Chairman’s Report 2021
It is lovely to be able to hold and attend a meeting for the first time in over a year, as we are all very much aware this last year has been unprecedented. I am sure I am not alone in saying 18 months ago Zoom was something you did on a camera and Teams were exactly that, teams for competition, however, they have been a godsend to many of us. Austerfield Parish Council has held meetings via Zoom as have other Parish Councils and though it took some adjusting to it has enabled us to continue to carry out Council business in the only way available to us.
Over the last year there have been the usual things that require our attention, plus additional issues. I know I thanked volunteers in my last report but I would like to thank them all again for stepping up and helping throughout the tough months of the first lockdown and beyond, your help has been greatly appreciated by Austerfield Parish Council and residents alike and as a village we should be proud. Due to lockdown restrictions and shielding, some aspects of the village were not able to be maintained in the usual manner, I would like to thank the volunteers who mowed the churchyard whilst our contractor was shielding. Sadly, we were unable to celebrate VE Day in the manner we would have liked but several residents decorated their home in honour of this.
Over the past year there have been issues raised that we as a Council have tried to address, the dust from Bawtry Carbon is a problem for many. This year, perhaps due to us being at home more the problem seems have been worse and as ever we will continue to work with the factory owners to try and reduce the impact to residents.
I am sure that you are all aware that the speed matrix signs have been reinstated, we can only hope that drivers pay heed to them and slow down.
There are a new group of volunteers that are now caring for the planters within the village; Austerfield in Bloom has in a very short space of time planted bulbs and trees and renovated the village benches. This does go a long way in improving the appearance of our small village and their hard work is appreciated.
The play area has been well used and with the addition of the Mayflower Ship has become a desirable playground which has attracted families from neighbouring towns and villages. On one hand this is a huge compliment and it is great to see youngsters enjoying the facility, however, on the other hand it has created a parking and traffic issue for residents. Austerfield Parish Council has made arrangements with Bawtry Carbon for recreation field users to have access to the car park in front of their premises and signs have been installed to inform visitors.
Work has progressed in the memorial garden and it coming on leaps and bounds, I for one hope that residents will take a walk there and enjoy the area and use it as another community asset. Thanks go to all involved in the venture and as the years move on and the new plants, trees and pond establish we shall have another area to be proud of and enjoy.
The Christmas lunch this year was unable to take place and this was a great shame, John Pinder, Paul Elliott and John Goodall were instrumental in the Christmas tree being once again at Toll Bar Corner. I would like to say thank you to each of them for organising this as it added some much needed cheer.
The Mayflower Ship that had been on the roundabout was damaged just as we went into the first lockdown; we are happy to say that this has now been repaired and reinstated.
The village has received an apple tree from DMBC for the Mayflower 400 anniversary and we are looking for an appropriate site for this.
After not being able to hold the different events this year the Council decided to give each household in the Parish a gift of chocolate at Easter. We have received a number of messages, letters and verbal thanks for doing this. I know I speak for my fellow Councillors when I say that this was a pleasure and if it gave residents a little lift in this difficult year then that is thanks enough.
I have gone on long enough and as we move on to a new chapter I want to say thank you to my fellow Councillors for the support and dedication during these difficult times. I have enjoyed working with you, and I wish the Councillors that are no longer involved with the Council well and thank you for your contributions. I would also like to express thanks to Rachael Blake for her hard work and support, it is appreciated and I look forward to working with her in the future. Last by no means least, our hard working Clerk, Sarah, your commitment and guidance has been and is invaluable. I for one have and do appreciate all you do.
As we move on and hope that life will regain some normality, I would like to say thank you and Austerfield is a village we should be proud of.
Austerfield Parish Council