Since my last report, there have been important happenings within the Parish Council. As usual, it has been a busy time. We are now turning to a time of year that can be both joyous and sorrowful. We begin November with reflections on the loss of wartime and of thanksgiving to those that have given their lives in service to our country. We end the year with the festivities of Christmas and celebrations as we welcome a new year, and all the trappings that come with this. However, again this is not a period of celebration for all, and can instead be a time for remembering and missing loved ones who may be far away or no longer here. This is a time that speaks to all of us in different ways, and it is my hope residents will keep the circumstances of others in mind.
At the Parish Council, it has been a busy time as usual. We have run a number of High Street events since the summer, encouraging people to shop local and champion local business, and more on this shortly.
We are seeing investment in the Civic Centre roof in order to maintain the integrity of the building. This is one of the main functions of the Council, running and maintaining this vital civic facility, and so I am very pleased this work has been confirmed.
Our High Street days also continue to go on with much positive feedback from residents and businesses alike. On Saturday 30th October, I was present at Common Road shops for our latest day which specifically spotlighted Common Road. The event was bonfire night-themed and boasted a trail around the shops for children to put the story of bonfire night together as well as a very talented stilt walker and an awe-inspiring fire eater. Both retailers and residents alike were entertained outside Wombourne Methodist Church with tea and coffee provided inside. It is very important to remember in our village that the village centre is not the limit of our local retailers. We must do what we can to support our local businesses wherever they exist in our community, and I hope you enjoy the pictures taken on the day of our Common Road event.
A further day prior to Christmas is also being planned for the village, and I hope residents will look out for more information.
I am also really pleased to report that the Christmas Lights switch-on is also returning for this year, with the date set for Friday 26th November. In fact, the lights were installed before November began, and I think this could be a sign that we are all very much looking forward to a more normal Christmas this year.
I hope you will be able to join us on switch-on night and make the village truly come alive to welcome the festive period.
It may not have escaped the notice of at least some of you that the Parish Council had sought to fill two vacancies of late; one in our North ward, and one in our South East ward. This came as a result of the sad passing of our beloved colleague, Cllr Reg Williams, and the resignation of Cllr Alan Hinton. Their service was substantial and they both leave hard acts to follow. However, I am very pleased to announce we now have a full compliment of Councillors. All members of this Council are at your service and, should you require advice, assistance or scrutiny to be applied by this council, I ask you to approach your local members.
It is also important that I mention Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday. Armistice Day, the date on which the guns fell silent 103 years ago and the fighting in the Great War stopped, is itself a point to reflect on the loss of loved ones who may have given the ultimate sacrifice for their country and the lives of their loved ones. 886,000 individual souls left behind friends, loved ones and communities who rightly continue to refuse to forget. A ceremony held on Armistice Day was held at the District Council offices in Codsall and I am very pleased to say this was attended by my Vice Chairman, Cllr John Pike. Once again I represented this council and our community at our memorial service at St Benedicts on Sunday 14th November. This is always a task of great importance and gravity to me, and it is with great pride that I join so many of you in doing so this year.
Before signing off, I must also note that you may be reading this article while the Public Consultation to the Local Plan Review is ongoing. If you have not done so, please do ensure you submit comments on the ‘Preferred Options’ put forward by the District Council. The proposals within this review potentially affect us all, and so I urge all residents to submit their thoughts. The consultation remains open until 13th December, and if you would like to know more, please contact South Staffordshire District Council.
All that now remains for me to say is please have a safe, warm and very happy Christmas, followed by a bright, hopeful and fulfilling New Year.
Wombourne Parish Council