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January update

November Litter pick
Many thanks to those that turned out on a lovely sunny Autumn Saturday morning in November for the litter pick! We didn’t quite manage to photograph the numerous black bags of rubbish collected but you can just see them behind Cllr. David Grant, Cllr. Richard Warren and the lovely Christine who joined us from Stalbridge (there’s dedication for you!) Our lovely village certainly looked better after everyone’s efforts and it was great to be thanked by people on our routes. Our next organised litter pick is on Saturday 23rd March 2024. Do put the date in your diary!

The ‘Price’ is right!We are very happy to welcome our new council member, John Price, who was co-opted at the Full Council meeting on 5th December; he will be also joining the Planning & Environment and the Management Committees. We are very much looking forward to working with him. We now have a council membership of 11 with 2 vacancies, so if you too are interested in becoming a parish councillor, do get in touch!

Gainsborough Play Park:
Anyone who has been in the playpark in the last few years would say that the side that borders the Co-op has been looking scruffy for a very long time, and now looks even worse as we have had the brambles, dead trees and Hedera Helix (non-climbing ivy) removed, exposing an old barb wire fence, which in turn has also been removed, leaving nothing. The plan that has been approved by the council is to put a post-and-rail fence down the full length which will be completely dog-proof. We have seen evidence of dogs accessing the play area, even though the whole of Gainsborough playpark is a strictly ‘no dogs’ area; further signage has now been put up to remind dog owners of this. Once the new fencing is installed, there will be no way that a dog could enter by mistake. The fencing of course works the other way and helps keep children safe and inside the boundary of the park. Further to this, a mixed species native hedge will be planted down the full length of the park; this will take a long time to establish but in decades to come it will be an important wildlife resource.

CCVT at Springfield
After approaching three different companies to talk to them about CCVT, a winning tender has now been selected and the order placed; the new system will be installed on all sides of the Village Hall in the coming month. The cameras work almost as well at nighttime and have number plate recognition, so the registration details of any suspicious car already identified can be watched for and an alert sent if it enters the car park. Imagery of any criminal acts will be handed over to the police and prosecution would be expected to follow.

Springfield Tennis Courts Refit
We have learnt more about tennis courts over the last few months than we ever imagined! The main takeaway has been – don’t have your tennis courts re-laid in the winter as everything takes twice as long! The new tarmac is now down, and by the time you read this you should be allowed to walk (play) on the new surface. The painting of the permanent lines will take another few months as the contractors want the temperatures to rise and for it to be dry (a lot to ask!) Another item to be installed will be an electronic gate which will have a pin-pad. There will be an online booking system; once you have booked your slot online, you will be given a special pin number that will only work for your slot. Why bother with all this palaver, I hear you say? Well, the LTA have done some research and learnt that the main factor that puts people off playing tennis is not knowing if the tennis court will be free when they arrive there. So, by being able to book a slot online, you will be able to guarantee use of the court during your allotted time. For now, there are no plans to charge for this booking service, so the tennis courts remain a free facility for anyone in the Village to use.

Town Hall/A30 Traffic Lights
You might be aware that the Parish Council owns the Town Hall and that two years ago, the outside woodwork and drainpipes/guttering on three sides were painted; at the time, we simply couldn’t find a safe way to include the A30. Since then, we have taken on board a lot of advice from Somerset Highways and contractors that have experience of working on main roads and it is apparent that the A30 side of the Town Hall must have scaffolding and road traffic management, including traffic lights. The entrance to South Street will be closed, so the traffic lights will just be three-way, but as we all know, the A30 is very busy and this interruption to the flow of traffic is going to be very disruptive. Much simpler not to bother and let the windows of the town hall deteriorate? When you are responsible for a Grade II listed public asset, you need to look after it, so unfortunately from Wednesday 7th of February, the road closure and traffic lights will be in place, possibly up to Sunday 18th of February; however, if the weather is dry, we sincerely hope that the work will take less than a week. 

Parish Council Meetings in February
Full Council: Tuesday 6th.  Planning and Environment Committee: Tuesday 20th.
Meetings take place in the Town Hall and start at 7pm. Members of the public are welcome to attend and can address the meeting with questions or comments from 7-7.15pm. If you would like to attend but would experience access difficulties, please let us know in advance and we will relocate to the Community Room downstairs.

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