Whilst it is starting to cool off as we head to the weekend, there is no doubt this week has been a bit of a scorcher. The open spaces team have struggled a little in the heat and we have needed to deploy them to areas where they have shade, so we apologise if our normal maintenance programme has been a little disrupted.
You may have heard that there have been discussions around how we are letting some of our open spaces rewild a little and whilst not everyone agrees with this approach, we do believe that it is important that we do all we can in some areas to improve biodiversity and enhance wildlife corridors out into the countryside. One of the most noticeable things this involves is the reduction in the times we cut the grass, which has allowed it to grow longer which helps species like ground-nesting birds and butterflies. It has even been reported that the sound of Grasshoppers can be heard in Quakers Walk.
Under normal circumstances we would now not cut and collect this longer grass until late August as it starts to die back, however seeing what is happening in other areas of the country with fires in grasslands and concerns from our neighbours in the areas, after consulting with the fire brigade we have cut a wider 3-metre margin around these grassland areas to act as a firebreak should the worst happen.
We have just started our 2022 cut of hedges we are responsible for, we always leave it as long as possible so that we do not disturb nesting birds, which is an offence. Not all hedges that cause obstructions on pavements come under the responsibility of the Town Council as often it is the responsibility of the property owner. Where this happens, we will write to the property owner who we find usually hasn’t realised the problem it is causing and will undertake the necessary work.
We are pleased to say that this year the month of Music in Hillworth Park will be going ahead soon. As usual, we have partnered with our local radio station Fantasy Radio, who will run a number of live music events in the park. We know these are popular events and we just hope that this isn’t the signal for the rain to fall!
It might be hot, but staff at the Council are starting to plan for Christmas with one of the most important jobs being to source the Market Place and Albion Place Christmas trees. Each year they get more difficult to find, but we are hopeful that you will not be disappointed with what we have found.
In the next month or so, Councillors will start to look at the Council Strategic Plan for the period 2023 – 2027. During the drafting of the plan, there will be opportunities for the community to help influence what the Council’s priorities should be during the plan period. As part of that work, the council will examine what capital projects would support the town to continue to be a great place to work, live and visit. Grant funding packages that come from either central government or its agencies are often time-limited and therefore it’s important that as a town council we have a strategic vision set out for our future aspirations so that we are better placed to apply for this external funding.
Town Clerk, Simon Fisher