Mayor's November blog
It really does not surprise me that the people of Marlborough were noted in a national newspaper last year as being among the most generous in the United Kingdom. I am constantly reminded of it when ever the Town Coun
cil or various charitable organisations that I belong to appeal for help, be it monetary or volunteers to help with a project.
This was the case for the Christmas Light Switch on Event staged on the 21st November. This event was co-ordinated for the first time by the Council, mostly because of safety issues in 2013. The Council asked for volunteers to come forward to help with this event and we were not disappointed. The Rotary Club volunteered for and ran Santa’s grotto in the Town Hall, the Lions supplied Santa’s sleigh and both organisation supplied stewards
for the High Street and the barriers on the entrance roads into town to enforce the road closure
Santa arrived by sleigh accompanied by myself and Ella Steele the St Peters pupil chosen to turn on the lights. They were followed by two hundred primary school children along the High Street all carrying little lanterns and singing carols. There was also a Christmas market and rides and swings for the children. The people of Marlborough did not let us down and turned out in force. It has been estimated that between four and five thousand people attended the evening and the feedback directed to the council and to myself has been very complimentary. With that in mind and a big smile on our faces we are planning an even bigger event next year, so watch this space.
On the Friday and Saturday proceeding Armistice Day I was part of a team selling poppies and collecting on behalf of the Royal British Legion. Both collectors and the public gave freely. Marlborough as a To
wn with only eight thousand residents collected over ten thousand pounds, and I am told that not all the money is in yet so it might even be a higher figure. It really is amazing how generous the people of Marlborough are. Then once again on Remembrance Sunday the town’s residents turned out in their hundreds to show their respect for the fallen of two world wars at the war memorial.
The Councillors have started the process of putting together the budget for next year. The budget setting process is a long and often difficult process but is essential if the Council are to maintain the services that they provide for the town. The Council’s outside staff are responsible for the Priory Gardens, the Cemetery, Wye Gardens, Coopers Meadow, the Common, the Recreation Ground and the War memorial, and a fifty one percent ownership of Stonebridge Meadow. They also maintain the Play Areas, and plant and maintain the many flower baskets and troughs around the town. Additionally the Town Council own and administer two commercial premises, two houses, four flats, the Town Hall and offices all of which have to be maintained and must be accounted for in the budget setting process.
The Council have recently been consulted on a planning application from National Grid Property Holdings who have applied to remove two metres of contaminated soil in the western section of the former Gas works adjacent to Kelham Gardens. This proposed work is perhaps long overdue as this land has stood derelict for almost twenty years and hopefully when these works have been completed it can be sensibly used for the benefit of the town.
The council held a public meeting on the 10th November to seek the views of the residents of the town for future parking requirements. Although widely advertised very few members of the public were willing to come out on a cold Monday evening. There was however a high turn out of Marlborough Councillors who joined with members of the public and got down to make some very sensible and productive suggestions. These suggestions were then taken forward to the Wiltshire Parking Review Board held in Devizes on the
19th November by a team of five of us from Marlborough Town Council and one Unitary Councillor who represents the East Ward. One can only hope that the voices from the Marlborough team are noted and our suggestions and comments taken forward.
Another project the Council has been working on is a scheme called “The Coach Friendly Initiative”. When I first moved to Marlborough over thirty years ago Marlborough’s High Street was a regular stopping off point for most of the national and regional coach companies. They brought business to the town and kept the High Street vibrant and busy. Their valued custom ensured that the High Street survived the many vagaries and ups and downs of the economical position experienced nationally. It cannot have escaped your notice that very few coaches now visit Marlborough High Street and Marlborough Town Council along with other retail representatives of the Town are in talks to try to reverse the trend and bring back the coaches to our High Street. It is early days but I have high hopes for this initiative.
Those of you that attended the Lights Switch on Evening will have seen Alfie Johnson being named as the Citizen of the Year. Alfie has been the Town Crier for over twenty one years and has been associated with almost every one of the local organisations in the town, there are far too many to mention them all. He is loved and admired by all and I can’t think of a more deserving candidate for this honour. Well done Alfie.
This will probably be the last blog I shall do before Christmas so I would like to wish you and your families a Happy Peaceful Christmas and a Healthy and Prosperous New Year.