At last night’s Full Council meeting in Ringwood town councillors turned up as usual, the Town Clerk and Deputy Clerk were in attendance.

A grant was given to the local cadets and a cheque received from the local skateboarders. Nothing unusual there you might think, until you see more than 60 local residents have turned up and the meeting is in the open air of the Gateway Square.

The Town Council held its first outdoor meeting in the hope of encouraging more local residents along and to see local politics in action and give people the opportunity to discuss local issues. As HGV’s, buses and speeding cars passed by no-one was deterred as the Council had provided a very good sound system.

The idea for an outdoor meeting was put forward by the Mayor Councillor Michael Thierry and while there were some reservations about what might occur expressed by other councillors, the first meeting has been hailed as a great success. Councillor Thierry said ‘I am extremely pleased with the way the meeting went and is a credit to those who attended and voiced their opinions in an informative and amicable way’. I will be asking my fellow councillors to repeat this event sometime in the future’.

The outdoor meeting is believed to be the first in Hampshire and possibly in England and could lead to more such meetings throughout the year. The Town Council has 7 newly elected councillors who have been in place since May of this year and seem very open to new ideas.

At the meeting residents were able to hear information about local policing in Ringwood and get an update on the new Youth Facility being built called The Place. Some residents who asked to speak raised concerns over the new Furlong Shopping Centre Development, trying to save the old cinema and the possibility of a new Arts Centre at Greyfriars.