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It hardly seems possible that I am writing the last Journal entry for 2017 - where on earth did the year go? We shall shortly have the Christmas lights installed, then the Christmas market and Lights of Love ceremony will be upon us. Before all of that, of course, we have the Remembrance Day service on 12th November - let us all never forget.

The new roundabout is in place at last. I must admit to having a problem with this. Large vehicles are unable to navigate it and therefore basically ignore it. I have written to the head of Highways at HCC who has promised to get a traffic engineer to review it. I still do not understand why Highways insisted on the roundabout being built in the first place!

You may not all be aware that Buntingford was featured on local news on the TV recently! After an hour or so of very heavy rain, the area from the Baldock Road junction with the High Street to the pedestrian crossing outside the Co-op was awash with water. I understand that Luynes Rise was also badly affected. This incident once again brings into doubt the ability of the town's antiquated drainage network to cope. Concreting over swathes of farmland to build houses means that more and more rainfall will find its way into our drains rather than soaking away into the land. With the drains at capacity, floods like this are the result.

On the housing front, the application from Bovis Homes to build 400 new dwellings on land off Luynes Rise to the west of Buntingford has now been heard and recommended for refusal by EHDC. Bovis have lodged an appeal which will be heard by an Inspector in April 2018. Let us all hope that this appeal does not go the way of all the others and that the Inspector takes note of the following statement in EHDC's draft District Plan:

"The Buntingford Settlement Appraisal (SSS/003) sets out that, given the level of development already committed in Buntingford through the approval of speculative planning applications submitted in advance of the adoption of the District Plan, no further sites should be allocated for residential development in the town." Fingers Crossed!!!

A big thanks to all those volunteers and unseen people who do so much throughout the year to make Buntingford the thriving, inclusive community that it is. You all know who you are, so keep up the good work. And speaking of volunteers, if anyone reading this feels able to take on a delivery round for the Journal, we would love to hear from you.

I would like to end by wishing all BCS members and readers of the Journal, and indeed all residents of Buntingford and the surrounding villages, a very Merry Christmas and a healthy and Happy New Year.

Graham Bonner, Chairman, Buntingford Civic Society

If you have any queries about Buntingford Civic Society or issues you would like to raise, you can email the Chairman direct at chairman@buntingfordcivic.org.uk.

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