January 2020

Published: 18 March 2020

January 2020 

Since I last wrote in late October, we have had a somewhat eventful time on a national level, including a General Election and the passage of the Brexit Bill. Indeed, by the time this has been published, Brexit will have happened. I am proud to say that, whatever the individual views of councillors on these great issues of state, your Town Council has remained relentlessly focused on serving our local residents on local issues as well as we possibly can.

November kicked off with the firework night parade and spectacular display on Duke’s Meadow. A big ‘thank you’ to the Round Table and Lions Club for organising and staging the event. November also saw a well-attended and moving Service of Remembrance on the Vine. We were blessed with a beautiful, sunny, autumnal day. The Town Council team did a great job organising everything, and it was wonderful to see so many
people participating and supporting the event. I followed up by hosting an inaugural veterans’ breakfast at the Bat and Ball Station venue. The veterans’ charity, SSAFA, very kindly helped make this a success.

Speaking of Bat and Ball: I am absolutely delighted to say that the restoration project has now been recognised at a national level, winning – against stiff competition – the Arch Company Award for Urban Heritage. This is a genuinely extraordinary achievement and another feather in the cap for our Town Clerk, Linda Larter MBE, and her amazing team.

December also saw the Christmas lights switch-on celebration. It was a great success, and enjoyed by all who attended. Again, a brilliant organising job from the Town Council team, and very welcome support from our sponsors: Manak Solicitors, Specsavers, Thackray Williams and Wettons
Cleaning Services. It was very exciting – and slightly nerve-wracking – to be joined on stage by the cast of Aladdin for the actual switch-on moment. But, I am relieved to report that my daughters did not find their father’s fleeting moment in the limelight embarrassing. In fact, the whole thing was ‘cool’. So that’s alright then. The Panto itself was superb, with many fellow audience members telling me it was the best ever. The technical wizardry that the Stag Theatre is able to offer really is something to behold.

Looking to the future, I am pleased to report that work on the new Bat & Ball Centre [formerly the Community Centre] is progressing according to schedule. A group of councillors also visited the Greatness Tarmac site in mid-December. As many of you will know, this massive lakeside development will be the centre-piece of the proposed Neighbourhood Development Plan. It is really important that as many local residents as possible look at and comment on the plan. There is a six week consultation period that is set to run from Friday 31st January until Friday 13th March (details at: https://sevenoaksndp.wordpress.com). Please do participate. We want to hear and factor-in your views!

As a council, we are now actively undertaking long-term planning to address the challenges associated with climate change. For example, we are looking at tree-planting, cycle policy and issues around the use of electric vehicles. As ever, we remain open to suggestions from local residents on how best to marshal our local response to this existential issue.

Best wishes for a happy, safe and prosperous 2020!

Cllr. Nicholas Busvine OBE