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Town Clerk’s Musing

Last week a number of local organisations came together to listen to speakers on the question of ‘what makes a sustainable town?’  It was clear from listening to the various speakers that what sustainability looks like and means to people, depends on their field of work and what their concerns are for the future,  but it would be fair to summarise that the main focus areas were biodiversity, environment, and community resilience.  Much of the meeting was taken up discussing what is happening both locally and more globally, which clearly has an effect on Devizes as a town, but also how it makes us feel as individuals. As the meeting progressed, it became clear that there was a strong desire by those in attendance for the town to develop a 10-year sustainability plan, which would need to be shaped by a wide cross-section of organisations and interest groups, and that this work needs to start now.  To move forward it is hoped that the town council will work with local stakeholders who can help to develop a vision, that will set out what suitability means to our community and then work with partners from the private, public, voluntary, and community sectors, we will seek to deliver that vision through the creation of achievable projects that will be focused on the identified priorities. As plans progress, we will be asking the wider community to give their thoughts on the development on whether think we have got it right.

I am sure that many of you gardeners have been struggling with the weather as we have been. This year things have grown more prolifically than ever and whilst we are hoping that this week will be the last time we cut the grass in 2023, we are going to continue to monitor it. We will now be concentrating our focus on two areas, hedge cutting, which I know many of you have been in contact with us about, and weeds which we know are a problem.  When it comes to weeds, historically we would spray weedkillers in the spring and early summer and this would help to manage the problem, but now using weedkillers and even glyphosate-based products is strongly discouraged therefore much of the weeding is done by hand and this just takes time.

At last week’s meeting of the Council, there was some discussion about how the Council organises itself in response to a growing workload and increased expectations from our community.  Over the last few years, the way the Council looks at specific issues in detail has to be by forming an ever-growing number of working parties, but this has not always been the most effective way of dealing with matters, therefore it has been agreed that over the next few months, a review of the decision-making process should be undertaken so that it can improve how the Council develops future ideas, scrutinises processes and updates members on the progress of projects.

Devizes Budo Club has formally requested that it be allowed to create a new Dojo on part of the Brickly Lane recreational area, which will enable them to support a growing number of young people who are returning to the sport.  After initial concerns about the loss of community space, the inclusion of some form of multi-use games area will ensure that there is still somewhere for young people and families to kick a ball around. The Council has accepted the proposal, which has given the green light to the Judo Club to start to develop their plans in more detail.

Town Clerk, Simon Fisher