At the beginning of the week, along with the Mayor, I met with a number of our larger businesses in the town to discuss local issues that impact on the running of their companies and concerns they may have as the town develops over the next 20 years. The difficulties in recruiting staff was one issue and in part they feel this is due to the time it can take to commute into town. Other businesses are concerned about access to sufficient power, because as their manufacturing needs increase there is unfortunately limitations within the current Devizes Grid which is not something that can be fixed quickly or cheaply. The other big topic that came up was the perception of the ever-growing Gull population around the Hopton area, and following an informative debate, we will be working with some of these companies in an attempt to try to persuade Natural England to support more intervention.
Many of you may have noticed that this week, as part of our “Green Devizes Project” our open spaces team have planted over 100 mature trees in the town, with many being planted along Windsor Drive. In planting all these trees, the Council hopes that they will not only improve the visual appearance of our town, but also start to increase carbon capture in heavier traffic areas as well as supporting wildlife corridors across the town.
As part of our Greening Project, we have also partnered with Wiltshire FA to improve biodiversity in the Green Lane playing field site. As part of this project, this Thursday members of our Open Spaces team helped students from both All Cannings School and Devizes School to plant trees, shrubs and bulbs on the site, which was a great community event. However, whilst I was down at the site, I had quite a long debate with Wiltshire FA about the problems they are having with dog walkers not picking up after their dogs. The site itself is not really supposed to be used for dog walking especially as there are some great places to walk with a dog right on its doorstep, either up over Nine Hills towards Potterne or on the old crocket pitch to the edge of Drews Park. As you can appreciate, Green Lane playing field is used by a great many people to play football, including children and because of sometimes thoughtless owners, often children need to be cleaned up when someone has not picked up after there dog and it has not been spotted before the game.
Next week’s Full Council meeting is one of the key meetings of the year as it is when the Town Council sets the Devizes precept element for you 2023/24 Council Tax bill. It’s always a thought-provoking meeting, as the Council will do what it can to ensure that every penny collected is needed so that it can deliver its services to the standard the community expect and deliver the projects that supports and enhance the town for many residents as a place to work, live and visit. The meeting will take place next Thursday evening, 15th December at 7pm and is likely to be a late night with all Councillor’s wanting to have their say on the matter. A full copy of the agenda is available on our website www.devizes-tc.gov.uk.
Last night, children from most of the primary schools in Devizes gathered in the Corn Exchange for the annual Mayoral carol concert. It’s a magical evening, with plenty of community singing as well as some enchanting carols sung by the combined school choir, led by its conductor Lucy Wain. For me it is the true start of Christmas, with hundreds of proud parents, grandparents and families in the audience.
Town Clerk, Simon Fisher.