Over the last few days, we have tragically had a few birds, including a Swan, die on the Crammer. It is always difficult to know what to do for the best, but when wild birds die suddenly, we are required to report them to DEFRA as there is a significant possibility that their deaths are related to Avian Influenza. Where there is any suspicion, DEFRA is quite clear that caution must be taken to minimise any potential spread and therefore we have issued the DEFRA guidance, which includes not feeding. We recognise that this has upset some residents, as they feel in this cold weather feeding is important but in issuing the DEFRA advice, it has to be recognised feeding wild birds can significantly increase the risk of disease spreading, especially where birds are in close proximity and therefore, we decided we need to take a cautious approach.
Last night the Council should have set the annual budget for 2023/2024; however, at the 11th hours, our electricity provider for the Shambles issued a new contract supply price, which has seen nearly a 300% rise taking the estimated annual cost for electricity in the building to £34,000pa based on the current consumption rates. As you would expect we have also shopped around, but this was one of the best rates we could get. We had been expecting a significant hike in the charge and had already budgeted for a 100% increase in the cost, but the additional increase in electricity has had such a significant impact on the budget, the Council felt they could not yet agree the budget until further work was done including meeting with Shambles traders.
Christmas comes to the park this weekend, with the team welcoming Father Christmas, who has taken some time to visit Devizes. Unfortunately, the time he can stay with us is very short, therefore his visit is fully booked, so unless you have a ticket, the next time he will be in Devizes will be Christmas Eve when he sets off on his round to deliver the presents.
You may be pleased to hear, we are planning to run the Thursday markets over the Christmas period with a full market next Thursday 22nd of December, and a limited market on the 29th of December, there should be fruit and veg stalls as well as some other great goods available. Our new Market Manager, Luke James has hit the ground running and is rapidly getting to grips with our market operation. He has already started to look at some great events and markets for the summer of 2023, so keep your eye on our social media and look out for adverts in the New Year.
Over the last week, I think we have all been feeling the cold, although not yet cold enough for me to abandon my shorts! But if you feel you would like to have a bit of a warm and a good “chin wag” with other people, why not visit one of Devizes’ warm spaces? For more information visit the Warm Spaces Devizes website, https://www.devizes-tc.gov.uk/warmspaces/, or ring us here at the Town Hall 01380 723333, where one of my staff will be happy to chat with you about Warm Spaces.
Town Clerk, Simon Fisher