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Young People

Hertford Annual Town Council Meeting on the 29th April 2009

Wednesday evening was the annual Town Council meeting at Hertford Castle. It was an informative, light hearted evening, with presentations from representatives of the Town Council, Hertford museum, the local library and North Road allotments.

Around 40 people attended the evening, including all the Town Councillors and the recently resigned councillor for Sele, John Cook. Members of the public also attended along with leaders from pressure groups, such as Richard West from the Fairtrade group.

Cllr Dr Linda Radford discussed Hertford Town Council's achievements in the last 12 months and their future plans for next year. She mentioned that in the following year, Hertford Town Council will be creating a 'Town Plan', with consultations from the public.

Allotments have recently been popular with young and old alike and there was a presentation by the North Road Allotment group. This allotment had grown from strength to strength with a membership of 115 and currently there is a 2 year waiting list for new allotment space. They have 2 bee hives, producing scrumptious Hertford honey. The North Road Allotment have certainly become a community 'hub' and it was fantastic to see all age groups taking an active interest in their local environment.

As many of you are aware, Hertford museum closed it doors last Christmas for a £1.2million renovation. Helen Gurney, the curator of the Hertford Museum, discussed what has so far been achieved and the designs for the new museum. The new museum will have:

  • A new lift, enabling access for all
  • 'Visitor friendly' database of the museums photograph collections
  • An exhibition of 'Hertford on Film'
  • Adult learning space
  • New toilets
  • A 'Hertford Timeline', noting previous Hertford events and objects illustrating different time periods of Hertford's past
  • Temporary exhibition space on the ground floor
  • A mini internet café for members of the public
  • Gift shop

It was intriguing to learn that the Hertford Museum has 30,000 visitors annually. The new museum will open in March 2010 with the first exhibition on Henry Moore's images of sheep. It is rumoured that a member of the Royal Family may be opening the new museum in the Spring. To find out more about Hertford Museum go to their website: www.hertfordmuseum.org

Following the Hertford Museum presentation there was a discussion on Hertford library by Glenda Wood from Herts County Council. The current library in Old Cross is being moved to a new site on Dolphin Yard in late spring/early summer 2010. The new site is currently being built and the old library is up for public sale. Ms Wood was very keen to point out that Herts County Council would like as much feedback from the public on their views on the new library. What would you like included in the new library? How many days should it be open? You can contact Herts County Council here: http://www.hertsdirect.org/contact/

During the question and answer session, Richard West from Hertford Fairtrade Group discussed the recent successes of Hertford becoming a Fairtrade group. But he also mentioned that Hertford still had a lot to do to keep its Fairtrade status, including erecting a sign displaying Hertford as a Fairtrade town and encouraging more retailers to sell fair-trade products. To find out more about Hertford Fairtrade Group go their website at: http://www.hertfordfairtrade.org.uk/

Towards the end of the evening there was a heated debate on Archers Spring in Sele Farm, which is sadly being misused by off-road bikers. Residents from Sele Farm told councillors that the noise and health and safety risks from asbestos, were having a negative impact on their lives. Leading the discussion was Labour member Tony Bodley, who accused the town council of not doing enough to stop illegal activity in the area. Unfortunately the discussion turned into party squabbling between Labour members and Conservative Town Councillors. Even though this is undoubtedly a serious issue, it was unashamedly being used by Labour to promote themselves in the upcoming elections and one wonders if their criticisms of the town council were antagonising the situation, instead of solving the problems at Archers Spring.

The general atmosphere of the event was for more public involvement in the local council. At EHpeople we would love to see local people having an active voice, but do you think the local councils are doing enough to get your views included?  Have you tried to implement any changes in the local council and if so were you successful? We would really appreciate your views on this issue.

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