Report from I.W. Councillor John Nicholson

Posted by IWC Admin on Monday, 22nd September 2014, 15:13

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COUNCILLOR JOHN NICHOLSON

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WARD MEMBER FOR COWES SOUTH & NORTHWOOD

MEMBER OF IW PLANNING COMMITTEE

MEMBER OF HEALTH AND COMMUNITY WELLBEING SCRUTINY PANEL

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SUNNYSIDE

PALLANCE LANE

NORTHWOOD

PO31 8LT
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Tel: 01983 209642 (evenings best)
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Email: cllr.john.nicholson@btconnect.com

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Click here for the I.W.Councillor’s section

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REPORT – SEPTEMBER 2014

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The main concern in Northwood at the moment is the closure of the Post Office at the top of Pallance Road, when Sue retires later this year. The Post Office cannot be a standalone business these days, and can be an excellent addition to complement an existing business. There are many examples, nationwide, where Post Offices have been taken on by local garages, shops, supermarkets and pubs. Of the local venues, it is only the Travellers Joy that is interested in considering the prospect, and the landlord, Ashley, has contacted the Post Office to officially register interest.
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There is a lot to do between now and then; both the Travellers and the Post Office have to go through an assessment and evaluation process to see whether the pub is actually a suitable location and that the business is viable for both parties. So it is by no means a done deal. There is another example of a Post Office in a pub at the Broadway in Totland, where Dave the landlord was the postmaster for Totland before he became a landlord. From Ashley’s point of view, it could be complementary to the way he is developing the pub, anchoring it as a focal part of the local community and returning the Post Office to its historic original location in the lower part of Pallance Road (formerly Tinkers Lane). Those who are familiar with this part of Northwood will know that the original Post Office was sited at number 123 Pallance Road, where there remains an active post box mounted in the wall. This is all rather augury, as it was the Travellers Joy that put up a red post box on the bar in volunteering to be a local collection point for the Housing Needs Survey before any of this came to light.
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Other concerns about the village have been the misuse of public footpaths. The Pallance Road – Wyatts Lane footpath gate has now been repaired, limiting it to foot traffic only again, and in Chawton the damage caused by vehicles accessing the Solar Farm has now been made good; in fact, made better than it was, with limestone scalpings making it a drier walk in inclement weather, as the limestone will allow water to drain, rather than pond and cause mud. It was from this exercise at Chawton that it became apparent that the area leading down to Church Lane, around the top and side of the church (but not below the church) was part of the Public Highway, so I have asked Island Roads to infill the numerous potholes.
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The Parish Housing Needs Survey has been submitted to County Hall for collating. We had around a 41% response, which is quite good, although not as high as Gurnard’s 60% survey response record, but that was exceptional; 41% is still good enough to work with, so thank you to everyone who completed the forms.
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It does strike me, in this job, how isolated people in general have become these days in their busy lives, and I am no different. Years ago, when we did not have instant communications, people seemed to have more time for each other. Nowadays it is common for people not to know their neighbours, and if they do, to see them only in passing. There are exceptions, people that still maintain the old fashioned values and look out for their neighbours and community, and somehow find the time to do so. The concern is that there are people in every community that are totally alone, for example, who might have retired and have no social life, so become recluse. There are people who struggle to do simple tasks necessary to look after themselves or their property, whilst there are others with capacity, who need something to do, etc. etc.
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It was whilst walking down from the bus stop one day that I wondered if there might be a will in the community to look at this; to match the people who are lonely with those who have time and desire to socialise; to match those who struggle with those that have the capacity; to match demand with supply. There are community tasks that need doing, and that would bring people with common interest together, with a sense of purpose and fulfilment. I think of all the interesting people that I have met and talked to on my various rounds and encounters, some with totally different views and ideas, but interesting nonetheless, all with their own situations and perspectives; wouldn’t it be nice to be able to draw these people together, to enjoy and appreciate each other’s company and perspective, as I have, in a constructive way that gave some sense of contribution, control and engagement in their immediate local habitat. If anyone else has any ideas on this, then please let me know.

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John Nicholson
Ward Member for Cowes South & Northwood

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