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TOP STORIES FROM SEPTEMBER

 

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ENVIRONMENT - FLOODING - MEMORIALS - PHONE BOXES - TOWN TWINNING - TRAVELLERS- YOUTH ENGAGEMENT



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LEGAL MATTERS

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FREEHOLD DEAL FOR LOCAL ASSET

WITHAM Town Council in Essex has completed a major land transfer to become the freehold owner of the town’s River Walk. Acquisition of the freehold, combined with a new 10- year management plan, will enable the council to better manage the land and enhance biodiversity. The River Walk has recently undergone an extensive tree maintenance programme and the council has completed the second phase of a longstanding back channel conservation project, in partnership with Essex Wildlife Trust. A complete refurbishment of dog bins was executed during lockdown and new commemorative benches are being installed.



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WORKSHOP FACILITIES

THE mayor of GILLINGHAM in Dorset, Cllr Paul Harris QGM, formally opened the town council’s new workshop facilities at Roman Court on 23 July. The project began in June 2020 and, following public consultation, a submission was made for a public works loan. By the end of September the council had acquired the site and since then it has transformed it, with support from specialist building, security alarm, CCTV and electrical contractors. Cllr Harris thanked members of the Task and Finish Group and in particular the council’s grounds staff for the huge efforts they had put in to help renovate the site, while also carrying out their normal tasks.

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COMMUNITIES COME TOGETHER TO SAY THANK YOU

FAWLEY Parish Council in Hampshire held a small outside event for volunteers at the Gang Warily Recreation Centre. The afternoon was funded by county councillor Alexis McEvoy, who said: “I was delighted to meet so many of our local volunteers at the Cheers for Volunteers afternoon tea. To everyone on the South Waterside who has in some way helped friends, neighbours and indeed strangers during these difficult times, I'd like to say a simple and heartfelt thank you.” Events were also held by East Ilsley, Gillingham, and Sevenoaks.

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PARISH PROMOTES COMMUNITY PROJECTS

WISBECH ST MARY has installed its sixth defibrillator at popular village pub The Chequers. The installation was made possible by funding of £1,750 from Wryde Croft Wind Farm at Thorney via the Cambridgeshire Community Foundation. As well as hosting the equipment, The Chequers will pay for the electricity to keep it running. The council is planning a demonstration by first aid responders at its community centre. Meanwhile two councillors offered their services to help refurbish the gates at the village church.

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CHAPEL IS BROUGHT BACK TO LIFE

KNUTSFORD Town Council in Cheshire officially reopened its 120-year-old cemetery chapel on 22 July after extensive refurbishment, with the mayor, Cllr Stewart Gardiner, cutting the ribbon. The chapel was originally opened in 1901 as part of the town’s new cemetery. By 2016 it was in poor condition, with a structural survey revealing £52,000 of essential structural maintenance work. Following the refurbishment the chapel is now available to hire for funerals, remembrance services, community meetings and other appropriate activities, and will be open to cemetery visitors for quiet reflection.

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RAISING THE PROFILE OF STREET ART

LEIGH-ON-SEA Town Council in Essex has unveiled a new street art wall at its skate park in collaboration with local artist Scott Irving. Scott has been a street artist for over 25 years and has taught the techniques, history and culture of the artform for the past two decades. He believes that street art gives young people the chance to express themselves and be creative. He painted the original wall at the skate park 25 years ago and used this as a springboard to launch his career.

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BEE-FRIENDLY SCHEME TAKES ROOT

POYNTON Town Council in Cheshire launched its “Bee a Poynton Pollinator” project in early July, with new bee-friendly flowerbeds planted around the Civic Hall. The council is working with local businesses and community groups to rejuvenate the area. Civil engineering firm Graham, which is building a relief road for the town, provided a digger and construction workers who removed shrubs and cleared the site. A bee-friendly planting scheme was designed by Poynton Baptist Church’s Gardening Community, and the Heritage Garden Group and Poynton Twinning Association have planted apple trees.

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QUALITY GOLD FOR A COMMITTED COUNCIL

HOLMES CHAPEL Parish Council in Cheshire has once again received Quality Gold status in the National Association of Local Councils (NALC) Award Scheme. This is the highest level that can be achieved and recognises that a council has achieved good practice in governance, community engagement and continuous improvement, and that it goes above and beyond its legal obligations in serving the community. Holmes Chapel was originally awarded Quality Gold accreditation in May 2016. The accreditation lasts for four years, and so the council reapplied at the end of 2020.

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FREEDOM FOR LONG-SERVING CLERK

Johnathan Bourne, town clerk to ROYAL WOOTTON BASSETT Town Council for 32 years, was presented with the Freedom of the Town at a service in St Bartholomew’s and All Saints Church on 29 July, in recognition of his service. The ceremony included prayers, a speech by the mayor, Cllr Steve Walls, and a cry by town crier Owen Collier. Johnathan was presented with a framed copy of the scroll and an antique key symbolising the freedom to enter and leave the town, gifted by Cllr Steve Bucknell.

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