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Have a Voice - the ' Silly Season'.

This is the so called silly season when everybody is off on holiday and important issues are put aside. It's not necessarily true in our part of the world for there are many unanswered questions that must be addressed.

To start, a number of respondents to the consultation on gypsy and traveller sites in or near Buntingford quite rightly ask, what is a ' pitch '? Is it a caravan, is it a single family set-up, is it a variety of vehicles suited to the type of work engaged in by pitch residents?

A well informed contributor to a discussion on this topic at a recent Town Plan meeting made the point that traditionally gypsies and travellers were employed on farms where seasonal work was available - this was routine in parts of East Anglia whereas agriculture in Hertfordshire was of a quite different nature and casual employment did not exist in the same way. It tends to support the view that gypsies and travellers do not wish to be located in this locality as their employment opportunities are limited.

The deep concern over Layston Church is understandable as the Church is such a major heritage site for Buntingford people. At the end of the day the answer must lie with, who will protect the site best, will it be private ownership or an anonymous sponsor and a trust which can fund the maintenance for years to come ?

A further subject which will cause a deal of local debate is the planning application for Ermine Street allotments. The density of the original application is too great and no doubt a further application will be made. There has to be sympathy with the aims of the land owners who wish to generate money for their charitable trust but nevertheless the loss of allotments goes against a growing awareness of self sustainability.

As the Town Plan develops ( hope you are involved ) we should see specific standards for future housing development which meets the best understanding of what is required to be sustainable in terms of energy efficiency,avoidance of excessive private transport, access to retail outlets and employment. Bear in mind the plan is looking towards 2021 and beyond.

There is some light stuff so let's get it down. Who could not have been impressed with the soccer skills of PCSO Francis Higgins? Buntingford Juniors won the BALA and Isobel Trust charity match 3-1 but our emergency services acquitted themselves so well and it was great to see a crowd of supporters for the event.

Some years back we described the Rib by River Green as 'the thombotic Rib'. Well the Environmental Agency recently cleared the silted and heavily weeded area and it is no longer 'thrombotic'. It is a improvement for water flow and so far it seems only to be the ducks who lose out with the loss of a resting place.

To end on a positive note you will be please to know that shortly the town boundary sign areas will be taken care of and enhanced in keeping with the importance of Buntingford. This is being done through the Civic Society which has the resources through your membership , Journal readership, advertisers and retail outlets for the Journal.

There are good signs that a national organisation for Civic Societies is being established. There is a need of a national body to act face to face with government at all levels and provide support and developmental training for local societies.

Have a good summer !

Derek K Cooper, Chairman.
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