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Papalscope May too

Papalscope May Fin

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Tuesday May 16th 2006.

‘What made this night different from all other nights’? the youngest might have asked.

The back door of the Victoria Hall was left open, and a place was set and a goblet of wine ready; for all were invited to attend, but you never came. (http://www.cqu.edu.au/transformations)

It was the evening of the Tisbury Parish Annual Assembly. Even though the meeting started after the advertised time, attendance remained sparse. Only by dribs and drabs were there thirty of us; the vast majority there on at least a quasi ex.officio basis, be it as Parish Councillor or TisVis Committee member.

It was a discouraging turnout. Each Member of those local bodies had cumulatively donated days of her or his life to hear, and then hopefully voice the common interest. Maybe more of us should turn up for the Annual Assembly, if only because one wishes figuratively ‘to bury Caesar, not to praise him.’

Matters Arising The Parish Chair expressed regret that so few offered their services as a Parish Councillor, and she hoped that in May 2007 Tisbury might have a more democratically elected body.

Seemingly three people have now applied to fill the current resignation vacancy. One can but hope that Councillors are able to co-opt a new member, representative of those of us not ‘centered’ on the Hindon Lane cause.

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Earlier this day Friday, 19 May 2006 The Planning and Regulatory Committee of the Salisbury District Council considered the matter of how many seats there should be on the Tisbury Parish Council ; the members of which considered things just fine as they are, a point of view re- stressed this morning in an e.mail from our Parish Clerk addressed to the Committee. Not sure were the Parish Councillors were, possibly doing the site visit at Parmiters and Hindon Lane. Priorities maybe?

The local elector, whose name originally appeared on the Order Paper when the District Council previously recommended Tisbury be reviewed, again had the opportunity to address Councillors. All that was necessary to tell was that what most saw as an entity ‘Tisbury’; was actually two Parishes. That Tisbury had had no election for the last eleven years, and that the only benefit of so many Councillors was the Council could usually muster a quorum even when members failed to turn up. No mention was made of the circa fifteen co- options made to the Council over the last three years. In no time at all the proposal was put and seconded that the number of Our Parish Councillors be reduce to Eleven. Before the vote was taken there was mention of the possible Development of some eighty houses in the village. Seemingly even so we should then have no more than twelve Councillors. The Vote appeared to be a unanimous decision to reduce us to Eleven Parish Councillors. It was suggested that the decision would have a revitalising effect on our Parish Council. Such was today’s decision. I do not know what happens next.

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If I heard it correctly, at the Parish Assembly one of our Parish Councillors said that he saw no problem at all in not having Elections, whilst the Village was not short of applicants willing to be co- opted. It must have been meant as a Scotsman’s humorous remark; one must at least hope so.

Community Charges

There was mention made by the other member of the Public at our Assembly, of the high cost of our ever rising Community Charge. How was the money spent and should not those who paid the charge up front be given financial credit for so doing? A nice sentiment, but maybe the Gentleman should keep his money in his savings account and pay his charges monthly. There are many in the Village who don’t happen to have £1,800 or whatever in their Piggy Bank. Should they be penalised?

We the Public are the Council. It is not a ‘them and us’ situation, such little financial inducements will increase everyone’s Community Charge. The SDC has monthly income and pays monthly bills. I believe that all discounts, whether for total Relief, 25% discounts for sole occupancy, or 10% discounts for a second home are subsidised by everyone else’s tax bill. That latter discount is iniquitous. Why should those scarcely able to pay their own Mortgage, finance secondary home owners? Maybe we should adopt the French System; they borrow the money, then spend it, only after, do they recoup the outlay in arrear!

If we are to reduce the Community Charge, we should make savings. Amalgamating Tisbury and West Tisbury into a single Parish would be a good start. The formers Precept this year rose by over 12% West Tisbury’s remained the same. In general houses in Tisbury pay between seven to twenty pounds more than would a similarly banded house in West Tisbury.

There in is an anomaly. I have no wish to be invidious but any Tisbury Property banded from E to H inclusively will pay more cash to their Parish Council, than will Pytt house pay to West Tisbury Parish Council. All this talk of the different nature of the two Parishes really doesn’t hold water; surely no area of West Tisbury is more far flung than is Upper Chicksgrove. Maybe our half-Hamlet would better join Lower Chicksgrove in Sutton Mandeville Parish?

‘To be or not to be that is the question’

Do we all know where the boundary line between Tisbury and West Tisbury runs? There remains confusion, be it only my own. However the two Parishes are but as one, sharing Churches, the Nadder and other Public Halls, Surgery, Shops, Post Office, you name it. Up to a couple of years back we shared the same Parish Clerk. The whole thing is an indefensible nonsense. Maybe West Tisbury should at least contribute towards ‘Tisbury’ running costs?

Property Re-Valuation

One of our two District Councillors advised that a Banding could only be changed when a Property is sold. I would want to check that information. There was once the possibility of ‘re- valuing’, if in my words ‘there was a material change in a property’s circumstance.’ For instance if suddenly it finds itself amidst an Industrial Re-development.

Government and Opposition have shelved the matter of re-valuation. So doing was not in the better interest of Tisbury or West Tisbury, because here both bear the proper financial burden of others. There is a lot of unfairness in the system. At the time the valuations were first made one had the opportunity to appeal. Some did, others accepted the valuation if not unreasonable. The real inequity concerns the banding differentials. A Government Committee under the Chairmanship of Sir Michael Lyons has recommended, in an interim report, that no new valuation bands be introduced. Was not our Robert Key MP involved with the introduction of the Community Charge? As a householder I certainly paid less money in Poll Tax than I pay now. If only there had then been an ‘opt out provision’ for anyone under say 25 years of age be he or she a student or not, the tax would have been more acceptable.

Our County Councillor Mrs B. Wayman, spoke of Tisbury’s aspirations as recorded in the ‘TisVis’ Questionnaire. She rightly pointed out that there would be the need to pay for them and queried whence the money was to come? The County Councillor mentioned that she had been invited to join the County Cabinet. An accolade indeed after but a year’s work on any Council whatsoever.

What was it Lord Weatherill said? ‘If you wish to progress in Politics, first join a Party, any Party will do.’

A Digression Alas his advice came too late for me; so it’s not all bad news. However like to any other ex. Independent ‘might have been’, it takes more than lack of success to damp genuine enthusiasm. I wonder what is now to become of all the other well meaning but unsuccessful candidates following an Election, since Limbo has been officially abandoned by the Vatican. The answer is that they remain forsworn, becoming grumpy old men if so equipped.

Several Elections back the Tisbury Parish Church was praying for the Councillors then recently elected. Suggestion was made to the Minister that possibly prayer might be extended to the unelected, that they might not be lost in their own obscurity. Not sure what happened about that. It is surely better to hear people, rather than exclude their new or different ideas. If there is no place for diversity of opinion, involvement is but a waste of time.

Some years further back there were eight Parents at the Local Girls Grammar School who each offered Service as a Parent Governor. I was in the position to be able to invite the unsuccessful seven to join us on the Parent Teacher Association. Unfortunately all had insufficient time for such work.

I am not sure where that left my theory that all one needs to do is ask, but on the credit side, I have an untold tale of a Catholic elsewhere who in a spirit of Ecumenism has become an Anglican Church Warden.

To return to the mainstream

Financial Comment seemingly according to the TisVis Questionnaire (Q61) 52% of the Village would be happy to pay more Parish Council Tax to support the running cost of Village facilities. Well you can still count me out on that one. Here in lies the trouble when one has an influx of newcomers to a village (I confess to only twenty six years residence myself).There is the urge to remodel the place on the lines of ones previous Thames side or leafy Surrey Lane. To make Tisbury more like that which we ourselves fled. Even so there remains the wish once we have settled into some exclusive but brash housing redevelopment, to deny such entrée to others. We don’t want Tisbury to become like Gillingham our collective Cry.

(Who brought those two conifers at the High Street end of The Avenue with them?)

The Station Works (The Old Parmiter Site) and Hindon Lane Problem is raring its head again. The District Council Cabinet has honoured us with a visit to these sites, to re- inspect each. They hopefully did so in the knowledge that according to ‘TisVis’ 49% of the Village wish the site to be retained as a place of work only, whilst 25% did not know.

Yet each man kills the thing he loves
By each let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword!
Oscar Wilde

John B. Pope 01747 870326

contact : John B. Pope
Tel : 01747 870326
Email : pionono@tiscali.co.uk