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Clean-up for New Milton to encourage holiday-makers

Upkeep in New Milton has ‘fallen by the wayside’ during the pandemic
Upkeep in New Milton has ‘fallen by the wayside’ during the pandemic

AN anticipated increase in “staycation” summer holidays once lockdown is lifted has spurred efforts to make New Milton more welcoming for visitors.

Addressing a recent online meeting of the town council’s amenities committee, chair Cllr Geoffrey Blunden stressed there would be an emphasis on ensuring the whole area, including Ashley and Barton, looked its best.

“As we come out of lockdown it’s particularly important that we remember more people will be taking their holidays in this country this year,” he said.

“We should do something more to encourage people onto the high street and support our local shops.”

Work to spruce up the town centre will include repairing and repainting the public benches and covering empty shop frontages with decorative vinyl wraps.

Presenting a report on the proposed projects, estates and facilities manager Mark Jeffries admitted the pandemic had caused some upkeep work to fall by the wayside.

“In 2019 when New Milton was awarded gold in Britain in Bloom, the judges commended the general appearance of the town,” he told the meeting.

“By the spring/summer, I think we should be back on top of things.”

Mr Jeffries said the town council may have to carry out some maintenance projects that are usually handled by Hampshire County Council but warned this would come at a cost.

One such project is the replacement of resin mulch around the bases of Station Road’s 25 trees, which had been requested of HCC three years ago.

With most now in a “very poor state of repair”, Mr Jeffries estimated their replacement could cost £4,670.

With the town council not authorised to carry out highways work, Cllr Blunden said it needed to continue pressing HCC to address issues including potholes.

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