28 April 2014

Mayors Blog 39

I hope you all had a lovely Easter. In general the weather was kind which makes all the difference. Congratulations to Adrian for an uplifting church service on Sunday.

I am really interested in what makes people passionate about things in and around Alcester. Is it the long running debate on the integration of Kinwarton into Alcester for example? Or planning applications and how it will affect the character of our town? Or how we can fund local organisations so that they remain working for the town’s people? So many things. But the one that comes out on top is grass cutting. This is a very emotive subject and I can see why. We are proud of our town and want to see it looking lovely. Uncut grass is unsightly and it looks a mess. But who cuts the grass? There are three players here. 1) Warwickshire County Council, 2) Stratford District Council and 3) Alcester Town Council. But who cuts what? The glib response is to go and have a look. If the grass is short then it will be ATC grass. If it is longer then it is SDC grass and if it is very long then it is probably WCC grass. Why is this? WCC maintain the road verges and islands. They only cut their grass three times a year and only up to one metre from the road, unless it is long enough to potentially cause an accident. SDC cut their grass at least 6 times a year to a height of 150 mm (6″). ATC cut up to 7-8 times a year but will cut the grass lower. We also cut for other special reasons such as Britain in Bloom. So why am I mentioning this? I had an anonymous call the other day about the state of the grass on the Roebuck traffic island, and yes it is long and very unsightly. We want to maintain a lovely approach into the town but are not responsible for the grass cutting and do not have the budget for it. We do have a dilemma. However all residents can complain to WCC and should do so if they feel the grass is too long. Go to http://www.stratford.gov.uk/community/grass-verge-cutting.cfm for details.

The Heart of England Town Criers competition was held again in Alcester last weekend. This is a hard fought competition and in the end it was very close. For the first time there was a three way tie for third place. After a cry off, two still remained tied for the place. This is a lovely competition but not, as I first thought, typically British. There are town criers all over Europe. This is logical because in the old days the way to disseminate news was to send to each town written proclamations where the literate town crier cried the news to the largely illiterate populace.

Warwickshire Fire Service Consultation. Alcester Town Council are working with WCC to try to arrange a public meeting, but have in the meantime arranged for a senior fire Officer to come to the Full Council meeting on the 13th May where Councillors will be allowed to ask questions and from those make an informed response on behalf of the Town. Please keep a look out for more details very shortly.

The Greig Hall. There have been some comments made on social media about the reopening of the hall. Please appreciate that there is a process we must go through and there is no quick fix, in spite of what may have been said. I am as eager as anyone to see the hall open but it is one step at a time.

Mark Cargill, Mayor of Alcester