Letter from the Mayor of Berkhamsted, Summer 2020

Living Magazines Garrick Stevens, Mayor of Berkhamsted

Dear Berkhamsted Residents,

A lot has changed since my Spring letter. Who would have thought a microscopic virus would bring the country into lockdown? I am told the air quality in the town centre is much improved; something to be welcomed at least.

At the time of writing, the impact on our local community, economy and employment is already concerning. The Town Council has earmarked a fund to support local groups and charities providing support and assistance to residents. www.berkhamstedtowncouncil.gov.uk/uploads/grant-application-form-covid19-support.docx

We have seen some inspirational examples of community groups coming together since lockdown started. More about this can be found in the following pages.

Age Concern locally is working with organisations including Open Door to provide support. Funding has been provided by our county councillor from his localities budget and from the Town Council, and a supply of hand sanitiser and protective gloves provided.

The national appeal for volunteers has received an overwhelming response and locally these are being registered with Community Action Dacorum (CAD) that co-ordinates a number of projects incorporating Berkhamsted. The Town Council has donated funds towards the Store2Door shopping delivery service.

It has been heartening to hear people clapping each Thursday evening in support of the NHS frontline staff, paramedics and carers. Our thanks should also be extended to all key workers, staff at food stores and their delivery drivers. We also have a group of volunteers making scrubs for hospitals and hospices, to which the Town Council has made a contribution.

In the Spring edition I said the new Borough Plan would likely be consulted upon in the summer. This has been delayed until November this year. DBC’s planning team has been tasked to draw up a robust plan to deliver over 1000 new houses each year together with infrastructure needed to support the new communities. I can confidently predict such proposals will not receive universal approval!

Work on Climate Change initiatives is progressing, but with not as much to show at this stage as we had anticipated, for obvious reasons. Plans are in hand to plant new trees – we are looking for volunteers to help, as well as locations which might benefit. Please contact Town Council on 01442 800152 or e-mail townclerk@berkhamstedtowncouncil.gov.uk.

We want to help residents reduce the their energy use, especially for domestic heating. A special thermal imaging camera can be used to show the heat loss from buildings. To have your property assessed, please contact the Town Council.

Parish and Town Councils offices may be closed, however, staff and Councillors are working hard from home. It will be interesting to see whether commuting will be restored to the previous level after lockdown.

In the meantime, all best wishes to our residents. Please take care and follow guidance.

Cllr Garrick Stevens, Town Mayor