April 2020

Who would have thought that even five months ago we’d now be in the midst of a national emergency that threatens us all, a tragedy caused by a viral disease that’s kiling thousands of people all over the world, a global crisis the likes of which hasn’t been seen since the pandemic of Spanish ‘Flu over 100 years ago?

With the UK in lockdown and everyone instructed to stay at home unless for specific reasons; with schools closed for the foreseeable future; with our playgrounds, our tennis court, churches, pubs and non-essential businesses closed; with gatherings of no more than two people allowed; with the over-70s and vulnerable people asked to stay at home to self-isolate; and with instructions not meet with others, even family and friends, life has changed profoundly for all of us at the moment. The every day life of the parish council has also had to be adapted until this catastrophe is brought to an end.

It goes without saying that the Annual Parish Meeting due to be held on 29 April is now cancelled, along with all other scheduled parish council meetings. While we are unable to meet in public, we have delegated to our Clerk, Jane Ives, the authority to make decisions on behalf of the council in consultation with members of the council. Any decisions made will be recorded in writing and published. Once arrangements are in place for us to hold virtual meetings remotely, we may do so if necessary at some point. Please keep an eye out on our website or on the Selborne Parish Council Facebook page for information relating to all parish council matters, and please do get in touch with the Clerk if there is any matter at all that you would like to raise or draw to the council’s attention.

These changes have been made to comply with the coronavirus legislation enacted on 23 March, the message being to Stay At Home, Protect the NHS and Save Lives. The vast majority of people are public-spirited and want to play their part in stopping the spread of the virus, saving their own and others’ lives, and the very least we can do to help the NHS to cope is to adhere to the regulations.

Other news: a kissing gate will be installed on land beyond the Long Lythe, at the entrance into Coombe Wood, once the dreaded virus permits and our thanks go to Peter Minns for kindly giving permission for it. Two new kissing gates have already been put up in the Ewell and are now being well used and enjoyed. It makes it much safer and easier than clambering over high stiles! We thank The Wakes for giving their permission for these. Sincere thanks also to The Wakes for all that they are doing in temporarily turning the café into a shop to provide food supplies and take away meals for the residents of Selborne. It is a lifeline for people at a time of great need. The Wakes has truly stepped up to the plate to diversify and support the local community at this time of real crisis and the Parish Council is greatly appreciative of their tremendous response to it. Our thanks go the Selborne Arms too for their take away food which is also going down extremely well in the village.

I am also deeply grateful to all those in our villages who are supporting the more vulnerable amongst us in whatever way they can, with both practical and emotional help. The community spirit is fantastic and uplifting.

Please keep yourself and your family safe at this very difficult and challenging time. We will beat the virus in the end.

With all good wishes to you,

Minette Palmer