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ANNUAL REPORT- Wareside Parish Council

Updated: Aug 11, 2022

Backdrop to year These have been a difficult 12 months for everyone. This time last year we were still under a range of lockdown measures which lasted on and off until recently. They had a significant impact on our work but Councillors responded, for which I am hugely grateful and we kept going with a range of projects which I will outline briefly in a moment. School First, I wanted to mention our village school. Despite the massive efforts of parents and a specially formed action group the County Council has recently taken the decision to close the school. That is a matter of huge regret to all of us and is in my view the wrong decision. It should in no way take away from the efforts of all concerned to save it. The campaign was a brilliant example of community effort and I wanted to thank all concerned again, on behalf of the council, for making a stand. Waresider On a more positive note, it is great news that parishioners have stepped forward to take on the production and distribution of the Waresider. The council will continue to support you and we look forward to the development of a new look magazine for the parish. Social media

On the subject of news, the Council has done a lot of work recently establishing a social media presence. Thank you to councillor Shu Pillinger for that. We are looking at ways of improving our website in the year ahead. Little Oak Heath While we are on LOH it is a good reminder of the work that the Council has done here over the last year. In conjunction with our contractor we have undertaken ongoing maintenance and we are working to a plan to improve both biodiversity and access to the site for all. There is still a lot to do overall and we look forward to developing the plan further over the coming year. Thanks to the generosity of a parishioner we have 12 new fruit trees to form the beginnings of a community orchard. We currently hold the land under a 25 year lease which has less than 17 years left to run. To try to preserve it for the benefit of the community longer term we are close to agreeing a new 99 year lease with the District Council. Negotiating this has been a long process but hopefully we will be able to report signing shortly. On a slightly less positive note, I would say that our plea for assistance in establishing a small committee to run the playground did not receive much of a response. Councillors give up their time freely and it would be useful to have help from time to time from other parishioners on specific projects so this was quite disappointing. As is the vandalism which continues to afflict the playground and which is apparent around us. Stella On the subject of LOH I wanted to mention Councillor Stella Beavis who was a great advocate for the site and worked tirelessly on improvements to it. She resigned from the council during the year for personal reasons and she is greatly missed. Larkshill The council acquired Larkshill in the first year of the pandemic. It was in a fairly neglected state and work has been done during this year to start to bring it back to life. It was opened to the public last June for the first time. Looking ahead we will be exploring ways to use the site for the benefit of the parish. Ware North The proposed development North of Ware which is likely to involve the building of at least 1000 houses will inevitably affect our village. The Council has in the past taken an active role both in responding to consultations on the project and in the Masterplanning process. Although COVID slowed the process somewhat it has now restarted and Councillor Mike Ryan has been particularly active on this attending meetings of the Masterplanning committee to ensure that the views of Wareside are heard.

Map We are very fortunate living where we do to be surrounded by beautiful countryside and many walks from which to enjoy it. As part of the celebrations for the jubilee year the Council is preparing a map of these walks to ensure that they can be enjoyed by us all. Commons and greens We are also blessed with a number of village greens and several parcels of common land. Most of these support mature trees and wildlife. The council is undertaking a project to map these and ensure their ongoing maintenance. Post box re-siting I just wanted to draw attention to an example of the Council responding to a specific issue raised by parishioners. We were approached about problems some residents were having accessing the postbox in Babbs Green. The Council succeeded in getting it moved to a hopefully more suitable location on flatter ground opposite its old site. Thank you

This has been quite a difficult year for me personally and I have been very grateful for the all the work done by Councillors and for their support. I have mentioned some Councillors by name in what I have just said but the reality is that it only works at all because we function as a team and I am really grateful to all of you for that and for giving up your time. Lastly, I would like to thank Rebecca, our clerk who has done a fantastic job of keeping us in order and through a combination of good humour and skill keeps us moving in the right direction. I am looking forward to what we can achieve in the coming year. Paul Goodman, Chairman -Wareside Parish Council.

Friends of Wareside Church The Friends was set up as a charity in 2016 to coincide with the 175th anniversary of our village church. Our purpose is to raise funds for the preservation of the church building, its graveyard and surrounding land and to make these available for parishioners to use and enjoy. We raise funds primarily through events. In the past we have organised jazz, rock, classical and folk concerts, a bat watching evening, and a summer fair showing off local skills amongst others. Regrettably, the pandemic took its toll on these and we were not able to organise any events at all for more than a year. However, we have continued throughout the last year to work hard on maintaining the graveyard and improving it for wildlife. I would like to take this opportunity to thank those who give their time to mow the grass paths, plant bulbs, prune trees and shrubs and generally take care of the land. Your efforts have been rewarded. The graveyard is a very peaceful place where nature can thrive and it is home to various species of bats, amphibians, birds, butterflies and moths. Looking ahead to the next year I very much hope that we can work in conjunction with the Parish Council in its efforts to look after the land in its care to create a range of vibrant green spaces within our village. Returning to fund raising, we came back from our pandemic induced slumber in autumn last year with an evening concert featuring a couple of good friends of ours which was very well attended and was great fun after a year without much to enjoy. We are now planning our events for the coming year so please do watch out for these and hopefully we will see some of you there.

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