Annual Report of the Parish Council

Published: 17 May 2021

Annual Report of Holt Parish Council 2020-2021

This has been a difficult year for us all in many ways. However, through it all I, and I am sure most of you, thought a thousand times how lucky we are to live here in Holt and its surrounding villages.

With the help of Lisa, our Clerk, keeping us informed of our choice of local suppliers of everything from compost to takeaway meals, including groceries, meat and vegetables our lives were made a lot easier. We thank all of those suppliers and hope that we will all continue to support them when life returns to something like normal.

Our 2020 Annual Parish Meeting was cancelled as this year’s will be, but we carried on with normal business.

The work of Holt Parish Council certainly became more stressful as we battled the internet to run our meetings on Webex. Our meetings are normally friendly and sometimes funny (unlike some you will have seen). We learned how to put our hands up if we wanted to speak, a bit like being back at school. Overall, we have worked well as a Parish Council, our members who were new last year have now fitted in well and are proving to be a great asset. We were sad however to see two long-standing members retire recently, Susan Frost and Norman Willis who’s knowledge and work in Holt has been invaluable over many years and we will miss them at our meetings.

It seems that lots of people have had time to think about altering their houses/barns/garages, and we have dealt with approximately 60 planning applications, some more contentious than others.

We continue to have problems with the speed of traffic, size of lorries etc, using our country roads as a rat run. All of this has, we feel, been exacerbated by the extra houses being built in Wimborne. There continue to be certain areas where the residents suffer excessively from these issues. We formed a sub-committee which had started to work with Dorset Council to try to find a solution to these problems. This project has been put on hold temporarily, again until we regain normality.

In spite of these problems, I think all of us noticed the huge increase in cyclists and walkers during lockdowns. Where did they all come from? There were a few initial issues with walkers finding the correct footpaths but it soon settled down and we hope that the visitors enjoyed our beautiful Parish.

During this time our busy Halls closed, which meant that sadly we lost many of our social activities. They are hoping to re-open soon. The Hall committees have worked hard to apply safety measures in readiness

St James’s Church has finally closed its doors, the maintenance and damp prevention costs were just too high for the number of parishioners attending services. Its future is, as yet, on hold.

An on-going project is the Dorset Local Plan and how it affects us all. This is involving us in extra meetings, as these documents are quite long and need proper consideration.

Lisa has again been our glue and has kept control of information flowing between us, Dorset Council and you, our parishioners, as well as taking minutes at our meetings. We thank her for her support and help.

Celia Moore, Chairman HPC