The guest speakers were Ross and Gill Underwood talking about the book, ‘The Village Voices’ and the play, ‘Titchfield Spirit’. The inspiration for these two creative works came from the tapestries hanging in the Parish Rooms, telling their own stories. But Gill and Ross brought them to life, which took two and half years, and they described the process as a community effort. The Heritage Lottery Fund provided money to produce the book.
They spoke about the four parts of the work –
- ‘Titchfield Spirit’ was the stage play held at the Tythe Barn in June 2014, giving a flavour of life within the boundaries of ancient Titchfield. It involved about 70 people from the three theatre groups in the village and the primary school.
- The School Visit – where people who contributed stories for the book ‘Village Voices’, were invited up to the primary school to speak to the children. Again, bringing the stories to life. Gill read out letters of feedback to the meeting.
- Website – which has links to other local websites and schools. It has the book content, photos, updates and teachers resources packs included on it.
- ‘Village Voices’, the book, was launched at St. Peter’s Church on Saturday 31st October 2015. Gill spoke about the research and oral histories covering the years of 1914 to 1964, with 60 contributors writing their stories from various generations within the Village.
Treasurers Report: Digby Hands began by announcing he is retiring from the position of Treasurer at the AGM. He said there was £4,500 in the bank. Gift Aid had been applied for and the accounts had been checked and signed. He asked members about paying their membership by standing order.
Planning: Jim Bartlett reported on the Care Home planning which is going ahead. The Tythe Barn has been refused planning for holding weddings throughout the year as neighbour’s were complaining about the noise. FBC agreed the noise exceeded the correct level.
Peter Wheal is taking over the running of the website. Nick encouraged people to visit the website, hit the ‘like’ button and ‘share’ the site with friends. Visits to the Facebook page increased to 143,000 visits when Titchfield’s Sinkhole hit the news.
Nick explained that the hole was due to the culverts cracking under the bridge, work has been completed on the road and it will be reexamined when work begins on the A27 Gyratory road junctions.
Ann Wheal is running the committee exploring this problem in the village. Various people are looking at topics and reporting back. Topics include: traffic calming measures; location of 20 mph signs; removal of chicanes in South Street; car parks and parking; historic buildings; litter and litter bins; plants and flower pots through the Square.
Nick read out a letter from Charles Timberlake regarding the traffic. There was a discussion about excessive litter being dropped through the village, and the bin being moved closer to the seat on the West Street Green.
Bus shelters were also discussed and Cllr. Tiffany Harper spoke about the request to erect one on the west side of the Square. A vote was taken from members attending which was an almost unanimous ‘No’.
The Meon Valley Group who produced the DVD about the River Meon, would like to carry out research and ‘dig’ on ‘Skin House’ Piece – a story was told about the Vicars horse allegedly being buried there. They would also like to research the Rectory / Vicarage and the Green.
Green Thumb and Notice Boards:
TVT have stopped the services of Green Thumb in looking after The Green. Nick thanked Nick Wise and the group who looked after the grass and cut back the shrubs. FBC will now be cutting the grass and trimming shrubs.
Using both notice boards, Nick has put up coloured TVT leaflets about the village walks and other news, and agreed to Marilyn Wilton-Smith’s request that the History Society publications be advertised on the notice board.
It was pointed out by Cllr. Hockley that the closure application notices had to be erected to cover when machinery was being used on the paths at various times. It was not a permanent closure notice.
The release of the water voles into the River Meon success story was discussed.
Cllr. Geoff Hockley gave a report and update on the progress of the work by Amey on the paths. He felt deeply grateful to the company on their generousity of work over their remit. The Environment Agency reported that the path was ‘adequate’. A member pointed out the damage cyclists could do when completed, it should be just pedestrians using the path.
There was a discussion about the Himalayan Balsam plant, commonly known as ‘Policeman’s Helmet’, which is growing in the canal bank. It was suggested that if seen – pull it up.
It was requested that the grating under the A27 should be regularly checked and kept clear. There was a discussion about the work being carried out to clear the canal between East Street and Bridge Street, and Cllr. Hockley pointed out that the Environment Agency ‘can’t do it’ and Amey is working free of charge in the area below Bridge Street to the Haven.
He also spoke about Titchfield Mill’s waterways and the difference in height of the water that side of the A27. Maybe due to the Fishing Club that fishes by the Mill.
A Bridge Too Far:
Nick said that the A27 road was built in 1929, and the changes that are to be made now in 2015/16 to make it a four-lane dual carriageway, will technically cut the historical parts of the village in two. The ancient pathway from the Abbey and Tythe Barn to the village will be lost. He suggests a footbridge over the A27 to enable access for the school children and families, to use the recreation ground, tennis courts, and boxing club, to support and use the new Country Park, the Tythe Barn and Abbey. It would be easier and safer to cross the road by pedestrians, cyclists and people with pushchairs and on buggies. He suggests applying for grants for access to the Country Park, and to the Lottery Fund. Richard Boden said RAF Tangmere had a similar problem and the RAF men built their bridge.
Nick felt it important to begin applications now as the work begins on the widening of the road. Discussion was mixed with some opposing the idea, some suggesting a tunnel. John Ekins felt concerned and thought this must be a County issue not for the village. Cllr. Geoff Hockley was concerned about the standard and safety of the structure over a busy main road and dual carriageway.
Annual General Meeting:
The next meeting will be the AGM on Tuesday 8 March.
There was a reminder about looking for a new Treasurer for then.
Nick also pointed out that the new Country Park would require a name in the future.
He asked people to give email addresses for leaflets to be sent rather than the expense of paper and ink.