TOWN clerk at Westbury Town Council, Keith Harvey, reports on highlights of 2015 and looks forward to the coming year.
“Firstly I would like to wish everyone a happy and healthy New Year.
“I have reported previously that we have installed our new town maps, erected 10 Blue Plaques, almost completed the replacement of all the damaged and older benches in and around the town and improved the appearance of flower beds in the town centre.
“Also for the first time in several years we have produced a newsletter informing residents of what has happened and what we are planning for the future.
“Although the weather was not ideal, our Christmas Street Event and Lights switch-on was well supported, however it was disappointing that several stalls did not turn up on the day due to the weather, but after months of organising, we appreciated the compliments we received.
“Our Great War Commemoration working group had organised several very successful events during the year. At the Laverton Hall there were exhibitions, art displays, WW1 recruitment campaigns and a brilliant WW1 mock-up trench.
“During the year Sean Price our Town Crier for the last 20 years decided to hang up his bell and retire although he still helps out when required. If you are interested in becoming the new Town Crier please contact the town council.
“Throughout the year councillors have attended meetings at various locations around the county to share and discuss issues with other towns and from these discussions brought back ideas that could benefit the town in the future.
“2016 will start with finalising the 2016/17 budget. I recently reported that Wiltshire Council will be cutting some of its services due to their budget being cut by central Government, which will put pressure on town and parish councils to consider taking over some of these services.
“As a result, our Delegation of Services working group which investigates community asset transfers, will be in discussions with Wiltshire Council on such items as public conveniences, play areas, parks, open spaces, flower beds, allotments, cemeteries and car parks. This will result in some very important decisions being made by Westbury Town Council together with local residents.
“If the town council is to take on any of these services, there will obviously be a cost implication which the council is taking into consideration when preparing the 2016-17 budget.
“To enhance any services provided by Wiltshire Council, the town council is looking to recruit two part-time employees to work in and around the town. We will be looking for individuals who will take pride in their job and their town. This will be a very varied role covering a wide remit, but to include such tasks as street cleaning, gardening and maintenance around the town. We hope this will encourage everyone to help keep the town clean by picking up their litter and dog mess and using bins provided. We want everyone to take pride in our town.
“The Queen will be 90 in April and there will be celebrations around the country and Westbury has already been asked if our Beacon can be lit.
“Working groups will continue to discuss topics such as the business plan, neighbourhood plan, new housing developments and the effect new housing will have on the town i.e. infrastructure.
“The Events Working Group are already planning for the Summer Street Event and Music Concert on Saturday 9th July and the Christmas Events which will be held on Saturday 3rd December.
The Great War group have more events planned during the year.
The Tourism Group has just taken delivery of a dozen updated finger posts which we are planning to replace in early January.
“Colour schemes have already been decided for our floral displays next year being mainly red, white and blue.
“At the Laverton planning permission has been approved to increase much need storage space and to replace an old shed.
We receive a large number of complaints regarding issues such as parking, parking on pavements, dog mess to name a few. If we are unable to deal with your complaints we pass them on to Wiltshire Council. We encourage residents to use the Wiltshire Council app (report a problem – login).
“I have decided to retire at the end of March and although I would like to have been involved in what will be exciting times ahead for the town council, I think this is a great opportunity for the new town clerk to join the town council and be involved in the interesting and challenging times ahead.
“To keep up to date with current issues including agendas and minutes from Town Council, Finance, Highways, Planning & Development and Policy & Resources meetings please visit the town council website www.westburytowncouncil.gov.uk or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
“Please also visit The Laverton website and also Facebook and Twitter and remember for those special occasions, parties, weddings, anniversaries why not take advantage of the wonderful surroundings and competitive rates on hire and bar prices.”