Town council chair reflects on a year of change and challenge

Speaking at the Annual Town Meeting held online on Wednesday 5 May, Paul Mitchell, who became chair in October, following the resignation of Les Paterson, said he felt many residents still did not appreciate the range of issues the town council has to deal with.

These include the town hall, the market place, the public toilets, Stimpson’s Piece, the Overton Way play area, the churchyard and churchyard walls, the “Pound”, the wall on Ollands Road, the church clock, the allotments, tree maintenance and grass cutting on public areas, the cemeteries, street lighting, grit bins and recycling bins, as well as commenting on local planning applications.
At the same time, the town council has been able to keep the precept (local councils’ share of council tax) the same as the previous year.
“The town councillors are all volunteers who receive no payment for their time,” he reminded the audience.
Cllr Mitchell said the past 12 months had represented a year of change and challenge, with most outdoor events and festivals cancelled, town council meetings being held by videoconferencing, and the resignations of the chair and three other councillors, although several new councillors have since been co-opted, bringing the total to nine, which is the most for some time.
He paid tribute to Jo Boxall, who has tendered her resignation after 10 years of service as town clerk and will leave her position in mid-July.
Cllr Mitchell mentioned that the pavilion on Stimpson’s Piece needs urgent repairs and refurbishment, and that the police have made antisocial behaviour at the town’s recreation ground a priority.
The town council had lobbied for a zebra crossing outside the new Co-op on Station Road but without success, he said. There is also now a long waiting list for allotments.
During the meeting, residents raised the issue of a war memorial in the town centre and noted a new deadline for comments on the latest plans for the Broomhill Lane residential development. The possibility of more benches in the Market Place was also discussed.
At the annual town council meeting that followed, Cllr Mitchell was re-elected chair with Becky Comer remaining vice chair; Mark Lester was re-appointed chair of the personnel committee.
The next meeting of Reepham Town Council will be on Wednesday 9 June. It is hoped this meeting will be held face to face with social distancing measures in place. An agenda will be posted on the council website soon.

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