Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Chair column

As readers will know, Shepton is my home town, and it’s a place I’m extremely proud of.  Last weekend, once again, Shepton was at its best.  Sunday’s “Love Your Library Day” was a great success with many people visiting the library and the Cheeky Bean Café to hear local authors talk about their books and share their experiences about writing. Hundreds of concerned citizens came to demonstrate that Shepton’scommunity is not prepared to lose its services without a fight. 

I’ve noticed recently that there is an increasing confidence within our town. Shepton is not only defiant in our opposition to the loss of services, but also we are finding more ways of finding solutions. The Love Your Library Day was the first event arranged by the newly-formed Friends of Shepton Mallet Library.  There is now little doubt that the vast majority want library services to remain in the town centre. The County Council should be rightly proud of its library staff members, Janet and Kirsty, who again showed what an asset they are to Shepton.

The brilliantly successful campaign to keep all our hospital beds also illustrated how Shepton can succeed if it speaks with a strong and united voice. All town councillors, along with residents, were appalled by the potential loss of these respite beds. 

Opposition to the bed closures was led by Major General Ray Pett and Albert Owen, with support from the hospital action group with legal advice from Paul Turner. The hospital beds will now reopen on 9th July.  To celebrate this, the Hospital League of Friends will be holding a Fête at St. Paul’s School on Saturday 21st July at 2pm. I hope to see as many people there as possible to show our support for the hospital and to thank the League of Friends for their persistence and success.

This coming weekend we have Shepton’s Summer Celebration, Collett Festival. Once again we have 3 busy events in Collett Park to showcase our community: the traditional fair on Saturday followed in the evening by the Madness tribute concert, and our free Children’s Festival on Sunday.  I’m really looking forward to the weekend, with its excellent mixture of fundraising, entertainment and displays of local talent. I hope as many Sheptonians and visitors as possible can join us for a brilliant weekend.

Shepton really is a town going places. We have a renewed confidence and purpose, and the more people who participate in our community events, the stronger we become. As Chair of the Council, I want to promote greater co-operation and collaboration between the Town Council and its residents, since I know that a United Shepton is a formidable, unstoppable force.

Chris Inchley, Chairman, Shepton Mallet Town Council

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