Caroline Unwin

AMPORT Parish Council held their annual parish meeting in April which was attended by Test Valley Borough Cllr Ben Few-Brown, and Hampshire County Cllr Pat West, Sgt Russ Hodges from Hampshire Constabulary and Jo Stewart, the village neighbourhood watch co-ordinator.
The following reports were delivered:
Police and neighbourhood watch: Sgt Hodges talked about policing in the area over the past year, mentioning the various occurrences which had been dealt with by police from either Stockbridge or Andover. These included burglaries from outbuildings, thefts from vehicles and of heating oil, anti-social activities and damage to property. There had also been a number of reports of suspicious vehicles. Rural crime is particularly difficult to solve because of the lack of witnesses or CCTV but a detective unit for NW Hants is helping to deal with this.  He also mentioned Country Watch teams which have been set up to reduce rural crime.
Jo Stewart reported that she usually deals directly with PCSO David Trowbridge of Beat 12 from Stockbridge, who has helped her enormously during her first year.  She has 24 ‘key persons’ who cover the whole village, passing on police warnings.  She has only sent out 11 alerts this year, compared with 19 last year; these were regarding specific crime threats or scams, general warnings or reports of crimes within Amport. 
Chairman’s report: Cllr Ian Morrison gave his report of the parish council’s dealings during the previous year and was pleased to report, among other items, that footpath number 6 over the Pilhill Brook by The Mill House had been very much improved, the development at Dauntsey Drove which includes affordable housing is nearly completed, the drainage problems at East Cholderton seem to have been sorted out and the village had held their most successful summer fête ever on The Green.  He regretted that rubble was still being transported up Georgia Lane although this road has now been repaired.
Public participation: A member of the public asked if further improvements were to be made to Wiremead Lane beyond the provision of two tarmaced passing places. Pat West said that the other areas where vehicles pass are to be levelled and the potholes filled later in the year, once the more immediate work to restore roads damaged by flooding has been completed.
After the public meeting, the parish council continued with their usual agenda.
The Green: The council will be applying to the county council for a suitable tree to replace the very large crack willow which came down during recent storms. The benches on The Green have now had new hardwood seats fitted.
Footpaths: The path alongside the fishing lake, where the watercress beds used to be, has become very overgrown and the landowner will be contacted to arrange for the hedge to be cut back.
Highways: The problem concerning the damage caused by parking on the roads across and beside The Green at the beginning and end of the school day was discussed again. The chairman made the suggestion that the climbing frame should be moved to allow a further area of grasscrete to be laid on which five more cars could be parked; this idea will be costed and enquiries will be made regarding a possible grant.  He also mentioned that if the teachers could be persuaded to park at the far end of the track, this would allow easier access for parents delivering or collecting their children.
The ditch alongside the road will be dug out and the spoil used to fill in the considerable gap which has formed between the road surface and the grass verge.  On the other side of the road where the grass in front of the houses has been worn away, there is no obvious solution.
Marquee: A film is to be made showing how to erect the new marquee and a trailer to transport it are to be acquired.  Once this has been done, the marquee will be more widely advertised.
Other business: Cllr Sarah Hammer, whose husband runs the local scout troop, said that the scouts will paint the railings on the two river bridges during July. The notices reminding dog-walkers about fouling are to be renewed.