The Parish Council is a statutory consultee on many issues including planning and is here to represent and protect the interests of the electorate. We do this by liaising with other Councils; responding to consultations and looking after the various parish assets. The Parish Council is a corporate body in its own right. The Parish Council meets once a month throughout the year and the Parish Council Planning Committee meets every three weeks provided sufficient business. Look at our calendar for the meeting schedule.
Lands under the control of the Parish Council are Braeside Road Village Green (including the play area); Horton Road Village Green; Spinney Copse; Braeside Glade; Ivy Copse and Jubilee Copse.
We have a Parish Office at the rear of the Village Hall, Braeside Road, St Leonards BH24 2PH, which is open to the public on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursday mornings from 10.30am to 12.30pm. We will try to help anyone in the Parish as best we can, signposting them to aid if we are unable to do so directly.
The Parish consists of the areas known as Ashley, Ashley Heath, St Leonards St Ives and Avon Castle and is heavily treed with large areas of designated Sites of Special Scientific Interest. The Parish Area has two distinct identities to the North of the A31 it is more urban and to the South it is more rural. Our community has a School, Doctors Surgery, Post Office, Bowling Club, Tennis Club, Scouts and Guides hut and a Church. In addition to this we have two large country parks, Moors Valley, with its miniature railway and golf course and Avon Heath Country Park.
In 1906 the population of this parish numbered 50 rising in less than 100 years to 6,672 (2001 census). Such growth has produced changes in the environment, not least in the number of properties that have been built. A workhouse, built in 1725 for the poor within the Parish, only closed its doors in 1936.
In the 1920’s William Webb moved here from the Garden Estate he had created in Surrey and purchased 1500 acres of land in Ashley Heath to build his Hampshire Heath Garden Estate. He started building the ‘Forge’ as the intended station house, followed by 4 shops to serve his projected community, which took the form of the ‘High Street’ and it remains to this day as the shortest high street in the country. The building itself is presently grade 2 listed so we can still enjoy the High Street just as William Webb planned it.
The first train arrived at Ashley Heath in 1927 and the last departed in 1964, leaving behind a railway cutting that is now a haven for cyclists, walkers and horse-riders and wildlife and links Ringwood through to West Moors known as the Castleman Trail.
Avon Castle was built in 1875 as the seat of the Earls of Egmont. It was the house of a sporting and agricultural estate of about 1300 acres. A single-track railway line was built through Avon Castle for the sole use of the Earl. The estate was sold in the 1930’s, a considerable proportion of it becoming a
stock farm. It is now split into a number of flats.