By Judith Randell-Sly of Old Town Residents Association
At the time of writing we have just gone into our third lockdown, a situation none of us could have predicted a year ago.
For nine months we have been holding our meetings online and it looks as though we will have to continue doing this through the early part of the year.
Although much seems to be stuck still at present we are very concerned to hear about a scheme to replace some of the parking spaces in Eastcott with charging points for EVs [electric cars]. EVs are part of our future, but as supporters of democracy we were concerned that this idea came from a little known consultation with only 235 replies. Currently even used EVs are very expensive and many people cannot manage to attend work or visit relatives on the low range. It seems therefore unfair that residents should lose precious parking spaces when personally an EV is not suitable for their needs, it breaks the principle of fair parking rules for everyone. We strongly request that the Borough move these charging pays to carparks in the area, or that they position them on existing double yellow lines.
Just before Christmas we re-wrote our constitution to reflect the way we operate and the area we cover. OTRA covers the Old Town area which is basically anything on the hill. Westwards to the bottom of Kingshill Road, East to Lakeside and along Marlborough Road to Broome Manor Lane, North to bottom of Victoria Road and Eastcott Road and South to the bottom of Croft Road. Anyone within the area can become a member and can contact us through the OTRA Facebook page if you wish to make us aware of any issues. We are interested to hear from anyone who wishes to become part of the committee who meet once a month on Zoom.
We hope to hold a virtual AGM on Zoom in March and details of this will be on the Facebook page. We hope that you will be able to join us for this.
We are hoping to start up our gardening group again soon, but lockdown rules mean that we will not return to work until late February at the earliest. Look out for details on Facebook.
One of our concerns is the impact on local businesses that another lockdown will have, especially as many of them offer services, such as hair, nail and beauty salons which cannot open. Hopefully, we can try to support any cafes or restaurants offering a takeaway service.
At least we are allowed to take a walk each day and Old Town offers a range of attractive walks, whether on the paths of the town gardens (where you can admire the newly refurbished gates), through The Old Copse at Croft, along the old railway path, the Town Gardens or through the Lawns. All are beginning to show the first signs of spring, with buds on the trees and shrubs swelling and bulbs pushing up. The first snowdrops and daffodils are flowering and the primroses and bluebells will not be too far behind.
Please do feel free to contribute to the community or contact us at any time via facebook.com/groups/oldtownresidents