Wednesday, 31 March 2010

A developing community?

The March meeting of Shepton 21 management committee was held this evening.

It must be about fifteen years ago the Shepton Mallet Taskforce was initiated, the embryonic community regeneration group from concerned Shepton residents, many members of Shepton 21 were members of the Taskforce, I admire those members for there continued commitment to community engagement and trying to develop a better Shepton.

I wonder how many councillors would continue if they received the same level of support these volunteers have received over the years.

Shepton 21 has made progress, with examples such as the properties that has received help from the facelift project. The groundwork has been done for the Community and Training Education Centre, with feasibility studies. Progress has been made with the Links group, feasibility studies has been completed to try and bring the railway back to Shepton, the Milestones in and around Shepton have been refurbished and the multi user path along the strawberry way has made progress.

In large part many of the priorities held within the crossroads document that was written after a major public consultation after the successful Market and Coastal Towns Initiative bid, have been taken as far as any community group can, they can only delivered by large injections of cash from public bodies.

This is the rub, community regeneration groups can do brilliant work, but there success is not in their own control, unlike a private business, there ultimate future depends on the commitment of statutory agencies.

So, the coming year will be a period when community regeneration in Shepton will be at another crossroads.

Alan Stone is doing a number of lectures/talks about Shepton, there are to be held in the Salvation Army Hall at 7.30pm on the 15 April Shepton in the 1600s the 22 April Shepton in the 1700 the 29 April and 6 May on People and Places in Shepton.

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