The village is going to see quite a few comings and goings over the next few months with quite a few properties changing hands. Inevitably, we are saying good-bye to some old friends, but we are also welcoming new villagers who will hopefully wish to contribute to village life. To help them get up to speed, members of the Village Preservation Society have helped us put together some basic information for new villagers which can be found here on the website.
Please take a look and if you can think of any other information that can be added to the two documents, or the Village Directory section of the website, please let us know.
We are pleased to announce that the play park will re-open from around mid-day, tomorrow, Friday 10th July 2020. Please note that the Parish Council has still not received a response from its insurers in respect of COVID-19 issues raised with them. There is still the possibility that they may yet respond and put a spanner in the works, but we feel that we do need to go ahead and will deal with that eventuality should it arise.
Inevitably, there are a few strings attached and warnings. A copy of the following notice will be placed on the gates to the park and on the Parish Council noticeboard. It will also be poset on the village Facebook Group.
Winterbourne Stoke Parish Council
The play park is to open as of midday on 10 Jul 2020.
Please be aware that the Parish Council cannot make the park COVID-19 secure. Consequently, all parents/guardians deciding to let their children use the play park accept this and assume any and all liabilities arising from use of the play park in respect of COVID-19.
No specific COVID-19 cleaning measures will be undertaken by, or on behalf of, the Parish Council. The normal, regular safety checks will be undertaken.
Entering the play park signals your assent to the above and the following conditions:
If anyone in your household/bubble is displaying COVID-19 symptoms, or is awaiting the result of a COVID-19 test, then go home, DO NOT enter the play park;
All the usual play-park rules on the adjacent signage applies;
Everyone and anyone using the play park is responsible for cleaning/sanitising the equipment they use BEFORE USE, to their own satisfaction;
Parents/guardians and children should sanitise their hands before leaving the play park and wash hands with soap and hot water for 20 seconds on return home;
Keep at least 1 metre social distancing (or at the current distance advised by the government);
No queuing outside the park for entry, or in the park for equipment;
No eating, drinking or smoking;
Please try to only have one parent, guardian or carer with each child to limit the possible spread of infection;
Consider using face coverings;
All rubbish, including disposable face coverings or gloves, should be taken home to dispose of rather than being left in the litter bin.
The areas of particular risk assessed by the PC are:
The Southern Park Entrance: Due to the narrow approach to the park and restricted view both in and out, the Southern gate to the park will remain locked.
The North gate allows a better view in for those arriving and out for those leaving;
The Double Swing: Rather than removing one of the swings, only one swing should be used at any one time unless 2 children from the same household/bubble wish to use them;
The Climbing Frame: The Parish Council does not believe it is credibly possible to disinfect the climbing net, or the tunnel, on this apparatus. However, there are other components that are easier to clean and could be reasonably used. Rather than attempt to seal off the two elements, or close the entire Climbing Frame, the Parish Council intends to leave the apparatus open, but strongly advises parents/guardians to prevent their children from using the climbing net or tunnel.
If it comes to the Parish Council’s attention that social distancing, or other mandatory requirements, are not being observed, the play park will be closed with immediate effect.
“My dear friends, this is your hour. This is not victory of a party or of any class. It’s a victory of the great British nation as a whole.”
So began Winston Churchill’s speech on the 8th May 1945 from the balcony of the Ministry of Health. You can listen to part of the speech on the pages of the International Churchill Society.
On the 75th anniversary of VE Day we remember with gratitude and respect the brave men and women who fought for our freedoms. To those who gave so much, we thank you.
It’s with sadness that we cannot share that sense of national gratitude in a village celebration today, but we can still remember privately. You might want to read the words of Edmund Blunden, writing about the end of the war in Europe in his poem, “V Day”, published for the first time today. There are sentiments in the poem that still ring very true today in the face of our current challenge.
People living in Wiltshire are being advised not to let worries about coronavirus stop them asking for medical help for themselves or their children if they become ill, have a serious accident or have a concern about their health.
They are also being warned that not seeking medical help for symptoms that could be the early warning signs of serious conditions such as cancer could be putting lives at risk.
The warning comes as new data shows a considerable drop in the number of people coming forward to ask their GP for help and advice during the coronavirus outbreak.
Recent statistics show that, in Bath alone, the total number of weekly referrals from GPs to the Royal United Hospital have fallen from around 2,000 at the beginning of March to 300 at the end of April.
In Swindon, the average number of patients being sent by their GP to the Great Western Hospital for further investigations into symptoms that suggest cancer each week has dropped by more than 200 to 80.
Dr Ruth Grabham, Medical Director at BaNES, Swindon and Wiltshire CCG, said the statistics made for worrying reading because the drop in numbers “is not because people are not experiencing symptoms.”
“While it may seem that coronavirus has put a stop to most aspects of everyday life, the one thing it hasn’t stopped is what’s going on inside our bodies,” she says. “Now more than ever, we need to pay attention to anything that isn’t normal and seek help early on.
“For example, if you notice blood when going to the toilet, or if you’ve found a lump that wasn’t there previously, or if you’ve just noticed something odd that is causing you to worry, you need to speak to your GP.
“Should the symptom be the early warning sign of something serious like cancer, that delay in seeking help could have serious implications for how successful possible treatments may be.”
Although GP practices across the region have adopted new ways of working, such as establishing isolated clinics for potential coronavirus patients, the practices themselves are still open to offer care, treatment, advice and peace-of-mind.
The same also goes for emergency departments at the three hospitals in Bath, Swindon and Salisbury, all of which continue to be open 24 hours a day for people with a genuine and life-threatening health concern.
Additionally, all healthcare facilities in the region, as well as those elsewhere in the country, have put in place stringent infection control measures to ensure that the risk of contracting coronavirus while visiting a hospital or GP surgery remains low.
• Details of which services continue to open, as well as how to get in contact, can be found online by visiting www.bswccg.nhs.uk
• For information about local hospital services visit https://www.ruh.nhs.uk/, www.gwh.nhs.uk or www.salisbury.nhs.uk
• Further information on how to stay well throughout the coronavirus outbreak can be found at www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19.
We are celebrating a very different Easter this year. Instead of sharing the joy as a community we are forced to share it with those we live with or on our own isolated behind our front doors. This is tough!
It has been a joy to see all the villages of the Benefice respond to this time of trial in such a positive way. Jesus asked, “who is my neighbour?” Well, in supporting each other, in the teams of volunteers collecting prescriptions or buying food and in the text messages, Facebook and WhatsApp groups this question has been answered. The Easter message is one of hope and expectation. In these difficult days we can take the hope and expectation of the empty tomb to support us through these difficult days and weeks. The light always shines after the dark. That is also the Easter message.
May I and the whole Benefice wish you, your families, friends and neighbours near and far a very happy Easter.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is going to be a major feature of our lives for some time ahead. The situation is evolving rapidly and anything we write is likely to be out of date within a matter of days, if not hours. Consequently, the best source of advice for villagers is that which is being provided by the Government.
In the last 24 hours we have received two communications from the Environment Agency and Wiltshire Council regarding the grounwater situation across Wiltshire. Clearly, these have direct relevance for all of us living alongside the River Till.
The bottom line of both these documents is to urge town parish councils to be aware of the current situation and to adopt such measures as they can. In turn, we are now asking parishioners, particularly those of you owning/living in properties known to be susceptible to groundwater flooding, to be aware of the situation and take appropriate measures for your own properties; for instance by checking that water pumps are functioning and that other measures you have adopted in the past, sandbags, moving furniture and carpets to higher parts of the property, etc., can be initiated at short notice and carried out quickly.
The Current Regional Situation
“We have noticed the recharge (the aquifer starts to refill) season started earlier this year due to the wetter autumn that we have experienced, in fact bore hole levels across Dorset and Wiltshire are recording levels considerably above average for this time of year.
Below is a graph of the Groundwater level at Woodyates (on the Dorset / Wiltshire / Hampshire border) the dotted blue line is the mean October 31st level. This site is used as a national indicator for groundwater levels as it is fairly central and has a long period of recorded data.
As you can see, we ended the first month of the traditional re-charge period in October at around 91.0 mAOD (Ordnance datum (mAOD) is based on the mean sea level at Newlyn in Cornwall)compared to a twenty year mean of 76.0 mAOD. It is the second highest level on record after 2012 which was a bit of an anomaly as there was almost no recession that summer due to a Groundwater flooding event. As you can see we are at a level that is already higher than average for this time of year.
The Flood Alert level at this site is 98m mAOD and we would consider issuing a Flood Warning at 102 mAOD.
The Current Local Situation
As of 9:15 this morning, the water level in the Tilshead borehole stands at 90.24m mAOD. Levels have been rising for the last three weeks, but it is fair to say that the rate of increase over the last few days, with less rain, has begun to slow. The graph looks as follows:
The red arrow indicates the level this morning. We are only 4 metres below the 6-year average MAXIMUM winter level and in a credible worst-case scenario, less than two weeks/9 metres from possible groundwater flooding. If that looks scary, don’t forget that the average winter maximum is 94m. The good news is that we should have several days of dry weather over the next week and the rate of increase should fall and may even reverse. That said, the Environment Agency make the following point: “With Groundwater levels currently higher than average for this time of year, if we continue to have heavy rainfall events across Dorset and Wiltshire we anticipate issuing Groundwater Flood Alerts across Dorset and Wiltshire before Christmas”. Even then, it is far from certain we will have flooding here.
Winterbourne Stoke Parish Council will continue to monitor groundwater levels in the aquifer and publish weekly updates with the first due to appear on Sunday 8th December showing data collected for the first week. Keep an eye-out here for any interim bulletins or on the village Facebook page.
Please let the Parish Clerk (or any Councillor) know if you have concerns about specific properties, are seeking further help, or believe that a flooding event is imminent or underway.
The Environment Agency and Wiltshire Council are holding two drop in sessions to enable town and parish councils and residents an opportunity to discuss groundwater issues in your area, share flood maps that maybe helpful for you to identify areas at risk of flooding and share knowledge on what to look for in your area. We can also give you more information on the Groundwater flood warning service available for your community.
We would also like to hear about your observations and feedback If you have not made or updated your flood or emergency plan it’s not to late! If you need assistance, help or advice contact: email@example.com
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.
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.