Letter from the Mayor of Berkhamsted, Spring 2020

Living Magazines Garrick Stevens, Mayor of Berkhamsted

Dear Berkhamsted Residents,

As Town Mayor of Berkhamsted I was delighted to be asked to contribute to Berkhamsted Living. In this first article I will give an overview of current activities, then in future, focus in more detail on particular projects.

One of my most enjoyable civic duties is visiting charities and organisations in Berkhamsted. The Town Council has a budget to award grant funding (up to £1,000) and there is still some money left for this year. Contact our Town Clerk (townclerk@berkhamstedtowncouncil.gov.uk) or go to www.berkhamstedtowncouncil.gov.uk.

Less of a good news story is that in the Summer, Dacorum Borough Council will be presenting for consultation further proposals on the Local Plan which sets out its development strategy up to 2036. The initial consultation was in 2017 and the Town Council objected strongly because of concerns about inadequate services and infrastructure, together with very serious concerns about possible development on current greenbelt sites. We will keep you posted, and do let Dacorum Borough Council know your views once the consultation is underway.

We have also been advised recently that there are plans to consider building a new sports centre and artifical sports pitch at Lagley Meadow. An entrance from the High Street at Gossoms End is also mooted. The Town Council will be consulted fully and it has already expressed grave concerns about loss of green open space, harm to trees and impact on residents. A Town Council working group has been established to progress what will be challenging discussions with the Borough Council.

Turning to the challenge of climate change, along with many other councils we have declared a Climate Emergency and have set up a series of working parties to look at initiatives to reduce energy consumption, promote greener travel and enhance natural habitats in Berkhamsted. Members of the public, including Berkhamsted Citizens Association, play a valuable part so do come along to our Town Meeting at the old Town Hall on Thursday 19 March 2020 at 7.30pm.

You will have noticed that the new Multi Storey Car Park is nearing completion. The Town Council will be liaising closely with DBC to ensure that the part of The Moor used as a temporary car park during construction is properly reinstated as park land.

Adjacent to The Moor is Station Road and we are looking at a project to improve the road surfaces, pavements and general appearance of this area. This could include restoring the Victorian railings and having attractive planting. We are liaising with other organisations and we are likely to contribute to some of the costs from money allocated to the Town Council from the Community Infrastructure Levy; a tax on developers. Other income to the Town Council comes from our precept (ie a proportion of your council tax). In 2020-21 the weekly cost of the Town Council to tax payers will be 65p per household (based on band D average).

Cllr Garrick Stevens, Town Mayor