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Christmas Grouse

A picture for Grouse for Christmas

I haven’t seen any of the Tisbury Christmas Lights. My wife went to that market and saw them, maybe Tisbury should have a market more often. Could we not have one once a month if not more frequently? I am sure people would patronise it, much as Tisbury patronises its Country Market.

Hopefully Christmas decoration brings joy to some, but is it really helpful for the trade of local shops? One sees that the Tisbury Parish Council has allocated £1000 of funds to Traders for equipment and training of a technician in connection with the Christmas Lighting project. Naturally West Tisbury makes no contribution. I wonder whether this is money well spent? No idea how many Councillors out of our eleven attended this ‘Precept’ meeting but clearly those who are Tisbury Traders could have taken no part in the allocation of this particular disbursement.

Its very difficult to run any retail outlet, for even at the worst of times potential customers need far more than any village shop can be expected to stock. Thus whilst shopping elsewhere for the one thing, people stock up on everything else whilst they are at it. The cost of transport into Salisbury or Shaftesbury is but a red Herring, for I believe Tisbus accepts the OAP bus pass, and many locals have to go to either place on a regular basis.

Tisbury High Street is just fine for those who live on or by it, but its just too much hassle for those who don’t. At a guess there are but two retail shops in the Village, besides the Co-op and the Pharmacy, that are likely to make any sort of worthwhile profit. Business Agents operate on the maxim, that most small shop keepers would willingly sell their business given the opportunity. When they succeed in selling it is more likely that what is purchased, is some advantageous lease or freehold, because running most small retail outlets is a hand to mouth existence. Entrepreneurs arrive all bright eyed and bushy tailed, but the reality of trading clobbers too many. Finances apart running a shop that few visit let alone patronise, must be a depressing experience.

A successful business doesn’t depend on Christmas Lights, or clever merchandising. What does count is quality, at a price ones customers can afford. If one has the right product customers will beat a path to ones door. For an example what of the Lady selling the Prize winning ‘Trealey Farm Produce’ which she brought up to the Compton Marbling Christmas Fair from Monmouth. Her stock sold as might the proverbial hot cakes.

Even a relative newcomer such as I am has seen no end of businesses come and go. There used to be a second Green Grocer, and a Toy shop, and a Laundrette, and two more Garages**, and two other Delicatessens ,Two Restaurants one of which closed but one became Howard’s House. There was the Embroidery Shop, a recurrence of cafés, a clothing outfitter,* and an adjoined wooden premises * which sold I never discovered quite what, but the lady who ran it seemed pleasant about it. Then too a prior Estate Agency, a Coal Merchant*, and an(other) Adlem’s,* and there was the possibility of being able to buy fresh fish off a van that came here from Portland every week. Let us not forget the Sunday Ice Cream Van that traded the locality, nor more recently the mysterious affair of the open and shut Sweet Shop. Then of course there was a SCATS. And Messrs Parmiters who manufactured things on an adjoined site. There was too a car repair workshop by the Station* and a furniture manufacturer *which was supplying Parliament, and also a Catering firm*, which one was advised moved to Semley. We had an Auction Room,* and a Mower repair business/ Dinner Dog* and a gentleman who pickled onions. A Labour Exchange, and one has the impression quite a few more antique shops, not to mention a thriving Sawyer’s Yard* and an NHS Dental Service for Adults. Then for good measure the Allotments behind Church Street* and too Farm Buildings, and Farm and other land off Hindon Lane.*. RAF Chilmark , and various Farm Premises *. Does the village still construct light aircraft, or Punch Posts, or enhance lorries, or house the Social Services, probably we do. Seemingly a Removal Firm is now based at the Parmiter Site, it having redeveloped its former Wilton Premises. Mr. Maidment’s Transport Business is closed* Should anyone think ‘*’ has anything to do with the currently passing comet, it doesn’t but denotes that the site has been redeveloped or has been granted permission for redevelopment. More often than not for housing. Jobs have been lost whilst we smile benevolently in our retirement, glad that we have become a residential area where one can easily pay six or seven hundred thousand pounds for an Estate House.

The trouble with having two unelected Parish Councils is that possibly neither reflects the opinions of the community each is supposed to represent. Parish Councillors do their best as they see it for Tisbury Village today, but what of the morrow? Should not ‘our ‘Parish Councils be more proactive than either seems to be? It isn’t good enough just to sit and nod ones head sagaciously on an ad hoc basis. I don’t suppose many residents care a proverbial ‘Tinkers’ what Parish Councillors collective opinion is concerning the felling of some offensive Leylandii, but one should be able to look to them concerning the way ahead, and if one doesn’t like the look of what they see, boot them out. Where do our Parish Councils see the Tisbury’s Community in the future? I suppose it’s a lot simpler were it to sit back and under perform, as the rest of us do. Why should we expect the Parish Councils to do any different. I don’t suppose I will be round in twenty years, so I’m not too bothered, but then I am not a Parish Councillor.

There are things that might be done. For one thing Tisbury needs to amalgamate its Two Parish Councils, into one single Parish Council. There was an opportunity so to do three or four years ago. It didn’t happen because ‘West Tisbury didn’t want to’. Well that was their business, but their wish was no business of Tisbury Parish Council who before a recent session were all for such a thing happening. All that is except the Parish Clerk of West Tisbury who doubles as a Tisbury Parish Councillor. In that circumstance that Councillor would ex.officio be precluded from discussing the matter if it came before the Tisbury Parish Council as an Agenda item.

The subject had been raised as a question by a member of the Public. It was recommended by one Parish Councillor that the questioner should discuss the matter with the West Tisbury Parish Council himself. As it happened he already had, but such negotiations are the business of Parish Councillors, not members of their ‘congregation’.

There is a second matter. The Village has use of the Nadder Hall which we share with the Nadder School. One understands that without the rent paid by the Plymouth Bretheren for their school usage, the Hall would not be financially viable. When the school was sold off the Village had the option of purchasing the whole premises, and there was suggestion too that it might have housed St.John’s Junior School, but one heard that they had no interest in the building. Some saw the previous middle school premises as a suitable place for a Community Centre; whilst others thought not only that it would involve too much expense, but that as Community Centres go it is in the wrong place. This seems to be so, or the Nadder Hall would be better utilised. Even with a car it is hard to reach, and does the Churchill Estate appreciate the probability of an increased traffic flow?

Nadder Hall seems no more than a stop gap solution to Tisbury’s need. If other and smaller villages such as Charlton and Dinton have built themselves a decent sort of central facility with parking, why hasn’t Tisbury done much the same? One knows of the Methodist and the Hinton Hall owned respectively by the associated Churches, and of the Memorial Hall known as the Victoria Hall and the Elizabeth Hall and of course there is the Library that is possibly owned by the County Council as too maybe the old Magistrate’s Court Building currently the Youth Club.

What a good basis for some sort of discussion between the respective Trustees of all these Premises, and the Public, to see if there is merit in merging such assets toward the provision of some sort of Community Centre. The way building is happening in this village, it will soon be too late to provide such a facility. What are the prospects of Building on the site of the Tisbury Social club, or seeing whether The Catholic Church might be willing to come in on such a socially beneficial project . There is land behind the The Sacred Heart Church which might be available for other use, A site very convenient for the Car Park. 348.09

contact : John B. Pope
Email : pionono@tiscali.co.uk