December to March
Hi Marlborough and Manton
May I begin by wishing everyone in Marlborough and Manton a happy Easter and hope that everyone had a nice and relaxing time.
I have not posted a blog for a while so I thought now would be a good time to let you know what I and the Council have been up to lately.
In December it was so good to see the Christmas lights in the High Street after they were switched on in a virtual switch on, a first like so many things this year. It was also really nice to give a Christmas message as Mayor to Marlborough and Manton and the tree on The Green looked even bigger and better than ever!
In January I had the huge honour and absolute privilege of being elected Mayor-elect again for the 2021-22 Mayoral year by my fellow Councillors. I want to thank all my fellow Councillors for allowing me this special honour once again and thank them for all the support they have given me over my Mayoral year this year. To be Mayor of the town I love, have lived in all my life is a very very special honour and privilege. Of course, I take nothing for granted as I know I have to earn the right to be re-elected to the council in May and then be confirmed as Mayor by the new council.
In this video interview our Mayor explains why he became a Councillor and what Marlborough means to him
The Town council also had to make difficult decisions when deciding on the Town Council precept for the following year. Every budget line was closely looked at, although the Town Council of course have little control over things such as business rates and utility costs. In the end Councillors agreed a rise of 3.75% which means for those on an average band D property this is an annual payment of £214.11, a rise of £7.74.
In February two local consultations in Marlborough and Manton began. The first was the consultation on the Marlborough Area Neighbourhood Plan, with online meetings, videos and leaflets through doors enabling everyone to have their say on the draft plan which has and will take into account the community's views about land use in Marlborough and Manton. I would like to thank former Mayor, Councillor Hall, and Councillor Cairns and all on the Steering Group for all their hard work they have put into this project over the last four to five years. It really has been so much work and I am very grateful, not as Mayor but as a local resident.
The second consultation was asking for views about the possibility of a new area of The Common being set aside for a training area for junior rugby and football players. Councillors thought it was important to ask everyone in Marlborough and Manton their views on this before making a decision. The Town council will be discussing the outcome of this on April the 12th, I am really confident that a decision can be made that will mean that all users of the common can sit side by side in perfect harmony.
February began with young skaters thanking the council for working towards putting up lighting in the Skatepark, this should happen over the next few months and as March began local Marlborough Town Council elections and Wiltshire County Council elections begin to be just round the corner! Please take part and vote on May the 6th, this is your chance to have your say.
May I also take this opportunity to give a huge thanks to the Kennet & Avon Medical Partnership and their army of volunteers for the amazing vaccination programme they have been carrying out and it is great to see the Leisure Centre being used. A huge huge thank you to you all.
As March neared its end on the 23rd I stood with the Council staff outside the council offices for a minutes silence to mark a year since the first full lockdown and remember all those lost to COVID. All of us have been affected in some way by this awful pandemic and it has been a difficult, challenging year for all of us.
But hopefully there is some real light at the end of the tunnel as we are now on the pathway to restrictions being eased and there are things to look forward to, the reopening of our amazing High Street, a new cinema and coach friendly status for the town.
Before I go I must mention that at the end of March the wonderful Shelley Parker left her post as Marlborough Town Clerk. Without doubt as I have said many times before Shelley is the most outstanding public servant it has been my pleasure to work with, Shelley has done so much for the Town and I, my fellow Councillors and many of you will miss her advice, kindness and ability a great deal. We all hope to still see Shelley whenever she returns to Marlborough and we wish her the very best for the future.
Of course it means that we have a new Town Clerk and I very warmly welcome Mr Richard Spencer-Williams to Marlborough Town Council. I know that he is going to be brilliant and love Marlborough and Manton as much as we all do!
Take care Marlborough and Manton and hopefully speak soon.