A Message from our Mayor
Message from the Town Mayor of Lymington and Pennington
We welcome this update message from our Mayor Anne Corbridge after a summer break - it's amazing how quickly the weeks have flown. We are also keeping a record of the mayoral messages through the coronavirus crisis for posterity - or at least for now! They're below, in date order going back to the beginning of the pandemic.
18 September 2020
"Already in September and although we are having some lovely, warm days, that chill in the morning and evening air tells us that autumn is on its way, following the strangest summer in living memory. For the most part we have been lucky to have wonderful weather, which has made the whole Covid19 pandemic period much easier to deal with - allowing us to exercise outdoors and to garden, and it has really been a pleasure, albeit somewhat restricted.
The number of Covid19 cases in the New Forest has remained consistently low, which is so fortunate - especially as we are just moving out of the peak visitor season. It is to be hoped that this will continue as schools go back, and as we go towards the winter when seasonal flu appears.
These past few weeks have seen more of our town's facilities reopen, and the hugely successful return of the Seafood Festival. It was a welcome return "normal" to see the park at Bath Road buzzing with people enjoying themselves - albeit with the very careful measures taken by the organisers in terms of social distancing and 'track and trace'. Richard and Domine Nowell are really to be congratulated for the success and for the care taken in running this event, which is so important to the town.
"Eat Out to Help Out" was well supported locally and it was good to see people filling up our pubs, restaurants and cafes again. Throughout September there are a series of 'pop-up' restaurants in the park at Bath Road - Thursday to Sunday each week. I understand that there is a good range of foods, drinks and music which very much supports local businesses.
As I am sure you will know, NFDC recreation centres have now reopened, including the swimming pools. Our own Sea Water Baths have been very popular benefitting from good weather and holidays. Although they have not been able to take as many visitors as usual due to social distancing, and tickets must be booked in advance, they have still been really busy and popular.
This year's Covid19 situation meant towns and villages up and down the nation were unfortunately unable to take part in any sort of bloom competition and so the Town Council was delighted to offer this virtual activity and encourage community participation, the themes being "Lockdown Inspiration" and "VE 75". Local schools, pubs, businesses, care homes and residents were encouraged to enter this free competition and this year saw fabulous entries ranging from a 9 year old to a 99 year old and churches to businesses. Mr & Mrs Ward of Lymington and Diamond & Son Funeral Directors were Gold winners.
Litter and fly-tipping has been a particular problem over the summer, not helped by wild camping in the Forest as most of the campsites remained closed. NFDC launched "Crabby" the Litterbug, to draw attention to the problem. Thankfully the booking system for Efford tip seems to have settled down after the initial problems.
Finally, I am sad to advise of Christmas events that have had to be cancelled due to the Covid-19 situation. The Town Council is unable to hold its usual Christmas lights ‘switch-on’ and Lymington Rotary cannot run the Santa On The Quay event. Sad indeed, but hopefully next year we can return to these and the many other events that have had to be cancelled.
Please keep well and safe.
Cllr Anne Corbridge
Lymington & Pennington Town Mayor
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Messages from our Mayor through the coronavirus crisis of 2020
Previous messages from our Mayor are in date order beginning with the most recent just before the summer break.
31 July 2020
Don't forget to get your entries in today for the Flower Festival!
How quickly a month passes, I can hardly believe that we are now at the end of July – the school holidays have officially started and visitors are flocking to the New Forest and our lovely town.
It is so very regrettable that most of the campsites have not been re-opened, but great that places like New Park have extended their facilities to allow for more camping. As you will probably know, wild camping has become quite a problem in the Forest with the commensurate problems of litter, fires and lack of sanitary facilities. If you do spot problems, please report them to the New Forest District Council.
It has been heartening to see the town opening up again. It feels as if people are regaining a confidence to shop once more. Social distancing and wearing a face mask have been adopted as the new normal, and most people seem to be falling into these habits fairly easily. I have to confess that I do not enjoy wearing a mask very much, but it is a small price to pay to try and reduce the risk of spreading the Covid virus.
The Market has been going from strength to strength each week, with more of our regular traders returning. We are hoping to return to a much more normal market this week, with stalls each side of the High Street. We would very much like to thank those stallholders who reduced their pitch size, and put up with the move from their normal site – to accommodate the reduced sized market and social distancing. We are grateful for their forbearance which helped a lot.
All seven play areas across Lymington and Pennington and the outdoor gym at Woodside Park are now open. Risk assessments were completed in line with Government guidance and notices placed regarding safety measures to be taken in view of Covid-19. The revitalised playground at Woodside Park has been opened, with its lovely new wooden play equipment for toddlers. The Sea Water Baths reopened in the middle of July. There are very strict Government guidelines on the use of swimming pools at the moment, so the number of swimmers is greatly reduced and all sessions are timed. However, it is still very good to see it open.
NFDC Leisure Centres are also set to reopen from 01 August – also a welcome return. So much planning and care has to be put in to reopening each one of these facilities, which were so quick to close in March out of necessity, but not nearly so easy to reopen.
You may have read that the Town Council has been offering small grants to help the Town’s businesses and organisations reopen with all the protective measures in place. These have been very popular and I am pleased to report that to date we have given out 25 grants to help with issues as PPE and adapting a business to meet Covid19 demands. We hope that these small grants will go some way to helping the survival of our smaller businesses, in a safe and risk-free way.
Have you seen the 4 new interpretation boards on Pennington Common? They are quite lovely and give a little potted history of the Common and aid the discovering of flora and fauna there. Our parks and flower beds continue to be a real treat, so don’t forget to enjoy them when out exercising!
Please keep well and safe and enjoy the summer while it is here
3 July 2020
Thank you so much to those people who said they enjoyed the weekly message and would like to see it return, it is heartening to know that somebody was reading it!
So, for the time being I will produce a message on the first Friday of each month, at least while there is something to update on.
In the couple of weeks since I last wrote, we have certainly had some extremes of weather – so hot it was hard to find somewhere to cool down, falling to really chilly and wet. No-one can say that we don’t have variety in this country – I guess this is a fairly typical British Summer. With the loosening of the lock down, the hot weather certainly brought a lot of visitors to the New Forest again, the build-up of traffic on the roads was remarkable and the car parks, especially at the coast, were full. I imagine we should be grateful that our beaches were not quite as busy as Bournemouth’s.
It is so good to see our town opening up again and coming to life with shops opening, albeit with social distancing measures in place, and our market increasing in size each week. As you will know, the market is mainly running on one side of the High Street at the moment to allow more room for stalls and queueing, but as it is working well there will be more stalls each week.
We have had a very generous offer from an anonymous businessman in the town who is paying all the pitch fees for tomorrow’s market. This is a truly wonderful gesture to support something that is so very important to the life and vitality of the town. We thank you so very much.
It is also very good to note that Hampshire County Council has put the proposed parking charges on the High Street on hold for the time being, and hopefully this will assist the businesses that have suffered so much during the shutdown period.
The town’s sports facilities are all opening up slowly and we are taking measures to ensure signage with accurate guidelines are in place at our play areas with the aim of opening them and Woodside’s outdoor gym during the week beginning 06 July 2020.
The Covid-19 situation and resulting lockdown has had a dramatic effect on the commercial life of Lymington and Pennington and the wellbeing of the townspeople, particularly impacting on activities of small businesses and the self-employed.
The Town Council has only very limited financial and human resources. However, it has agreed to help those businesses and organisations, which would otherwise be trading and operating successfully, to recover and to contribute once more to the local economy and community.
Emergency support grants of up to £2,500 to any one business or organisation have been made available and more information can be found on our website, including the Application Form for a grant.
As High Street shops are now open and the Government is lessening lockdown and social-distancing restrictions, the Town Council will return to its normal duties on Monday 06 July 2020 meaning it will no longer be able to provide assistance with shopping and prescription collection. Those vulnerable people who we have helped have all been provided with details of organisations that can assist with shopping and/or prescription deliveries and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those volunteers who have helped tremendously in these tasks. I will be writing to each volunteer personally.
The flower beds in the town and also at Woodside Gardens look stunning – again our thanks to our wonderful Parks staff, such lovely and imaginative planting!
We are very much hoping that the Sea Water Baths will reopen during the later part of July, but this will of course be subject to Government guidance. Don’t forget that the kiosk is already open, so do pay them a visit.
We are again looking at the possibility of various events in the town, having had to cancel so many this summer sadly. It is not easy to plan as the guidance on future gatherings is coming out slowly, which makes it difficult to predict and plan. But we are trying to find safe ways with organisers for some exciting events to take place– watch out for notifications!
One lovely event that will take place this Sunday 5th July at the bandstand in Bath Road is a very special performance by Lymington Town Band from 7.30pm to 8.30pm to celebrate the 72nd birthday of the NHS and to show our gratitude to them. So please come along to listen, whilst remembering social distancing rules.
So, if you have been reading this, thank you.
Do keep safe and sensible – we do not want any spikes in this small but beautiful corner of our country.
5 June 2020
As life begins to return to being a little bit more normal, this is my tenth and last message. I am reflecting on the strangest and certainly the most unexpected ten weeks of my life, which has seen us all under enforced “house arrest”, has seen extraordinary acts of heroism and kindness, and which has left us isolated and yet together with our communities in ways that were previously inconceivable. So many of us have actually got to know our neighbours! All the things that were taken for granted were swept away overnight – not going to the pub, a concert or even gathering with friends and family. Not even a hug for the children or grandchildren if they live in a different household.
As the ‘crisis’ rapidly disappears, the peace on our roads, in our skies and on our water and the consequent improvement in our environment is already becoming a memory. The bird song was amazing.
This Saturday 6th June, our Charter market opens up again. This will be a very reduced market with a dozen stalls concentrating on produce, to start with. For the time being it will operate on only one side of the road, with all the social distancing requirements for the stalls in place. This will allow one side of the road and pavement to be used as usual within the social distancing rules. I would encourage you to visit the Market but to be vigilant about the rules – we are so keen to make this a success, but it will only be so if everyone makes it work.
The Sea Water Baths must remain closed for now, but the staff are working hard to ensure it is ready to open when we are allowed. Meanwhile, the kiosk opened for business this week with the welcome sale of ice creams in the hot weather. Many of the Town’s sports are slowly returning but their club houses and pavilions must stay closed for now. Cricket, croquet and bowls have returned, and football training has started
The bunting in the High Street is a joy to see, and I understand that our flower boxes and hanging baskets are about to reappear. We are also hoping to see the reopening of most of the non-essential shops in the next couple of weeks.
During this unusual time, your Town Council has tried to keep the business of the Council running as smoothly as possible. Amongst other things, the Town Clerk retired and we were very fortunate to recruit Louise Young, the previous Deputy Clerk, to replace her. She certainly had to hit the ground running at the beginning of April, particularly with the establishment of the Community Hub, and sorting out the role of our various facilities and staff during this Covid19 pandemic. We are rightly proud of how well the Hub has worked, looking after food deliveries and prescriptions for those who need it.
Some of our meetings were temporarily suspended, but many have gone ahead as virtual meetings so that we could keep on top of everything.
A huge thank you to our staff at the Town Council, many of whose jobs were turned upside down overnight. Their flexibility and enthusiasm to help out has been inspiring. Thank you also to the amazing volunteers who have been traipsing the streets, standing in queues and delivering prescriptions and leaflets, and last but not least to our Councillors who have been so willing to help in so many ways.
Thank you also to other organisations in our town – the Food Bank, Sewing for the NHS, all those incredible restaurants and pubs who turned themselves in to home delivery services and to all the many, many unsung heroes who simply helped a neighbour. Of course, our wholehearted thanks to the staff of our local hospital, care homes and hospice who have been the absolute bedrock, risking so much to care for all of us.
If you have been reading my weekly message, thank you and do keep an eye on the Town Council website www.lymingtonandpennington-tc.gov.uk for messages from the Mayor in the future!
Do keep well and keep safe.
29 May 2020
"As more of the Coronavirus restrictions are lifted, we have seen a huge rise in the traffic on our roads and cars in our car parks, particularly in the coastal areas. I understand that last weekend being Bank Holiday, Lepe Beach carpark ran out of spaces.
The New Forest District Council have advised that their car parking charges will be reintroduced from 1st June. These were temporarily suspended during the lockdown period. On-duty NHS and social care staff will continue to park free of charge if they have a pass from their employer, in line with national guidelines.
In the town, we see more of our sports clubs reopening to resume training, all within strict social distancing guidelines. It is so good to see this and to begin to feel more normal – even if it is a “new normal”.
The bunting in the town brings a good feeling of summer and holidays, so thank you to our wonderful town council staff for organising that again this year.
I had a wander through Woodside Gardens this week - our staff are busily planting the beds which will soon be a riot of colour with geraniums and begonias, and the rhododendrons are stunning – great mountains of colour!
The rose garden is also very lovely with the climbing roses that tumble over the stone pillars being a real a treat. A huge thank you to our landscaping team for this. I can strongly recommend a visit as it really lifts the spirits and there is plenty of space for social distancing.
Well worth taking a photograph for entry in this year’s Lymington & Pennington Flower Festival! The competition is open 01 June 2020 – 31 July 2020 to everyone in Lymington and Pennington (residents, businesses, organisations, schools, clubs, shops, care homes etc.
Enjoy the sunshine and keep well."
22 May 2020
This week we saw more relaxation of the restrictions that we have all been living under. The supermarkets are beginning to ease up on the rationing of some items (notably loo paper!) and I think everyone will have noticed the increased volume of traffic on the roads around the Forest, and the car parks are beginning to fill up. I hear that campsites across the country have had a huge increase in the number of bookings for this year as more people will holiday in this country because of the difficulties in travelling abroad, reminding us of the “staycation” trend which followed the financial crisis of 2008. I imagine this will mean many more visitors to our towns and seaside, which is good.
I have just heard that our town’s colourful bunting is due to be put up in the High Street and on the Quay, next week. This should cheer us up and bring on the holiday mood!
We saw the River opening up this week – with resident and short stay moorings and berths being opened, but not for overnight stays. People were allowed to kayak, swim and fish off the beaches at their own risk. Golf courses are also open, as is the town’s skate park – both of which have been very busy. Garden centres have been open and I understand the queues have not been too bad at all.
Our open-air gym and children’s playgrounds remain shut for the time being, following Government advice and in light of the difficulty of sanitising and social distancing in these areas.
Don’t forget to enter this year’s Lymington & Pennington Flower Festival. The competition is open 01 June 2020 – 31 July 2020 and the theme is ‘VE Day 75’ or ‘Lockdown Inspiration’. The competition is open to everyone in Lymington and Pennington (residents, businesses, organisations, schools, clubs, shops, care homes etc.. Application forms and more information can be found on the Town Council’s website.
The local community hub is still busy, and very much open for business – so if you are self-isolating or vulnerable and require shopping or prescriptions, do not hesitate to make contact
Telephone 02380 28593 Monday-Friday (excluding Bank Holidays) 10.00am – 2.00pm
Best wishes and stay well, and don’t forget social distancing is still very much with us during this Bank Holiday weekend and for a while yet.
15 May 2020
Approaching the eighth week since Britain was locked down we are beginning to see the first positive signs that the grip of the Coronavirus is loosening a little, with the commensurate relaxation of some of the restrictions. It is, of course, stressed that there is a very long way to go, with only small steps at a time. Updated guidance from the Government includes:
- The return to work for anyone who cannot work from home, and where the workplace can be made safe to socially distance.
- Minimising the use of public transport, and using a face mask when using it is absolutely necessary.
- Those who are not shielding or vulnerable can take day trips to outdoor open space in a private vehicle, remembering to practice social distancing from people outside your own household.
- Garden centres opened again on Wednesday, but they are expecting queues and will be practicing social distancing.
- Playgrounds must remain closed for the time being.
On a local level:
- Our tip was re-opened on Monday for waste that you cannot safely store at home. The queues were very long, with people reporting in excess of a 3 hour wait. Hopefully this will slowly go back to normal soon.
- NFDC opened the coastal car parks on Wednesday – albeit for cashless payments only.
- Town car parks which have been open all through the lockdown period will remain open to use without charge to support volunteers shopping for the vulnerable.
- Public toilets remain shut for the time being.
- Beach huts could be accessed from Wednesday.
- You may notice that some of the refuse trucks across the New Forest are helping to raise awareness of vital domestic abuse services - For local support residents can call 0330 016 5112 or visit www.stopdomesticabuse.uk In an emergency, or immediate danger, call 999
Tennis courts at Woodside Park have been reopened but Playgrounds, the skate park and open air gym still remain closed until further notice.
VE75 last Friday Bank Holiday was celebrated across our town with stay-at-home parties. It was a wonderfully sunny day and great to see the community spirit and the “getting together” of so many people with their neighbours – many of whom really never communicated much before this lockdown situation. The colourful bunting and flags displayed, the music and the national toast were all a joy. So important to celebrate and remember this milestone in our history.
Sadly, Lymington Rotary Club has had to take the decision to cancel this year’s Lymington Spectacular (formerly known as the Summer Spectacular). Such a hugely popular event attracts thousands and would be impossible to social distance. The Rotary Club works so hard for us all, and this event involves a huge amount of work which produces a great deal of funds awarded to good causes in the town. A sad loss, but hopefully back next year – bigger and better than ever.
Don’t forget, if you want to support local businesses while obtaining the things you need – check out the list of New Forest businesses offering home delivery.
Last, but certainly not least our Town Council community hub has been buzzing with requests for shopping and prescriptions – I feel that this may be happening for quite a while yet.
8 May 2020
"Please note the Town Council’s support hub is continuing to be very busy collecting and delivering shopping and prescriptions. If you need help and support from the team please contact them.
"I know that we are all really looking forward to the current restrictions being lifted, and hopefully we will have some better news on Sunday – when we are promised an update on the situation. This is likely to be a very gradual process, however.
Friday is of course VE75 (the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe) and a Bank Holiday. This is such an important anniversary when we remember those who gave their lives so that we may enjoy the freedoms that we do today – yes, even in this time of lockdown.
So, show your red, white and blue support and while Pipers are playing Battle’s O’er, and the recorded speech by Prime Minister Churchill is being broadcast by the BBC into our homes at 3pm on Friday 8th May, people are encouraged to stand at 3pm within the safety of their living rooms, front or back gardens, outside their front doors or balconies if they have one, and undertake the Nation’s Toast to the Heroes of WWII.
St Marks Church in Pennington is “hosting” a stay at home tea party which will be broadcast on YouTube at 1.30pm on Friday. There will be readings and music from the children of Pennington Infant and Junior Schools, so do tune in to watch.
Meanwhile, the Town Council’s support hub is continuing to be very busy collecting and delivering shopping and prescriptions. We are continually heartened by the lovely responses that we receive from people. It is such a joy to be of help.
Telephone 02380 28593 Monday-Friday 10.00am – 2.00pm
We have this week received our first consignment of personal protective equipment (PPE) so that our staff are properly protected. We were also able to donate disposable face masks and plastic face shields to Oakhaven Hospice and to Hampshire Fire & Rescue, who were struggling to have enough protective equipment.
You may have heard the wonderful reports of New Forest Sewing for the NHS, making scrubs and scrub bags for hospitals and care homes across the New Forest, but I also learnt this week about the lovely knitted hearts being produced by Rotary members. This follows the National scheme of knitting two identical hearts – one of which is given to a patient in ICU and the other to their nearest and dearest, the idea being that they can squeeze them from time to time and think of each other. Such a simple but wonderful idea.
Finally, the annual Lymington & Pennington Flower Festival competition held by the Town Council has been launched. A chance for you to be proud and show off a display, be it garden, window box or maybe wildflowers that you see on your daily exercise walks. We expect the competition to be bigger and better than ever this year – with all of us having more time to spend in our gardens! So do send us your pictures.
Keep safe and well and enjoy the Bank Holiday weekend.
Cllr Anne Corbridge
Lymington & Pennington Town Mayor
1 May 2020
This week was marked by a moment’s silence on Tuesday to remember those who have lost their lives to the Covid-19 virus and who are part of our NHS, Social Care and all other services essential to our lives – our refuse collectors, bus drivers, supermarket workers and delivery drivers.
We owe a debt of gratitude to them all.
This poignant message was marked on the road leading to our Lymington New Forest Hospital.
We are leading up to Friday 8th May, the Bank Holiday to celebrate VE75 – the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe.
In common with everything at the moment, our local and national celebratory events have had to be cancelled.
However, at 3pm Friday 8th May, the Nation will be asked to raise a glass to toast the heroes of World War II – the men, women and children who gave so much.
It is important at this time, when day to day we are seeing our own heroes suffering, that we do not forget the past and those who gave everything. If you feel like dressing up in red, white and blue or displaying bunting outside your house, please do whilst adhering to social distance requirements.
Meanwhile, our local support hub at the Town Council is very busy, shopping and fetching prescriptions for vulnerable people and generally signposting. Thank you so much to the volunteers who have enthusiastically helped us thus far. Since delivering leaflets to all homes in Lymington and Pennington, the uptake in need has really increased. So, don’t forget, if you are vulnerable or know someone who might need help:
Telephone: 02380 285893 10.00am - 2.00pm, Monday - Friday
Keep safe and well.
Cllr Anne Corbridge
24 April 2020 - Week 5 of lockdown
I am very much hoping that in week 5 of lockdown you are well and safe, and that there are still plenty of jobs to find around the house and garden.
Our thoughts are particularly with those with young children. Finding entertainment, especially if you are trying to work from home, is extremely taxing. The couple of grey, wet days at the end of last week certainly made us realise the value of these sunny days – so pleased they are back at the moment!
At Lymington & Pennington Town Council we have been very busy establishing our local support hub, designed to help self-isolating and vulnerable people who need help with the essentials of shopping, prescriptions etc. I am pleased to report that this is working well – we have many requests for shopping, and our partnership with Tesco is working particularly well.
Some of our Parks and Grounds staff have turned themselves in to delivery drivers, and they are collecting shopping from the store and delivering it to vulnerable people in our community. So this is a very safe and trusted way of getting essentials.
For anyone who does not use technology, we have hand-delivered 7500 leaflets to every home in Lymington and Pennington this week, so that every household should have our contact details.
Huge thanks go to the volunteers, especially those from the Basics Bank who offered their services, and to our own Town Councillors for doing these deliveries. It was humbling to see that within 24 hours we had every delivery route covered – the community spirit in this town is exceptional!
It may also be of interest that NFDC have restarted the green bag waste collection service again from 27th April, details of your collection day can be found on their website. They cannot take new subscribers currently, but I believe that you can put your name down for when there is space.
17 April 2020 - Week 4 of lockdown
"I do hope that everyone enjoyed a peaceful and pleasant holiday weekend – it was certainly an unusual Easter this year, very definitely a holiday at home. At least the weather was kind, and I would guess that our gardens have never had so much attention!
In week 4 there have been various lovely stories to relay:
- The Basics Bank moved to their new premises behind the Our Lady of Mercy & St Joseph Catholic Church, accessed from the Cannon Street car park. They opened their doors on Tuesday 14 April and are working harder than ever. Very grateful thanks were extended to the United Reformed Church for their help and support over the years when the Basics Bank operated from their hall behind the church. Huge thanks also go to the Lymington Community Centre who gave them a temporary home in the Gates Hall.
- Sanders Sails have turned their hand to manufacturing scrubs and scrubs bags for the NHS, and they have also been supplying facemasks for care homes, the police and other community organisations. Many congratulations to them for this amazing initiative.
- The Lymington Town Sailing Club have a fantastic team of members volunteering - some with the ability to 3D print face visors. Others are making fabric face masks which are washable and re-useable.
- The Red Herring Catering company have been creating wholesome meals for our wonderful NHS staff thanks to donations from crowd-funding and Waitrose.
- The Lymington Community Centre are providing 100 chairs which may need to be used in temporary NHS facilities to deal with Covid 19 patients.
- Our coastguards have been busy over Easter assisting with patrolling Bournemouth beach in case the warm weather encouraged people to breach Government guidance to stay at home. However, there were very few people that were straying beyond the permitted period of exercise – which was good news.
- The Town Council is now working with Tesco to support people unable to leave the house to go shopping. Grateful thanks to them for their enthusiastic response to this.
Do call 02380 285893 10.00am-2.00pm, Mon-Fri if you are vulnerable and we can help with shopping, prescriptions or anything else we can assist with. Please give this number to friends, family and neighbours who might need it.
Have a good weekend, keep safe and let us hope the sun keeps shining."
Cllr Anne Corbridge
Lymington & Pennington Town Mayor