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Town Clerk’s Musing

Developing strategies that help us as a Town Council to manage our open spaces in a way that not only benefits the community, by providing recreational spaces and an important sense of place, we also need to ensure that nature in all its diverse requirements can flourish by using them to link the town centre to our surrounding hinterland is a challenge. Over the last year or so we have trialled a number of pilot areas with different management techniques and I have to be honest some of these have had mixed feedback from residents of the adjacent housing communities. As a Council, we believe we have a responsibility to develop habitats within our open spaces and we know that this means that on occasions, nature will not always be tidy. To help us manage this it is time to formulate a clearer strategy for all our open spaces and to do this we have teamed up with Sustainable Devizes and experts in the field of biodiversity creation. As the ideas develop, we will share them, as the whole community must come along on this journey to create our open spaces into havens for both humans and wildlife.

One of our initiatives around “Greening Devizes” is the hope to plant over 100 trees within the town centre and residential areas each year for the next few years however, we also recognise that trees have a life span or some trees are simply the wrong species in the wrong place. One such example is the circle of trees in Green Lane, which whilst it is very imposing is starting to impact local properties. Sadly, we have concluded that they need to be replaced with a different species, which will be more in keeping with a residential area. It is not a decision we have taken lightly and have sought advice from an arboriculturist as well as from the Council’s tree planning officer. Over the next few months, we will undertake the work and plant replacement trees, which will be done alongside the 90-plus trees we are going to plant along Windsor Drive.

This week may have cooled off a little, but we are still hoping to enjoy a few more weeks of nice weather as we enter the summer holiday period. To help with that summer feeling in town, next time you walk down the Brittox, look up and you will see bright flower motifs that add a splash of colour and will possibly make you smile. They are only temporary, but we hope they will help brighten the streets over the next month or so.

One issue that adds considerably to my “in-box”, is the issue of blocked road gullies. During the week, Devizes Town Council shared with Wiltshire Council’s highways department the extensive list that we have and it was agreed that the gully lorry will make an extra visit to Devizes to help get on top of the problem. Part of the issue is historical, due to the reduction in road sweeping that has happened over recent years, therefore much of the detritus has run off the roads into the gullies. Now that we have a regular road sweeping programme, we are hopeful that the problem will be more manageable.

You may have seen that the pavement in the Little Brittox has been scrubbed following concerns by many town residents about how slippery it was. The work has put a rough texture on the paving slabs which has considerably reduced the slipperiness, but we are all waiting for the first thunderstorm to see how they perform in the wet.

Last but not least, this week a valued member of the office team has left us to take up a post at Wiltshire Council, where she will provide support for those more vulnerable in our community. Laura has been with us for nearly 4 years and many of you may have met her as the smiling face at our reception desk, she also looks after our allotments so if you have one you may well have spoken to her. From all of us here at the Town Council, we wish her well in her new career path.

Town Clerk, Simon Fisher