Items of general interest to the village.

Water, Water Everywhere

Water has been very much a theme in the village over the last few weeks. First we have had the problem with the water supply and secondly we have had a little rain. Actually, we’ve had something of a deluge; but is it important?

Well, let’s start with the water supply. As promised, Wessex Water put sensors on the water pipes on Wednesday 2nd October and left them there for just under a week before retrieving them and sending the data off for analysis.

Now how many of you noticed that on the first Wednesday evening, there was an awful lot of air coming through the cold water pipe? Our kitchen tap coughed and spluttered for well over two minutes before we got uninterrupted running water. What we noticed almost immediately was that the pulsing and water hammer was much reduced. We then had a phone call from Wessex Water to say that the data analysis was back and our fault and all the other ones you had reported on the Facebook page had been tracked back to the pressure relief valve on the Shrewton Road. They had replaced one component before starting to collect data and hence the rush of air, but there is clearly still an issue that they intend to resolve. I’ve heard that some of you who live closer to the A303 are still getting problems, so please could you let Wessex Water know if that is the case.

The 2019-2020 Flood Report

Now the rain! I’ve already been asked, with all the rain, if we are in danger of flooding and was I going to start the weekly flood reports early this year. In both cases, the short answer is no. Despite what feels like weeks and weeks of non-stop rain, its only in the last few days that the water has started to rise in the Tilshead aquifer. As of 5:00am this morning, the water level was 80.46 metres which is a little above the 6 year average of 79.73 metres for 1st December when my recording year starts. However, we are still a good way below the 1st of December 2014, when the first reading was 81.17 metres. So, no chance of a flood at the moment and much too early to say how the rest of Autumn and Winter will shape up. We still have leaves on the trees and autumn-planted crops growing in fields so it is quite possible that the water levels in the aquifer will start to drop again before we get to the flood season proper. That’s why we aren’t planning to collect the data any earlier than usual, but we will keep an eye on how things shape up and if needed, issue a further bulleting before December.

A303: Legacies and Benefits

We’ve mentioned a number of times in the past that whilst the A303 Stonehenge to Berwick Down Scheme is primarily about the road itself, there are opportunities associated with the scheme that could provide a wide variety of legacies and benefits; not just for Winterbourne Stoke, but also in the wider corridor affectd by the road. Winterbourne Stoke takes part in a regular Community Forum, along with other Parish Councils and single interest groups, that are trying to identify those things that are the most attractive in terms of legacies and benefits. There are other fora (eg a a Landowners Forum), that run in parallel; also identifying legacies and benefits.

The following two diagrams show the types of things that are being thought about. Some ideas are very general and others highly specific.

The first diagram was started in June last year and has been refined subsequently. You will see there are 5 broad themes that the benefits and legacies ideas seek to support: Community, economy, transport, environment and heritage. A sixth, overarching theme – safety – sits across them all. Highways England are seeking ideas that impact on each of these areas. The second chart shows some of the ideas in greater detail and sometimes, but not always, which group put the idea forward. If no originating group is shown, the idea was usually seen to be of interest to more than one group.

Now whilst the parish council has and will continue to feed ideas into the Community Forum for inclusion into the scheme, including such things as improving north-south and east-west public transport links, environmental planting of new chalk downland, provision of brown signs for local businesses, business development opportunites, etc., we realise we are not the only ones with ideas that might benefit the whole community. So here is your opportunity to get involved.

Highways England have produced a short form shown below:

You can get a PDF version of the form from here.

All you need to do is either:

Download the PDF and give your idea a title and a short description. If you have any idea of likely cost, then please add that. Finally, send the form to the Clerk by email at: clerk@winterbournestokepc.org.uk

Alternatively, print out the PDF form and fill in the title and your idea in a legible script! Finally, pass it on to the Clerk or any Parish Councillor and we will consider whether we can support it and do the rest.


Christmas, Crime and Criminality


It’s been a really interesting and concerning week in the run up to Christmas. Sunday saw more police activity in the village than we have seen for many a long year. The forecourt of the Stonehenge Filling Station was full with police vehicles, police men and women, PCSO’s and a bunch of somewhat dodgy looking chaps in combat jackets; accompanied by a motley selection of long-dogs in need of a square meal.

Stonehenge Filling Station Forecourt

Local farmers and landowners around Stapleford and Winterbourne Stoke had been reporting their concerns of illegal hare-coursing activities in the area. Following the police swoop, 9 individuals, some from as far away as South Wales, have been reported for offences under the Hunting Act. The police seized two vehicles, mobile phones and 10 dogs. Some of the dogs may have been stolen and enquiries continue. Rural crime is a growing problem and back in October, Wiltshire Police launched Operation Artemis – named after the Greek/Roman goddess of the hunt and of wild places. Op Artemis is part of a broader, national initiative to hit at poaching operations called Project Trepass, which aims to coordinate action across England and Wales through prevention, intelligence, enforcement and reassurance.

If you see any activities of this sort (the lay-by west of the village is a common gathering point), please call 101 and quote ‘Operation Artemis’. If a crime is in progress, call 999.

Late yesterday (Wed 19th December), police were called to an attack outside the Stonehenge Inn, Durrington. This has left a 20 year-old with critical injuries requiring brain surgery. After initially being taken to Salisbury District Hospital, the man was later transferred to Southampton General Hospital. Two other men were injured during the incident.

Three men, aged 25, 27 and 29, from the Port Talbot area of South Wales, have been arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm with intent and are currently in custody.

There is no suggestion that the two events are linked and as one local wag observed: “Criminals from South Wales have been causing problems in this area for years – at least since the time they started dumping blue stones here during the construction of Stonehenge.”

It will come as a relief to hear that Neighbourhood Watch have launched a new website:

Reg Halsall (NHWN, Communications Administrator, Wiltshire) says:

Our new website is up and running and you can access it at www.wiltshirenhw.org New features on the site include links so you can contact the committee member representing your region of Neighbourhood Watch in Wiltshire and, if you know people who want to join Neighbourhood Watch, a new quick sign up form which replaces the long form on the old site.

Feel free to share the new join link with anyone not yet on the system.  http://wiltshirenhw.org/join-login-nhw.html
Why not visit the site soon and have a look around.

Well, after all that excitement, we would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy, Crime-free and Peaceful New Year.

Winter Floodwatch

December 1st 2018 marks the start of our 6th year of flood monitoring within Winterbourne Stoke and it will be the third year this information will appear here on the village website. As we gather more and more data, the harder it is to capture it all in a useful form, so we have made a few minor cosmetic changes to the graph to facilitate this.  The first proper graph of the season will appear on the “Notices” page of this website on, or shortly after, Friday 7th December and will look like this:

The different coloured traces should be faily self-explanatory with the red trace being the current year, purple being the 6-year average.  The black trace represents the last year we had groundwater flooding in the village and the green trace shows a year with little winter rain and a late Spring.  Current borehole levels are around 79 metres, well below average, but rising.

The Return Of The Bell Inn – A Village Pub Again

We are delighted to see the return of the Bell Inn and wish Rob, Emily and the rest of the team every success in this new venture. It’s nice to have a village pub again!

We hope that the village will pull behind them and give them every support.  Early feedback from those who have been to drink, eat, or both, has been entirely positive.

If you haven’t been down yet, you really should.  You might also want to sign up to the Bell’s Facebook Page that can be found here.  They also have a cracking website that can be found at http://www.thebellinnstonehenge.co.uk

St Peter’s Church: Harvest Festival Service

It was good to see so many in church for this year’s Harvest Festival.  The church had been beautifully decorated by Melissa, Helen, Karen, Dee and Olivia with flowers and fruit adorning all the windowsills and ledges.  Melissa’s wonderful pedestal arrangement included carrots and parsnips and Ed was particularly touched that she had placed a single red rose in the centre in memory of Joy (who died a year ago on 7th October).  Thank you to all those who took part in the service and congratulations to Ben for his fantastic drawing, depicting Harvest in Winterbourne Stoke.

Olivia Dutton

Onboard and Online: Asking Questions

The Parish Council is always happy to receive your questions and can, hopefully, answer them.  The usual way of doing this is for you to speak with a Parish Councillor, call them on the phone, contact them by email, or by letter.  You can also raise a question for the Parish Council by getting in touch with the Clerk, whose contact details are…

Mr J Carr
Clerk to Winterbourne Stoke Parish Council
1 Cleeve View
Winterbourne Stoke
Salisbury
SP3 4SY

Phone: 07973 366762
Email: clerk@winterbournestokepc.org.uk

…and appear at the foot of every page on the website (https://winterbournestokepc.org.uk).

If your question is a private matter, or you don’t want it to be widely known that you have raised it, then this is the best way to do so.  However, if it is a confidential matter, please speak directly to a councillor/the Clerk and make this clear, or mark your email/letter as “Confidential” and send it just to the Clerk, Chairman, or one of the Councillors.

We’ve recently had a good suggestion from a Parishioner about improving on this.  Sometimes you may have a question that is better raised with the Parish Council as a whole; perhaps because it might impact on most Parishioners, or because it might be of more general interest.   In an ideal world, you would come along to the next Parish Council metting and raise it, in person, during the regular “Adjournment for Residents’ Questions” session that takes place at the start of every meeting – we would certainly like to see you there!

However, we recognise that in this busy world, you might not have the time to spare to come along to a Parish Council meeting in person.  If that is the case, please send your question directly to the Clerk, a minimum of 3 working days before a scheduled Parish Council Meeting, and your question will be read out on your behalf and treated as if you were asking it in person.  Depending on the sort of question you ask, it may finish up as an agenda item for discussion at a subsequent Parish Council meeting.

Onboard and Online: For Loyalty and Devotion

It’s really nice, for a change, to be able to put some good news on the website.  We are very pleased to announce that Scooby Sims, the Jack Russell that refused to leave the side of Richard Sims when he fell from his wheelchair on one of the hottest days of the summer last month, has been awarded a PDSA Commendation in recognition of his loyalty and devotion to Richard.

It’s fair to say that both Richard, and Sandy seen here posing with Scooby and the award, were grinning from ear to ear, when Richard received it yesterday.  We’ve not seen Richard smile as much for a long time; it was wonderful to watch.  Scooby wasn’t really sure what all the fuss was about, but we think the large leather bone heading in his direction will get slightly more attention.

Scooby joins an illustrious list of animals whose remarkable actions have undoubtedly saved, or enriched the lives of their companions.  You can find out more about the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) and the Animal Awards Programme here.  All the stories are inspirational and we defy anyone to read the citations, particularly those for the Dickin Medal, the animals VC, and not be moved to tears.  One of the latest recipients was Mali, a Belgian Malinois, a British Military Working Dog (MWD) who helped save the lives of troops in Afghanistan.

Onboard and Online: Community Spirit

Regrettably, the Parish Council Meeting scheduled for last night (17th July) had to be abandoned as there were insufficient Councillors present for a quorum. I would normally open the meeting with a short statement and these are often time-sensitive. I’ve published what I was going to say below, rather than allow these things to be forgotten:

In opening the meeting, I’d first like to say a huge thank you to those villagers who helped out Richard Simms recently – Charlotte, Andy and Carol. There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that these individuals saved a life by their actions; in fact, they saved two lives – that of both Richard and his dog. That is community spirit at its best

It made many of those I spoke to realise just how tenuous life can be and how vulnerable some members of our community are. It also struck home that when things do go wrong, we might not notice and if we do notice, we might not always know the best way of contacting other villagers; this is just a fact of modern life.

So thank you once again, on behalf of all the village, to Charlotte Andy and Carol. You represent the best of what Winterbourne Stoke has to offer.

Thanks also to the South-West Ambulance Trust and the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance without whose prompt action and professionalism we would have lost a villager. This event demonstrated the benefit of social media, in this case Facebook and we have introduced a way this could be of benefit to more villagers. Take a look at the Village website or the next edition of the Benefice magazine for details.

I’m delighted to say that Richard came home last Friday and seemed in good spirits when I spoke to him on Monday evening

I’d also like to thank William Grant for the excellent management of this years Solstice celebrations at the Stonehenge Campsite. The visitors of all ages were, quite frankly, delightful and a pleasure to meet. The one minor problem that cropped up was dealt with swiftly and without fuss by William and his staff. The music was not intrusive in the heart of the village and I received not a single complaint – actually, not true. I did hear one elderly resident complain that he hadn’t heard a thing and thought it had been cancelled.

Sadly, not everyone in the village is so public spirited. Frankly, I am appalled by the continued anti-social behaviour of a few villagers and possibly a few others from surrounding villages and further afield.   These are the selfish people who allow their dogs to foul roads, footpaths and byways around the village. If your dog has fouled on a footpath, or within a 2 metre lead-length from the edge of a footpath, it’s up to you to pick it up and take it home with you, or put it in one of the Wiltshire Council bins in Church Street or the High Street. Please don’t put it in your neighbours bin without their express permission; put it in your own.

Asking dog-owners nicely has clearly failed and so we will be meeting with the dog warden for this area, with a view to putting a stop to this selfishness once and for all.

A further Parish Meeting will be scheduled as soon as we can do so and certainly in before the next scheduled meeting in September.

Onboard and Online: Amesbury Incident – UPDATE FROM COUNTER TERRORISM DETECTIVES: Source of nerve agent contamination identified

Counter terrorism detectives investigating the contamination of two people by the nerve agent Novichok believe they have found the source of the deadly substance.

Dawn Sturgess, 44, from Durrington, died in hospital on Sunday evening (8 July) having been exposed to the nerve agent. Detectives launched a murder inquiry following her death.

A post-mortem is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, 17 July and an inquest into Dawn’s death is set to open and adjourn in Salisbury at 11:00hrs on Thursday, 19 July.

Her partner, 45-year-old Charlie Rowley, was also taken to hospital critically ill but has since regained consciousness. Charlie remains in a serious, but stable condition as hospital staff continue to work hard to provide the care that he needs.

On Wednesday, 11 July, a small bottle was recovered during searches of Charlie Rowley’s house in Amesbury. It was taken to the Defence, Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) at Porton Down, Wiltshire, for tests.

Following those tests, scientists have now confirmed to us that the substance contained within the bottle is Novichok. Further scientific tests will be carried out to try and establish whether it is from the same batch that contaminated Sergei and Yulia Skripal in March – this remains a main line of enquiry for police.

Inquiries are under way to establish where the bottle came from and how it came to be in Charlie’s house.

Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, Head of UK Counter Terrorism Policing, said: “This is clearly a significant and positive development. However, we cannot guarantee that there isn’t any more of the substance left and cordons will remain in place for some considerable time. This is to allow thorough searches to continue as a precautionary measure for public safety and to assist the investigation team.

“I also appreciate there is a lot of interest in this; however, we are not in a position to disclose any further details regarding the bottle at this stage.

“The safety of the public and our officers remains paramount and we are continuing to work closely with Wiltshire Police, scientists, health experts from Public Health England and other partners.”

Around 100 detectives from the Counter Terrorism Policing Network continue to work on this investigation, alongside colleagues from Wiltshire Police.

Officers from the investigation team have spoken to Charlie and will be speaking to him further to establish how he and Dawn came to be contaminated. This contact is being done in close consultation with the hospital and the doctors.

Anyone with information that may assist the investigation is urged to contact counter terrorism police on 0800 789 321.

The risk to the public in Salisbury and Amesbury remains low. We have not seen any further cases of illness linked to this incident. As a precaution Public Health England continues to advise the public not to pick up any strange items such as syringes, needles, cosmetics or similar objects made of materials such as metal, plastic or glass.

The advice remains “if you didn’t drop it, then don’t pick it up”.

We would like to thank the public of Amesbury and Salisbury for their tremendous support and understanding that they have shown to officers from the Counter Terrorism Policing Network.

A dedicated helpline – 0800 092 0410 – has been set up for anyone with health concerns in relation to this incident.

An advice sheet from Public Health England can be found here.   A series of FAQs are here.

A further information sheet from Wiltshire Police can be found here.

 

 

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