At this week’s planning meeting a representative from Wessex Water came to talk about the project to upgrade many of the water supply pipes in the town centre. I mentioned this in my last blog, but now we have some more details. The work will be split into four phases, with phase one now starting on the 4th of September with the final phase due to be completed by early 2025. Phase one has been split into 5 pieces of work with the first being Maryport Street, Monday Market Street, and Sidmouth Street and will see the closure of the junction of Sidmouth Street and Sheep Street, but there will be diversions in place and all the car parks will remain open. After that, work will move into Sheep Street with diversions in place then Bridwell Street before moving on to Longstreet which will have traffic light works before finishing the phase in Morris Lane, which will be closed except for residents. The Council was very clear with Wessex Water that they should not underestimate the levels of congestion this work is going to cause and whilst they have spent a lot of time on putting the traffic plan together, it needs to be flexible to adapt to changing needs. One question that came up was the carnival and as a result of this discussion, the start date was put back from the 7th of August to the 4th of September to allow for the Carnival parade to get through.
Last weekend Devizes welcomed 75 guests from our twin towns of Mayenne in France and Waiblingen in Germany so that we could share time together, renew old acquaintances and make new friends. It is the first time the towns have met for 4 years and whilst there is always a level of trepidation for those new to twinning about having a stranger in their house, by Monday morning, which seem to come around very quickly, everyone had settled into it and had enjoyed the experience fully embracing the twinning ethos. Whilst I know not everyone will agree, those who took part in the weekend strongly believe that whilst we may not be part of the EU anymore, this should in no way diminish the strength of the relationship between our twin towns and here in the UK we need to embrace those bonds that keep us close to our European neighbours. We are fortunate that the expenses incurred by the weekend were funded by EU grants gained just before we left. This allowed us to focus the weekend on a theme of sustainably, with the mayor showing the mayors of our twin town around the sustainability fair, talking to sustainability project leaders before taking them to Grist Environment to show how some of our waste is sorted and recycled here in Devizes. Next year it will be Waiblingen’s turn to host, but if you would like to see more about what happened this week and learn more, visit the Twinning Association Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/DevizesTwinning/ .
As I have mentioned, last weekend Devizes held what we hope will become its annual sustainability fair, showcasing many local initiatives, where people can share, swap and repair items rather than throw them away. The event was organised by our friends at Sustainable Devizes who believe sustainability is much more than what we put in our bins we must include how we feel about ourselves and our community which is equally important. To support the wider view of sustainability there were wellbeing stalls to help people with social isolation and supporting various people to think about how they get about with bike rides and cycle repairs. At the centre of the fair was an imagination tower, which asked people to think about how they see Devizes in the future, and this was supported by pupils from Devizes school who were also asking people to think about the future of the Market Place, as part of their “This Is Not A Car Park” initiative, and showed pictures of an initiative from Mayenne who have set up a pop-up park project. Once all the information from the Imagination Station has been collated, then it is hoped it will be shared with the Town Council to help shape future sustainability policies.
Town Clerk, Simon Fisher