New Year 2020: what are our local priorities?
As the New Year begins, globally we hear of extensive bush fires in Australia, typhoons in the Philippines and more trouble in the Middle East. Closer to home we have wet and windy weather, although somewhat milder than expected for the time of year.
2019 ended on an upbeat note with the success of the village's first and highly acclaimed Panto. Over 400 people came to see it across 4 performances, and the production itself involved very many people in the village. At the same time the planning proposal for development of the former Orchard in Station Road was unanimously rejected by the SWT planning committee.
Last year also saw the inauguration of the Hatch Community Car Scheme which has been well supported by drivers and is beginning to pick up in usage from a slow start - for example 4 journeys in December. This is our response to the decimation of public transport following the withdrawal of support from the local authority - under pressure from central government cuts. Its a promising start but its ultimate success will only be achieved when we get journey sharing by two or more customers on many of the trips.
This year (in fact this MONTH) there are some important events that chime with my priorities and I hope are so regarded more widely:
1. Have your say tackling Somerset's Climate Emergency. There is a 'Have your say' drop in at Taunton Library this Saturday 18th January, as well as online surveys (including one specifically for 11-18 year olds). For more details see https://www.southsomerset.gov.uk/news/2020/1/have-your-say-on-tackling-somerset-s-climate-emergency/
2. Consultation started last week on the SWT Local Plan Review 2040. The local plan will update planning policies of the council for the next 20 years. This involves how much housing is built and where it should go, as well as developing the local economy. The people of Hatch Beauchamp should have their say, and the online consultation has already started, see https://yoursay.somersetwestandtaunton.gov.uk/local-plan/issues-and-options/
Or you can go along to Orchard Shopping Centre in Taunton on 6th February or the Deane House 26th February (afternoon and evening).
3. Finally a number of communities have taken the initiative and started their own Neighbourhood Plan. This is a chance for us to get on the front foot and put forward our own ideas how the village should develop instead of constantly having to respond to unsuitable proposals from developers. I would like as many interested people as possible to get in touch with me to be involved with this. There are grants available that we need to apply for by the end of this month
Happy New Year!