I hope that everyone reading this has had a happy and restful Christmas. 

Since being elected as town mayor in May, I have had the privilege to attend a number of diverse engagements: from 100th birthday celebrations through charity fundraisers to wonderful theatre and musical productions. 

Each time I am reminded what a wonderful place we live in and how fortunate we are to have local volunteers without whom events such as Remembrance Sunday and Christmas Carols could not happen. During 2023 the town council set out its Strategic Plan for the 2023-27 council term, including themes such as Partnership and Community, Climate and Biodiversity and Youth. The council will be working in the coming months to identify projects to support its aspirations in these areas. 

There are already a couple of projects earmarked for the Town Meadow in 2024 – some drainage work to make the grassed area safer and more usable and the installation of new play equipment for a slightly older age group. We also look forward to taking on the lease of the SANG (Suitable Alternative Natural Green) space above Sturt Road – a nine-acre area set aside by the developer which we will maintain for use by local residents.

We are planning events to commemorate the 80th anniversary of D-Day in June and there will be lots more happening in 2024, please keep an eye out on our website, social media and of course our local newspaper for more information on this and lots more happening in the town.

The end of January sees the council meeting at which the Budget and precept for the forthcoming year is agreed. Once again, council will weigh up the need to fund the services it provides and the increasing number of organisations requesting support against keeping any precept increase to a minimum. 

All that remains is for me to wish you all a very happy and healthy New Year.