It’s been a busy time for me on the run up to Christmas and the New Year, so I will provide just a short report, detailing my involvement in village related activities and am happy to try and answer any questions.

SEA MOUNTING CENTRE
I was lucky enough to meet with the out going Port Director and the new Port Director during a visit and site tour of the Sea Mounting Centre, now formally taken over by Solent Gateway.

They are still trying to work out what they want and are able to do with the site.

There are lots of restrictions.

It was however a good opportunity to meet with them and voice concerns about some of the environmental aspects that would cause concern, especially the prospect of extra lorry movements.

DIBDEN BAY AND ABP
As a member of the New Forest National Park, I was invited to meet with the new Port Director of Associated British Ports.

It was too good an opportunity not to show him the cycle route that we have had constructed, linking the village to Totton and to walk along existing tracks that link Marchwood to Hythe, informally exploring the possibility of getting a new cycle route, south of Marchwood. It was a good first meeting.

Obviously, he was not able to commit to anything, especially as they are in the process of putting together plans for the area.

I am opposed to development of Dibden Bay, but I think the community benefits from us talking to one another and understanding our respective needs.

DEVOLUTION
Plans for reorganising local government in Hampshire seem to have run into the sand (as I had predicted).

The consultations suggested little public demand for a new set up, or a newly elected Mayor.

I regret so much public money having been spent by all sides, promoting their own preferred options. Something may still happen, but I am not holding my breath.

WATERSIDE RAILWAY
The prospect of a large new housing development in the Fawley area, prompted renewed interest in the project to restore a passenger service down the (now unused down to Fawley) line.

I have been actively campaigning to keep the project under consideration and gained support from several quarters, including the Leader of Southampton City Council, who has a serious issue with air quality and long lines of traffic to the west of Southampton.

The Environment & Transport Executive Member at Hampshire County Council recently agreed to look again at the business case, in the light of recent developments, so I will keep you posted.

HEALTH
There is some concern about the latest government led proposals for the NHS, the Sustainability and Transformation Plans.

In so far as it supports better use of resources and closer working between the NHS and Social Services, I think most people will be supportive.

However, inadequate funding and the threat of privatisation needs to be very closely monitored.

It also needs to be remembered that these are public services and should reflect what the public want, rather than what civil servants decide should happen.

Marchwood residents can be reassured that I will closely monitor matters.

SOLENT POLLUTION
You may be aware that one of the cruise companies operating in the Solent has received a very heavy fine for the illegal discharge of waste into the seas, including in the Solent.

I am asking questions about this to the Maritime Coastguard Agency.

The news reports raised questions about the effectiveness of our current systems for making sure incidents like this don’t happen.

HWRC
I am hearing reports of problems at the HWRC, Marchwood, with people being charged for tipping waste that would previously have been non chargeable.

I am not sure that what HCC are doing is legal and I am unhappy with a system where cash is changing hands with no receipts.

I have flagged both things up as an issue for matters to be sorted.

GRANTS
Amongst the grants I have awarded in recent weeks is a sizable one to make sure Marchwood is able to hold a popular “Party in the Park” even next year.

Finally, may I wish all members and staff at Marchwood Parish Council my good wishes for a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

I don’t send cards because I decided some years ago to make a donation to the Salvation Army instead.

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