By Judith Randell-Sly of Old Town Residents Association
On 15 March, Old Town Residents’ Association held its first virtual AGM. Whilst the social element of being able to meet people and chat over a glass of wine was missing, the business aspect was well served.
A revised constitution was approved and a new committee voted in. We are delighted to welcome four new members to the committee, who bring a younger viewpoint to our committee and make it more representative of Old Town’s population. Three councillors, representing the three main parties, each spoke briefly about their vision for the coming year and Chris Watts, Chair of Old Town Parish, spoke about the work undertaken by the parish. A major theme for all the speakers was improving our local environment as we come out of lockdown. Improvements are to continue at the Town Gardens, with the refurbishment of the café and the Bowl and the rebuilding of the hothouse in Queen’s Park, as well as the development of the ‘Green Corridor’. Colin Doubleday, OTRA co-chair, thanked all the councillors for working closely with the group. Unfortunately, Robert Buckland, who was due to speak at the meeting, was called to Downing Street at the last moment, but sent his apologies.
A recurring theme, also mentioned by the councillors, is that of the litter and graffiti that is blighting our environment. Whilst the parish providers street sweeping and litter picking services to Old Town, it does not have the capacity to sweep every area every day. We know that there is an increasing number of people who regularly pick up litter when they are out walking and we should all be very grateful to them for this. We all have an individual responsibility to dispose of our litter responsibly and often this means taking it home with us, or putting it in a bin in the locality. At our last meeting it was proposed that we could develop positive ‘markers,’ which create a visual impact in our area and promote pride in where we live. An example of this might be boards detailing some of the rich history of Old Town. This is just an idea for discussion at the moment, but your views on the subject and ideas to promote it are very welcome, on our Facebook page.
The committee are now beginning to think about the prospect of meeting in person again, which we have not done for over a year! Hopefully, by late summer/early autumn this might be possible.
Work on the gardens, which we are entering for the community section of Britain in Bloom, is well under way and we can now have up to six people at a time working on a Wednesday morning. If you would like to help details can be found on the OTRA Facebook page or email Linda Kasmaty, firstname.lastname@example.org. There is a lot of work to be done before we are ready for judging in June! In the meantime we have some lovely spring colour in the ‘MR Cod’ bed, on the corner of Prospect Place and Victoria Road (see picture)