The meeting of the Neighbourhood Planning Committee wasn’t as well attended as the meeting earlier in the year which was a shame as on the whole the meeting was really positive. Following the period of consultation that concluded in January the majority of the statutory stakeholders (District Council, Highways, Utility companies, etc) are happy with the plan to date; there are a few changes that had to be made, taking into consideration the comments that had been received from the parish but on the whole, it would appear we are nearly there!

In fact, there was a planning application recently that was turned down for whatever reason but the Plan was mentioned in the reasons for not allowing the proposed development – all looking good methinks! However, there are still some major concerns by a few people about the mention of the development at St Martin’s Close. I would point out that the sites (St Martin’s Close East and St Martin’s Close West) are ‘reserved’ sites, ie sites that have been considered as suitable for development should the need arise, one of which is owned by the Parish Council and will only be developed after careful consideration and consultation with the parish as a whole as to the design etc; without this site’s development, the other site cannot be developed as the access is over the Parish Council’s – I’m sorry I can recall which is which! Just because they are in the Plan, it does not mean that it is a done deal that any development will go ahead, we need to show that we are aware that there may well be a requirement to increase the housing in the parish at some stage in the future and that a possible site has been considered. If you are confused or would like clarification on this, I’m sure if you get in touch with anyone on the Committee (details can be found on the council’s website, www.slaughampc.co.uk), it will be explained to you much better than I can do here. I will continue to do my best to keep you informed but there is always an update on the Plan at every Parish Council meeting, the next of which will be on this evening, Thursday, from 7.30 pm in the Pavilion.

Members of Handcross Ladies Association were entertained by Cliff Dargonne who talked about his trek to Mount Everest in 2003, the 50th anniversary of Sir Edmund Hilary and Tenzing Norgay’s ascent of the Great Mountain. He brought along some of the kit necessary on such an expedition as well as showing the photographs taken on his way up. From what I have heard, it was a very interesting and enjoyable evening. Next month members will be enjoying an evening of skittles; if you are unsure of the arrangements for this outing, get in touch with Janet at handxladies@gmail.com.

From the reports I’ve heard the Community Bus trip to Twickenham was enjoyed by all even if it was a long day! Next month’s trip is to Heaven Farm for lunch and some shopping and is on Tuesday 10 April; the fare is £6 and the Bus will leave Nyman’s at 9.30 am. If you would like to put your name down, get in touch with Christina on 400212 or call in and see her in the Hardware Shop.