2021 has been a year of ups and downs!
The greatest challenge at town council level is how to try and make positive differences for Whitehill & Bordon residents as the lowest-tier ‘grassroots’ council, whilst not charging too much council tax to do it! I am very pleased to say that are now able to freeze our share of council tax for 2022-23, whilst implementing the strategic plan we published on our website, including our financial grants to valuable local organisations that benefit residents, financially supporting Forest Community Centre youth projects and having the first ever proper Christmas lights in Bordon!
Covid-19 remains a worry for many, but I try to stay focused on the positives: the vaccine roll out has clearly broken the link between deaths and infections and free test kits have provided reassurance to many, especially when visiting elderly and more clinically. We remain very fortunate that Forest Surgery in Bordon has been offering vaccines, when residents in neighbouring towns such as Alton have had to travel to Basingstoke.
I am proud to live here when I see how much we are willing to help each other. I see regular posts on social media asking for help or advice, with many kind offers of assistance that follow. I speak regularly to the police about vandalism and anti-social behaviour, but the positive thoughtfulness of our community far outweighs the negatives.
Despite still being a fair way off the fully functional town centre, 2021 was a year of developments and positive announcements: The Shed opened, Morrisons announced it would be coming, funding was announced for Health Provision and Public Transport schemes such as VOCA (taxi for price of a bus on-demand service) are now under discussion. Oakmoor School retained its ‘good’ status from an Ofsted inspection and as a parent of a child at the school, this was very positive and reassuring.
In addition to vowing to protect Bordon Inclosure and Deadwater Valley Nature reserve, we have set up a Climate Awareness Sub-Committee. Formed in December, this is a ‘joint venture’ between town councillors and interested residents that will meet for first time shortly.
I want to thank all my fellow councillors for their support and contribution. In particular former Deputy Leader Cllr Tina Strickland, Town Mayor Cllr Bisi Kennard and new Deputy Leader and Deputy Town Mayor Cllr Catherine Clark, who have represented us well. I also want to thank our hard working and valuable town council staff, Lorraine (Town Clerk & General Manager), Ray (Deputy Town Clerk), Wendy P, Steve, Sarah, Wendy B and Marvin.
2022 will be the year we celebrate the Platinum Jubilee and town council is already working with Town Partnership and plans to work with other local organisations to mark this occasion. I remain committed to representing our community, trying to work with third party decision-makers to achieve results but never shying away from fiercely standing up for you when required!
Best wishes to all residents for 2022!