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There are many important issues being discussed around the town at the moment and I will try here to give an unbiased, pragmatic view / comment on some of those issues.

High on the agenda is the Library: will it move or will it stay? We know that Buntingford in Transition have put together a cogent piece of work supporting the Library staying where it is, with the building being brought up to specification for a Tier 2 Library and expanded to provide additional community facilities. Meanwhile HCC Library Services have drawn up plans for new Library premises at the Fire Station. These alternative plans can be viewed at two exhibitions - the first at the Fire Station on Wednesday 18th May, 2-4pm, and the second at the Library on Saturday 21st May, 10am-12noon - when it is hoped that a lot more detail will be forthcoming to help make an informed choice. I have no doubt there are pros and cons with both schemes and the Civic Society has reserved the right to make their decision which to support after these exhibitions. Obviously individuals can make up their own minds, and we urge everyone to make an effort to go along and say which of the two schemes they would like to see in Buntingford.

On the development front, Redrow Homes have submitted an amendment to the original application granted for Buntingford North, in which they have changed the vast majority of 1, 2 and 3 bedroom dwellings to 4 and 5 bedroom dwellings. So there must be more demand in Buntingford for the larger dwellings - or is there? Now that Wheatley Homes have gained permission from the Secretary of State for Areas 2 & 3 on the land south of Hare Street Road, the Bovis Homes application for 400 dwellings west of Luynes Rise is back on the agenda. The Buntingford Response Group, made up of members of the Civic Society, Chamber of Commerce, BARD and the Town Council, are in the process of re-visiting the letter of objection submitted last year, bringing it up to date. If you would like to comment on either application you can do so on the East Herts DC website or pop into the Town Council Offices at the Manor House and ask to see the applications.

We have several celebrations to look forward to over the coming months - the Carnival, the Street Party and the Heritage Day Walks all in June, then the Classic Car Show early in September. Please come and support these events if you can as a lot of people put a lot of time and effort into organising them. Buntingford has also been chosen to host a walk in May as part of the Hertfordshire Festival of Walking. The walk, entitled 'Buntingford - Town and Country Walk', is being organised by the Countryside Management Service in conjunction with the Town Council and is described as: "A bountiful walk with lots to see from Buntingford into the countryside and back. Walkers will have the opportunity to see alpacas and view the restoration of the Church at Layston. We will also be taking in the beautiful parkland and gardens at Alswick Hall Farm and walking back through the Hare Street Wildlife Area." The walk will take approximately 3 hours, leaving Bowling Green Lane car park at 9.30am on Tuesday 24th May. Full details of the walks can be seen here.

Some time ago I mentioned that Civic Society members are entitled to free day passes to selected National Trust properties. These will be valid from June and can be obtained by contacting the Society's Secretary, Carol Noble - more details next month.

Finally, This article is my last as Chairman of the Society as I relinquished the post at the recent AGM this month. I have enjoyed my tenure as Chairman, working alongside some very enthusiastic and committed people. I will still play an active role in the Society's many projects. I wish you all the very best for the future and thank you for reading.

Graham Waite, 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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