond to the problem of dog waste and how we can change the mind set of those that seem oblivious to disease this can pass on and general unpleasantness that not picking up after your dog can cause. More bins were requested to be sited within the village and these were purchased and placed in strategic locations in November 2018. The thorny subject of dog waste in the fields was the main topic of the evening. Guest speaker from ECT talked about the issues of Neospora and the fatal affects it has on pregnant cattle as well as the livelihood of the Tenant Farmer, Sam Phillips. It was agreed that more should be done to combat poor dog ownership habits. The PC was to later agree to provide two further bins in sensitive areas at each end of the valley walks, this should at least encourage dog walkers to respect the land, its livestock and the way of life of the farmers. We have a supply of leaflets that explain the issues of Neospora, these are available to all villagers, please contact the PC.
One aspect of our remote village life which has left a bad taste is the outbreak of low-level irritating crime we have witnessed during the past year. The theft of car number plates has been particularly irksome. It would appear that the areas around the garages by the lane leading up to the hall and around the Bourne have been singled out for this target. During the Autumn, I wrote to the Police and Crime Commissioner to bring to his offices attention that rural crime was evident and that whilst we accept that we are at the edge of three different forces, the odd patrol car now and again would make us feel a little less isolated. I had a meeting with our local beat officers early April. They were well briefed on our issues and we are not alone, Eastleach is not being targeted for any other reason than other towns and villages. Vehicle theft in our village occurred on 9 occasions in the last year, 7 of which were number plate theft. The officers were keen to point out that we can and should all be more vigilant in what we leave in our cars and never leave them unlocked and unattended. It would appear that number plates are stolen to provide criminals the “fake identity” for a vehicle so they can commit other crimes, although we don’t have CCTV around here, many towns do and its these “Fake Plates” that get picked up on CCTV with automatic number plate recognition (ANPR). We will keep you all posted on further developments on this topic, but you can play your part by taking precautions with your property and consider the tamper proof screws that can be cheaply purchased online to secure your car number plates, they work out far cheaper than replacing the plates themselves. One thing I must stress, all crime no matter how trivial should be reported on 101.
A positive note from the Police, who tell me they do make regular trips through the Village, is that crime during the last 12 months in Eastleach is the same as in the previous 4 years, so if we extract the number plate issue, the criminal activity in our Village would have been significantly down.
The Police have encouraged us to be part of a Community Alert scheme whereby we can alert Police and they us on activity within our area. I have forms that you can read and pursue if you are interested.
One final note from my 2018 Chairman’s report was to alert you to our plans to reveal the Artesian Well. So, in February we cut back years of grown to reveal it in all its beauty, even if its top ball has gone missing. It’s an historical piece of Victorian work and references the Bazley’s with the Crest of Sir Thomas. It is date marked is 1874. But it wasn’t just an ornamental piece of Victoriana, it served the water needs of many villagers right into the mid 20c. We are investigating re-instatement of the Well, this would be subject to costs and securing the most appropriate expert advice and contractor.
On the subject of water supply, this year we have seen that Thames Water are installing a new mains system pipe between us and neighbouring Southrop. I accept this has caused disruption to our working days and upheaval along the lanes. But in the long term, it will make our infrastructure more robust and less liable to fracture and burst. There is further work scheduled along School Hill in the later part of the summer.