2020 the Year of the Covid Lockdowns
Well what a year! The many government restrictions in the wider interests of the population meant many changes in patterns of behaviour business sustainability and community involvement.
Normality was far from evident, however throughout I am so proud to record the outstanding contributions of so many groups and so many people of all ages within our Parish. I will not cite examples but refer you to the Christmas message, which you all received.
Our Council continued to function via the zoom system and with good effect thanks to the diligence of our Parish Clerk Kirsty Headlong.
The key areas of debate and concerns being as follows:
Planning – 0ur Vice Chairman Nick Scholefield led in this area with many applications being considered and deliberated upon, much of which we were helpfully advised upon by our Ward Councillor, Karen Warrington. Other Planning areas were considered relating to Landscape Strategy and Local plan issues and localism.
Bristol Airport – was and continues to be of major concern and interest and Cllr Louise Leeder spent many copious hours representing the Parish in this area with great success. The Airport had little use during the year and it was interesting to have quiet and pollution free skies for a year.
Finance – Kirsty and Cllr Rodney Andrews kept this well under control and within legal parameters as normal In addition for scrutiny of most areas including Street lighting.
Environment – climate change and concerns were regularly raised both in macro as well as local terms. This area is so important to the inhabitants of the Valley and our thanks must go to the Climate Concern Group Cllr Andy Matthews and Cllr Lynne Easton who have led in these areas along with many other interested parties and groups.
Safety Health and Welfare (including Flooding) – our sincere thanks to all those volunteers involved litter clearing, flood management (including installation of a telemetry device on the River Chew), Chew Chat, The Churches and Schools. All of whom have gone the extra mile in serving our community. Whilst all Cllrs have been involved Cllr Easton and her partner Alex must be thanked for excellence in this area.
Footpaths and Green Spaces (including the King George V Playing Field) – public use of all of these areas has significantly increased in 2020/2021. In winter there were many challenges due to the wet weather, lack of dog management and littering, including fly tipping . These areas continue to be a problem but the dry April period has meant a reduction in occurrences of misuse. We must all recognise the privileges connected with living in a beautiful area and occasionally draw to the attention of those few who take liberties. Thank s to Cllrs Nick Hasell and Ian Cox for their involvement and considerable experience in these areas.
Green issues – tree planting, minimisation of pesticide use and rewilding have been raised and we can be proud of our efforts to date. A start has been made by many volunteers to Include new veg beds in the Playing field.
Affordable Housing – thanks to the Affordable Housing Group. This area continues to be a rough ride and far from simple. Cllr Andy Matthews and Cllr Paul Cornelius having been very committed to seeking resolution in this area . I sincerely hope that in 2021 we can make some progress in this area and in so doing help to provide homes for those in need.
Highways – Fixmystreet has been a success however, the constant patching up of potholes seems to be never ending. Parking continues to be an issue and it would be good to resolve some of these areas. Speeding is a registered concern and hopefully we may be able to obtain some warning signs, perhaps from CIL receipts.
Businesses – sustainable local businesses are in my view a key to a viable Village Centre. We have been very fortunate to see the development of new businesses in the village and welcome new businesses and sincerely thank our many established businesses for their input. Cllr Simon Jerome and your local Councillor will help businesses with any matters of concern. Special thanks to the Surgery The Dentists Opticians and Pharmacy.
In Summary Thank you all for your commitment interest and time. Covid has been a tragedy for so many families in the UK and wider world, but some good may result where communities can look to helping each other. We, in Chew Magna, can be thankful for all your individual and collective efforts. There may well be many new challenges ahead but I am confident we will achieve results and meet such challenges by working together.
Jon Wheatley Chair C M P C