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Mayor’s Message: May 2024

Hello and welcome to this month’s feature of Mayor’s Message, which is my first appearance on our new website

I am honoured to have been re-elected to be the Chair/Mayor for the 2024/2025 municipal year. I would like to take this opportunity to reflect on the past year and provide a basic snapshot of just some of the things that Wallingford Town Council has been working on.

I am delighted to have helped aid Didcot TRAIN with their expansion into Wallingford. A great new opportunity for the youth of Wallingford. Did you know that while obligation for supporting children & youth rests with Oxfordshire County Council, Wallingford Town Council has continued to step up to fill the gap? For example, did you know that Wallingford Town Council is the majority funder of the Wigo Way Family Centre, an amazing venue that does so much to support young families. Or that Wallingford Town Council also funds the Beacon Project, a dedicated support for some of the youth in the area that need it most?

We have been proactive in seeking grant funding to support new ventures. For example, we received funding to explore the creatin of a new community transport scheme in the town. We have also received funding to develop this new website, to promote all that is great about our town and encourage people to visit.

We have reinvigorated our relationships with our twin towns of Luxeil-les-Bains (France) and Bad Wurzach (Germany) which included a visit (at councillor’s own cost) to the former. We have more things planned to help maintain this relationship.

Back home we have completed a review of the Neighbourhood Plan. While the Neighbourhood Plan is not a magic bullet it is an important tool to help influence development within the town. Ongoing updates ensure we have the strongest tool at our disposal.

We have launched events such as the Curfew Bell Celebration and taken on responsibility for others like the Christmas Market. We were delighted to welcome Agatha Christie back to the town, in the form of a new statue, and associated celebrations. We have also stepped up to support local groups by helping run events like the Pancake Race.

Planning is in place for a one-off event this year to celebrate the 80th anniversary of D-Day and we have commissioned a memorial plaque to be laid at the International Bomber Command Centre to recognize the 80th anniversary of the sacrifice made by Flying Officer Wilding & Flight Sergeant Andrew.

Throughout all of this we have been making a greater effort to communicate what we are doing, in part with articles in Window on Wallingford but also increasing our digital communications. For example, the video of the Annual Town Meeting (courtesy of our friends at Wallingford Radio) has been viewed over 600 times.

We joined with South Oxfordshire District Council and charity Thames 21 to submit an application seeking bathing water status for the river. This would aim for increased monitoring for additional allotments to help satisfy the demand. We re-entered the Britain in Bloom awards and were delighted to have been awarded Silver in the Town category as well as the regional award for Community Involvement.

Our team continues to seek new ways that we can play our part in influencing our impact on the environment. As part of this we are working on (and are very close to launching) a new biodiversity action plan.

Restoration work has been completed on the ruins in Castle Gardens and we are now working to add additional protections to help maintain them. We have also started new arrangements to help maintain, protect and in some cases repair other areas within the town.

Indeed, there has been an effort throughout a lot of what we do to work more with local groups and individuals to help promote all that is great about the town and improve that which we seek to improve. We have a great community in Wallingford, and we are striving to ensure Wallingford Town Council plays its part.

This is just a snapshot; a lot of these topics could easily be an article in themselves. Indeed, I haven’t even touched on the Bull Croft redevelopment or the Regal. We will continue to post new information about all that we do on our websites, on Window on Wallingford, via our newsletter and on our social media channels.

Best wishes,

Cllr Daniel Beauchamp