An update from Cllr Edward Heron :-
The County Council has been allocated an additional £5.95m for the repair of potholes and other road defects. While this additional funding is very much welcomed, it is unfortunately but a fraction of what is required to return Hampshire’s roads and pavements to a standard we would wish. However, from April the Council will be deploying additional resource to utilise this funding and the money should allow the Council to fix an additional 40,000 potholes than funding previously allowed for. It is therefore more important than ever that potholes and other road defects are reported, preferably online at https://www.hants.gov.uk/transport/roadmaintenance. As an alternative, potholes can be reported using the ‘FixMyStreet’ mobile app (https://www.fixmystreet.com/) that is available for both iOS (Apple) and Android devices. Using the ‘FixMyStreet’ app doesn’t enable the same level of feedback as you will not receive the HCC tracking reference number, but as it utilises the mobile device’s GPS and camera, it does make on-site reporting simple and quick. It would be preferable for reports to be made using the Council’s website, but better defects are reported than not and the simplicity and immediacy of the app may encourage more reports.
Recycling and waste
There are no planned changes to recycling and rubbish collections for the Easter bank holidays (Friday 7 April and Monday 10 April). Please leave your refuse out as usual if your collection is due.
The Easter holidays can generate lots of waste, like Easter egg boxes and food. You can add cardboard Easter egg boxes to your clear recycling sack, but please flatten them first to make space.
The only plastics which can currently be added to your clear recycling sack are plastic bottles. Rinse them out, squash them, and leave lids on.
In the future, you will be able to recycle a greater range of materials from home, including more plastics and foil: https://www.newforest.gov.uk/wastestrategy
All other plastic items like inserts for Easter eggs, pots, tubs, and film, can’t currently be recycled in Hampshire. Some shops and other locations have recycling drop-off points for these plastics, and other items which we can’t currently recycle, like foil. Check Recycle Now’s recycling locator tool on our website to find your nearest drop-off point: https://www.newforest.gov.uk/Recyclinglocator
For tips on how to use up Easter leftovers, and other ways to reduce food waste, visit Love Food Hate Waste’s website: https://www.lovefoodhatewaste.com/blog/what-do-your-easter-leftovers
Garden waste service
The new subscription year for our garden waste service begins on 1 April. You can still renew your subscription or join the service, but please note that it can take up to 7 to 10 working days for you to receive your first garden waste collection: https://www.newforest.gov.uk/gardenwaste
Cost of living information and advice
Help with food
You can find information about food banks, community fridges, and other support on our website: https://newforest.gov.uk/article/3287/Cost-of-living-information
There are five community hubs offering cost of living advice and support in the district, where you can speak with staff from our benefits and housing teams, as well as Citizens Advice and other local groups.
The community hubs take place at:
Nedderman Centre, New Milton
Testwood Baptist Church, Totton
St George’s Hall, Calshot
St Mark’s Community Hall, Pennington
Avonway Community Centre, Fordingbridge
Find out more on our website: https://www.newforest.gov.uk/article/1638/Support-available-New-Forest-voluntary-organisations
If you’re finding it hard to pay your Council Tax or rent, please get in touch with us. We can talk with you about your circumstances and go through the next steps.
We partner with a variety of services who are able to listen and offer advice. Visit our website to find out about the support available to you: https://www.newforest.gov.uk/article/3158/Help-with-money-and-debt
Reduced grass cutting this year
Taking a break from cutting grass can help wildlife to flourish.
This year, we’re leaving more grass to grow around bulbs and wildflower areas, and by trees on roadside verges, when it’s safe to do so. This will help the plants to grow and soak up water, particularly during the warmer months.
Some verges have been recognised as having ecological importance, and we will not be mowing these from May until the end of summer.
We need to keep grass below a certain height in some areas for safety and maintenance reasons. This includes public open spaces and some conservation sites.
If you mow at home, consider taking part in the No Mow May campaign to help with encouraging wildlife, such as butterflies and bees, in our district.
You can find more information about how we cut grass and hedges on our website at https://www.newforest.gov.uk/article/1215/Grass-hedges-and-shrub
Support to start a business
We’re offering a free service to New Forest residents who are looking to start a business.
The support helps people to develop their ideas and identify grants and finance, and access mentoring support. 35 new businesses in the district have already benefitted from this support.
Find out more on our website at https://newforest.gov.uk/startabusiness
The government has created an emergency alert service that will warn you if there’s a danger to life nearby.
In an emergency, your mobile phone or tablet will receive an alert with advice about how to stay safe.
People across the UK will get a test alert on Sunday 23 April.
Your mobile phone or tablet may:
make a loud siren-like sound, even if it’s set on silent
read out the alert
The sound and vibration will last for about 10 seconds.
You do not need to do anything when you receive this message as it is just a test.
Emergency alerts will only ever be sent by the emergency services or government departments. You may get alerts about emergencies, such as severe flooding, fires, or extreme weather.
Find out more about emergency alerts at https://www.gov.uk/alerts
Domestic abuse support charity Refuge has published a video, which advises victims on how to prevent the test message coming through to secondary phones they may be hiding, in case of an emergency at home. Watch it on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2MBcHwmiy8
Coronavirus spring boosters
People aged 75 years and older, residents in care homes for older people, and those aged 5 years and over with a weakened immune system, will be offered a booster of coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine this spring.
If you are in these groups, you should be offered an appointment between April and June, with those at highest risk being offered a booster first.
There are holiday activities and clubs happening in the district over the Easter holidays. Some include sports coaching in Totton, art sessions in Lymington, and sports development in Fordingbridge.
To find clubs local to you, visit Hampshire County Council’s website: https://www.hants.gov.uk/socialcareandhealth/childrenandfamilies/connectforcommunities/holidayactivities
Independent persons – Members code of conduct
We are looking for 2 independent, fair-minded people to become involved in complaints about elected members to comply with the requirements of our code of conduct.
Candidates must have:
high standards of integrity
objectivity and impartiality
the ability to make balanced judgment based on information presented
good analytical skills and the ability to demonstrate clarity of thought
good interpersonal and communication skills
tact and discretion and maintain confidentiality
a commitment to equal opportunities
Visit our website for more information and to apply: https://newforest.gov.uk/article/3285/Appointment-of-Independent-Persons
Training will be provided and a modest allowance (currently £331 annually) and any travel expenses will be paid.