New year is a time to look forward with hope, make new plans, consider what we need to change and how we can do things better.

We can appreciate the many events that have gone well in the town over the recent months, and the excellent Christmas lights that have decorated the town.

But things are still far from normal and we are still living under a very heavy Covid cloud.

My first wish is to thank everyone who has contributed to the life of the town over the past year, including our hard-working council staff.

We thank our NHS staff who have worked ceaselessly to care for us over two very long years and continue to face probably their biggest challenge yet.

At Alton Town Council we look forward to growing the range of events in the town, and to supporting the voluntary organisations that enrich the life of the town.

Last year we updated our Neighbourhood Plan to help to protect the town from unwanted developments. East Hampshire District Council is now working on its next Local Plan, which is the blueprint for development over the next five to ten years. The town council will continue to fully engage with the process to get the best for Alton.

The climate crisis is the biggest long-term threat we face and we will be working to get consideration of energy efficiency baked into the planning standards and procedures of the new plan.

Nearer home, we will continue to work to minimise our own carbon emissions. It is time to look to the future and to direct all our efforts to creating the place we want to live in, both locally and globally.

I and all my colleagues at Alton Town Council wish you a happy, peaceful and prosperous year.

Cllr Graham Titterington

Leader of Alton Town Council